DEADLY EVER AFTER

BY BH & GM

 

"Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.” -- Robert Heinlein

YZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZY

May 1969

 

 

“I want all of you back here in my office by four o’clock – we’ll go over what we’ve got, and decide whether we can make an arrest before Jeffreys gets on that plane this evening.” Steve McGarrett made eye contact with each of the detectives who stood before the large dark wood desk.

 

The three men – Kono Kalakaua, Chin Ho Kelly, and Dan Williams – each acknowledged their boss, and turned to carry out their instructions. They filed out of the office, but as Dan passed May Peterson, executive secretary to the Chief of Hawaii Five-0, she let him know he had a phone call. “Line Two, Danny!”

 

Five-0’s second-in-command diverted into his office to take the call. “This is Williams.”

 

Danny, this is Peachy… from downstairs.”

 

Dan immediately recognized the thin voice as one of the Iolani Palace maintenance men. “Peachy, what’s shakin’, man?”

 

I hope it’s no trouble, but can you meet me in the parking lot by your car right away?” The youngest of the Five-0 detectives glanced down at his watch as the man on the other end of the line explained further. “It won’t take but a second, and it’s kind of important.”

 

“Huh, yeah, sure – I’m headin’ that direction anyway – see ya in a couple!” With that, Williams re-cradled the phone, and grinned at the secretary as he headed towards the door.

 

May pulled her ear from the phone and held up her hand. “Danny – wait! Walter Stuart’s on line one – he says it’s urgent.”

 

A scowl brushed across the young man’s face, but was quickly subsumed in neutrality as he turned around and stepped back into his own office to take the call from the Attorney General. “This liaison stuff is for the birds,” he muttered to May’s sympathetic ear before he picked up the phone.

 

The slender, pretty brunette smiled and shook her head as she heard Dan greet Stuart. The detective spent a couple minutes reviewing the facts of an upcoming case before the call ended, and Williams trotted towards the door.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Dan scanned the area as he emerged from the Palace and trotted down the steps towards the dark Ford he drove when on duty. Why the quiet little man who changed the light bulbs and oiled the abundant creaking doors within the Palace needed to speak with him the officer was not certain, but a likely reason entered his mind.

 

Peachy Lassen had recently asked Dan’s advice about buying a surf board for his grandson, who lived with his mother in Hilo. Well known on the islands to anyone who enjoyed watching the surfing competitions, Williams had a following of fans, among them the maintenance man and his grandchild. The officer smiled at the recollection of Peachy’s timid request for an autograph a few months earlier. The idea that HIS signature could be of value to anyone was a source of self-conscious amusement. Lassen reported how he’d impressed the boy with the news that he was on a first-name basis with the surfing detective. In all probability, Dan decided, this request for a quick audience was surfing / grandson related.

 

The noon hour brought throngs of people out of their offices to enjoy the clear, beautiful day. Tourists milled about with their cameras while others sat in the nearby park with their sack lunches. As Dan drew near to his car, he couldn’t help but take in a breath at the new, fire engine red Mustang Convertible parked nearby. Definitely the machine of his dreams! As he enviously took in the features of the high-powered muscle car, it suddenly occurred to him that THIS was probably why Peachy, who knew of Dan’s interest in sports cars, had summoned him to the parking lot. Williams tore his eyes from the object of his attraction, and scanned the area for Lassen. It didn’t take more than a few seconds before he spotted the maintenance man seated, knees bent, in his line of sight against the root of a large Banyan tree only fifteen feet away.

 

Williams quickly unlocked his company car, removed his suit jacket, and tossed it onto the passenger side before he sauntered towards Lassen, whose hand held a bottle of orange soft drink firmly upright on the ground. It appeared at first blush that perhaps the older man had nodded off while waiting for the Five-0 officer to make his appearance. As Dan drew near, he announced his presence, “Aloha, Peach!”

 

To Williams’ puzzlement, the man did not respond, and instead remained immobile, eyes closed and almost-bald head tilted slightly to one side. Dan stopped five feet away, debating whether he should try to wake the little guy. Only a couple seconds passed before the soda pop bottle tipped over and the contents began to pour onto the fine, green grass.

 

“He’s dead,” came the startling pronouncement from a female voice behind the detective, whose head snapped to see a woman – in her mid to late twenties – standing no more than two feet away. With straight, brown hair bobbed at her shoulders, she wore a blue and white flowered muumuu, and held a straw beach bag on the crook of her arm. The distant, but not unpleasant, expression on the pretty face completely belied the nature of her statement.

 

Williams’ expression twisted instantly to one of distaste as he moved to confirm or deny the bizarre woman’s assertion, but before he could take a step, she commanded, “Don’t move a muscle… darling.”

 

Dan glanced at her, but now knew that he needed to check on the still figure. “Look, I don’t know—” Words failed him suddenly as he caught sight of the revolver suddenly pressing into his side.

 

“I said don’t move,” the young woman breathed calmly.

 

Without giving it any thought, Dan knew the .38 snub-nose aimed at his viscera could kill him in short order. “What is this?” he demanded as concern, not only for himself, but for the man on the ground, rose in his gut.

 

“Get in my car – you drive.” The woman’s dark eyes seemed to reflect scared excitement as she nodded toward the closest vehicle – the red Mustang.

 

Dan’s jaw dropped slightly in surprise. He glanced towards Peachy Lassen before his eyes penetrated the shorter female at his side. “I need to get help for—”

 

“I said he’s dead – I killed him,” she intoned with an almost impatient tinge. “And if you don’t do everything I say, many more people will die.”

 

Dan stared at the woman for several seconds, aghast at the heinous claim. He fired a fleeting look over his captor’s shoulder towards the Palace steps in the vain hope that one of his colleagues might be aware of his plight before he re-focused on the woman. Doing his level best to remain neutral in tone, he realized he needed more data. “And exactly HOW is that possible?”

 

“Poison,” she returned simply.

 

The officer, reeling mentally from the horrific turn of events, was hard pressed to believe his own ears. “You’re standing here, telling me that you just poisoned a man, and that you’re going to poison more people?”

 

The woman’s calm expression drifted to one of firm resolve. “The deed is already done. Whether they die or not will be up to you.”

 

Now thoroughly confused, Williams tore his eyes from the female suspect to assess Peachy’s still form as he debated whether or not he should make a dive for her gun.

 

“Grabbing my gun won’t save anybody,” she offered softly.

 

The almost telepathic remark startled Dan, who looked slowly back and down at the beach bag, which now obscured the weapon from his view.

 

The woman took a half step closer as she emphasized, “The only way for you to save those marked for death is to come with me.”

 

Mouth agape again, Dan shifted his eyes again back to the old man, who had not moved a muscle. “You’re sure he’s dead?”

 

“Danny, don’t worry about Peachy – somebody will find him soon enough,” she cooed as she placed a tentative hand on the detective’s shoulder.

 

Williams flinched slightly under her touch. “Who are you and why are you doing this?”

 

“Call me Camille,” she responded as she tugged his arm. “Don’t make me kill again to show you the power I wield.” Williams spun to face her as she added calmly, “I mean it.”

 

It seemed to Dan at that moment that the woman, whether or not she really had the physical wherewithal to kill again, did have it in her to commit the crime – after all, it did appear that poor Peachy was somehow dead at her hands. Another few seconds ensued before an in-shock Dan slowly walked the fifteen feet to the Mustang with the woman now clinging to his arm.

 

Casually scanning the area again for signs that anyone noticed he was being snatched out of the Palace parking lot (It seemed that nobody did), he moved to the passenger side door and opened it.

 

“Now kiss me,” she ordered. “In case anyone’s looking.”

 

The detective blinked – the woman whom he knew had a gun aimed at him appeared serious. “We’re in a busy parking lot – with a dead guy on the ground a few feet away and a kidnapping in progress – but somehow I don’t think anyone is paying any attention to us.”

 

“Trust me, Danny – there’s always somebody watching.” Her eyes narrowed slightly, and her tone grew more intense. “Now do it!”

 

He released a single, incensed laugh at the absurdity of the situation before he leaned over and quickly touched his lips to hers in a staccato movement. She wavered slightly, but kept her eyes trained on him.

 

“You drive,” she reminded softly.

 

Patiently, the detective explained. “I’m holding the door open for you, CAMILLE. I presume you’re coming along?”

 

“You get in first, and please don’t try any funny business,” she warned, taking pains to keep the handgun trained on him through her bag.

 

With a conciliatory cant of his head, Dan slipped into the car and slid to the driver’s seat. “Okay… take it easy.”

 

Camille relaxed marginally, and climbed into the car after her prisoner, who watched her settle into her seat.

 

“At least tell me what you want,” Williams maintained a level gaze at the woman whose eyes were filled with a mix of determination and excitement.

 

“I want...” She paused to study an invisible spot on her bag before she looked back wistfully into the angry blue eyes penetrating her. “Your undivided attention.”

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

While his detectives were out doing the legwork, McGarrett’s first stop was the lab. His men would find the nuts and bolts of evidence on Jeffreys; witness corroboration, alibi checks and cross-interrogation details. Che Fong and his forensic team would find the solid, tangible, see-and-touch substantiation to put the backbone into the trial and conviction.

 

When he returned it was afternoon. Swinging open the lanai doors, he sat down to scribble some notes on the open Jeffreys’ file, while munching on the sandwich May had left on the corner of his desk. The next time he looked up it was because of the knock on his office door. Bidding the person to enter, he glanced at the clock, surprised it was almost four PM.

 

About to snap on the intercom and ask his secretary to get a status on his detectives, Chin Ho and Kono came in the door to his office. By the pleased expressions on their faces, he knew it had been a successful day.

 

“Gentlemen?” he asked brightly.

 

“Looks like we got Jeffreys just like you want him. Tied up like a pig in an imu.”

 

“His alibi for the night of the murder is full of holes, boss,” Kono beamed. “We double checked three witnesses who can put him at his partner’s office within a half hour of the murder.”

 

“And you know that girl he says was with him at the bar?” Kelly continued the story, “Bartender knows they had left before the fight on TV. That was almost an hour before the murder.”

 

“Hah!” McGarrett exulted, slamming his fist on the desk. “We’ve got him! All right! That is more than enough for an arrest.” He punched his finger on the intercom. “May, send Danno in here. And call the DA’s office and tell them we want a warrant for Jeffreys’ arrest.”

 

“I’ll call on the warrant boss,” the secretary responded, “but Danny isn’t here.”

 

Snapping off the communications link, he looked blankly at his two detectives. “I thought…” He paused, wondering why he had the impression that the youngest member of the team was here at the Palace. “He came back from tracking down the manager at the office, right?”

 

“Never saw him since lunch,” Kelly responded.

 

Certain there was something wrong with the scenario, he paced behind his desk, pinching his lip. Finally, he stopped, rushed out to the lanai, and stared down to the parking lot. Danno’s LTD was there, right where it had been – all afternoon? Subconsciously, he had noted the car there for hours. THAT was what was wrong! Danno should have been out doing his work on the Jeffreys’ case. Why was his car here?

 

Chin shrugged when the question was voiced. Kono stared at the floor. Zeroing in on the Hawaiian, the boss knew something was wrong. Kalakaua had no ability to prevaricate even in silence.

 

“Kono? Something I need to know about?”

 

“What makes you ask that, boss?”

 

Still no eye contact.

 

“Kono!” the impatient bark shot out. “Where is Danno?”

 

“I – uh – don’t know where he is, boss,” he almost muttered, still staring at the floor.

 

Rounding the desk, McGarrett stood inches from the Hawaiian. “What DO you know about Danno?”

 

“He – uh – I saw him leave at lunch time.”

 

“And?”

 

“He – uh – left…”

 

“Without his car?”

 

“Yeah.”

 

“How did he leave?” Each word was enunciated with excruciating exactness, his teeth grinding at the end of the grueling sentence.

 

“He – uh -- got into a car – with – a – uh – girl.”

 

Feeling his mouth drop open, McGarrett was so stunned he did not think to close it for several moments. When he did, he circled the desk, finally coming to stand at the lanai door, staring at the black LTD, as if it could conjure up its errant owner. Danno left with a girl. It was inconceivable! He had given his officer an assignment! Danno might have a wild love life, but he would never be so irresponsible as to go out on a lunch date while working! Not a four hour lunch date! It was just – unthinkable.

 

He spun around to his officers. “You’re sure? Danno left with a girl?”

 

“Yeah,” Kono smiled, canted his head, then sobered quickly at the boss’s stern countenance. “Uh, yeah, he – nice car. Red convertible. Nice wahine.”

 

The glower sobered him again. McGarrett shook his head. It was so unlike his second-in-command to be so negligent in his duties! “Danno voluntarily left with a girl?”

 

“She didn’t have a gun to his head,” Kono scoffed.

 

Kelly snickered. “As if Danny would ever need that kind of…” He stopped short when McGarrett glared at him.

 

“All right,” McGarrett shook his head, pacing back to his desk and taking one more look at the LTD. No, Danno had not magically appeared there in the last few moments. “All right. We’ll deal with this later. Jeffreys,” he focused, getting them back on track. HIM back on track. Answers about the mystery of Danno’s errant behavior would be resolved soon enough. He had a job to do. “We go get Jeffreys as planned.”

 

Heading out to the main office, McGarrett asked May if the warrant was ready. If not, they were heading to the DA’s anyway, then over to Jeffreys’ office. If Danno checked in while they were gone, he was to meet them for the arrest. With a glance into Williams’ dark cubicle, McGarrett strode out the door, gearing his mind for the upcoming arrest, but not fully focused on the criminal. Part of his mind was working ton the irritating puzzle of Williams’ atypical behavior.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

The drive to Hawaii Kai was made in silence at Camille’s insistence. To Dan’s dis-ease, she stared at him almost the entire way. He glanced in her direction infrequently, but could feel her eyes absorbing him. The sensation was distinctly uncomfortable, especially in light of the woman’s murderous threats. She directed him with monosyllabic commands, and shushed him if tried to ask questions.

 

As she directed him out of Waikiki toward Diamond Head, the officer replayed the events which had transpired in the parking lot a short while earlier and pondered his options. “Camille” did not look familiar to him, but she clearly knew him – or at least she knew who he was. She had called him Danny – not Dan. Was that a clue? On the other hand, it seemed that women as a population tended to gravitate toward the more familiar name. Did she know Peachy? Maybe THAT was how she had come to notice him?

 

Steve had warned him that being in the limelight as Five-0’s second-in-command might attract the occasional unbalanced individual, who had a beef about a specific case or with the police in general. Camille didn’t seem angry – a little scared maybe, but that was understandable, given the fact that she was apparently killing people, Williams mused.

 

Certain he could’ve disarmed her at some point during their initial confrontation, Dan made the decision not to do anything which might jeopardize more lives in the near term. Now as he glanced in her direction periodically (WHY is she staring at me like that??), he began to re-think his choice. What if she had simply slipped something into Peachy’s drink as the poor guy waited for him to come outside? Could her threat to kill more people be stopped by simply arresting her? She said not – but what else would she have said? If she had already spiked the beverages of unsuspecting victims who had yet to take a sip, would going with her help? On the other hand, he couldn’t put out a blanket alert – Don’t drink anything!

 

Steve would not be missing him for a few hours anyway – and boy, was he going to be bent out of shape when Dan did not return by four… Despite his good excuse, Williams grimaced at the thought of his boss’s displeasure. Still, with all of the facts of the case mentally replayed, the detective decided that accompanying the woman had probably been the best alternative. Find out more about her plan – and her ability to follow through – and THEN arrest her for murder – IF Peachy was in fact dead and not merely unconscious. Otherwise, Dan settled on kidnapping as the first booking charge. His gaze slipped to the woman’s distant expression. On the other hand, a stay in a padded room might be the ticket for this one…

 

“Turn here,” Camille broke the silence as she pointed to a private drive. Williams complied, and guided the Mustang up the winding road for half a mile before she pointed to a gated driveway. As soon as Dan angled the vehicle towards it, the metal gate opened, and he drove the convertible through and brought it to a stop in the circular drive. He looked over at his captor, and awaited her order. As she had done for the entire journey, the – not gorgeous – but not unattractive woman continued to watch him, as if he was regaling her with an interesting story. He surveyed his surrounds uncomfortably for several seconds – they were on a very private estate with no neighbors nearby.

 

When no command still seemed forthcoming, the detective finally sighed. “What now?”

 

Dan startled internally as Camille responded immediately, as if she’d been waiting for the question before she could speak. “We go inside.”

 

Williams wandered uneasily around the luxurious house, noting that no expense had been spared from appliances to furnishings. The tropical decor was high-end quality he had seen only in the best homes in Kahala. With a twist toward Oriental/tropical flavors, the large vases, the original art, the austere wicker accented with teak -- chairs, sofas and tables -- seemed the best imports money could buy.  Camille meandered almost shyly after him until they ended up by the pool.

 

“Talk about a gilded cage,” Dan refrained from speaking his thoughts above a whisper as he took in the breathtaking view from the swimming pool deck behind the sprawling Hawaii Kai beach house. The flower-rich garden along the perimeter of the smooth-stone lanai served as a foreground to the sweeping panorama of Maunalua Bay and Diamond Head beyond. A salty breeze intermingled with the scents of the abundant nearby flora, and served to cut the heat from the mid-day sun.

 

“You’re not a prisoner, darling,” Camille announced in voice louder than she’d spoken since their first encounter. The officer turned from the striking scenery and watched as the woman pulled the gun from her bag and laid it on a table, which stood several feet from the kidney-shaped pool.

 

Dan looked down and smiled as he approached the table. “Darling…” he repeated as he stared at the revolver, but did not pick it up. “Somehow that word doesn’t match up with the words I’m thinking – namely murder and kidnapping.”

 

Camille didn’t seem affected by the statement. Instead, she pulled a yellow Pee Chee folder from her beach bag. “Sit down.” She took a seat and nodded at the empty chair next to her as she placed the folder in sharing position on the table and opened it.

 

Williams studied the situation for only a moment before he stepped forward and sat, taking care to slide the gun away from her easy reach. She ignored the move, which clearly revealed Dan’s threatened and suspicious attitude, and pulled out several newspaper clippings and a cut-out of a map of Honolulu. The officer skimmed the articles. There were ten of them, he counted. Some were obituaries and some were little items of interest. All told of people who had died unexpectedly under seemingly-innocent circumstances.

 

With a frown, the detective read one out loud. “A Waimanalo resident collapsed and died suddenly...” Dan’s voice trailed off as he finished the story in silence. Quickly dropping that article, he collected the next. “Local artist Roger Kaua, age forty four, fainted and fell from his seat at Tiki’s Lounge on Kalakaua Avenue yesterday afternoon. He was taken to Leahi Hospital where efforts to revive him failed. The cause of death is undetermined...” Williams, with dread building in his viscera, glanced up at the placid woman before he leafed through the other articles. In each story, someone thought to be in good health, collapsed and died within minutes. All of the events had taken place within the past six weeks, Dan noted as he brought a serious glare to bear on Camille. “Are you admitting that you poisoned these people?”

 

The woman nodded slowly, and Dan swallowed as he re-trained his eyes on the stack of newspaper clippings. “Why?”

 

“To prove to you that I did it,” she returned as she pulled the map from beneath the articles and laid it flat for him to see. Dan leaned closer and could make out red dots drawn on the street map of Honolulu as she explained. “These marks are where the deaths occurred.”

 

The officer studied the marks, and noted with interest that one of them occurred within a block of where he lived… And another three blocks perhaps… Bile slowly welled up in his throat as he detected the pattern. “A line drawn through these dots is the route I travel from my apartment to the Palace every day.”

 

Camille offered a grim smile. “Do you still think I need a gun?”

 

Dan struggled to grasp what could be going on in this woman’s head. “You’re killing people because you’re angry with ME?”

 

The woman’s eyes grew large. “Oh, no, Danny – I could never be angry with you!”

 

“What?” Williams grew frustrated and lashed out, “How do you KNOW you could never be angry with me? We’ve never even met!”

The expression which came over Camille revealed hurt. She looked down at the folder, and sadly admitted, “Oh we’ve met. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that you don’t remember.” Dan thought she was going to explain further – instead, she looked up and announced, “It doesn’t matter – not now.”

 

Silence hung thickly for several seconds as Camille apparently relived a less-than-happy memory. Finally, Williams stood and announced, “We’re going back to the Palace – you’re under arrest.”

 

“If you take me back, then a thousand people will die inside the month, and then another wave the following month.” She maintained a determined countenance as her eyes tracked with the detective standing over her.

 

“Explain how that’s possible!” The officer demanded.

 

“I’ve planted more than forty pounds of an arsenic derivative into hundreds of different containers of products which people consume in some fashion or other. At some point in the near future, the products will begin their path to the consumers, who will unknowingly ingest it and die within minutes.”

 

The detective stood paralyzed as he absorbed the implication. It sounded frighteningly feasible. Did she have the wherewithal to actually carry out this insane plan? A knot in the pit of Dan’s stomach told him she did.

 

“Why are you doing this?” The officer dropped back into the chair, his head spinning with the mind-boggling news.

 

“I realized several months ago that this was the only way to make my dream happen.”

 

“Your dream… What is your dream, Camille?” Williams ran a hand over his mouth as he tried to assimilate the situation, which grew more bizarre and disturbing with each passing moment.

 

“I love you, and want to be with you,” she started, and with those words, Dan froze in place. As she pressed on, her tone turned bitter. “I knew I could make you happier than any of those brainless pieces of fluff that cling to you, but I also knew that you’d never give me a chance to prove it.”

 

The brunette rose from the table abruptly with the shocked – and suddenly frightened – officer watching her every move. Dan breathed gingerly as she circled the table and stopped beside him. He slowly looked up at her as she lightly touched his hair. “So I came up with a plan – a way which would force you to give me a chance, and even if you didn’t turn out to be happy with it, at least I will have been able to truly experience my dream before I die.”

 

Williams studied the teary, but determined expression on the woman hovering over him before he stood. “How can you love me? How do you know me at all?”

 

Her lip quivered as she recalled the story of how Dan had changed her tire after a surf meet in 1966. The surfing detective analyzed Camille’s face as he struggled to dredge up a memory which featured it. Finally, a sketchy recollection bubbled up from the recesses of his mind.

 

The meet was over – he’d taken first place, and was getting ready to head to a beach party in his honor. But there was something he had to do first back in town – a quick trip to HPD maybe? He couldn’t remember the exact circumstance, but he’d ended up noticing a young woman – it had been Camille – now he was certain of it. She was struggling to pull a tire from the trunk of her car. She acted almost afraid of him. He reassured her that he was a police officer and not a masher.

 

“It’s… it’s okay, really – I know how to change a tire,” she breathed with an apologetic smile. “I’m sure you’ve got more important things to do.”

 

Dan smiled warmly as he delicately relieved her of the tire iron she held in her hand. “Nothing more important than rescuing a pretty damsel in distress – even if she is capable of rescuing herself!”

 

The corny damsel-in-distress line rang in his ears. He’d changed the tire, and they parted company – end of story. Had he invited her to the beach party? Maybe, but he didn’t think so – it seemed to Dan that she had wanted to get away from him as quickly as possible.

 

Williams’ brow scrunched as he realized that Camille was going no further with the explanation because there was nothing more to tell. “Yeah… I do remember – it was up at the Pipe, but I don’t think you even shared your name with me.”

 

She took a step towards him as she admitted, “I wanted to -- you were so… so sweet and friendly and handsome and – and popular – everyone who passed us called out their congratulations to you – but I couldn’t bring myself to clutter your mind with something as silly as my name. I wanted to tell you… I wanted to be a part of it, but I wasn’t.”

 

Dan ran a hand through his hair as he took in a deep breath and released it slowly. He’d dated women he later thought were crazy, after a falling out of one sort or the other, but this woman – she was dangerously, past-the-edge-of-reality sick. It appeared that she had murdered innocent people to get his attention. Anger battled with dread and frustration as he struggled to control his reaction. He swallowed the sarcastic remark which popped into his head – somehow he would have to maneuver his way through this psychological mine field before more people died at this woman’s hands.

 

“Okay… Camille – what happens next?” Dan hoped he successfully kept the ire from invading the question.

 

“I’ve written a play, and we’re going to perform it.”

 

Confusion washed over the detective. “A play… you mean… like with parts and lines on a stage?”

 

Camille nodded almost imperceptibly. “We’ll perform it on the Bard’s stage.”

 

Williams remained completely still. His predicament was growing more unsettling with each passing minute. “The Bard? Shakespeare?”

 

 All the world’s a stage.”

 

All the world,” Dan repeated. “We’re starring in a play, which we will act out… where? In public?” Indignation rose in his tone as his eyes grew large.

 

“Perform my play… say your lines with feeling… and do as the director – that’s me -- directs. When we reach the closing act – if the critic – that’s me too – gives the play a satisfactory review, I’ll tell you the poison’s distribution mechanism before it’s too late.”

 

Unable to speak for several seconds, the officer studied his captor. Her eyes were clear as she returned his gaze with determined clarity of purpose exuding from her expression and body language. There was no doubt in Dan’s mind that this woman was mentally unstable in a catastrophically bad way, but she had him. He could think of nothing to do, but go along with the madness for the time being.

 

Finally, he sighed and looked away. “What’s the name of this play?”

 

She gently slid her hand up his arm and smiled. “Happily Ever After.”

 

Deadly Ever After is more like it, Williams mused silently, but out loud inquired, “Do I at least get a script?”

 

“I’ll give you your scenes in time for you to memorize them – don’t worry, darling. The director will tolerate a LITTLE ad libbing if it’s in keeping with the tone of the scene.”

 

An exaggerated, charming grin slipped onto the detective’s face as he turned look at Camille’s pleased face. “Okay, let’s get the show on the road.”

 

With a subtle nervous excitement evident in her movements, the woman slipped her hand into the bag and retrieved a few sheets of typing paper which had been folded into fourths. She pushed the papers into Dan’s hands. “The opening act is key, and I won’t stand for any changes to the script.”

 

Williams’ eye brows climbed towards his scalp as he read the first scene. “Act one, scene one. The offices of Hawaii Five-0. Steve McGarrett, Chin Ho Kelly, Kono Kalakaua are reviewing the day’s events. May Peterson sits at her desk typing a memo. Enter Danny and Camille.”

 

The detective started reading silently faster and faster to the end of the scene. Finally, he swallowed and looked up at his co-star. She was serious!

 

As if predicting his reaction, she dropped one more emotional bombshell on him. “Just so you understand how important this is to me, I want to tell you that I’ve planted one more of my little demonstrations within ten blocks of the Palace. We’ll do the scene, and if it goes as I have directed – with no attempts on your part to send secret messages to your colleagues AND no attempt to stop us – then we’ll drive by the location, and I’ll call off what would have been reported in tomorrow’s paper as an unfortunate incident.”

 

A more urgent panic filled Dan as he now realized outwitting her would be more difficult than he had anticipated. Camille was certifiable, but she was also incredibly cunning. Williams nodded as he turned and took in the postcard view of the bay. She was right – she didn’t need a gun…

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Creeping unease followed McGarrett all afternoon through the details of the arrest of Jeffreys. The procedure of the event was smoother than expected. Amid the usual shouts that he was innocent, that he needed a lawyer, the suspect was taken away to HPD. Danno would usually have the privilege of booking such a juicy catch, but of course, he was not here to handle the finale of their hard work and closed case.

 

Kono and Chin took the criminal in to HPD. McGarrett returned to the Palace via Williams’ apartment. There was no sign of the younger detective at his place in Waikiki, and his old red truck was in the parking slot. He went up to the apartment and knocked, waiting for several moments and knocking repeatedly without response.

 

Where was Danno? Why the silence? The questions hammered at him. As his mind played over various scenarios, thoughts returned to the beginning. Frustrated at finding no closure, only helpless confusion, he tried to think this through in terms of what was natural for him -- investigation. Why would Danno leave with a girl instead of fulfilling his assigned duties? The most conscientious and dedicated officer he knew, that behavior was unthinkable for Danno. There had to be a good reason, of that he was certain.

 

Attached to the obvious level of commitment to his profession, Williams was his protégé, his second-in-command, his right hand. Almost more than his dedication to duty was his loyalty to McGarrett in a personal pledge of obligation and friendship. Danno was the last person on earth who would let him down. So whatever happened to take him away from his job was not something that had been undertaken lightly by the younger officer.

 

Okay, so, analytically, he had a first step. Around that premise, he built the outline of a theory based on what he knew. Danno was taken away for a good reason. The fact that the culprit was a pretty girl in a convertible was irrelevant, he was sure. No contact. Danno was not in a police vehicle, so he could not call in to explain his situation. Was he in trouble? Probably not, but McGarrett’s stomach rippled with uncertain anxiety at that possibility.

 

Returning to the office, May’s perplexed and worried countenance answered his question before he asked, but there was no way he could not pose the burning query so pressingly in his mind.

 

“Danno?”

 

“No word yet,” she reported.

 

Chin and Kono entered from the side door and offered only mute support. No one had any ideas about the strange disappearance. Or if they did they did not want to speculate in front of the boss.

 

“Steve,” May tentatively began, “I wonder if this has anything to do with poor Peachy.”

 

“Who?”

 

“Peachy, the maintenance man.”

 

“What about him?”

 

“You know he’s dead, don’t you?”

 

McGarrett slowly shook his head. “No. What does that have to do with Danno?”

 

The secretary’s face grew more anxious. “Peachy keeled over dead today. About lunch time. He called Danny just before that. Danny was supposed to meet him in the parking lot. I don’t know if they met before Peachy died or not…”

 

Her voice trailed away as McGarrett spun on his detectives. “Do you know anything about this?”

 

“Only know about the girl in the car,” Kono held up his hands in instant surrender.

 

The boss speared a hard stare at May again. “What do you know about this Peachy? Could Danno have gone somewhere with a daughter of his or something? Someone who was upset? Did anybody check the hospitals?” He barely took a breath. “What about this Peachy?” The maintenance man. Someone to whom McGarrett had nodded in the halls, but could not even picture with a face right now. Just a uniform.

 

“Was he friendly with Danno?” Inane question. Danno was friendly with everyone and his dog. Friendly, gregarious, kind, helpful – all those Boy Scout traits that would make him an easy target for anyone who needed help.

 

May answered the question, unaware that her boss had already come up with the answer. “Yeah, boss – Peachy’s stopped by the office several times and talked to Danny.”

 

“Well, get me everything you can on Peachy – his family, the nature of his involvement with Danno,” he ordered May. To his detectives, he commanded, “Get on Bergman. I want to know how Peachy died and when and if Danno might have been involved with that situation.”

 

Suspecting he’d probably created a whole wave of busywork for his staff, he also felt remarkably better. This was a start, a direction. He was moving, going somewhere, even if it was a dead end. Anything was better than sitting around doing nothing, speculating in an anxiety-building vacuum. Danno had not disappeared into thin air. He had gone somewhere to do something. If Danno could not reach them, then they would make the stretch and try to reach him.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Glancing at his watch for the fifth time in the space of five minutes, McGarrett finally grew disgusted with himself for his inability to control his clock watching. He KNEW it was five o’clock, and it had been four fifty nine a minute ago. Dropping the un-read file on his desk, he rose and, flinging the door open, strode into the outer office, where May sat typing a document.

 

“Gentlemen!” The lead detective called from his secretary’s desk. Both Chin and Kono immediately appeared from their offices and approached as Steve queried, “Still no word from Danno?” He knew the answer, but had to ask anyway.

 

As he expected, both officers shook their heads. With a frustrated grimace, he almost shouted, “What is going on here?”

 

As if on queue, the outer office door creaked, and all heads looked in that direction in tandem.

 

A mix of relief, anger, and bewilderment washed over McGarrett as his second-in-command stepped through the door with a young lady on his hand. The head of Five-0 immediately focused on Williams for signs of trauma or an explanation for the incredibly irresponsible behavior, but the sight only evoked more questions. Danno was not dressed as he had been that morning – Steve did not recall off hand which suit it had been, but it had certainly NOT been khaki slacks and a blue aloha shirt! Despite the leisurely attire, the young detective’s expression was funeral serious as he made eye contact with his boss. Quickly taking in the rest of the picture, McGarrett focused on the woman. She was a pretty brunette, slightly shorter than the detective next to her, in a blue muumuu, the material of which matched his second’s new shirt! She cast a demure look in the direction of the Five-0 staff clustered around May’s desk, but quickly re-focused her attention on the man holding her hand.

 

“Danno!” It was all the Five-0 chief could think to say as he, along with the other detectives and May, stood eyes large staring at the couple, who reminded him of a pair of Mainland newlyweds.

 

Dan led the woman down the aisle, but stopped five feet short of where his friends stood, and tossed an unfocused glance towards her before he spoke with the meter of someone reciting a practiced speech. “Steve, Kono, Chin, May… I want you to meet Camille. I should have introduced her to you before now.”

 

He looked down at her as she nodded and smiled at the four slack-jawed people before them. “Hello, everyone – it’s nice to meet you. Danny has told me so much about you.”

 

May was the only one of the bunch who reacted with more than a fractured nod. The secretary blinked and looked up at her speechless boss before she zeroed in on the other female in the room. “Danny’s told YOU about US? Funny – I don’t recall that he’s ever mentioned you.”

 

Camille’s eyes narrowed, and she opened her mouth to respond, but Dan nervously cut in as he wrapped his arm around her. “May! It’s my fault -- I’ve been far too secretive about the love of my life.”

 

Camille’s gaze returned to Williams as he squeezed her. Chin and Kono exchanged amazed glances, but McGarrett did not take his eyes from the couple as Dan continued. “Steve, I’ve decided that I need to leave Five-0 immediately. I can’t stay focused on my work when the only thing I have on my mind is Camille.”

 

“What?!?” The lead detective’s eye brows arched as he took a half step in his second’s direction.

 

Dan, in an almost mechanical move, looked into Camille’s eyes and kissed her before he reiterated his intention. “I quit, Steve. I’m sorry for any inconvenience this action might cause you, but Camille and I have a lot of catching up to do. I hope you can understand.”

 

Suddenly Williams looked down at this watch, and then to his companion. “Darling, we’ve really GOT to go.”

 

“Whatever you say, sweetheart,” she breathed as he turned and tugged her backwards towards the door. “Goodbye,” she called over her shoulder.

 

The Five-0 detectives and the secretary watched as Dan yanked the door open and literally dragged the woman out after him.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

The tight control over his emotions, his facial reactions and most of all, his tongue, ended as soon as Danno and the girl left.  From the moment his second-in-command entered the room, McGarrett knew something was wrong – off balance. Steve found himself absorbed in questions and the analysis of who the girl was and what was going on – but first and foremost, was the overwhelming sense of relief. Danno was all right, he was back, and was going to explain all.

 

Then the bombshell.

 

“I’ve decided that I need to leave Five-0 immediately.”

 

NO!  The initial reaction was anger – how dare he joke about something like that with such seriousness.  And there was no doubt that everything about Dan Williams at that moment was grimly serious, despite the lovey-dovey act with the girl.

 

“Chin, get down there and tail them!” he snapped in a desperate, tight shout. “Make sure you’re not spotted! I don’t know what’s going on, but whatever it is, we’re gonna get to the bottom of it!” He spun around to trot into his office, still shouting commands. “Kono, get the license plate of that sports car and run it now. I want the book on that girl before they leave the parking lot! May, you keep working the Peachy angle and see if there’s a connection to that girl!”

 

By the time he finished his tersely-delivered commands, he was at his lanai doors, and he stepped out in time to see Williams leaning over the woman –what did he say her name was? – Carmen? No, Camille. There was a short exchange before his second-in-command hurried around and hopped into the driver’s seat. Another up-close-and-personal communication between the two ensued before Dan turned over the engine, and drove off. Chin’s LTD came around the curve of the drive as the Mustang pulled onto the multi-lane main street in front of the Palace. Kelly’s car was not far behind.

 

More than anything, Steve wanted to be out there following Danno. No, more than anything he wanted to sit down in front of his friend, eye-to-eye and get the complete story of what had happened this afternoon to flip his world inside out.

 

When Danno had started with the hidden girlfriend angle, he knew it was all a sham. Every outward sign pointed to the surface explanation of young love. Like a bitter taste in his mouth, Steve knew that impression was amiss. This went against everything he knew about his closest friend.

 

Danno was the last person in the world who would, or could, keep a secret from him.  He might not know every detail about Danno’s personal life, but he knew when something was on his friend’s mind.  They spent so much time together the limited free hours available were pretty much known.   As second-in-command, the youngest detective was as much on call as McGarrett every day and night of the week.  Generally speaking, both their lives were open books to the other for that very reason.  Locations, telephone numbers, restaurants for dates, names of dates, their telephone numbers…  McGarrett’s need to control his universe dictated such strictures to his second.

 

Danno was not just open and honest with him about his life; he was the coordinator who helped McGarrett stay on track with the minutest of details of the unit.  May kept a ship-shape office running smoothly, but often it was Danno who saw to the particulars which had more than once helped the head of Five-0 save face: 

 

A note reminding him that it was Chin’s anniversary and the Oriental detective might want to get off work on time that night. 

 

A small memo in the desk drawer reminding him it was May’s birthday, accompanied by a small, wrapped gift.

 

Five city planners coming in to discuss some fine point of law and their names listed on a note so McGarrett could have a cheat sheet of reference.

 

Danno did all of those things and countless more acts of minutiae that some might consider trivial, but it saved some hurt feelings and further projected the image of the boss being nearly omnipotent.  Ha!  Not today! 

 

“I’ve decided that I need to leave Five-0 immediately.”

 

If he thought for a moment that the shocking statement was legitimate, he would have instantly demanded more of an explanation than the love interest angle.  Yes, something had happened to Danno today, something completely wrong. The measure of the man, that’s what it came down to this time.  Danno – his trusted friend – would not act like this – and he could take that to the bank without any other piece of evidence at hand.

 

“. . . . I need to leave Five-0 immediately.”

 

If that statement had been taken at face value, Steve would have felt livid anger, betrayal, resentment, hurt – but before any of those emotions could take root, his instincts had declared it all a ruse.  A mysterious front.  Why?  That question made the event seem sinister, especially when on the outside it seemed so mundanely – romantic? – free spirited? No -- impractical – stupid!

 

Pacing in the sun dappled by breeze-wafted palm fronds, McGarrett allowed his staff to hustle for answers. He walked, and thought, and tried to analyze every detail, nuance, look, expression, and tone of Williams’ brief, shattering visit. There was no evidence that his friend was under duress of any kind, but Steve knew – KNEW – that he was indeed under some kind of restraint/coercion/bondage. He was going to use every tool in his power, utilize all resources and personnel to find out the nature of this weapon and smash it to pieces, ending the hold – the threat -- over his friend.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Still clutching Camille’s hand, he walked briskly along the corridor to the big Koa-wood steps. He fired the question over his shoulder. “How’d I do?”

 

“Wonderfully!” She pronounced as her dress swished quickly around her legs. “You were perfect!”

 

“Good – now you fulfill YOUR part of the bargain. Give me an address, and tell me what’s been spiked!”

 

“It’s just off of Queen Street – I’ll show you.”

When they hit the main level, Dan broke into a jog, but he didn’t let go of Camille, who struggled in her sandals to keep up. The pair continued their rush to the convertible, which Dan had parked next to his LTD. Taking care to open the door for the woman, he leaned in very close to her face after she got in. “Now, tell me the name of the place.”

 

She paused for only a moment before she relinquished the information. “It’s Cici’s.”

 

Williams’ eyes grew, as he trotted around and hopped into the driver’s seat. “I’ve eaten there dozens of times!”

 

Within three minutes, the Mustang was parked in front of the little diner. Nothing seemed amiss… no ambulances parked out front or other signs of tragedy, Dan was relieved to note as he looked over at his passenger. “Okay, darling… what do we do?”

 

Camille’s gaze turned from the café to Williams. She scrutinized his face lovingly, but did not respond immediately.

 

Finally, Dan leaned over and brushed her cheek with his lips. “Please…”

 

“It’s the ketchup – there’s a new box which is probably about to be opened.”

 

The detective quickly climbed out of the car and ran inside leaving Camille to clamber out of the convertible herself and chase after him.

 

Several customers and both waitresses looked up as Williams burst into the diner. “Where’s the manager?” He demanded in a near panic.

 

A barrel-chested Hawaiian man in a white t-shirt peered from behind the grill in the back. “What do ya need?”

 

Scanning the tables, Dan immediately spotted three bottles of ketchup on the tables. He quickly circled the room and collected them. One of them, he tugged from a surprised customer. “Sorry,” Williams mumbled as he handed the bottles to Camille as he headed towards the kitchen.

 

“What do you think you’re—” the indignant cook started his question, but the detective interrupted.

 

“I wanna buy every ounce of ketchup you have in this place – all of it,” Dan announced quickly. “You have a box of it here in the back as well, right?”

 

The man slowly wiped his hand on his shirt, which already bore the mark of a many-times repeated action. “What? Well, yeah, I got ketchup—”

 

“I’ll give you fifty dollars for every ounce of it you have!”

 

Still confused, but not willing to let a good sale go, he shrugged. “All I’ve got is this case – and what you already grabbed off the tables.” The middle-aged man gestured to a metal shelf a few feet away. On it rested a cardboard box, the top of which had been pried open. The box was clearly labeled with its contents, but Williams still stepped over and peered inside before he pulled out his wallet and stuffed two twenties and a ten in the man’s hand.

 

“Have you cooked anything with the ketchup from this box?” Dan demanded.

 

“Hmm, my meatloaf – I add three tablespoons per pound of beef,” the rough-hewn voice incongruously reported. “It’s fresh out of the oven – three loaves of it.”

 

“I’ll buy all three of them too – twenty bucks,” Williams announced as he pulled the last paper bill from his wallet and pushed it at the man. Quickly collecting the meatloafs with a towel, he dumped them summarily into the ketchup box and pushed out the door, where Camille stood still clutching the three bottles of opened ketchup. With a nod of success at her, the couple made for the door.

 

“Hey, bruddah – you sure you don’t wanna buy some mustard too?” The cook grinned as he pocketed the money and watched the strange couple leave.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

At first, because of the leisurely drive down the Palace entrance, Kelly thought Williams was making it easy for him to set up a tail. Then the sporty Mustang raced onto King Street and wove in and out of traffic, whipping around the business district, as if he was trying to lose Chin. That didn’t happen. The older Five-0 detective managed to keep the impossible-to-miss convertible in sight around the city blocks. Pulling up a safe distance away from the Mustang which Danny had brought to an illegal parking stop; on the wrong side of the street, in a loading zone, blocking an ally next to CiCi’s Café!

 

During the stunning announcement at the Palace, Kelly had been too surprised to think about what it all meant. Frequently, Steve’s agile, nimble brilliance, and Danny’s ability to keep up with that soaring intellect, kept Kelly and Kalakaua (more mundane and routine investigators) a few paces behind the two top detectives. The resignation, which had come completely out of the blue, had caught even McGarrett completely off balance. Kelly was grateful for the order he received to tail the youngest member of Five-0. It gave him an opportunity to act. While trailing the flashy car, he had indulged in no speculation or wild leaps of imagination. That was not his realm. He was fulfilling his assigned task. He had faith in McGarrett – that he would figure this out. He had faith in Williams – that there was a purpose in this crazy behavior.

 

Williams and the girl (he couldn’t even remember her name – the office scene had happened in such a blur), brought an armload of – what? Ketchup? Yes – ketchup – and then what appeared to be a whole box of ketchup – out to the car and placed it on top of the trunk of the car in preparation for loading it into the back seat. One of the bottles dropped, splashing red ooze onto the sidewalk and the couple’s shoes. Danny quickly whipped out a handkerchief and wiped off the stains from the woman’s feet first, then his shoes. Apologizing, he opened the door for the woman and settled her in the car, then scooped up the glass and tossed it into a trash bin in the alley.

 

Obviously relieved, Danny took a moment to lean on the driver’s side of the car and run his hands through his hair – a nervous habit denoting tension. With a brief shake of his head, he slipped into the car and started the engine, then belatedly (after a reminder from the girl) leaned over and kissed her before driving away.

 

With incredulity still insulating his non-reactions, Chin called in a status report to the boss. It sounded as weird to his own ears as he verbalized the bizarre scene. To McGarrett, it was equally unbelievable.

 

What?” he shouted. Ketchup?”

 

“That’s what it looked like. I’ll get whoever’s covering this area to drop in and check it out,” Chin offered.

 

“I’ll handle it,” McGarrett countered. “And keep me posted. I want to know everywhere they go and every weird thing that happens!”

 

“Will do, boss.”

 

The cruise out of the city, along the beach where possible, was driven at a leisurely pace. No rush, no craziness. The girl in the passenger seat seemed intent on Williams, facing him, talking to him, playing with his hair. When they wound around to a residential area of Hawaii Kai, the blinker came on far in advance. But Kelly could not follow onto a private road without overtly revealing himself. So he stopped, but watched the car drive to the end, to a gated driveway. The gate swung open automatically, then the couple drove through to what looked like an impressive, very up-scale, beachside bungalow. Then the gate closed to secure their privacy.

 

Kelly found a place to park the LTD inconspicuously before he reported in to McGarrett, who asked for the address, and ordered him to stay put until further notice. As he waited in the familiar solitude of stake-out duty, Kelly put his years of experience as an officer into analysis of the amazing events. As a husband of many years, he also brought a few insights to this strange problem. One thing he knew right away, from what he could see of the couple’s interaction, the girl was doting on Williams, and Danny was responding only after being prompted by the woman. Having been through the ordeal of a female training him how to be more romantic, Chin saw this as a telling clue. To what? To reinforce the theory that this whole set up was all wrong.

 

There was no visible weapon, no obvious coercion, but Kelly was convinced Williams was under some kind of duress in this outrageous scenario. Why? Character. Everything Chin had seen this afternoon, since Danny arrived with that girl, had been OUT of character. Danny was one akamai cop, a good person, and generous with his time. He volunteered to coach a baseball team for kids – several of them Kelly children. He taught three of Chin’s older kids to surf. Suzy had a hopeless crush on the young officer. Only the best of people would have that kind of unlimited and intimate interaction with his most precious assets – his family.

 

That was not all. In Kelly’s mind, the biggest reason which proved some kind of forcible strategy, to push Danny completely out of character, was his resignation. For the youngest and newest Five-0 detective, the sun rose and set on Steve McGarrett. Danny might be a little wild with his surfing extremes, or his health-risking exploits to collar criminals, but there was a core of loyalty within him which was legendary among the law enforcement community in Hawaii. Williams would take all kinds of risks for any cop on the force – HPD or Five-0. For Steve – for Steve he would do anything; anytime, anywhere, sacrifice anything from his career to his life. AND Danny would never do anything to willfully hurt McGarrett.

 

In that frozen moment in time, when Danny had renounced his ohana to go off with a girl none of them had ever heard of, the rest of the staff knew it was false. Whatever was going on, this was not coming from Danny. Some spy plot? Some evil criminal? Some hallucinogenic drugs? Whatever it was, they would find out. McGarrett would make it his top priority and expend one hundred percent of his life to discover the truth and get Williams back to normal.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Duke Lukela called in, confirming Chin’s report of the ketchup caper. Williams had bought every bottle of ketchup AND all of the meatloaf this morning from CiCi’s. The girl had said nothing and only helped carry the bottles to the car. McGarrett thanked the officer, and felt confident that the loyal Lukela would not broadcast this outlandish incident to the coconut wireless.

 

McGarrett ran his hand over his mouth. “Can this get any stranger?” he asked rhetorically, then severed the connection.

 

Still reeling, McGarrett sat on the edge of his desk and pondered the insanity into which he’d been thrust without warning. Danno mechanically announcing his resignation. Taking up with a girl. Wearing matching honeymoon-like aloha attire. Quitting Five-0. Racing over to a café and taking all its ketchup! Resigning!!

 

Pacing, Steve tried to make sense of it. He couldn’t. Nothing fit. The resignation was the result of some kind of control exercised by the woman. He was not going to blame Danno for this. He KNEW his friend, knew this was completely unlike his Danno.

 

There was an urge to go out there to Hawaii Kai and join the stake out. The more predominant emotion was to go up to that beach house and pound on the door and get some answers. Now that the shock was wearing off, a more natural emotion was surfacing. Anger – that his friend was being used.

 

No expression in the usually-readable face had betrayed any emotion in Williams as he made the idiotic declaration of love. A certain amount of tension in the bearing. A certain stiffness in the wording, as if he was reciting memorized lines. As McGarrett scrutinized the scene over and over again in his mind, he at last latched on to the one thing that made him KNOW his friend was a prisoner – Danno’s eyes. The face was calm and smooth, supporting, or not, the sappy dialog. But the eyes – the blue eyes which were always very expressive and unable to lie to Steve – those had been hurting – pleading with Steve to understand. His friend’s eyes had revealed that no matter what the words or actions said, the heart was speaking a different language.

 

A whisper of contrary Devil’s advocate flashed through his mind: Danny was a young man with lots of energy and commitment to having a good time. Maybe he found a girl whom he loved, and was afraid to share the news with McGarrett because she would take time and energy away from Five-0. Maybe Williams found something else to attract his loyalty and devotion and attention . . . . NOT A CHANCE!

 

McGarrett knew his protégé – knew the man he had chosen as his confidant, his closest friend, his second-in-command, his heir apparent. Whatever this was, it was not Danno’s doing, and he was going to move heaven and earth to find the answers and get his friend out of this convoluted trap.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

“You did so well, Danny,” Camille beamed when the car came to a stop.

 

Mind crowded with throbbing confusion and anguish, Dan sat there, hands gripping the wheel. He had narrowly averted catastrophe by playing her sick game. The mission was a success, though. The ketchup, along with the offending meatloaf, had been removed before anyone could be poisoned. The only cost – his life, his sanity, and possibly the respect and affection of the person he admired more than anyone else in his life.

 

“Danny!”

 

“What?”

 

The sharp reprimand from his controller summoned the anger, which hovered close to the boiling point. Frustrated at the helplessness and the insanity of his plight, enraged at the enforced manipulation, he turned on her to verbally unleash the violent rebellion surging within. At her cold eyes, her set expression of tight control, he pressed his lips together, trapping the sarcastic diatribe he nearly set loose. To give in to his emotions would mean death to someone, maybe many. To indulge in a momentary release, would mean he would be murdering innocent victims. Taking in a sharp breath, forcing himself to squeeze into this abominable role, he plastered a sweet smile on his face.

 

“Sorry, Camille, I – it’s been an emotional afternoon.”

 

Yeah, I turned my back on my ohana. In essence, slapped the face of my best friend. Acted like a pupule kane in public. Yeah, I’m feeling a little emotional right now. He could tell, however, that his meager apology had not cut it with his captor. Digging into the role, he tried again.

 

“Sweet Camille,” he took her hand. “Today I’m free. Working every day and being away from you is over. I’m free to spend all my time with you. I’m putting the past behind me. Please don’t blame me for taking a moment to come to terms with that.”

 

Her eyes warmed and she smiled. “Danny, that’s a wonderful way to put it. I’m so pleased. Now, let’s go inside. I have a surprise for you.”

 

Stomach tightening at what her next surprise might be, he came around and opened the door for her. After doing the same at the front door, he told her he would be right back. He had to throw away the ketchup box first. At the pout forming on her mouth, he reminded they would not want the car smelling like ketchup. She agreed and entered the house, but watched him as he carried the box of bottles and meatloaf to the trash dumpster at the side of the house.

 

It gave him a chance to survey the estate from this angle. The house and spacious grounds were close to a hillside on the left. A lava wall surrounded the entire acreage and prevented easy access, or spying eyes, from casual observation. The side of the garage led to the gardens and back yard that dropped to the cobalt blue sea. Tall palms lined the right side fence along the curved drive. Keeping the mental picture in mind, he returned to the house, girding himself for the next trial to come.

 

Inside, she took his hand and led him through the house he had already seen, but took more notice of now that the initial crisis of the poisoning was over. They strolled past the entranceway, into the sunken living room with the open doors leading to the pool, garden, deck, then the ocean beyond. The waves on the bay were pristine, the darker shape of Diamond Head in the distance; a familiar landmark which brought a quick surge of longing for the good life that had been so shockingly ripped away from him today.

 

They coursed past the kitchen, then down the main hallway, to the master bedroom suite. This was a roomy, multi-unit quarter with a conversation area designed with banana-weave chairs stuffed with plush cushions, individual side tables, a love seat, coffee table, and ceiling to floor picture windows. Beyond that, the dressing area with two walk in closets, separated on two sides by colonial styled slatted doors. Through the dressing area was the master bedroom with a huge, king-sized, four-poster bed draped with netting in a very tropical style. Like the rest of the house, all the furnishings reflected a British-colonial era, Polynesian design, with rich woods complimenting the wicker / natural-weave theme. The stand-out features of the room, however, were the wide picture windows, like the conversation area only bigger, with floor-to-ceiling vistas of the magnificent bay.

 

“Perfect, isn’t it? The most romantic love nest in the world.”

 

Uneasy about where that thought was going, he smiled and nodded. “I’m speechless.”

 

“I’ve saved the best for last.”

 

His skin went cold at that line. When she took his hand and led him out of the room, though, he released a held breath. They stopped at one of the walk in closets and she opened the white, slated doors. The racks were filled with bright splashes of color in dresses and shirts. Shoe shelves were filled with sandals, loafers and elegant shoes. Pulling out a built-in drawer, he blinked at the array of watches, thick silver bracelets, cuff links and rings. From another drawer, she removed a leather billfold and gave it to him. A carved wood box at the side was opened and she withdrew a stack of fifty dollar bills. He repressed a low whistle – there had to be a few thousand dollars worth of cash just in that box!

 

“You are to use this money for wonderful presents for me. Show no restraint.” She looked into his eyes with unnerving soberness. “Live like there’s no tomorrow. That’s what we are going to do, Danny.”

 

Was he supposed to respond? He found himself speechless, so he just nodded.

 

“My favorite color is pink. I love fresh flowers. And chocolates, of course. Well, I know you’ll figure it all out the more we get to know each other. Now, we have reservations for a sunset cruise.” She moved over and picked out a matching pink-flowered Aloha dress and shirt of expensive silk. “We need to dress.”

 

“It’s so – pink!” Something wild and extreme enough for Steve to wear! At the frown on her face, he switched gears to smile. “It will match the sunset. How – romantic of you, Camille.”

 

“Thank you, my love.”

 

As she had this afternoon, she chastely pushed him out to the conversation area where he was to wait for her. He had the urge to explore the grounds, look for bolt holes or avenues of escape, but that was ridiculous because he was not going to sneak off. She didn’t need a gun or any other restraints. He wasn’t going anywhere. He was a prisoner without bars.

 

Staring at the blue ocean crashing against the black lava rocks, the imagery was not unlike what his heart felt like right now. He had verbally dashed to pieces everything he held dear in his little forced speech this afternoon. When he resigned – Steve had been so stunned. The immobility had been a relief. Williams had gone in there prepared to forestall a fight. Would Steve take this seriously? That had worried him. In his anxious, wild, speculations driving to the Palace, he had even imagined McGarrett would be so irate and betrayed he would try to sway him out of his course of action by arguing, stubbornly rejecting the exit, and even physically restraining him! Then he was afraid Steve would angrily ACCEPT the resignation; yelling that he should have never put any faith in a kid like Williams, that he should have expected to be stabbed in the back by a rookie who didn’t know a good thing when he had it…

 

The bewildered shock had been better, though the confounded expression on Steve’s face would live with him for a long time. He had never seen his mentor so taken off-guard. What was Steve thinking and doing now? The brilliant head of Five-0 had not been taken aback for long. As Dan had hoped, McGarrett had rallied. Chin had followed them the whole time after he left the Palace, and as far as he could tell Camille hadn’t noticed. This meant that Steve was at least suspicious, and had not completely given up on him. Would his colleagues catch on to the dropped ketchup bottle he had maneuvered out of his grasp and onto the sidewalk? How could they know THAT would be significant? He couldn’t do more, risk any more overt attempts to leave clues. He had to hope his associates were smart enough to catch on, and his closest friend had enough faith in him to not give up.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Pacing, nerves strained at the enforced waiting, McGarrett knew the best place for him was here at the office to coordinate reports and be ready to act, to move in whatever direction necessary at a moment’s notice. He had sent May home a short while ago, under protest, with the promise to catch her up tomorrow on whatever they found out.

 

Chin was still on stake out at the estate in Hawaii Kai. Kono was still researching the girl. McGarrett had done his share of pushing and demanding, finally alienating the ME. Bergman was on the autopsy of Peachy, but was pretty cranky about staying late on a routine death.

 

Nearing twilight, McGarrett received a call from Chin that Danno and the girl were on their way back toward Honolulu. Staying on the radio, updates came as the Mustang coursed through the back of Waikiki, to Ala Moana, to the wharf just blocks from the Palace.

 

“They’re getting out at the Ka’amaina Cruise dock, Steve. Looks like they’re going on a sunset cruise.”

 

“Stay there, Chin, I’ll be right over!”

 

McGarrett flew down the stairs of the building and raced his car the few blocks to the wharf with reckless speed. Coming up to the boat harbor, he parked a little out of the way, close to Chin, who was leaning on the trunk of his LTD. Trying to appear inconspicuous – he had no idea who could be watching – he strolled up to the Chinese detective, although it was an enormous strain on his nerves to not jog.

 

“What have you got, Chin?”

 

“Danny and the girl are on the cruise boat. Usual tourist thing. They’re early, and from what I could see, they got some drinks and are standing on the bow.”

 

“That’s it?”

 

“Yeah. Kono radioed. He’s on his way. Got some things to report.”

 

From the trunk, McGarrett removed a pair of police-issue, high-quality binoculars. While casually scanning the beach, the boats, the buildings, he slowly panned to the bow of the cruise boat. There were Danno and Camille – in unavoidably bright, matching Aloha outfits, sipping drinks, her hand clasping his arm. Like thousands of others who came to paradise, the typical honeymoon-type couple enjoying a sunset dinner cruise. In this case, he knew with a growl, that looks were oh so deceiving.

 

Kalakaua arrived and McGarrett, with Kelly pacing him, walked to where the officer parked. “What have you got, Kono?”

 

“The car was rented by Camille DeWinter. She paid cash and told the clerk she was traveling with someone famous.”

 

“Someone famous?”

 

“Yeah, like they wanted this to be kept secret. No credit cards or any form of ID.”

 

“That’s required by law!” the boss snapped out.

 

“Yeah, but she paid a heavy tip and they looked the other way.”

 

Irritated, unable to do anything about the past, he moved on. “What about the house in Hawaii Kai?”

 

Got a call into a real estate agent who moves that kind of property, but it’s after hours –“

 

“Find him, Kono. I want some answers!”

 

He brought the binoculars up to observe the couple, still visible and seemingly oblivious to the rest of the world on the prow of the ship. The only way he was going to get answers was to get to a hands-on level in this bizarre investigation.

 

Quickly removing his jacket, tie and shoulder holster, he unbuttoned his collar. “I’m going to board the cruise. You two can head for home. If I need you after the cruise I’ll give you a call.”

 

Hurrying to catch the boat before they left the dock, McGarrett bought a ticket and boarded amid a group of happy hour tourists. Like his new companions, he took a Mai Tai from a large bar area, and without drinking, circulated among the much more casually dressed, and exuberant passengers. Once they made their way slowly out of the harbor and into the channel, he moved to the outer rail where Williams and the girl watched the ships and the setting sun.

 

The amber tint of the dying sun cast a magical sheen of burnished light on everything around him. The water moved in waves of undulating gold. The lights coming up on Waikiki hotels and streets cast multicolored dots against the dramatic backdrop of the dark purple Koolau mountains. Diamond Head’s usually dark brow was now bathed in subdued bronze, the trails scaring the landmark rising from the blue of the ocean, the green of the palm trees, the white of the hotels littered at it’s base. The warm breeze kissed with brine and twilight brushed through his hair and against his skin as soft as the whisper of a phantom. The finger-stretched clouds drifting in various hues of pastel and gold etched a breathtaking painting of rainbow tones against the indigo of the deep waters where they now sailed, and the azure-graduated-rust of the western sky.

 

Diners took their places at tables within the cabin area. Each place had a dazzling view of nature’s twilight spectacle. Steve chose a table toward the back, behind a lady with a large straw hat, but angled so he could keep an eye on Danno, who had remained up toward the bow.

 

While the head of Five-0 incongruously found himself sharing a table with a garrulous couple from Indiana, he noted Danno slipped the waiter a few bills to assure the “couple” was seated alone even on the crowded boat.

 

Struggling through small talk, inventing a name and occupation to carry him through the stilted meal of surprisingly good salad, mahimahi and vegetables. He picked at the macadamia nut pie, and when people started to gravitate out to the deck with their continuous rounds of Mai Tais, he joined the crowd at the starboard rail.

 

Now past Diamond Head – the extinct volcano now a looming shadow against the nightlights of the city and the glittering stars in the navy sky. The passengers were mostly feeling a little tipsy, and Danno’s date seemed to be no exception. The matching-dressed pair (not the only couple in the dual attire on this cruise), tried to get to the front of the bow, separating themselves when possible, from the party-goers around them. Like a couple of lovebirds, Steve sourly assessed.

 

As he daringly edged close to the couple, he wondered if Danno had spotted him yet. Neither of the young people gave a sign that he was found out. They looked so normal, if it had not been for the errant behavior and shocking resignation this afternoon, Steve would have never suspected anything could be wrong. Danno certainly did not look like he was a prisoner by any stretch of the imagination. The woman didn’t seem to be forcing him to nuzzle her neck or ply her with drinks. He did notice they were drinking Champagne instead of the dinner price Mai Tais that were flowing by the bucketful.

 

His pulse quickened as he saw she gave Danno her glass, excused herself, and drifted toward the back of the boat. Moving with agonizing slowness, gradually edging his way close to his friend, he moved with the crush of people who naturally crowded the rail. It was not until he was within a few paces of his detective that he saw the strained expression, the weary melancholy settle on the young face. Moved by the desperation he saw there, he came within a few feet of the officer, who was staring out to sea, abjectly forlorn.

 

“Nice sunset wasn’t it?” The tone was low, the words benign, in case anyone overheard them. He didn’t know what game they were playing yet, did not know the rules or the parameters, so he had to take every precaution. He could not, however, forsake this opportunity to talk to his friend.

 

“Steve!” Williams hissed, surprised, then quickly hiding it. He put the glass up to his lips but did not drink. “You can’t be seen!”

 

“What on earth is going on, Danno?”

 

Williams did a quick check behind him, then looked out to sea again. “As I hope you guessed, I’ve been forced into this charade. She said she killed Peachy, and at least ten others.”

 

The mention of murder caused the head of Five-0 to stand up more straightly for a few seconds as he absorbed the shocking news. Recovering quickly, he knew there wasn’t time to dig too deeply. “How do you know her?”

 

“I don’t…. not really.” Dan made brushing eye contact with his friend. “I changed her tire at a surf meet in sixty six.”

 

McGarrett’s brow twitched as Williams offered no information about further association with the young woman. “That’s it?”

 

“Yeah.” The young detective changed the subject. “What about poor Peachy?”

 

“Bergman has not confirmed that Peachy died of anything but natural causes. So far, it looks like a heart attack.”

 

This surprised the younger officer enough to look straight at his colleague. “She said she poisoned various food items around the city.”

 

“Ah, the ketchup?”

 

Williams smirked. “I’m glad Chin was tailing us. I hoped you caught all that. I dropped a ketchup bottle outside CiCi’s — get it and have it tested. If she’s lying, then I can end this bad dream. If she’s not, she could kill thousands just like she did Peachy.”

 

“But why? What’s her motive?”

 

Even under the reflected light of the ship and the soft light of the stars, the face paled. “Her motive – it’s me.”

 

“What?”

 

“She wants – me,” he grimaced. “I can’t explain it because I don’t understand it myself.”

 

“I don’t like the sound of that.” There wasn’t time for more than a few words, he knew, and there were more important issues to relate, but he had to know for his own peace of mind how serious this captivity might be. The woman was obviously a mental case. “Are you all right?”

 

“So far, except trying to please a psycho isn’t too easy on the nerves.”

 

“What does she want out of you?”

 

“I don’t know exactly what the end of the story will be, but in good conscience I can’t do anything to disrupt her plot in case she really can kill more people.”

 

“Yeah, I see what you mean.”

 

For a moment, the eye contact held. The desperation was gone. Intensity, purpose replaced the flagging spirit. “I hope you aren’t going to accept that resignation yet.”

 

“Never,” he smiled. “Do what is reasonably necessary, but watch yourself, Danno. No unnecessary risks, and I mean that. I promise we’ll keep you covered. We’re checking her out as quickly as we can, and if I can confirm she’s lying, I’ll be coming in like gangbusters to get you away from this nut case.”

 

Mahalo, Steve. As long as I know you’re watching my back I can do this. Just don’t get caught. If she suspects anything, she’s promised terrible reprisals.”

 

A waiter with yet more Mai Tais passed them. McGarrett walked along with the man, grabbing onto a Mai Tai from the tray, and as he brushed past Williams, he gave a squeeze to his friend’s arm. “You’re not alone,” he whispered before he ambled on to the other side of the ship.  “I’ve got your back.”

 

He couched himself with a group of revelers on the port stern, covertly watching. When Camille returned to her date, she clung to his arm, rested her head on his shoulder, and drank more Champagne. By the time they returned to port, she seemed tipsy, Williams helping her to debark, while McGarrett bought the Champagne flute and wrapped it in his handkerchief. While Dan escorted the girl to the Mustang, McGarrett crossed to his Mercury. As soon as the sports car was revved up, they pulled out of the parking lot, McGarrett following at a discrete distance. When the Ford turned into the private drive, McGarrett cruised past, then turned off the headlights and backed up to watch the sporty vehicle disappear behind the closed metal gates.

 

The barrier sent a charge of anxiety through his system. Now that he knew the crazed claims of the woman, he was terrified to leave Danno alone with her. In her twisted mind, who knew what she might do if he displeased her in some way. What if she had seen them together on the boat? It was an unnecessary risk now that he thought about it. Yes, it had advanced his knowledge of the situation, but he had prompted it out of an impulse to find out what was going on with Williams! He had never dreamed that this was a desperate, hostage situation created by a lunatic. He had been watching out for his own interests in needing to know why Danno had resigned. If she discovered the contact, she could murder Danno right now and Steve would not know for hours or days even!

 

Leaning his head back on the seat and permitting himself several deep sighs, he resigned himself to the unpleasant position of the leader, forced to stay removed from the undercover officer. He had to look at this as an assignment to catch a dangerously unbalanced killer, and that meant the only way for him to play this was long distance.

 

Snatching up the mic, he ordered the duty officer at HPD to get detectives in an unmarked car here to cover an overnight shift. Then he patched through to Chin, who would take the first morning shift at the Hawaii Kai estate. Then, he ordered whatever officer had the night beat near CiCi’s Café to find a broken ketchup bottle in the trash, get it into an evidence bag, and have HPD pick it up. That order had to be repeated three times before the grouchy nightshift detective in homicide could be convinced that yes, the head of Five-0 really was serious about such a demand.

 

As soon as the two officers arrived in a brown sedan, he briefed them with the story that Williams was on an undercover assignment and that he was to be followed – discretely – anywhere he went. There was to be absolutely no contact unless Williams’ life or someone else’s life was in danger.

 

Energized by distress and the need to solve this case as soon as possible, he returned to the city, first dropping the glass by the lab. Returning to his office, he found Bergman had left a message that no obvious signs of murder were found as the cause of death on Peachy. Heart attack was still listed as COD, but the tox results would not be in until late morning the next day. Settling in, he organized a rotation schedule for tails on Williams for the next day. All the while, his head buzzed with thoughts on how to stop a mass murderer who was basically holding his friend hostage. At some point past midnight, he reluctantly turned off the lights and left, feeling frustrated at everything, including his own body which was just too tired to do anything productive aside from driving home.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Dan pulled the key from the ignition and looked down at Camille, whose head rested serenely on his shoulder. Initially thinking she might be asleep, the detective sat still, grateful for the chance to drop his mask, but the respite was short lived. She stretched and lifted her head, pursing her lips. Seeing what was expected, Dan kissed her gently. To his mild surprise, her arms slipped up around his neck and she reciprocated in the most passionate kiss of the evening. The couple spent several minutes in the car entwined in each other’s arms. Incongruous to his actions, the detective’s thoughts turned to a scene which was – at the moment – more satisfying – he pictured himself handcuffing the woman, whose breathy sigh of enjoyment struck his ears while he lightly kissed her neck.

 

Finally, she pulled away gently, and touched his lips lightly with her fingers. “Let’s go inside,” she whispered. 

 

He agreed with a nod and a crooked smile, which he hoped hid his anxiety about what the rest of the evening might hold for him. The pair made their way into the house, stopping every few feet to exchange a kiss. Still uncertain of his mistress’s intentions, Dan stalled with playful wrestling as he wondered what he had done to push this woman past the brink of customary behavior. What seed had been planted the day their paths crossed on the North Shore, and how had it grown into this monstrous plot of murder and mayhem?

 

A giggling Camille finally put an end to the activity and led him, both of her hands enveloping one of his, past the kitchen towards the master suite. Despite the pleasant smile he tried to maintain, a knot grew in his stomach as her eyes remained fixed on his. The unadulterated adoration made him more uneasy with each passing second. Ironically, in other circumstances, he knew that being led to a bedroom by a pretty girl would certainly evoke different emotions, but now, under the almost predatory gaze of this woman, Dan felt queasy with trepidation. It wasn’t that he found Camille unattractive, but the growing resentment certainly made even acting the part of an enamored lover difficult.

 

So far, she’d behaved modestly and had allowed them to each dress in their own private sections of the incredible master closet. As they stepped into the main dressing room, Dan knew that whatever Camille wanted to happen would have to happen. With that in mind, he tried to forget that he was a prisoner as she pulled a pair of gold and blue silk lounge pants from a drawer and draped them over his arm.

 

“It’s bedtime, my love,” she purred, and then commanded gently, “Leave your clothes here and slip into these. I’ll meet you in the other room.”

 

With a silent sigh of relief at the temporary reprieve, Dan pecked her on the cheek and waited until she vanished around the corner before he undressed and donned the pajama bottoms, which he noted were ornately monogrammed with a “DW.” He took his time as he carefully folded the shirt and pants he’d just removed before hesitantly wandering around the corner into the bedroom proper. Camille was already propped up against the abundance of pillows along the back of the bed. Williams smiled shyly as he noticed without surprise that the woman’s silk negligee matched the only article of clothing he wore. She was holding two Champagne glasses, both of which were precariously full.

 

“To us,” she smiled and held out one of the glasses. Dan moved around to “his” side of the bed and gingerly settled in next to Camille.

 

Taking the glass of bubbly, he echoed the toast. “To us.”

 

A few drops of the golden beverage toppled over the edge of each glass as they clinked together. Camille sipped delicately, and never took her eyes from the young man resting on his elbow one foot away. Dan sipped to the toast, but then downed the contents of the glass in two gulps before he set the glass down on the nightstand. From there, he rolled onto his back, and suddenly felt as if his arms and legs were made of lead. The wicker-leaf ceiling fan began to sway unnaturally as Dan squeezed his eyes shut tightly for a moment, trying to bring the sight into better focus. It was only with the greatest effort that he managed to re-open his eyes to the sight of Camille hovering inches from his face. Her nose grew large and then shrank as she brushed her lips against his and whispered, “It’s time, my darling.”

 

The last thing Dan remembered was the intensity of the almost painful kiss as darkness engulfed him.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Tossing and turning for some time, McGarrett gave up the pretext of sleep and opened his eyes. Still dark. Glancing at the clock, he noticed it was a little before five AM. Sitting on the edge of the bed, he wiped his face and gave himself a moment to collect the thoughts that were already lapping through his mind. For good or bad, he had the natural gift/ability/curse of needing fewer-than-normal hours of sleep a night, and waking with his mind in gear and already engaged. For running the state police agency, it was a definite asset. On mornings like this, however, it made his life frustrating.

 

Thoughts of the previous evening instantly surfaced from where they had simmered all night. What had happened with Danno after he returned to the beach house hideaway with that clinging viper? Had Camille discovered the contact made and during the night punished – perhaps even killed – his friend?

Picking up the phone, he dialed HPD dispatch and ordered a patch through to the stake-out team.

 

Officer Ho,” a voice responded.

 

“Officer Ho, this is McGarrett. What’s the status at the stake-out? What happened last night?”

 

A lot of nothin,” came the tired reply. “No lights since just after eleven or so last night.

 

Another voice came on. “Mister McGarrett, this is Officer Ono. We’ve got a good view of the house through the iron gate. Been checking with the field glasses. I took a walk around the perimeter last night to check out the wall. No easy way to access it. Lots of lava rocks edge the estate at the beach and that lava wall around the place is over six feet high. No way to spy inside from close up.

 

Hey,came Sammy Ho’s voice, “What’s Danny got himself into this time? We think we should get an undercover job as cushy as this one. Shackin’ up with a pretty wahine in a mansion on the beach –

 

“Officer Williams is risking his life to stop a terrorist plot,” McGarrett snapped back.  “It’s your job to stay on your toes and offer assistance if needed!”

 

Irritated at the speculations that must be running rampant among the HPD coconut wireless, he felt the comments were out of line. Ho and Ono were pals of Williams’ from his HPD days, and no doubt there was a lot of talk among the ranks over this abrupt turn of events at Five-0. Williams had suddenly dropped off the map and ended up in the company of a rich woman, throwing around money, driving a flashy car and living in a luxurious beach house  In reality, the evil plotter was holding him prisoner, but treating him like an intimate. They had no idea this abrupt assault had caught everyone at Five-0 by surprise. Nor did they understand the gravity of the possibilities.

 

At the least, the woman was mentally deranged and had kidnapped his second-in-command with the cunning that made it all look as if this was one of Williams’ flings. At the worst, she was a psychotic, lethal terrorist, who had arranged for mass murder if her demands were not met. That her mandate was the literal enslavement of his officer was no less insidious than if she held a tour bus or a room full of civilian hostages. To McGarrett, it was far more personally frightening. He had no idea what she was capable of; who she really was, or what her ultimate goal would be in the next stage of her operation. There had to be a next level to this malevolent game she had constructed. Terrorists were never satisfied with something simple. Once she knew she had the power over Danno, she could demand anything.

 

What was really worrisome was that this was her opening gambit. Startling, taking them off guard – yes – it was well engineered and most condemning of all for him – successful. He agonized over what was going on now, and was afraid to think of what she had in store next.

 

“Any developments at all I want to be informed.”

 

Yes, sir.”

 

“One of my men will be there to spell you soon. Keep your eyes open.”

 

Yes, sir.”

 

Hanging up, he was more irritated now than he had been before the conversation. Instead of alleviating some concerns, the report only fueled his anxiety. What was going on inside that house? They needed eyes and ears into it. Part of him cringed at the thought of finding out what that woman was doing inside the palatial prison, but the cop in him needed answers. He would call the DA and have him issue bugging warrants. Glancing at the clock, now barely past five AM, he considered waking the DA, then thought better of it. That would only incite the ire of someone he needed as an advocate. And the DA would have to wake a judge – no – better to show a little patience. Deciding it would be better for his nerves, he determined jogging would help.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

A little after six AM, Chin Ho pulled off of Kalanianaole Highway to cruise into the expensive, residential neighborhood of Hawaii Kai. Holding onto his insulated lunch box as he took the turn, he smiled at the blessing in his life of a loving family and supportive wife who was also a wonderful cook. Beside him rested a full thermos of tea and an insulated box holding hot manapua – his favorite snack.

 

Mai, and her confederate-in-arms Doris Lukela, were sending in fresh malasadas with Duke for the office staff. It was not uncommon for the wives to sustain the ohana of Five-0 with treats on a regular basis. When there was a crisis though, the encouragement from the extended members (staff families and friends) of the ohana really knew how to shine. The wives came through with provisions and the quiet support of being there when needed, but not interfering with the critical work.

 

After dinner last night, he had told only Mai that Danny was on an undercover assignment and there might be extra work involved. It was a twisting of the truth that had been distributed to all but the core of the Five-0 staff – the detectives, Duke Lukela, and May. It was McGarrett’s version of damage control of a situation over which he really did not have any control, but hoped to establish at least a small measure in the near future. He would not say anything to his children about Williams’ announced resignation (that was unofficial and completely unrecognized by McGarrett), nor would he give his family any reason to worry unnecessarily. He had every confidence that the boss would extricate Williams from this mysterious mess. It was only with effort though that he kept from speculating about what might happen before the end of this bizarre crime spree, and what could happen to Williams before they could bring this to a successful conclusion.

 

Pulling up to the unmarked sedan at the front of the estate, he gave a wave to Ho and Ono. Sammy, a thin, wiry Asian with a cocky attitude, ambled over to give a status report. Sniffing, he leaned into the open window.

 

“Hey, Chin, Mai give you some ono food smells like.”

 

“Just enough for me,” he patted his stomach with a wary smile. Sammy was known to be a fabulous cook, and Tim Ono, his partner on this detail, was also renowned for exceptional cooking abilities. “No sharing.”

 

“Mai afraid I’m gonna steal some secrets?” he wondered, craning his neck to try and get a peak into the box.

 

“How was it last night?” Chin asked, changing the subject, as Ono joined them.

 

“Dead quiet. Hey, McGarrett sure is touchy about this gig. He ‘bout pinched my head off. What’s going on?”

 

“You don’t need to know more than what you know already,” Chin reminded them, stubbornly not giving out any secrets. Usually he did not see a line between HPD and Five-0, but on something sensitive like this, his protective instincts toward his unit ohana came through. “The boss knows how dangerous undercover work can be, that’s all.”

 

“Undercover in a big grass shack like this – Danny sure lucked into a sweet gig this time!”

 

“That’s what he said to McGarrett,” Ono revealed with a shake of his head.

 

“No wonder Steve came down on you,” Chin assessed. I tell you ‘dis much, bruddah – Danny would trade places with you in a flash, so keep dat in you hat.”

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Making an extra loop of the park and a longer track along the beach than normal, Steve jogged home, showered and dressed, by a little after seven. While brewing coffee, he called Dispatch, learned that Kelly was on stake out in Hawaii Kai, and established a patch-through. Receiving the confirmation that all was still quiet in the mansion, he finished his coffee and left, going through the motions of driving to the office in a state of auto-pilot.

 

The focus of his thoughts was at the beach house miles away. Not sure if it was good that things were still serene, he fought down the impulse to call this off and go in there like gangbusters. There was no evidence to support that this was anything but a prank. They could have this woman locked in jail and Danno back on the job by breakfast!  What stopped him was the same thing that compelled the younger detective to go along with the insane kidnapping in the first place. They couldn’t be sure if she was lying. There was no way YET to prove there was no substance to her threat. It was the element of doubt that made them all hostages to her demands.

 

In the office well before eight AM, McGarrett opened the doors, checked memos and started the coffee. He had hoped to find reports from either Bergman or Che Fong about the tox results, and was disappointed they were not there. No one was in the office in any government building right now, so he could not get the ball rolling on necessary procedures that were stalled, even though he would have liked to start them last night. With a half-hearted attempt, he tackled paperwork that could be dealt with now, freeing him later to focus on the problem of the mass poisoning and Danno’s abduction.

 

Just settling down behind the desk with his first cup of coffee, the phone rang and he snatched it up quickly. “McGarrett.”

 

I knew you’d be in already,” Bergman’s voice announced in a loud, bright voice. Thought I’d call you before you badgered me about the tests.”

 

“Go, Doc,” he shot back, his pulse quickening, pleased to finally rolling on the case.

 

Che told me that in the ketchup he detected an unidentified bio-compound which has been somehow chemically bound to the trivalent form of arsenic. Knowing what to look for then, I went back and checked, and found the same compound in Peachy Lassen’s blood!

 

“Ah-hah!”

 

Absolutely! Bergman’s excitement escalated. “That poison was definitely the cause of death, Steve. Peachy was murdered!

 

Chilled, McGarrett knew this was grim evidence and no reason for celebration. This news supported Camille’s assertion that she poisoned the janitor. It also meant she was telling the truth. That she intended to kill innumerable people to get her way – to hold Danno hostage!

 

Bergman continued to chat and McGarrett stopped him, asking him to repeat what he just said.

 

I was saying that your murderer is very clever. She injected the compound into the lid of the ketchup bottle, then sealed over it with colored wax.

 

“Wow,” he whistled. Cunning, clever and nearly undetectable.

 

Hearing noises in the outer office, he gave a wave to May and Kono who were passing out some kind of food and pouring coffee at the snack table.

 

Che and I checked,” Bergman continued. “There is only one company on the islands which might have the laboratory and personnel who have the wherewithal to engineer a compound such as the one in Peachy’s blood. Mondavé Pharmaceuticals.

 

“Brilliant, Doc, thanks.”

 

As soon as the boss hung up the phone, Kono stepped in, his hands full of malasadas. “I got something on that Camille chick, Steve.”

 

“Okay, hold it till we’re on the road.” Tearing off the note paper he had used for notes, he rushed out to the outer area.

 

“May, get on the phone to the DA’s office.”

 

“It’s early –”

 

“Call until you get somebody!  I need warrants for phone taps, bugs and searches of everything this lady is connected to. Tell them we don’t have her real name yet, but we’ll use her alias. Give them as much of the picture as they need.” He waved the paper in his hand. “We have solid evidence. There was poison in the ketchup, which Danno dropped in the parking lot last night, and the same in Peachy. She’s a murderer and prepared to hike the score.”

 

May had been taking rapid notes and gasped slightly at the news that their janitor had been murdered.

 

“Tell them I want it yesterday.”

 

“Like everything else,” she added quietly.

 

“Kono, come on, we’re going to the place where this kind of poison might be made.”

 

In the car, Kono related his findings. “This Camille, she’s loaded, man. Pays cash for everything!”

 

“What does that mean?” McGarrett wondered absentmindedly as he maneuvered through the morning traffic on King Street. Fortunately, most of the cars were going in the opposite direction – to the downtown area. They were heading for the freeway to take them out of Honolulu and into the rural spaces of the windward coast. “Who is she – an heiress or something?”

 

“Don’t know if it’s her real name. Nobody by the name of Camille DeWinter has any accounts with phone, gas or electric, and she don’t have a driver’s license. The fingerprints on the Champagne glass came back from the lab, no match, not on file with HPD. She paid cash for the rental of the beach house. A whole Mauna Kea sized mountain of of it too, bruddah. She musta robbed a bank or been born into the bread, man, cause she’s spending it like there’s no tomorrow.”

 

As they cruised through the shadowy realms of the pali, out into the brilliant morning sunlight of the Kaneohe Bay, McGarrett wondered what kind of a pampered, dangerous monster they were dealing with. In every respect so far, not a typical profile of a murderer.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Only an advancing pain in his right shoulder finally made Dan inhale and open his eyes. Lifting his head slightly, he had to ignore the spinning room to see that Camille was snuggled up against him, her head resting on his arm. With despair, he confirmed that his nightmare had been more than a midnight specter. He scanned the large suite for a few seconds before he gingerly lowered his aching head to the pillow. What had happened last night? He couldn’t seem to recall anything past… past what? He started to frown as he stared at the ceiling fan, but the movement seemed to heighten the pain behind his eyes. Instead, he made a concerted effort to relax as he focused on the events of the previous evening. Undressing… he definitely undressed… His left hand slipped down to the waistband on his pajamas. And he’d put on the slippery silk PJ bottoms. Then to the bedroom… where he was forced to toast his ludicrous situation…  Did they kiss after that?  Had anything else transpired?

 

Disturbed that his memory of the rest of the night was a dark stage, he wondered whether the expensive Champagne might have had a debilitating side effect – besides the current headache and nausea. The detective dozed off again reminding himself that Steve was on the case, and knew of his plight. Heck, by now, McGarrett probably knew way more than he – the star of this mad play – knew. Only that thought brought a faint, grim smile to his face.

 

When he awakened next, Dan was looking square into Camille’s face. She was lightly stroking his hair as she seemed to be memorizing his features. She leaned down and kissed him lightly on the nose. “Good morning, my love. Are you ready to start the day renewed?”

 

With no script in hand, all he could do was to be agreeable. Despite the continued splitting headache, which seemed to radiate down his neck as well, Dan managed a crooked grin. “How ‘bout a little more renewing with coffee?”

 

“Coffee and your favorite breakfast – macadamia nut pancakes with fresh coconut syrup.” The woman smiled sweetly as she moved to sit up.

 

As she turned away to reach for something on the nightstand, Dan’s smile slipped, and a chill washed over him. How did this woman know his favorite breakfast? Why did she know SO MUCH about him? It especially bothered him that she seemed to know things that – while true – were not likely to have been active topics of conversation. Case in point – the pancakes. The breakfast delicacies were definitely in his top-five list of desirable foods, but he’d never put that fact in writing or spoken of it to anyone. What did this mean? There was no time to further consider the eerie fact as Camille pushed a half dozen pages at him.

 

“Here are your lines for our trip to the zoo!” She chirped happily. With one more stroke of his cheek before she rose, Camille added, “I’ve laid out your clothes in the dressing room. Shower and get dressed right away, and try to have your part memorized before breakfast.”

 

Williams nodded slowly as he came to his elbow and scanned the top page in his hand. As the woman bounded cheerfully out of the room, Dan dropped onto his back again slowly. If only the Champagne could block thoughts of the future as effectively as it had stripped him of his memory the night before…

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Two men in white lab coats eyed the detectives with airs of mild indignation as the officers left their vehicle parked in the fire lane, and strode into the two-story building, which was nestled in a pastoral setting above Kaneohe Bay. The structure was unremarkable from the outside, its boxy, World War Two functional architecture belying the revamped, state-of-the-art laboratories housed within. Quickly scanning the large hall entryway, McGarrett spotted a delicate-featured Hawaiian woman behind the receptionist desk. With no hesitation, he angled in that direction.

 

“McGarrett, Five-0 – I called about speaking with someone in your personnel department,” the detective announced as he displayed his identification. The woman glanced at the badge, but focused on the chiseled features of the man standing before her desk. Smiling, she pointed to a door across the foyer. “Yes, Mister McGarrett – Mister Montoya is expecting you.”

 

With an all-business nod, the officer turned and strode, with Kono close on his heals, to the door of the personnel office. The administrative assistant immediately announced the detectives to her boss, who did not need to look up the identity of the person in the somewhat-grainy photo McGarrett held in his hand.

 

“Sue Ellen Griggs,” Montoya stared at the picture for only a moment before he responded with the name confidently. The slender, balding man immediately volunteered more information. “One of our brightest chemists – age twenty six, single, was due for her fourth annual review next month.”

 

“That’s pretty impressive, Mister Montoya – do you know all of the employees that well at just a glance?” The head of Five-0 found it interesting that the department head had the information so quickly at his mental fingertips.

 

“I only know the ones for whom I’ve done termination paperwork recently,” he returned as he stepped to a gray metal filing cabinet and opened the top drawer.

 

“Termination? She quit?” McGarrett pressed, feeling a measure more tense with the news that the suspect was a chemist – someone with the potential to have a working knowledge of poisonous compounds.

 

Montoya pulled a manila file from the cabinet, turned and nodded as he looked over the top of his glasses at the two detectives. “Yes – without the courtesy of any notice, I might add. Just walked in on a Monday last month and resigned without so much as an explanation – just slam bam thank you, ma’am. Surprisingly unprofessional from a young woman with such a perfect record.”

 

“What kinda perfect record?” Kono inquired.

 

“Attendance wise,” the personnel director clarified. “Never missed a day of work.”

 

“We need to speak to her supervisor.” McGarrett’s tone was terse and all business. As Montoya escorted the two officers to a laboratory on the second floor, the head of Five-0 considered what they had just learned. The information on the suspect only seemed to make Sue Griggs’ current behavior all the more of a mystery. The personnel director announced the arrival of the visitors to Roger Turner, who looked up distractedly from a test tube he was holding up to the light.

 

The heavy-set man in his fifties with a shock of dun-colored hair seemed disinterested in his visitors until Montoya introduced them and explained that the detectives were interested in his former employee. He rose from the bar-stool height chair where he’d been sitting as he shook McGarrett’s hand. “What exactly has Sue done, Mister McGarrett?”

 

Ignoring the direct question, the head of Five-0 began with his own line of questioning. “I’m interested in Miss Griggs’ ability to produce poisonous compounds, and any information you may have about her inclinations in that regard.”

 

“Poisonous? You mean to humans? Anything can be toxic if ingested in the wrong dosage.” Turner waxed, but held up his hand and continued as he saw the tall detective standing over him open his mouth to clarify. “But Sue certainly knew enough to never make that kind of mistake – she was my most gifted chemist. Her resignation was a huge loss to the company.”

 

McGarrett’s eyes narrowed slightly as he explained. “Mister Turner, we’re talking about a chemical compound containing arsenic, which we have reason to believe Sue Griggs deliberately concocted here in this laboratory.”

 

The chemist’s eyes grew round. “To what end? Why on earth would she—” 

 

“We’re still trying to figure that out,” the lead detective snapped before he quickly proceeded. “Could she have taken chemicals from some legitimate effort and transformed them into something which would be immediately deadly to a human being?”

 

“I can assure you, Mister McGarrett, that there is no project involving arsenic in ANY form at Mondavé, so whatever compound Miss Griggs formulated she did completely on her own without the authorization of me or anyone else in a position of authority.” Turner frowned and looked back down at the test tube absentmindedly. “I just can’t believe that a quiet, little mouse like Sue would ever do anything like that.”

 

Steve shook his head slightly in perplexity. It seemed that the behavior the suspect was displaying was completely out of character as far as anyone could tell. It was becoming very apparent that Griggs was more than capable of creating a deadly poison. Motive, it seemed, was going to be a little trickier to uncover. After a brief glance at the personnel director, who stood back quietly and listened in horrified amazement, McGarrett re-focused on the chemist. “So Miss Griggs did not leave you with any hints about her intentions or reasons for abandoning her position here?”

 

Turner shook his head, and looked a little hurt. “Not a word to me – she worked for me for almost four years, but I barely knew her. Wasn’t the type to chat your arm off, if you know what I mean. She was definitely a loner – she usually ate her lunch here in the lab.”

 

McGarrett had heard enough for the moment. He needed to get back to his car to get May started on obtaining a search warrant for their suspect’s apartment, the Mustang, and the beach house. Everything Grigg’s supervisor had said did not bode well – it appeared that the woman holding Danno hostage was a brilliant loner with the physical and mental wherewithal to create the poison found in the ketchup.

 

Letting both Turner and Montoya know that he would be in touch, the head of Five-0 nodded at his colleague, and the pair left the lab. As the two detectives crossed the lobby towards the door, a voice echoed throughout marble-floored chamber. “Mister McGarrett!”

 

Both detectives stopped quickly and turned to see the pretty receptionist who’d greeted them earlier. She’d jumped up from behind her desk and was moving in their direction. As she came to a stop before them, she glanced at Steve before she looked up and made eye contact with the big Hawaiian. With a smile, she tentatively started, “Kono, you probably don’t remember me…” When the supposition was confirmed with the man’s slightly confused frown of concentration, she went on, “We met at a luau a few years ago – I was dating Danny.”

 

With that news, Kono and Steve exchanged an electric look – a piece of information linking, admittedly by a degree of separation, Williams with someone who worked at the same company where the suspect worked!

 

McGarrett jumped in, startling the pretty woman with his intensity. “You dated Danny Williams? For how long, Miss…?”

 

Pikake – Lena Pikake,” She finished the imposing man’s sentence. “I started dating Danny the summer of sixty six. We dated off and on for about a year.”

 

“Miss Pikake, did you know Sue Griggs?”

 

The woman’s face brightened slightly. “Yes – not very well though.”

 

Now determined to strengthen the connection between suspect and victim, McGarrett pressed. “Would you have any idea whether Miss Grigg’s ever met Danny?”

 

“Well… she seemed so lonely, I did talk her into coming to one of the surf meets – I think it was the one where I met Danny. I don’t remember Sue specifically meeting him, but she DID start showing up at the meets.” With a single laugh, Lena continued, “I thought she must’ve caught the surfer’s bug.”

 

Not certain it was relevant, McGarrett asked anyway. “You said you and Danny dated for about a year – was the parting friendly?” Perhaps Griggs was exacting revenge on the detective for a spurned friend…

 

She shrugged. “It was friendly enough, I guess. It seemed like Danny was getting more and more caught up in his job, and less inclined to take it to the next step with me, so I, uh…”

 

She hesitated, and Kono bluntly finished the thought. “You dumped him.”

 

Lena Pikake blushed slightly, but was grateful it wasn’t she who had to say it, she nodded. “Yeah.”

 

McGarrett took the woman’s contact information as he hoped that this Griggs’ home revealed more about her than her co-workers.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

The apartment of Sue Ellen Griggs seemed ordinary in every way. Located in a back street in the modestly well-off area mauka of the Kahala Mall, it was pleasant without being ostentatious, tasteful and clean, without being high-priced or elegant. A two-bedroom with a carport, the manager assured that Miss Griggs, known to him as Number Twelve, was the perfect tenant. Never complained, never a day late on the rent, parked her car in the right slot, never played loud music or hosted wild parties; a prize to any landlord.

 

As Duke Lukela, Kono and McGarrett walked up the stairs facing the mountains, the Five-0 leader snapped his fingers, willing the man to quicken his pace so they could get going. Not sure what he was expecting to find, he knew this had to be the first stop in their investigation. Slow steps, checking off one clue after another until they built a solid case. Ms. Griggs was brilliant and – if her Machiavellian plot was any indication – a cunning, shrewd, and demented individual. It was unlikely she would leave anything around in her apartment to incriminate her or reveal her convoluted plots, but he had to be certain.

 

“You sure she’s done something illegal?” The manager stopped in front of Number Twelve, hesitant. “She’s such a good tenant, I’d hate to lose her over a mistake –”

 

“No mistake,” he slapped the man’s arm with the search warrant, which – to McGarrett’s tremendous annoyance – only covered Grigg’s residence (He made a note to deal with that issue when he was finished here!). “It’s all here in black and white. Now open the door and stand back.”

 

“She’s not home. Hasn’t been for days. Her car is gone.”

 

“Stand back.”

 

The man did as he was bid, and Steve, Duke and Kono drew their revolvers and stood on either side of the door. Slamming his fist on the wood, the boss announced their presence. He knew Griggs and Danno were at the zoo in Waikiki – he had checked with Chin before they came here, but no telling what or who might be on the other side. Receiving no response, he turned the knob. Pushing the door in, they rushed through, crouching, scanning with their weapons and eyes as they ensured the place was empty.

 

Searching through the main rooms; living room, kitchen, bathroom, what they observed was an ordinary, near-empty apartment. It had the look and feel of a model-home set. Sparse, cheap, utilitarian furnishings. Unimaginative, plain, without any personal articles. No pictures, no framed photos, nothing out of place or indicating any personality.

 

The manager had trailed them in and he gazed around in mild interest.

 

“You sure somebody lives here?” Kono asked him.

 

“I see her once in a while. She pays the rent on time. I never been up here,” the little man admitted as he toured the small kitchen where nothing was out of place and there was no evidence of anyone using the room. “Neat,” he approved, combing back his thin hair.

 

“Steve.” Lukela quietly called him over.

 

McGarrett moved to the single closed door in the apartment, which he assumed was the second bedroom. Readying his weapon, he opened and swung wide the door. It was dark inside, and still wary, he flipped on the light.

 

The gasp escaped from the lead detective: a compression of his chest from the shocking impact of being startled beyond description.

 

There were only two pieces of furniture – a shelf with frilly decorations, framed pictures and a tray of objects surrounded by candles and incense. The other was a table, where a huge dollhouse sat, a desk lamp nearby. In each corner were adjustable, standing lamps.

 

Instead of wall paper, paint, or feminine flowers, the walls were decorated with paper. Clippings of pictures from newspapers and magazines, and slice-up photos. In small and large sizes, some torn, some neatly cut, in black and white and some in color, were pasted up pictures. It was a nightmarish collage covering two walls entirely, with the third partially, obscuring the original beige paint. A vertical rat’s nest. Approaching slowly, skin crawling, McGarrett noted that every picture contained some image of Danny Williams.

 

Speechless, Steve felt drawn to the main wall of the giant collage. Up close enough to see each article, he felt a knot form in his throat, another in his stomach as fear trickled through his system with awareness of the sickness of which the massive collage was indicative.

 

In each picture, whether from a newspaper article or a photo, Danno was prominently featured, but others – like himself -- had been cut out (He KNEW some of these pictures were from Five-0 crime scenes or press conferences!). No – wait – here were a few that featured May – her face mutilated, as if – clawed – by some metal object. Scanning, pacing along the line as if dazed, McGarrett felt compelled to stare at them all – every misshapen, glued little paper. In several pictures, Danno was with different women – completely innocent pictures like the one of Dan standing near May at a function – and the faces of the women were gutted, some of the eyes stabbed out. So, this lunatic possessed a frightening streak of rage.

 

A thrill of terror snaked along his spine as he came to the corner with the table – no – the shrine. Candles and incense sticks circling a tray of articles; a comb, a framed picture of Danno – one that HAD BEEN on the shelf of Danno’s cubicle!  It was Danno with Chin’s daughter, Suzy, taken when the Five-0 staff was having a luau at the beach!

 

McGarrett’s eyes roved across the table to land on the familiar, well-thumbed auto magazine here with Danno’s dream – the top-down Mustang – on the cover. He sucked a breath sharply in as he recollected a conversation several weeks ago.

 

“I think I’m losing my mind,” Dan grimaced as he searched his desk drawers.

 

McGarrett, standing in the doorway, tapped a roll of papers in his palm. “No comment. What’s wrong?”

 

“I can’t find my comb. And you know that picture of Suzy and me at the luau last summer – I thought it was in my desk here.”  Frowning, he searched another drawer. “Last week I misplaced the picture of me winning the surf meet – but that was from home.  I must be losing my mind!.  Frustrated, he slammed the drawer shut. “NOW, it’s that car magazine with this year’s Mustang on the cover -- I swear things are growing legs and walking away!”

 

“Well we don’t have time to turn into the missing articles bureau right now. Let’s get going.”

 

This Griggs woman had been at Five-0, stealing things from Danno’s office!  And his home! How had she managed?  Scarier, how had she broken into the offices of the state police, and the apartment of a police officer, undetected?  There was the surf meet picture – and he noted – a crude cut out of Griggs, as if she had been there standing at Danno’s side!  His hand shook as he reached out to touch the framed picture from the luau. Then he realized that was not Suzy in the picture at all!  A small picture of Griggs had been cut in to match Suzy’s face!

 

Impelled by dread, he moved quickly now, studied the wall, noting the collages around the shrine were covered with glue-in snippets of her, placed next to Danno. Multiple clips of black and white frame strips – the kind kids liked to pose for at the mall – where they sat in a booth and paid some change and the camera quickly snapped four pictures in a row of any desired pose. Griggs had dozens of these strips, some intact, some cut into the pictures of Williams with other women. Frozen tendrils of foreboding gripped him as he observed in some of the pictures Griggs was dressed like the woman in the photo so there would be an exact match. In a few of the black and white clips she posed so she was looking at Danno, or laughing with him – whatever was appropriate for the setting!

 

Almost too horrified to go on, he forced himself to continue the tour of the museum of madness, the monument to an eroded mind now spilling the psychosis into elements of reality – into HIS real world! 

 

He almost walked past the beach dollhouse, complete with sand and painted blue cardboard in the back representing the ocean. He stopped when he saw that the Ken and Barbie dolls in the convertible wore matching Aloha wear. Fighting off another wave of chills, he bent down and flipped on the light obviously set up to spill illumination on the subjects. Horrified, he noted Ken and Barbie’s hairstyles were painted to match – yeah – Danno and Griggs!  The license plate on the car also painted, customized, and initialed – DW.

 

Stepping back, he tried to take it all in, to reach beyond his shock and try to think clearly. Blanketed by the alarm that this insane woman was loose and that she had his friend – the entire island – captive with crazy threats of mass murder, he forced himself to focus. Usually detail oriented, Steve was overwhelmed with the tsunami-sized wave of evidence that this person was insane. Dangerous, brilliant, cunning, and a complete lunatic!

 

A picture above the dollhouse caught his eye and he stepped closer. It was a photo of the picture of the beach house where Griggs had taken Danno. What set this apart were two things. One, it was not a picture of Danno – the only one of its kind in the room to claim that anomaly -- as far as he could see. Two, there were words scrawled above the picture. Stepping close, he whispered as he read, “Manderley.”

 

Manderley,” he repeated, pacing back to survey the entire wall again, then the rest of the room.

 

“What?” Duke asked him? The officer was standing nearby, shaking his head. “This wahine is pupule!” he shook his head.

 

McGarrett puzzled, “Manderley.”

 

“Big pupule, bruddah!” Kono agreed. Ain’t heard of a place called Manderley.”

 

“It’s not local, it’s from a book.”

 

It was important, he knew. The incongruity of the name, the inconsistency with the rest of this temple to Danno gave it high credence, but he couldn’t stop to analyze it now. There was no time for anything but immediate action.

 

“Duke, get a stake out here. Then I want you to get down to Waikiki with a couple of HPD plainclothes guys to help Chin. Blanket Danno. DO NOT APPROACH!  But I want your men ready to move in to assist in a heartbeat.” Spinning on the manager, he handed the man his card. “If Ms Griggs contacts you, I want you to call me immediately. Day or night. Do you understand?”

 

“Ye—yes.”

 

“What kind of a car does she drive?”

 

“A – uh – beige Corvair. It’s a –”

 

“License number?”

 

“I’ll have to check –”

 

“One of my men will get all the pertinent information from you.”

 

“But – but what is this all about? Is she nuts? Is she going to burn down the place? I have to look out for the other tenants --”

 

“Please just do as I told you!” he snapped, brushing past the man and stalking to the door.

 

“Well she’s not getting her cleaning deposit back!” he sniffed.

 

Steve stopped, compelled to engage in a last agonizing tour of the room, to circle around one more time, gazing in amazement and fear at the walls. Then he raced through the completely contrasted, nondescript living room to the walkway.

 

As soon as he reached the car, McGarrett put in a call to Chin Ho as he ripped the car into reverse and sped down the street. The detective had followed Williams and Griggs around the zoo, and they were now slowly strolling around Kapiolani Park. He commented that May had filled him in on the cause of death of Peachy, and he observed that the normal-looking girl did not look or act like a murderer.

 

They looked at leis at a stand on Kalakaua. Then they stopped for a shave ice at the beach,” Kelly informed. “They’ve been sitting on the sea wall for a while by the Natatorium. If they go into Waikiki, I’ll have to leave the car.

 

“Take your walkie-talkie with you – Duke’s sending backup from HPD to help you. It’s imperative that you stick with ‘em, Chin!  Keep a close eye on that girl!  If she makes any kind of threatening move – anything suspicious or – or anything against Danno I want you to move in, you got that? She is to be considered highly dangerous!”

 

Sure, Steve, got it.”

 

Satisfied that his friend was at least under some measure of protection, the Five-0 chief then called the lab and ordered Che Fong and his team to check out the apartment for any signs of the poison. They were also to check paperwork and any documentation they could find in search of a trace of what she was planning.

 

“You’ll help with that as soon as possible,” he told Kono as he swerved around a car to take a corner with squealing tires. “We need to know where she’s going to strike!”

 

“Where we going in such a hurry?”

 

“Waikiki. We’re going to help cover Danno. Did you see that room?” he asked rhetorically, his voice shaking at the memory of the horrifying psychosis evident in the shrine of obsession. “She’s unbalanced to an alarming degree, and her focus is Danno. Whenever they’re away from that beach pad, I want men on them. While they’re out of the house, I’m going to lean on HPD to get those bugs planted – Stuart should have my warrant for the beach house ready!  And as soon as we know what she’s doing and can avert a tragedy by collecting all the poison she’s placed, then we arrest her!”

 

“That ain’t gonna be easy,” Kono sucked in a breath as they braked suddenly. “She’s one akamai wahine.”

 

“No, it won’t be easy,” McGarrett admitted through clenched teeth. “She’s cunning and clever and caught us by surprise. But we will get her, I promise.”

 

Gripping the steering wheel, he easily recalled the shocking visual record of mental instability that was literally plastered on the walls of the room. There was so much he could not take it in with one visit, nor begin to understand the lunacy capable of such behavior. What he did know was that his instincts screamed panic the moment he recognized Danno as the object of her obsession. He needed to warn his protégé, but suspected / feared that his friend already knew he was in the clutches of a madwoman.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Danno was his psych expert, and not for the first time in the last twenty-four hours, and not just for this reason, he wished his friend was with him now. Five-0 had dealt with plenty of nuts in the few years that Danno had been aboard, and each time it helped to have an officer with a minor in psychology to help them through. This, though, was beyond McGarrett, beyond Williams. They were going to need the advice of some kind of specialist in getting into the mindset of an insane person who outwardly seemed completely normal.

 

Chin Ho sent updates along the quick drive. Williams and Griggs had started walking Ewa on Kalakaua, again stopping at the lei stand on the corner at Kalakaua and Kapahulu. Kelly was following, keeping in touch via walkie-talkie, until the couple disappeared into a dress shop.

 

Screeching to a stop at Kapiolani Park, across from the lei stand, McGarrett stood in the doorway of an ice cream parlor and scanned the sidewalk. No sign of Danno. Chin was about a half-block away, leaning on a light pole, lighting his pipe.

 

“Chin, where is her car parked?”

 

Down by the tennis courts at Kapiolani.”

 

“Good, good.”

 

Chin turned away as the couple exited a store, Williams’ hand holding a large shopping bag. Griggs held onto Danno’s arm in a tight clutch, nuzzling his neck. He smiled and deposited a gentle kiss to her nose. The lovey-dovey smooching made Steve’s lip curl, sickening him that such an artificial role had been forced upon his friend. He had to keep reminding himself that it was, indeed, a role.

 

“You’re dancing on the sword’s edge, but it’s all pretend, Danno. You’re good undercover,” he whispered under his breath, the encouragement strictly for his own benefit rather than his colleague’s, who could not hear him.. “You can do this, aikane. Just for a little longer.”

 

The couple crossed the street to watch the surfers on the world-famous beach. It was another brilliant, perfect day on Waikiki; the sun bright, the temperature warm, the breeze sweet and salty, the light shimmering in crystal waves of dazzling silver. The thousands of vacationers blithely enjoyed their holiday, oblivious to the presences of a deranged murderer in their midst. An executioner parading as a lover – all hugs and kisses and poison.  Sugar and spice and nothing nice.

 

In plainclothes, Paul Nakamura, an HPD friend of Dan’s who sometimes worked with Five-0, passed close to the couple without acknowledging his long-time pal. At a safe distance away, he radioed with his walkie-talkie that the girl was talking about shopping for a lei.

 

McGarrett glanced at the lei stand on the corner. An idea forming, he told Kono to keep an eye on Danno, and then he dashed into the clothing store next door to the stand. In a flash, he bought a popular-print Aloha shirt, a wide-brimmed straw hat and a pair of wrap-around sunglasses. Removing his jacket, shoulder holster and shirt, he zipped into a changing room and donned his new disguise. Emerging, he dropped his personal effects in a bag and gave them to Kono when he reached the sidewalk.

 

YYYYY

 

 

In some regards, it was all like a waking dream – a scene one notch removed reality – a life that was not his own. In other respects, the last day and night had been like an undercover assignment with a spiraling twist into the bizarre that made his head spin. Feeling a little sluggish and thick from lack of sleep or too much liquor or he wasn’t sure what, Danny Williams’ nerves felt like they were about to burst. Fighting hangover-ish symptoms, he chose not to dwell on what he was forgetting about the previous evening. Held hostage by a madwoman all night – no – he wasn’t going to go there. The blackout was a blessing, probably, and he was trying not to think about it too hard, a little afraid he might remember.

 

Instead, he considered the outward appearance being presented. Here he was with a nice-looking girl on his arm, wads of cash in his pocket, spending money on obscenely expensive jewelry, cutesy nick-knacks and matching Hawaiian outfits. A very strange dream. This altered plane included driving an incredible, muscle convertible, wasting time on the world’s best tourist beach, basking in the sun, and hating every minute.

 

Constantly he had to remind himself to say the right thing, remember the right line, do whatever Camille wanted, or she would punish him by killing innocent people. Down the street, just as indicated in the script, they stopped at a beachside café and ordered the most expensive meal on the menu. A waiter and an assistant manager nodded to him – he had been here enough to be recognized. To them, this all looked so normal!  A Five-0 officer spending time with a girl on his day off!  They had no idea they could all be only steps away, moments away, from death if he didn’t perform this role to Camille’s satisfaction.

 

Yesterday, his anger and insult had warred with his inquisitive nature. Always thinking like a cop, he tried to analyze it all, deduce things from her comments, and peer into the narrow cracks in the overall plot of madness she had created. Today, exasperatingly, he could not stray far from his mandated task because her rules were so exacting. Soon, he found it difficult to do much of anything but concentrate on acting out her twisted play.

 

He had to view this as his undercover identity and give a convincing front. The strain, though, was wearing on his nerves. He had to comply perfectly with what she wanted, and was forced to completely sublimate his guilt that this was happening because of him. The weight that he alone bore the responsibility of pleasing his unbalanced mistress grew heavier with each passing hour. His actions would save lives, or they would kill people.

 

Seeing Steve last night was an unexpected jolt of confidence and relief. It meant more to him than he could vocalize or even understand. To know his friend was behind him, keeping an eye on him and, if nothing else, passively supporting him through this, made it bearable. McGarrett was a constant strength in his life under any circumstances, but now more than ever, he needed to lean on that incredible rock of trust and dependability which Steve represented.

 

After lunch, the plan was to shop for yet another present. He’d already lavished her with several ridiculously expensive gifts on this day, but Camille was insatiable. She had the expectation that he should not only give her his undivided attention, and offer continuous demonstrations of affection, but also prove his undying love through merchandise. His frugal nature balked at the manner in which he was shoveling out huge sums of cash for inconsequential trivialities. When she stopped in front of yet another jewelry store, he had the urge to recoil, but only a second’s hesitation was enough to reassert his responsibility. The “Danny Williams” in this persona could not question or think of yet another gift as anything but well deserved by the “love of his life.”

 

Inside the shop, Camille chose matching name bracelets – thick silver chains with flat plates. They waited while their names were engraved on them. Out the window, Dan spotted Chin leaning on a bus bench. Blinking, he straightened, seeing Paul Nakamura across the street. Was that Duke, in uniform, talking with a shave ice vendor? The comforting support gave him a momentary morale boost. His comrades were out there keeping an eye on him. Within seconds, he plunged back into a sense of isolation. As much as they blanketed him with reinforcements, they could not help in any way.

 

“Your bracelets, sir,” the clerk announced. “Very sweet,” he smiled in what seemed a practiced, but forced gesture.

 

“My Danny is the most doting fiancé,” she assured.

 

The gasp of surprise he sucked in was noticed by Camille, and the store manager, but the man behind the counter did a quick and expert job of hiding his smirk after a flash of sardonic amusement.

 

Fiancé!  Where did that come from?  With effort, Williams worked on returning his face to a placid mask of distant interest.

 

The man’s eyebrows raised and his eyes were predatory as he glanced at the couple, directing his attention and questions to Camille, who was the obvious mastermind behind the nuptial idea. “If I may ask, when is the date?”

 

“At the end of the week,” she beamed.

 

“Oh, very soon. How wonderful. May I inquire if you have your ring set picked out yet?  I couldn’t help but ask, of course, since I don’t see an engagement ring.”

 

Camille blinked. This was not part of the script, the detective realized, and it was throwing her a curve. Maliciously, he savored the wrench in her machinery, but too slowly he realized this was more than just a moral victory for him. He should be using this against her!  How?  He didn’t know. He wasn’t thinking quickly enough. Plan. How could he work out a plan when his brain was stuffed with scripted lines and muzzy from a hangover?

 

“I had thought I would use a ring I already own, but now that you bring it up…” Camille canted her head slightly, a smile gradually spreading across her face, as a new idea took root. “Danny, wouldn’t it be more romantic to select our rings together?”

 

“We can do it right now,” he offered quickly.

 

“I can’t decide on a design,” she mused, still distracted by inner ponderings. After a long time of trying on styles and shapes of diamonds, set in silver or gold, she came back to where she started.  “I have to think about this.  We’ll be back, won’t we Danny.”

 

“Whatever you want, my love,,” he smiled at her, ignoring the smirk of the clerk.

 

When they emerged from the shop, Williams made a concerted effort to NOT look in the direction of his colleagues. Occasionally, he could spot them as reflections in the glass, and he applauded their professional ability in staying out of sight of the mark – Camille. Window shopping along Kalakaua, they neared the end of the tourist shops. Across the street, Kapiolani Park began. They were not far from the Mustang. From his own apartment only a few blocks behind them on the same street!  The frustration surged again… the desire to strike out and just arrest this loony and get his life back!

 

“Danny!”

 

“What – sorry, Camille.”  Recognizing her pouty frown as a warning, his adrenalin spiked. “Sorry, my love,” he sweetly cooed, burying the raw, bitter resentment at the forced act. “I was just thinking of –” He lost the line!  Fighting to get his mental track back and into the rehearsed lines again, he continued. “Camille, I don’t want to leave Waikiki before I buy you one more present.”

 

Coyly, she acted surprised and kissed his cheek. “Oh, Danny, what is there left to buy?”

 

Knowing he had to make up for his brief moment of inattention, he physically doted on her as he lavished her with sickeningly romantic verbage. “I want to buy you something to–” The script. It called for him to purchase a fresh lei before they left Waikiki. “I’ll buy you – flowers -- to match your eyes.”  When they came onto the main tourist strip here in Waikiki, he had noted the stand at the corner of Kalakaua and Kapahulu, and knew that would be a good place to make the last stop. “Please. Why don’t you –” the line, he had to get this right. “My love,” he stuttered, straining to keep the integrity of her manufactured scene. He started over. “Why don’t you look in this little shop while I select a perfect lei for you?”

 

“Don’t be long,” she winked and stepped into the dress store.

 

When he turned, he noted she was glancing at dresses on a rack, but keeping watchful eyes on him as he strolled down half a block to the lei stand. To the man behind the counter of the grass shack, he asked for a yellow orchid lei (which she had specified in the script) with a lavender bow. It did not match her brown eyes at all, but that was what the script called for.

 

“Got it right here,” a raspy voice called from under the counter. A selection of five leis were brought up and draped across the wooden surface by a man wearing a broad straw hat and a colorful shirt. “Which one you want?” the voice asked.

 

As Danny reached over to pick one up, a hand grabbed onto his wrist. “We’ve got you in sight no matter where you go. How are you doing, Danno?”

 

Startled, Williams jumped slightly, then held up one lei as if to examine the flowers. “Steve!”  It was a surprise, and a relief. The sight of his friend irrationally represented liberation to him. “I’m so glad you’re here!  You’ve gotta get me out of this!”


The desperation and pleading in the tone unnerved McGarrett. He had chosen to don a disguise and be the one who might make contact with his friend. He had planned on dangling the leis to attract the attention of Williams, hoping the leis discussed by the couple had not yet been purchased. It was a thin, impromptu attempt to get a one-on-one with his officer and allay his own fears. Seeing the strained face, the wild expression, the dark circles under the eyes, he knew this act was placing more emotional trauma on Williams than expected. Hangover?  The strain and whatever else she was putting him through?  Without the bugs in place, he had no idea what was going on in that beach house and that rankled him, even though a part of him was sure, on an emotional level at least, he did not want to know.

 

“I can’t Danno. Not until we find out what she’s spiked. Do you have any clue?”

 

“No, no, it’s all about following her script and playing this part!”

 

“You’ve got to get her to talk, Danno!  We need to know where she put the poison!”

 

“Steve, I’m trying, but I’m walking a tightrope here!” He leaned against the counter and shook his head. “If I make a mistake she’ll kill people!”  He closed his eyes. “She wants us to get married at the end of the week!”

 

“Married!” 

 

Steve’s sympathetic gasp was enough to startle Williams. “Shhh,” he whispered urgently, glancing over his shoulder at the woman. “Steve, I can’t marry her!”

The haunting memory of Grigg’s apartment still vivid in the back of his mind’s eye, coupled with the disturbing realization that his friend was so distressed and uptight, made Steve squelch any comments about how deranged and obsessed this woman was over the younger cop. If Danno knew of his captor’s secret shrine, it might distract and warp his tense nerves even more. Still, his detective needed to know that the woman was dangerous.

 

“Danno, we’re doing everything we can to get a bead on her, but she’s got us cold until we find out where the toxins are!”

 

“Then get with it on your end!” he harshly demanded. “I can’t marry her!”

 

“It won’t be legal–”

 

“I know, but it’s not something I want to go through even as a charade. This whole thing is… is…”:He struggled to find the word for another moment before he made eye contact with his boss. “Degrading… I feel violated. Steve!  Help me!”

 

McGarrett briefly patted his friend’s shoulder, wishing he could instill, through the brief touch, the empathy, the frustration shared, the mutual desire to extricate the detective from what must be a living Hell. Hating to deny the desperate request, guilt at what he was about to do pressed on his heart, but he steeled himself and took on a more stern expression. His voice came across tougher than he felt inside. “Danno, you’re undercover, just like you’ve been dozens of times. It’s a role, and you’re playing it well – better than anyone could expect. But you HAVE to keep it up until we find where she’s got the poisons hidden. You need to push her for information—”

 

“And if I do she might kill people!”

“And if you don’t, there’s not much doubt now that she WILL kill – again. Bergman confirmed that Peachy was poisoned.”

 

McGarrett almost regretted revealing the information to his second as Williams’ face twisted slightly with the bad news. Visibly shaken about the maintenance man, Dan ran his hand over his mouth and looked down at the yellow lei resting on the stand. Knowing there wasn’t much time, the lead detective continued quickly. “You can do it, Danno. No one else I know could take it, but you can.” Emphatically, he drove home the imperative. “You have to crack her -- you’re the only one who can. You understand that, right?”

 

Williams nodded tightly, “Yeah. I’m just not sure she’s crackable. The hopelessness swept onto the readable countenance like the shadow of a predatory marauder.

 

“I have faith in you,” McGarrett pressed quietly.

 

Dan’s grim expression brightened marginally, but was subsumed quickly as he rubbed his face as if trying to stay awake, stay focused. “Steve, I’m not sure you understand just how pupule this woman is. I know it doesn’t look that way, but trust me when I tell you that she’s pretty far around the bend.” 

 

Steve grit his teeth, knowing that he didn’t have time to express the opinion that it was Danno who probably did not understand how profoundly and staggeringly deranged his constant companion was. Instead, he pushed a lei toward his officer, hating to reject him in this time of need, but knowing there was no other choice. Just as Williams had walked away with Griggs yesterday, complying with her demands because there was no other option, McGarrett was cornered by the same circumstance. Spotting the woman emerging from the dress shop, he pulled back into the shadows. For the moment, his priority was bolstering his detective’s resolve.

 

Aikane, if it was within my power, I’d snatch you out of here right now and throw her in jail. I can’t do it yet. You’ve got to hang tough. We’re with you. Just hold on. Watch yourself. I promise I’ll get you out of this. I’m watching your back, just like always.  She’s on her way. Be careful.”

 

With a slight nod and almost hurt expression, Williams did not look at his mentor as he took the lei. Shoulders slumped, he greeted Griggs and visibly transformed into someone else. Chipper, effulgent in his adoration, he placed the lei on her neck with several kisses and wrapped her close to him as they strolled past the grass shack.

 

McGarrett watched them cross the street to Kapiolani Park, with fists clenching in frustrated anger. He hated being so helpless and under the thumb of this madwoman! Watching his friend being the manipulated puppet of a criminal controlling the fate of thousands was enraging!  More than anything, he hated turning his back on his friend. Watching them disappear in the shade of the trees lining the tennis courts, he slammed a fist against the wall of the shack. Picking up his walkie-talkie, he called Lukela, who was in an unmarked car, taking over this portion of the tail. The Mustang had just pulled away from the street and was heading Diamond Head, presumably back to the beach house.

 

Growling orders to stay loose but keep them in sight, he swept out and headed back to his car. Meeting Chin and Kono there, he ordered them to return to Grigg’s apartment and get the paperwork collected wikiwiki. Any little scrap of paper, any notes, were to be impounded and brought back to the Five-0 office. The only way to win against her was to out-trick her. How he was going to manage that before his youngest detective went insane himself because of the unimaginable pressure, he did not know.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

“I’m beat just watching ‘em,” Kono whispered idly as his boss approached.

 

The two men stood behind a row of terrarium plants in a posh night club called Verdi’s. The establishment was not one Dan would normally have frequented since most of the clientele were a generation older, and preferred an atmosphere and music from the Big Band era. The non-current music did not stop Griggs and Williams from spending almost the entire evening dancing, and sipping Champagne. It was obvious to the surveillance team that the suspect was having the time of her life. Dan was doing a superior job of keeping his date entertained and in good spirits. To the uninitiated, the detective also seemed to be enjoying himself. He was jovial and attentive to his date’s desires. Only careful study of Williams would reveal that it was taking an effort to pull off such a relaxed and pleasant carriage.

 

Boss! The alert crackled into the ears of both detectives.

 

McGarrett pressed the small audio receiver tighter into his ear and held the walkie talkie to his mouth. “Chin, I’m here.”

 

“I’m not far from the kitchen door, and I just noticed Walter Stuart and his wife. They’re sitting in one of the booths near the stage!”

 

The lead detective frowned and exchanged a look with Kono as he muttered a soft curse. “What kinda luck is that!

 

To his boss, the Hawaiian detective wondered, “Do you think Stuart has noticed Danny and Griggs?”

 

“I don’t know how he could miss them, bruddah,” McGarrett responded softly as he stared distantly at the couple, who looked completely in the throes of love. “I only hope our suspect misses THEM.”

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

At first he wasn’t certain, but upon closer scrutiny, Walter Stuart confirmed that the youngest couple on the dance floor were a very elegantly dressed Danny Williams and a girl who was stunning in a pale pink frilly dress that turned the heads of men and women alike.

 

The second-in-command of Hawaii Five-0 and his date were young enough to be the children of most of the patrons of this popular nightclub. Artie Shaw and Glenn Miller tunes were the rage here. Couples treated themselves to dinner and dancing the night away, just as they had when courting or dating around the war years. Governor Jameson was a frequent patron, as were most of the crčme of Honolulu society of this generation. Rarely did the under thirty crowd make an appearance, and then it was usually due to some debutant function.

 

Pressing his lips together, Stuart studied Williams and the girl as perplexity slowly steamed to irritation. If this was an undercover assignment, the officer was performing flawlessly. It certainly beat the normal run of covert police duties!  Williams was enjoying this entirely too much. And if this girl was the psychopathic threat Steve seemed to think her to be, she managed to cover it brilliantly.

 

McGarrett had asked for blanket warrants to investigate this girl. The order, rather sweeping in its magnitude, had come across Stuart’s desk this afternoon, and he had chosen not to take action on the large-scale requests until he had more information.

 

“Walter, what are you staring at?”

 

Startled, he smiled at his wife and picked up his coffee cup. “Nothing, dear.”

 

Millie was already turning around and she released a soft gasp. There was no way she could miss the dazzling young couple in the subdued light of the ballroom. They were, by far, the most energetic of the couples swaying to a snappy Frank Sinatra tune. The girl in the radiant, sparkling pink dress, and Williams in a smart, white suit with a pink shirt, stood out under any conditions.

 

“That’s Danny Williams!  And who is that charming young lady in that luscious gown?”

 

“Hmm,” he growled in a noncommittal response.

 

His wife didn’t really expect an answer, and she continued with a running commentary on the girl, the young man and their fashions. Then it merged into speculations on the relationship, where had Danny been hiding this charming treasure, and why hadn’t Stuart said anything?

 

None of these subjects required any reply from him until Millie got it in her head to find out more. It exasperated him – no – nettled him – that Millie, Mrs. Jameson, Dora Bergman and several other established matrons of Honolulu society insisted on playing matchmaker for the youngest member of Five-0. They had all dabbled in that sport with McGarrett for years, but obviously to no avail. Steve resisted their efforts easily.

 

When eligible bachelor Williams came on the scene, it was like a breath of fresh air for the covey of older women who nauseatingly mothered the boyish detective. If they did not want to adopt the “adorable” young officer, they wanted to plan his social life! 

 

Such attitudes further rankled his already sour opinion of Williams, a rivalry built up from the very start of their relationship. {fanfic - Two Sides of A Coin: Heads}

 

“Come along, Walter.”

 

Before he could object, Millie was out of the booth and on her way to the dance floor. Too late – if he did not want to cause a scene -- to do anything but comply with his wife.  He led her in a dance which she managed to direct toward the young couple.

 

Millie and Walter Stuart were nearly bumping Camille’s back before Dan realized what was happening.The heady liquor, the warm room, the nearly constant swaying to the loud music, combined to make his head light and his stomach roll. His ‘date’ was a respectable dancer, fortunately, which made the charade a little easier.

 

Uncle Jim had been the one to suggest Dan take some time to learn the old style dancing instead of just the jitter bug and swing of his youth. It seemed like a waste of time to the energetic young Williams, until the wise, experienced bachelor uncle pointed out that it was a great way to cuddle a date and impress a girl’s parents.

 

Millie ‘accidentally’ backed into his arm and she turned with a polite apology. ”Why Danny, how good to see you!”

 

Weak and nervous, the younger officer plastered on a convincing smile. “Millie, Walter, what a surprise.”

 

“Danny,” the older gentleman nodded astringently.

 

Was Stuart a plant? How much did he know? Did he know anything? Could he blow everything? What would Camille do? The fearful questions surged through his mind instantly, while he stuttered out introductions to everyone. In that instant of eye contact, he knew that Walter Stuart KNEW what was going on. HE was in the loop, knowing this was all a sham, while, of course, his wife was not.

 

It was one of the few times, he and the Attorney General were on the same side of a dicey situation, and his tension grew, knowing Stuart was not the man to have at his back in a time of crisis. Steve – he trusted his mentor implicitly. With Walter there was an ongoing antagonism between them, and, while he expected the AG would not do anything to jeopardize his life, neither did he entirely trust the man with his life.

 

Carefully watching his date, his dis-ease spiked when he saw she was nervous, especially when Millie zeroed in on the younger woman, and began interrogating her.

 

“Where has Danny been hiding you, my dear? You make such a beautiful couple.”

 

Millie was charismatic and socially sparkling, making her husband seem dour in comparison. She was also very nice, and Dan would not do anything rude to hurt her. Still, how could he get her to stop grilling his unstable psychopath companion? One wrong step and Camille might kill anyone in this room!

 

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a shade of pink quite this lovely in chiffon,” Millie continued, oblivious to the strain on the other three dancers who were still moving on the floor in automatic shuffles. “And you wear it so well, dear.”

 

The flowing compliments caused the suspect in Danny’s arms visibly to relax. The confrontational tension eased, and Camille bragged a little about the fashion and her devoted date.

 

There was so much at stake beyond the moment that Dan could hardly list the dangers of playing on the sword’s edge tonight. However, the insignificant realization of the impact on his future hit him with Millie’s continued compliments. By tomorrow, all of Millie’s crowd would know about Camille and he might never hear the end of this when he got his life back to normal!

 

“Dames!” Kono sighed as he shook his head in horror.

 

Watching from behind the plants – a surveillance spot McGarrett never expected to find himself – he bit his lip in silent agony. What was Millie doing? Why didn’t Stuart control his wife? It was obvious Millie was on a mission to get the lowdown on Camille. Walter looked strained. Danno looked ready to snap. McGarrett was tense and ready to leap from his hiding spot in an instant. To – to do what? Make a scene in the middle of the blue bloods of Hawaii’s elite socialites? Not unless Camille did something to warrant an intrusion.

 

What would happen? So many things could go wrong in such an undercover assignment, it wasn’t even funny. Many lives depended on Danno keeping a lid on the crazy girl and her scheme, and to have wild cards like the Stuarts be thrown into the mix made the job all the more problematic – everyone in the building could be in danger.

 

Nervously, he watched with held breath as a glowing Camille led the way back to their booth at the end of the song. The couple did not sit down, but gathered her purse and headed for the door.

 

He didn’t breathe easily again until an obviously shell-shocked and tightly-wound Danno and his proud date walked past them. The girl looked to be on cloud nine, deciding to leave the ball in triumph. All the better for them. Although he wanted to stick around and talk to Stuart, he was more anxious about Danno, so he trailed the couple at a distance. They were impossible to miss, after all.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Steve had seen Dan and Camille “safely” to the beach house, he headed back to the office, where he hoped to build a timeline of this sick woman’s comings and goings since she’d first laid eyes on Williams in 1966.

 

It was late, but he was pleased to see May and Duke were there, huddling over items on the secretary’s desk.  Various piles of papers – looking like bills and receipts -- were stacked next to paperback books and other memorabilia he did not want to know about right now.  He was hungry, tired, ignoring a tension headache, and constantly worried about Danno.

 

“Anything new?” he questioned, knowing he should send these two home.  It was all right for HIM to stay here and man the fort all night, but it was not okay for anyone else… except perhaps his second-in-command. The errant thought pushed him a little farther into despair, but he did not have time to dwell on it as the Hawaiian sergeant’s voice broke the mental downward spiral.

 

“I think we do, Steve,” Duke almost smiled.  “We have some people who have had encounters with this Griggs wahine.”  He nodded to May.

 

The secretary beamed in triumph.  “We made the connection between her and Peachy.”

 

“MAY made the connection,” Lukela corrected.

 

“I checked with the maintenance staff, Steve, and Griggs befriended Peachy months ago.”

 

“Really?” he responded, gesturing for them to join him.  He paced into his office and slouched behind his chair, feeling a little uncomfortable wearing the cheap tourist Aloha shirt he had donned in Waikiki earlier.  “Tell me what you discovered.”

 

May learned from the staff that Griggs came here occasionally to lunch with Peachy. Swing-shift, that was later in the evening, usually when the Five-0 offices were empty.   He brought her up to the Five-0 wing more than once.

 

“That’s how some of Danno’s things went missing!” McGarrett seethed.  “She never had to break in here!  Or into his apartment to steal pictures and personal effects!  He keeps a spare set of keys in his desk, which he rarely locks!  She just borrowed the keys!”

 

“She’s been spotted by several of the night staff including the security force!” May finished.

 

“Looks like we have to tighten up security.”  He smiled at the secretary.  “Good work Detective Peterson.”  He asked the sergeant if there was anything else.

 

“Looks like Griggs has been hanging around the Palace for a few months.  Several weeks ago, Tim Ono spotted her in Danny’s LTD.”

 

“IN the LTD!  Why wasn’t that reported?”

Chagrined, the Hawaiian shook his head.  “Tim did inquire – she said she was a girlfriend of Danny’s and was leaving him a note.  And she really did.”

 

Something between a growl and a sigh erupted from the boss.  “And knowing Danno’s reputation, Ono didn’t think anything of it.”

 

“Yeah.”  He smiled, but the humor died quickly.  “Chin remembers it too.  He didn’t see her, but he recalled that Danny claimed there was a note in his car that day about breaking a lunch meeting.”

 

“With Chin?”  He wasn’t following the trail.  It was too late and he really was too tired to be functioning much above the most rudimentary level.

 

“Danny found a note that said a meeting was canceled, and it was signed C.  Danny thought Chin was joking around cause it had something girlie, like hugs and kisses, but since it was signed with a C and he was supposed to have a lunch meeting with Chin – he dismissed it,” he finished with a shrug.

 

Moaning, he covered his weary, burning eyes and leaned back in the swivel chair.  “What a comedy of errors!” he cracked.  “A state police officer is stalked, the victim of theft, and is kidnapped out of a very public parking lot, and we have cops and staff who not only spot the criminal, but are accomplices!”

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Another too-late night dropped the head of Five-0 on his couch hours after sending everyone else home. He needed his team to be clear headed and well rested for the tense, but tedious surveillance duties in the upcoming hours. Of course, the mandate for sleep he did not apply to himself, so he continued pouring through the reams of documents, receipts, newspaper clippings, and well-marked works of fiction this psychotic pack rat had maintained neatly in her apartment.

 

When the hint of light broke through his lanai doors, he bolted to an upright position and took a few moments to allow his eyes to adjust to the still-dim light. His watch read six AM, so he checked in with the stake out team. Ono assured the Five-0 chief that the night had been quiet, with no comings or goings by anyone. Kono was slated to relieve the HPD officer by seven, McGarrett knew. Doctor Bishop would be arriving back from a conference in Hilo this afternoon, and she’d promised to come straight from the airport to the Palace. The thought of having expert assistance in dealing with the around-the-bend female bolstered him and reoriented him to his agenda for the day.

 

McGarrett went to his place and forced himself on a long run, which seemed the only way to alleviate any of the tension which was haunting his muscles almost continuously. A shower and quick omelet with black coffee renewed his optimism about extricating Danno from his dire position sooner rather than later.

 

It was almost nine o’clock when he called May just arriving at the office. Her top priority that day was to stay in touch about the extended search warrant. Stuart’s office was usually much faster than this. The lead detective had no further time to ponder the legal situation as the phone rang just as he re-cradled the handset. This time, it was a patch from Kono, two hours into his surveillance detail. The Hawaiian reported that Williams and Griggs were in Waikiki again this day. They were at that moment having breakfast at the Ala Moana Hotel café. The restaurant offered a splendid view of the pool area and beach just beyond, and it also made for an easy observation of the pair.

 

After the “couple” vanished behind the gates of Grigg’s demented fantasy hideaway the previous evening, there had been no further contact. Given Danno’s distressed appearance and demeanor at their last meeting, Steve burned to communicate with him in some way, if only through a visual nod of support. He sensed his friend needed the extra buoy through this ordeal.

 

With the location in mind, McGarrett changed out of his suit and slipped into one of his trademark long-sleeved luau shirts and white cotton pants before heading out to join Kono at Waikiki. He didn’t bother to stop by his office on the way, not wanting to miss an opportunity to make contact with Williams. Stopping in a no-parking zone at the front of the Ala Moana Hotel, he retrieved a straw hat and sun glasses from the back seat of his Ford, and donned them before making his way through the expansive lobby and the throng of tourists coming and going.

 

Spotting each other in tandem, Kono and Steve gave mutual acknowledgment with only a look before the Hawaiian, sitting in a pool chair at the edge of the beach, nodded towards the water. McGarrett’s eyes tracked in that direction and, after a few seconds of scanning, identified his friend and the suspect. This morning, Griggs wore a pale-blue, one-piece swim suit with a slightly-lighter translucent skirt. Her escort, Steve was unsurprised to see, was wearing swim trunks of the same material as Sue’s swimsuit and a matching luau shirt. The Five-0 chief shook his head slightly – the woman must’ve spent thousands on just the clothing to live out this twisted drama. He took up a position on the edge of a vacant chaise lounge about thirty feet down the beach as soon as he saw Dan pull a blanket from the bag he was carrying, and position it carefully on the sand.

 

Williams gently assisted his companion to a seating position on the blanket, but remained standing as she gave him instructions. He acknowledged her command with a slight nod as he removed his shirt and settled down to a seating position behind her. Griggs pulled a bottle of what Steve suspected was suntan lotion from the bag and handed it to the detective, who slowly began applying the sun block to the woman’s back, neck, and shoulders. It was clear that “Camille” was in Heaven as Dan slowly massaged her neck, shoulders, and back. Conversely, the undercover officer / kidnap victim did not look as though he shared the perspective. Gaze fixed on the water in front of their immediate position, Dan performed his duty wearing a neutral, but distant expression.

 

Steve found it particularly disturbing that his friend made no attempt to look around for signs of his surveillance team. Perhaps Dan had already spotted them and did not want to risk alerting Griggs? After several minutes of massaging, Williams finally slipped around and sat next to the woman on the blanket, and slipped his hand across her lap to grab her hand. Heads leaned in towards each other, the couple carried on with a conversation. McGarrett, wishing he could hear what was being said, slowly got up and wandered a little closer. He stopped twenty feet behind them and used a small group of bikini-clad women as his cover.

 

He started when Dan kissed Sue, rose from the blanket, and walked a short distance down the beach to speak with two young men, who were renting surf boards to the tourists. McGarrett’s gaze bounced between his friend and Griggs, who watched Williams with catlike attentiveness. It was obvious from the body language that the two young businessmen both knew the surfing detective as they handed him one of the boards without any money exchanging hands. A momentary desolate expression swept across Dan’s face as he turned back towards his keeper, but to Williams’ credit, it vanished behind a blank smile as he brought the surf board back to the blanket.

 

Pulling an overly-demure Sue to her feet, Dan did not put the board down before they made their way to the water, hand-in-hand, and waded into the waves. When the water reached their waists, Williams collected the woman and lifted her onto the board. He propelled the board away from the beach, remaining in the water as he took them out past where the waves were breaking.

 

With a nod to Kono, McGarrett slipped around the gaggle of sunbathing women and kneeled near the beach bag, now resting on the blanket. Carefully nudging a towel aside, the detective could see a group of papers, folded into fourths. He had no search warrant, but as he moved towards the paper, he decided that the page was probably Danno’s, and of course, he knew he had implicit permission to view anything belonging to his friend.

 

He looked up and made eye contact with the Hawaiian detective, who canted his head as a signal that the coast was still clear. Quickly unfolding the papers, he frowned as he randomly scanned one of the pages.

 

 

 

Act III, Scene 2

 

(The scene opens in the lobby of the Ala Moana. Danny and Camille are attired in swimwear – matching blue from Laverne’s Swim Shack.)

 

Danny: (Squeezing Camille’s hand lightly) My darling, the time has come for you to learn to surf.

 

Camille: (Makes eye contact) Sweetheart, you’re the only one who could lure me into the waves. I admit that I’m a little scared.

 

Danny: (Kisses Camille PASSIONATELY): I would never let any harm come to you, sweetness. You surely know that.

 

 

 

McGarrett knew what was going on, but to actually see it typed out in black and white made his lip curl. “Poor Danno,” he murmured. Unsuccessful in swallowing his revulsion, he quickly read the ten pages, which were the scenes that described the couple’s day from breakfast through the surf lesson, and then to an intimate lunch at Trader Vic’s. After lunch, they would drive back to the beach house and get cleaned up – for what, there was no way to know since most of the play’s pages were missing. Despite the sickening nature of the script, Steve burned to see more of them – it was in the pages of this script where the fanatical suspect plotted – literally – her fantasy life with the innocent Williams.

 

It appeared as though Griggs was feeding Danno his lines as she needed for him to know them. As he carefully returned the pages to the bag and moved to a lounge chair not too far away, he marveled at his friend’s ability to execute the lines, each of which was sickening in the extreme.

 

Scanning for other members of the surveillance team, he finally detected two HPD sergeants, whose names he could not recall, monitoring Williams and Griggs from opposite ends of the beach. Then, he spotted Officer Ho on a lifeguard stand some forty feet away. The HPD man, in swim trunks, sat with a pair of binoculars fixed on his subjects in the water. McGarrett’s jaw began to clench in determination -- if keeping Danno covered was all he could do, then he would keep him covered in every way at his disposal, and damn the expense.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Dan was a good surfer and his ability to keep the un-balanced (in more ways than one!) woman on the board was a credit to the officer’s skill. The pair rode several waves together, tipping off the board only when the wave had played itself out. The smile on Grigg’s face as she and her captive lover were propelled toward the beach would convince anyone that she was being ardently courted by her suitor.

 

Under normal circumstances, Dan, used to pitting his skill against the monster waves on the North Shore, could have remained in the tame surf for many hours, but the hangover with which he had awakened again this morning was still making him groggy, dizzy, and mildly nauseous. Knowing that his companion’s paramount concern was to see her play accurately performed, he did his level best follow along, but it took a concerted effort to stay focused. He needed to stop drinking so much liquor, but Camille was equating the booze with romance. Embarrassed a mousey-woman like her could out-drink him, he had not figured out a way to get around so much alcohol. He knew Steve wanted him to press Camille for answers about the tainted food supply, but each time each tried to bring up the subject or veer from the theme in the script, she would tense up and threaten him with punishment, which he knew meant death for some innocent bystander.

 

Realizing that if anything happened to Camille, he would never learn her deadly secret, Williams went to great pains to make sure she remained safe. Still, a fantasy about a surfing accident in which his “fiancé” drowned presented itself. A slight (very slight) pang of guilt washed over him, but, with that thought, he smiled genuinely for the first time since he’d been in this horrible bondage.

 

To Dan’s relief, Camille tired before he was going to have to tell her that they needed to return to the shore. She clung to him like a piece of seaweed as he dragged the board from the surf. He escorted her back to their blanket before returning the board. The two young men running the operation were nowhere to be seen, so Williams propped the board up next to the others, and turned to leave.

 

Hangin’ tough, Danno?”

 

Realizing his invisible boss was standing behind the wall, near the showers, Dan turned back to the board and pretended to examine a blemish on it as he responded quietly, with profound relief. “Steve.”  It helped knowing his friend not only had operatives watching him, but McGarrett himself was staying close, too.

 

“We’re with you, aikane. Any luck on cracking her?”

 

“I’m trying, but she’s got a hair trigger mad switch…” Dan glanced over his shoulder to see Camille’s eyes trained on him even as she continued drying off. “I’ve gotta go—”

 

“Danno, you’ve got to push her!  The sooner we get the poison out of circulation the sooner this nightmare is over!”

 

“I know.”

 

“Danny!”

 

Williams jumped at the sound of a female voice calling to him.

 

Almost exploding with panic as he saw the three gorgeous, familiar women strolling towards him, he glanced in the direction of Camille, who dropped her towel stood paralyzed watching the scene. Immediately nodding at the trio, he tried to skirt past them with a brief greeting and a rushed smile. “Ladies.”

 

All three of the slender women blocked his beeline for the suddenly-tense woman on the beach blanket. A perfect-complexioned young Hawaiian woman poked him in the chest with her sharp fingernail, and shot him an accusatory smile. “Not so fast, Officer Williams! You missed the luau last night!”

 

Dan offered a single nervous laugh and a glance at the beautiful face before he re-focused on Camille. “Was that last night? Look… something came up, but I need to---”

 

The bikini-clad blonde behind him ran a hand over his hair. “Something came up! That stewardess maybe?”

 

The other woman, a tan, Haole brunette in a red, one-piece suit, added as she placed a hand flat on his chest, “Or a cute tourist?”

 

“Girls!” The three women turned to see Sammy Ho trotting in their direction. Grateful for the diversion, Dan, now almost faint with too-much adrenalin, slipped from the clutches of the three bathing beauties and made a beeline for Camille, who had spun and was stomping towards the lobby of the Ala Moana.

 

“Camille! Darling!” Dan called desperately as he caught up with her.

 

“Your life is just FULL of all kinds of ignorant tramps!” Griggs spat vociferously at the detective and yanked her arm away from his reach.

 

She continued marching, but Williams dropped to his knees. The move surprised the angry woman beside him as he clutched her arm desperately. “Please, Camille, no… They can’t hold a candle to you... to what we have… please…”

 

The angry woman stopped and looked down at the near-tears detective, who pressed his case as he noticed she was wavering. “Let’s have lunch at Vic’s, and then go shopping for rings.”

 

Camille, a mix of distant sadness and anger playing with her features, studied Williams face for several seconds. “You really should be punished…” she mused out loud.

 

Kissing her hand before resting his forehead on the back of her knuckles, Dan whispered loudly, “Please, darling, don’t talk like that… forgive me…”

 

“That blonde – that was Trudy, wasn’t it…” The question did not need an answer. It chilled the detective to realize that she recognized the woman who was an occasional date for Williams. There was nothing even close to serious with the gorgeous blonde who had nothing better to do in with her very rich life than party with the laid-back surfing crowd on the islands.

 

“I… yeah, but forget her… I have,” Dan looked back up at the woman who held the key to life or death for so many. It made him physically ill to beg, but he beseeched, “Please… let’s go to lunch.”

 

Several more seconds of pregnant silence ensued before Camille’s expression drifted back into gentleness. “It’s been ten minutes since you kissed me…”

 

Unable to mask a heaving sigh of relief (mimicked by every member of the surveillance team as well), Dan came to his feet slowly, and embraced the woman in a long kiss. When he released his hold on her head, she bade him to collect her bag. With a peck on her cheek, he turned and obliged, keeping his eyes to the ground. Realizing the dramatic scene had just been played out in front dozens of tourists as well as several of his friends and acquaintances – Steve -- Williams burned with humiliation. Groveling like a dog at this psycho’s feet… He couldn’t recall anything more mortifying that had happened to him in his adult life. He stooped to collect their belongings and couldn’t bring himself to meet any of the eyes he knew were boring in on him. As much as this was some sort of fantasy for Camille, it was in equal measure, a nightmare for Dan – one from which there seemed to be no awakening. Unable to keep the dejection from his countenance until he came within a few feet of his mistress, the detective inhaled deeply and told himself to keep his eye on the prize – namely the lives of potentially thousands of people…

 

McGarrett came from hiding to witness the horrifying scene with the beach beauties. He watched tensely as his second-in-command managed to bring the situation back under control. As the couple slipped out of sight, he gulped down a knot of illness, fists clenched in anger and helplessness. “I will get you out of this, Danno. Soon. I promise.”

 

Kono and the other officers moved quickly to keep pace with Williams and Camille. Looking at his watch, Steve decided that his time would be better spent by expediting the arrival of the psych expert.

 

 

YYYYY

 

The walk to the car was endured in silence.  Dan tossed the beach gear into the back seat and solicitously opened the passenger door for Camille.  She did not seem angry anymore, and he hoped his embarrassing declaration of love on the sands of Waikiki had appeased her pique.

 

Skipping around to the driver’s side, he purposely did not look around for any one who was set to tail him.  He didn’t want to know who was out there watching his every move.  Right now, he would be more than happy to crawl under the nearest rock and never emerge into the sunlight again.

 

As he revved up the Mustang, Camille placed her hand gently on top of his.  “Let’s celebrate.”

 

He scanned his memory.  That was not in the script, he was sure.  Ad lib.  Do anything to make her happy.  “I’d like that,” he crooned.  “Anywhere you want, my love.”

 

“I know the perfect place, my love.  Take us to Paradise Village.”

 

“Uh – all right.”  He shifted into first and watched the traffic, slowly slipping into the nearest lane. 

 

Paradise Village, a new hot spot for the most expensive tastes.  He hadn’t been there, didn’t know anyone who had been there.  On a terraced mezzanine in a new hotel by the Ala Moana Mall, this was a very pricey spot that claimed haute cuisine with the Hawaiian lifestyle.  Unlike the other five-star restaurants on the Waikiki strip, this place welcomed beach goers and casual tourists.  As long as you had the money, you were welcome. 

 

Grateful he was not paying for any of this fantasy nightmare out of his own pocket, he tooled around the back of Waikiki and maneuvered back toward the park.  Cruising along the Ala Wai, he judged her mood to be good, really splendid, surprisingly.  She was holding his right hand resting on the gear shift bar, she was chattering about the blue of the water and perfect sky that matched his eyes. 

 

His muzzy mind drifted, aching from too much to drink and the headache lately acquired from his dramatic embarrassment on the beach.  Shifting to think of anything but that horrifying moment, he the thought back to his last conversation with his boss.

 

“I will get you out of this, Danno. Soon. I promise.”

 

Not soon enough.

 

“Danno, you’ve got to push her!  The sooner we get the poison out of circulation the sooner this nightmare is over!”

 

As they waited for a red light to change, the engine rumbling beneath them, the sun in their faces, Camille squeezed his hand, leaning her head back on the seat and seemed to revel in the moment.  “This is truly paradise, isn’t it, Danny?”

 

“Yes, yes it is.”  More unscrjpted lines.  Should he push?  “Camille, things are going very well, aren’t they?”

 

“Of course.”

 

“Am I making you happy?”

 

“Yes, of course.  It was a lovely moment.  On the beach, in front of hundreds of people.  They all know your undying love for me now, my sweet.  You’ve made me very happy.”

 

“Camille, what about more information on the toxin?”

 

She withdrew her hand and looked out the windshield.  “I think after we eat you will have to apply more suntan lotion on my shoulders darling  I would hate to burn.  We have to look perfect for our wedding.”

 

Horns honked behind him – impatient tourists! He put the car in gear, speeding through the green light.  Camille did not speak to him for the rest of the short journey, but she was humming some indefinable tune. Okay, she didn’t get angry, but she did change the subject.  Still ad-libbing.  He didn’t know what to make of it, and he felt sick and queasy and not sure he was up for any more drama today.

 

Push her… McGarrett’s command rattled in Dan’s head as he mindlessly trailed after his mistress, who led him by the hand into the restaurant.

 

The waiter gave them a table toward the back and after seating them promised to return with drinks.

 

Drawing a glass vial from her purse, she evenly commented, “Remember I have this with me always, Danny, darling.  Bad things will happen to people if you don’t do what I say.”

 

Watching her replace the vial with mute fascination, he felt the blood drain from his body.  Why was she reminding him now?  Wasn’t it going well?  Except for the beach fiasco?  Didn’t she say she was happy?  Did he push her too hard asking about the toxins?  Maybe he shouldn’t have brought it up at all?

 

“I’m sorry I had to do this, Danny, but now, somebody in this room is going to become an example.” The woman folded her napkin and pressed it into her lap primly and looked at him as if he were a school boy having a punishment meted out to him.

 

Dan felt a chill snake between his shoulder blades as he sat up straighter and studied her angry copper eyes. “What do mean somebody in this room is going to…” His voice trailed off. He knew what she meant…  Slowly, his eyes scanned the room for any signs of trouble OR for anyone whom he recognized as part of his surveillance team. Mentally re-tracing the steps they’d taken as they made their way to their table, Dan ruled out most of the customers off hand as victims since it was not possible for his murderous companion to have come into contact with them. Camille had been ahead of him the entire way, but… his mind raced… but there had been one misstep / near accident.

 

The woman had stepped into the path of a hapless waiter who’d been burdened with a tray full of drinks. Williams thought in passing that she could have taken a single step to the right to have avoided the collision, but for some reason, she chose to “not see” the burdened young man. The five drinks nearly tipped over onto the tray as Camille jostled the waiter’s arm, causing him to roughly set the tray down on the nearest table. Danny had not seen the woman behave as dramatically apologetic as she behaved then with the harried waiter.  The man distractedly accepted her expression of regret while she quickly helped him re-settle glasses.

 

It had seemed odd at the time even to Dan’s hangover-dulled senses, but now, the move took on a sinister glow. He racked his brain to remember to which table the beverages had been delivered. After a quick glance in Camille’s direction to see whether her body language offered any clues – it didn’t – he rose suddenly to get a better view of exactly what everyone was drinking.

 

“Danny! Sit down!” Camille hissed loudly. “You’ll cause a scene!”

 

Ignoring the woman’s command – he’d pay for that later, he was certain – his heart beat faster as he realized that it might already be too late. Think, Williams, think!! No answer jumped to the conscious part of his brain, but he opened his mouth and spoke loudly enough for everyone in the room to hear him.

 

“May I have your attention, please!

 

Camille gasped softly and brought her hand to her throat in a feminine display of oh-my-ness as Dan jostled their own table and drinks stepping into the aisle with the slight swagger of someone who’d had a little too much to drink. Most of the patrons and all of the restaurant employees looked calmly in the direction of the detective, who put on a good show of looking jovial as his eyes moved from table to table. Casually, and yet forcefully, he yanked a familiar glass from an older, portly gentleman who had been innocently bringing his iced tea to his lips.

 

“Please everyone pick up your glasses – I want to make a toast to the…” Dan felt his throat tighten, but he pressed on as he glanced back at the paralyzed creature at this table. “The love of my life – Camille – it took me longer than it should have, my darling, but now I know that you’re the only one for me.” He couldn’t look back at her, he couldn’t pull this off if he did. Scanning the tables, he had to find the tray of drinks.  Stall, stall.  “I’ve asked the lovely Camille to marry me.  I want you all to know we are going to be married!  This week!  Everyone drink to my bride-to-be!”

 

As he finished saying it, the correct configuration of drinks jumped out at him only two feet from where he was standing. Two tall brown glasses, a Mai Tai, and a coffee – that was it!! Quickly he turned his back on the table and raised the confiscated ice tea in a dramatic toast overture towards his “lady,” who – to his amazement – was looking demurely delighted with the public display of affection.

 

Feigning tipsy-ness, Williams fell backwards onto the suspect table, he could hear the crashing of plates and glasses and gasps and quiet screams as place settings tumbled to the floor. The act smarted, and he was certain he would end up bruised and bleeding, but he could think of no other way to stop a whole table full of people from downing their drinks.

 

Ooops… sorry…. I beg your pardon,” Dan rolled to one side and knocked to the floor the last standing drink – the coffee – with his arm while he pretended to be an order of magnitude more drunk than he was. Waiters and the maitre’d were upon him before he could completely extricate himself from the tablecloth.

 

“He’s been drinking a little too much – I’m so sorry,” Camille’s soft voice was there chiming in apologies with the restaurant manager as they all brought the detective to a standing position. Williams offered more apologies as they led him away.

 

“Darling, that was so sweet, but we’ve got to get you home,” the petite figure clutching Dan’s arm chastised.

 

“Yes… my love. You’ll forgive me, won’t you?” The detective begged sweetly.

 

“There’s nothing to forgive, honey,” she returned with a peck on his cheek.

 

Williams had barely breathed a sigh of relief at the two disasters he thought he’d managed to head off today when a commotion behind them made his head turn. One of the men – a heavy-set, older man in a green luau shirt – was beet red and his eyes were bulging.

 

“Harry!” What’s wrong? Somebody help him!” The woman upon whom –only moments before -- Dan had dumped a Mai Tai was screaming for assistance.

 

Camille’s fingernails dug into Dan’s arm as she pulled the aghast detective from the dining room. “Your wonderful engagement toast was just so sweet.” 

 

Numb, Williams walked along with her, dazed at the scene that had just played out in the restaurant.  With utter cold-blooded disregard, she had murdered.  Right there in front of him.  In front of countless witnesses, she had murdered! 

 

“You’ve made up for your little mistake with that horrible blonde, darling.  I don’t think I have to punish YOU anymore. It was too late to save that poor man.”

 

It was his responsibility.  This was on his head.  To punish him!  She had murdered to make sure he got the point; she was in control and command of him and everything he did or didn’t do to her satisfaction.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Ben Kokua and Paul Nakamura watched the insane scene of Danny publicly declaring his engagement to the crazy woman with silent, traded looks of astonished embarrassment for what their colleague was doing. There was no doubt in either of these officers’ minds that they would be taking no more part in the little jokes at Williams’ expense about the sweet undercover assignment he’d drawn. Looking on from behind some banana plants in the lobby of the restaurant, they almost leaped forward when the detective fell and toppled the table.

 

They dropped back against the wall to hide behind the thick green leaves as Williams was tugged away by the girl, past their position. Both turned their heads at the distraction in the dining room, when they saw a man on the floor and waiters running to the cashier and quietly, urgently, ordering her to call an ambulance – someone was having a heart attack.  Exchanging looks, Nakamura shook his head, following after Williams.  With a last look at the crisis, Kokua fell in with his colleague.

 

 

YYYYY

 

Doctor Martha Bishop not only came highly recommended by the higher echelon of HPD, but also the staff at the University of Hawaii and the Hawaii State Medical Board. Doctor Bergman considered her THE premier profiler of abnormal personalities and that was the bottom line in all respects for the head of Five-0.

 

An appointment was arranged over the phone, through the usual HPD red tape. Attending a court case in Hilo, Bishop was not due back to Honolulu until this morning, and the appointment could not be managed any sooner than after lunch because of her pressing schedule.

 

Having never met the psychiatrist, McGarrett risked making a bad impression, ticking her off, and ruining what could be a vital working relationship, by breaking all protocol. Ascertaining her incoming flight time and gate, the detective was there to meet her when she stepped into the open terminal of Aloha Air.

 

“Doctor Bishop?” he politely asked, stepping forward and showing his ID. “Steve McGarrett.”

 

The plump woman gave a charming smile. “I recognize you, Mister McGarrett. Your fame precedes you.”

 

“I know our appointment is later, Doctor, but I felt this couldn’t wait.” The anxiety of keeping tabs on Williams and his dangerous controller, the strain of still working blind – the court order for the wire taps still not through -- and losing valuable time, the dread that all of them were sitting on a powder-keg with a maniac holding the match, played on his nerves continually. “We’re in a critical and very sensitive position here and I need your help. Will you come with me now?”

 

The smile did not falter. “Certainly. Do we have time to retrieve my bags?”

 

“We do,” he smirked, appreciating her good sense of humor about his commandeering manner.

 

On the drive out to Kahala, McGarrett gave her a brief explanation that he was taking her to inspect the apartment of a young woman who was now a suspect in a case Valiantly, he trapped in his anxiety that this was not just any case, and that his friend could be in mortal peril. He wanted to give her as little information as possible until she saw for herself the horror of the apartment. From there, he would give her any detail she wanted, as long as she could give him an accurate profile of this monster and offer any clues that would crack Griggs’ invulnerability and finish her cruel drama.

 

Once they arrived at Griggs’ apartment, it was only with effort that he restrained himself from physically pushing Bishop along to what he REALLY wanted her to see.  He paced in edgy patience as she took in the outer rooms of the apartment. Meandering slowly from place to place, she silently studied furniture, cupboards – even the contents of the fridge! 

 

At last, she moved on to the second bedroom where Steve rushed ahead to open the door for her and flip on the lights. The contained, clinical and collected doctor released a quiet gasp, while she stood there on the threshold, frozen in immobile surprise.

 

The reaction put him even more on edge and he flexed his fists until she barely moved into the room. From a distance, she surveyed the collage pictures pasted in mismatched patterns to the walls.

 

As if startled that he was still there, she jolted, turning to look at him with a pale face. “This person has not been hospitalized before?”

 

“No.” His staff had checked police and health records. No blip on any radar for legal or mental problems. She had never cracked the surface of the system until a few days ago when she started her murderous criminal career. “I know she’s twisted –”

 

Her face took on an irritated sternness. “She is sick, Mister McGarrett. Seriously, profoundly deranged.”

 

Glad in some respect that the psychiatric expert felt the same way he did, the fact also heightened his alarm. “I believe you, Doctor,” he returned, the frustration of the situation hitting him full force. The insane killing of a janitor, the hostage-play she was forcing Danno to live – it was all madness. That Bishop agreed was partially good news. That her reaction was so extreme was worrisome.

 

“These bits and pieces are her religious artifacts. Do you know the person with whom she is fixated?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“And you have him in a place where he won’t have contact with her?”

 

His throat was dry and tight. “No.”

 

Methodically, in an orderly fashion, she started at the left carefully, examining the first pictures on wall. Suddenly, with a gasp and a delicate clutch of her chest, she stopped.

 

“Doctor, are you all right?” His voice was brittle as his raw nerves.

 

She turned to him, her face devoid of color. “The man in these pictures. She’s obsessed with Danny Williams!”

 

McGarrett stalked up to stand next to the much shorter woman. “You know Danny Williams?”

 

“Yes.” She seemed to have trouble catching her breath. “He – he was in one of my criminal psychology classes last year!  A night class!  He was so – so interested. Very—” Her voice broke. “Studious. Charming...” Shaking her head, she placed a hand on her face. “I can’t believe he is the one…”

 

“Doctor, would you like to sit down?”

 

“No,” she took a breath before she refuted more firmly. “No.” 

 

Straightening her shoulders as if in resolve, Bishop started a serious perusal of the evidence plastered on the walls. Periodically she would stop. A few times – when she reached the places where pictures were mutilated, faces clawed, she stepped back, muttering wordless gasps, shaking her head.

 

McGarrett’s nerves twisted to a snapping point when she stopped at the shrine. Slowly shaking her head in a negative manner, she started wringing her hands. Bishop was definitely starting to scare him.

 

Spinning to face him, the mild-mannered psychiatrist was outraged. “She’s obsessed with Danny. Jealous of anyone who is part of his life, even in a casual way. She’s inserted her pictures into his life to feed her psychosis that she IS part of his life. If she comes into contact with him – and I suspect she will try, if she hasn’t already – the barrier between the fantasy and her reality could well be shattered.”

 

Forcing down the fear, he demanded explanations. “In plain terms, Doctor! What does that mean?”

 

“She lives in two compartmentalized worlds. Reality, where she works, lives, buys groceries. There, she is simple, basic, mundane. Achingly plain. Everything here reflects this; the beige, neutral tones of furniture, clothing, dishes. Probably even her car.”

 

“Beige Corvair,” he quietly confirmed.

 

“No one would notice her, no heads turn when she enters a room or walks down the street. She has probably spent her life feeling invisible. It could go back all the way to her childhood –”

 

“Please don’t site me theories about her childhood, Doctor!” he pled with exasperation. “She’s a threat here and now!  I need to stop her in this time zone!”

 

Unfazed by the tense rebuke, she continued patiently. “Her fantasy realm is within this room. With this level of obsession…” The doctor took her arm and made a sweeping gesture across the walls. “It would not surprise me if she were ready to take the next step.”

 

“The next step being…” the detective tersely tried to speed up the flow of information.

 

“The next step, Mister McGarrett, would be an attempt to live out her fantasy – to inject herself into Danny’s life.” Bishop paused to study the detective’s tense expression. Her gaze penetrated him. “Is that what this is about?”

 

Steve’s shoulders slumped slightly as he admitted that this was in fact the case. He outlined the story, from Griggs snatching of Danno out of the parking lot, her threat to unleash a toxin upon an unsuspecting public, her fake name and the script she was forcing Williams to enact with her, right up to the incidents at the restaurant and on the beach.

 

When the detective turned away to study the doll house, Bishop quietly intoned, “This is a very bad situation indeed.”

 

“Yeah, Doc, I figured that much out,” McGarrett breathed before he took in one more cleansing breath and refocused on the petite physician. “And we’ve also managed to become convinced that she has the wherewithal to carry out her threat to contaminate the food supply somehow. You… mentioned something about Danno staying away from her – clearly, it’s too late for that. Will she hurt him?”

 

“I can’t guarantee the actions of a mentally ill—”

 

“I KNOW that, Doc,” McGarrett’s voice rose to a near shout before he lowered his volume and continued. “I’m asking for your expert opinion. I know she’s willing to kill…”

 

Bishop nodded, “Her plan has been meticulously planned and laid out in an exacting fashion typical to someone with this type of mental illness. She will kill anyone who gets in the way. The toxins she threatens to release are real, and she will allow them to contaminate the populous if she is not obeyed, you may take that threat to be completely real.”

 

The head of Five-0 listened to her ill-boding words, but pressed again for an answer to the question which burned in his mind. “Will she hurt Danno?”

 

“I’m guessing not – he is very integral to the successful execution of her play after all. As long as her plan is proceeding smoothly.”

 

Returning to a perusal of the walls, she shuddered when she stopped at the picture of the beach house and the word, MANDERLEY. “Don’t confront her,” she sternly warned. “I can tell you things you can not do under any circumstances, and threatening her will send her over edge where there may be no way to stop her from terrible consequences. If you intend to search her fantasy abode, make sure you leave everything exactly how she left it. Not a thing should be out of place. Do not wear any lingering fragrances or colognes.”

 

McGarrett scoffed at that and she gave him a stern lecture about the fact that people in Griggs’ kind of mental state were sense-heightened in all areas. Smell, touch, sight, hearing – everything was exaggerated. She would notice the smallest of things, and reprisal of some sort would be certain.

 

Aware of her threats so far, of her torturous treatment of Williams, he did not doubt the danger of the woman.

 

“What about here? She won’t be coming back, I bet. She’s too entrenched in her fantasy with Danno to do that.”

 

“Very astute,” Bishop complimented. “I agree.”

 

Maintaining the stake out on the apartment, just in case, he escorted Bishop back to the car. As they drove into Honolulu, she promised to work up a profile immediately and advice on ways to get around Griggs’ mania.

 

Manderley. You DO understand the significance of her pseudonyms, and one of the most famous literary places of all time, do you not?”

“Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier; ‘Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.’ Yes, I recognized the line.” McGarrett shrugged, working through the names in question. “The names?”

“She’s chosen a blend of two tragic heroines. Camille – what is the first thing you think of when you hear that name?”

 

“The old movie with Greta Garbo and Robert Taylor…” He stared at her, and gulped, “Tragic love.”

 

“And Rebecca? The first Mrs. Max DeWinter?”

 

DeWinter,” he whispered. “And Manderley, the DeWinter mansion by the sea…”

 

“Yes, Mister McGarrett, the estate by the sea where so many secrets unfold. Another tragic heroine. Like everything else, your Camille has arranged, or scripted in her case, this is important. Her alter ego is tragic. She may be playing the happy lover now, but like all rich dramas it is filled with angst and heart-tugging pathos. Camille dies at the end of the film. Rebecca De Winter died and Manderlay is destroyed. You will find that this fantasy has limits. Probably because of her finances.”

 

“She withdrew every cent from her savings and checking accounts.”

 

Bishop tsked darkly. “A finite, enclosed limit.”

 

“What does that mean? At some point, before she went completely around the bend, she had to know that this was not going to last. Eventually we would catcher her!  She has to realize she can’t keep Danno hostage forever!”

 

She studied him with skin-itching intensity. “Remember Manderley and Camille. Symbolically, the perfect vision of happiness is tragically destroyed.”

 

Symbolism – he hated it when the twisted criminal had some kind of message and it was obscure to all but the warped mind that invented it. “The mass murder she threatened?” His blood went chill. “Despite everything, is she going to release the toxin anyway?”

 

“I don’t know about that. I agree, she knows it will not last. Perhaps HER tragedy will be when she reveals the details of the toxin, and is separated from Danny.”

 

“But?” He knew she had something else brewing in her mind. “I need to know what she is going to do!  Her next steps – and I don’t mean plans for a trip to Sea Life Park!  How much of a danger is she to Danno? She’s making him play her sick game, and threatening to kill more people. Is there a chance she’ll turn on Danno?”

 

“There is no way for me to predict what course this will take.” At his impatient, irritated scoff, she sharply replied, “This has to play out. There have been cases of people who’ve had complete breaks with reality, and then return to normal. It’s possible she may not remember doing this at all.”

 

“Oh, come on –“

 

“She is unstable, that is obvious,” Bishop almost argued with him.  “Unbalanced people react differently according to the individual. Camille might reach the end of her play, and come out of it – like snapping your finger after a hypnotist finishes his session. I’m not sure there’s anything else you can do except ride it out –carefully. But remember this, the play means everything and it is important for Danny to do everything she wants.”

 

McGarrett ground his teeth. “That’s it? Just have Danno do whatever she wants?”

 

“I know you want a more explicit roadmap through this woman’s psyche, but I can’t give it to you. I don’t know the end of her story. I can’t predict it – mental science is not a crystal ball, it’s more like rolling the dice.”

 

Doctor Bishop was right – none of this was what McGarrett wanted to hear. He expected – desperately hoped for – a magic solution from this doctor, not elusive psychiatric theories. What he did appreciate was the analysis that everything had been meticulously planned and executed. Sue Ellen Griggs went all out to create the perfect fantasy. And he did appreciate the warning that anybody who stepped in to mess with it could be dealt with decisively. That meant innocent bystanders, cops, or even the object of her obsession.

 

 “When this is all over, I should probably do a counseling session with Danny.”

 

“Why?”

 

“I’ve worked with the police for years and I know how difficult undercover work can be for the officers. Forced into a repugnant role like this for the sake of innocent lives? Knowing any mistake he makes can mean death to many? That kind of pressure is too much to carry alone for long.”

 

Anything Danno wanted – or needed -- was his after this mess was over. Going through what he was enduring with Griggs was worth any recompense. All McGarrett wanted out of it was Griggs’ confession on the whereabouts of all the toxins and Danno back in one piece.

 

“Last night I dreamt I saw Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me.” Bishop smiled. “Rebecca was on my list for book reports in my high school freshman year. I practically memorized those dramatic lines. I credit the twisted psyche of Mrs. Danvers as sparking my interest into psychology. She has to be one of the most sinister characters in literature.”

 

“Sinister. Right up there with Moriarty and Camille DeWinter,” McGarrett tersely added. “Except THIS Camille is anything but fiction.”

 

“Yes, Mister McGarrett, I agree.” She turned toward him and studied his profile. “You call him Danno. An endearment. You’re close to Danny, then?”

 

“He’s been my indispensable second-in-command for a little while,” McGarrett replied tersely, realizing he had been exposing a little too much of his personal feelings to this expert dissector of minds, but then somehow felt compelled to confess, “I’m very concerned for his safety.”

 

Smirking, she gave a knowing nod. “He’s a good young man. I’m glad he’s got someone fighting for him with such dedication. Someone who so passionately cares about his welfare. I’m very glad, Mister McGarrett. He needs that… especially in the role into which he’s been forced.”

 

Considering her to be not just on their side, but an ally who understood them, the cop gave a nod. “Call me Steve.”

 

“Very well, Steve. You may call me Martha. And we will get Danny back.”

 

“Yes, we will.”

 

YYYYY

 

 

The drive back to the beach house was pure misery. Stomach rippling with illness, mind screaming with loathing and guilt, Dan was grateful that she was not demanding him to keep to the script. It called for him to lavish Camille with sweet talk and caresses with lines he had no hope of remembering now. All he could think of was the man’s gagging chokes which echoed in their wake as they departure Paradise Village.

 

He didn’t think he could say anything without searing her with his hatred – which would bring even more recriminations upon some unsuspecting innocent. Gratefully, she seemed so transported with delight at her deeds that she silently caressed his arm, ran her fingernails along the skin of his tense fist gripped to the gear shift knob. 

 

Filled with revulsion, he kept repeating to himself this was all a role. Steve had reminded him of that important factor. Lives depended upon how well he performed, how happy he kept Camille.  And if he didn’t – well – she had amply demonstrated how adept she was at both premeditated and impulsive murder.

 

His stomach roiled with nausea from his compulsory role and probably his first ever anxiety attack which was mental as well as physical, it seemed. When Camille dug into his hand, demanding a loving response to her cooing and blathering, he restrained himself to a vague response, unable to remember any lines from the script. Would she punish him for that, too? Ashamed of what he was being forced to do, mortified at his own reactions to the circumstances, he was mollified that at least his ohana could not see him now. Steve and Kono witnessing the down-on-his-knees begging on the beach was bad enough. Now, the kid-brother detective known for his cool, for his mediating, calm personality, was ailing because of his nerves. Steve – what would he think of him now – he was responsible for killing a man!

 

What had he been thinking about trying to pump her for information right on the heels of the beach incident? In retrospect, it now seemed obvious that he was likely to bump into some former girlfriend. Shouldn’t he have been able to predict her anger and jealousy?

 

“Danny!”

 

Williams looked back at the road just in time to note he was drifting into the wrong lane. Adjusting the wheel on the responsive Mustang, he gripped tight for a moment, cursing that he was in the machine of his dreams and could never appreciate it. The clean, sea air blowing in his hair, the warm sun on his skin, the exhilaration of the muscle machine under his control at the tap of the accelerator – all heady sensory inputs that he was forced to ignore! Even in this strained condition, for the past few days he had been able to find a slight respite from the abhorrence when driving this amazing car. Now, though, he was working too hard on the problem at hand, not focusing on the road, but mentally preparing for the next round with his psycho companion.

 

“Sorry. Camille… darling,” he breathed.

 

The inadvertent meeting with the girls on Waikiki had plunged the psycho into a cold barrier of disdainful, calculating, murderous fury. His poorly-timed attempt to extract information about the toxins had not helped – of that he was certain (Why was his brain not able to fully engage? The alcohol? Stress?) She had made her point – Five-0, he, and Camille knew it all too well – and now, she had returned to her candy sweet role, and expected him to act in kind.

 

Shifting back into first gear, he pulled through the gates, swallowing the revulsion at returning to his prison. Parking in the garage, he followed her desultorily into the house. She glanced over her shoulder only once to ensure that her lover was following along like a puppy.

 

 “You have lines to memorize for tonight,” she called over her shoulder in a sing song voice.

 

“Yes, my love,” Dan responded meekly, too spent to offer more. He followed her to the adjoining suite. As was the ritual, she laid out his evening clothes and hers. She was going to prepare his next scenes and allow him this time to rest. There was no TV, and she would not allow him to swim if she was not on the beach with him, so he did as he was bid.

 

After a shower, he dressed into his evening suit and paced, trying, and not succeeding, in removing the memory of death – it’s sights and sounds – as the man in the restaurant choked out his last, dying breaths while his loved ones looked on in helpless horror -- until he was too tired to move or think. When that tragic moment was not replaying in his mind, it was the humiliation on the beach – he forced his thoughts away from that. Holding his stomach, curling onto the bed, afraid to close his eyes but too miserable to try to stay awake,  As a mental champion, he produced the image of McGarrett, replaying the only decent moment in days – his friend assuring him that this would be over soon – he was watching and supporting even in impotence. Dan napped until she burst through the door and delivered the lines of his next scene. He glanced through them, and suspected that the scenes here were key. The formal marriage proposal – a day or two ago, he might have grown more tense with the realization that he would have to kneel before Camille and ask for her hand in marriage, but now – after the two mortifying incidents he’d lived through earlier this day – he had no emotional energy to spare.

 

By the dinnertime, he hoped he had his scene down. There could be no more mistakes on his part. Everything had to be perfect. Her vengeance was sharp, precise and immediate, and she knew he would do anything to save more lives.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

On the Five-0 chief’s drive back to the Palace, Dispatch patched through an urgent message from Paul Nakamura. Heart rate increasing just thinking about what might have happened now, he snatched up the mic.

 

“McGarrett.”

 

“Steve, we’re tailing Danny and the girl, but thought you better know about what happened after the beach.”

 

The horrible groveling in Waikiki – what could be worse than that? “What?”

 

“Danny made a big scene at the Paradise Village. He acted like he was pupule drunk – knocked over a table, broke dishes, spilled drinks. He left with the girl. I don’t know if this is a coincidence or what, but right as they were leaving, this tourist keeled over like he was choking or having a heart attack or something.”

 

“What?” McGarett nearly slammed on the brakes, but he was in traffic and instead slowed to pull over to the curb. “Did anyone stay to find out what happened?”

 

“Not one of our guys.”

 

“What about Danno?”

 

“He and the girl are back at Hawaii Kai.”

 

Heart attack. Peachy. She was mad about the girls at the beach… “You stay there and report anything – ANYTHING – that is out of order – anything that happens! You got that?”

 

“Got it.”

 

He signed off and patched through to the lab, ordering Che to get a crew over to the restaurant and get a hold of whatever the downed tourist was eating and drinking. He called Duke to secure the scene and make up whatever story he had to for a cover. Plunging back into traffic, he wondered if his suspicions were right, and knew there could be no other explanation. He could not accept this as a coincidence. He thought back to Bishop’s assessment; everything was exaggerated. A mistake would be monumental and possibly deadly. She would make reprisals and they would be very unpleasant.

 

Griggs had been livid with Danno. Was this her retaliation? Heaven help them if it was. No one would be safe from revenge against any of her imagined slights. Poor Danno. He HAD to get his friend out of the clutches of this mad murderer!

 

Not sure how it would help, McGarrett nonetheless changed his plan to return straight to his office. A visit with Walter Stuart was in order. Stuart was a good attorney, and Steve knew him to be a solid, by-the-book prosecutor, both in civilian and military court. If the Attorney General had one shortcoming which grated on McGarrett’s nerves, it was the man’s near-irrational dislike for Dan Williams. Stuart had objected at every turn to, first, Dan’s appointment to Five-0, and then later, to his promotion to second-in-command. No matter how hard Danno tried to get along with the man, Walter would not have it. McGarrett smirked as he considered that not all of Stuart’s anger with Williams was unjustified. Danno took a lot from the AG – upon the strict order from his boss -- but occasionally, the young detective would lash out in what was generally some subtle fashion. Steve had decided early on that the two men would have to find their own alliance, however uneasy, without interference from him. But today, McGarrett felt differently.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

It’s okay, Frieda – I’ll announce myself!” McGarrett snapped at the Attorney General’s secretary as he strode past the older woman’s large, sentry-style desk.

 

She started to collect the phone, but obviously decided that it was pointless, so with a slight shake of her head, she sighed and returned to her attention to the notepad in her hand.

 

Walter Stuart jumped when his door popped open. “What on earth are doing barging in here, Steve?”

 

“What I wanna know, Walter, is why I don’t have that expanded warrant to search the property where Sue Griggs is holding Danno!”

 

“HOLDING HIM? It looked to me last night like HE was holding HER!” Stuart jumped to his feet as the imposing detective approached and stood on the other side of his desk.

 

“Oh yeah – that reminds me! Thanks for not controlling your wife! Were you listening when I said the suspect was dangerous?” McGarrett spat accusingly.

 

Equally angry, Stuart fired back, “She didn’t look too dangerous in a pink cocktail dress, wrapped your boy’s arms!”

 

“Danno is risking his life to prevent this woman from killing – just because you’re too small to admit you were wrong, you’re gonna make him suffer, isn’t that right, Walter?!”

 

“My personal feelings about Danny’s capabilities have nothing to do with my position on this case,” Stuart defended loudly. “You have a warrant which covers that woman’s legal domicile and her place of work – for me to get a judge to issue anything more, I would have to be seriously convinced that this is not just one of Danny’s little romantic entanglements – and I have to tell you, Steve, that’s exactly what it looked like to me!”

 

“The governor is on line one.” Frieda’s voice made both men start slightly.

 

With a deep frown, Stuart punched the blinking line on the phone and collected the handset. “Yes, sir…. I’m working on it right now.”

 

Without waiting to hear more, the detective spun and stormed out of the office. He would find another way

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

When called, Danny came into the formal dining room and was surprised it was set for an intimate, romantic dinner. Candles adorned the table set with fine crystal, glittering silverware and elegant china. The food actually smelled good – beef and rice maybe -- an appetite that had hibernated the past few days momentarily surfaced. He had been off his game; constant stress, anxiety, resentment, had knocked him out of sorts on all levels.

 

Camille, dressed in an evening gown in a black and white Hibiscus pattern, matched the vest of his tuxedo. Swallowing hard, working to remember his lines, his stomach tightened again and lost all interest in food. This was the big night and she had set the stage, here in the elegant dining room that opened to the ocean. The waves crashed on the lava rocks outside. The fresh breeze ruffled the white tablecloth. A romantic moment right out of a novel.

 

Camille approached with two filled Champagne flutes, hading one to him. Coyly, she clicked her glass to his and they both sipped, arms intertwined. At least she seemed back in the play again and had lost her cold anger. Relaxing a little, he scoured his mind for the exact words. He had to get this right, because this was one of the most important scenes of her fantasy, he was sure.

 

Leading her out to the deck, drinking until the glass was empty, as did his captor, he stopped at the edge of the sand. The fresh Trade wind brushed against his skin with warm brine. The nearly full moon was just tipping a curve over the slope of Koko Head across the bay. Hoping to score points, which he desperately needed to make up, he put his heart and soul into this passionate moment. Impulsively, he reached down and removed his shoes and socks, then slipped off her evening sandals, leading them into the gentle tide at the edge of the rocks.

 

“Camille, your beauty can only be imitated by the stars and the moon and the wonders around us.” He went down on one knee, the waves lapping around them. “I can’t live without you completely and totally in my life. Not for another moment. I have no other thought in my life but for you to be my wife. Marry me, Camille.”

 

Demurely, she smiled. “Oh, Danny, are you sure you want me to be the one to spend the rest of your life with?”

 

“Absolutely. Without doubt. You are the only one,” he assured, ignoring the roiling in his stomach and the queasiness rushing all the way to his throat. Savagely pushing himself into the role, he continued, “Camille, since we met there’s been no one else in my world. You are my only love. I need you to be my wife – I want you to be my wife.

 

Throwing their glass onto the rocks, clasping both of his hands in hers, she urged him to stand beside her. “Then my answer is yes.”

 

He kissed her more passionately than he had ever been allowed. It was in the script, and while he found it detestable, he also was surprised to note she was the one to recoil. She could imagine the stuff, he concluded as she stared at him in breathless surprise. She could write it in her little, sick drama. When it came to the real life breathing hard, touching skin, rising physical reactions to an intimate kiss, she scurried away in fright like the innocent academic that she was beneath this façade. For a moment, the analysis made him feel smug and superior, but that was a sham. Still trapped, a prisoner of her demented fantasy, he was in no position to feel anything but resentment and a constant undercurrent of desperation for this to end.

 

Dinner was a salad of mixed greens, beef stroganoff and rice with cheesecake for dessert. And way too much Champagne – a full glass with each course. Pretty sick of the overdose of liquor, hardly touching the food, the scripted dinner conversation ranged through their future together and how much they loved each other. He noticed she did not drink as much as him. He tried to stop the flow of Champagne, but she would not hear of him drinking less than what she demanded. It occurred to him, as he felt woozy, that she might have the stuff spiked.

 

At bedtime, dressed in yet another pair of pajama bottoms, there was more Champagne. She joined him on the bed with the usual filled glasses. He was already really feeling heavy and lethargic, but she watched him too closely for him to try dumping the bubbly in a plant or something. He didn’t dare tick her off by refusing, so he complied, consoled that soon, like previous nights, he would drop into a severe sleep and not remember what happened. That was a two-edged sword; he hated the loss of control, but it was a blessing since he did not want to know what happened to him at night.

 

“Sleep well, my love,” she commanded as she took the empty glass from his relaxed hand. Planting a kiss on his forehead, she pushed him back against the plush, silk enclosed pillows. Folding down his eyelids, she kissed each one. “You have tried very hard, my love, I know.” Her voice was cold and grating again. She brushed his hair with her fingers. “They touched you like this,” she whispered sharply. Then she brushed her hand across his chest. “And like this, they touched you. That is not allowed,” she hissed.

 

He shook his head, trying to refute her accusation which made the beach incident more than just a chance encounter. Those women had no idea he was trapped in an insane melodrama – a romance novel gone bonkers!  Think!  He had to think!  The muzzy darkness was swaddling him in its folds of cushiony blackness and amnesia…

 

“You have your sweet dreams, my dearest. I must punish the one who threatened our happiness,” her hard, vicious voice cracked with wrath.

 

He tried to sit up, tried to open his eyes, but everything – his eyelids, his arms – was too heavy. Dan drifted into blackness with a feeling of oppression, helplessness and despair.

 

 

YYYYY

 

Still seething with Stuart, the head of Five-0 chose to channel his rage into something more productive. Normally a job delegated to others on his staff, McGarrett took on the tedious, mundane task of searching through Griggs’’ belongings himself. The stretched-too-thin work forceFive-0, and his personal connection to the case, brought him onto a first-hand investigative level which was unusual and exhausting.

 

Late, the regular staff long gone, he was the only one in the office. After much cajoling, and first delivering the boss a sandwich and fresh coffee, May had left. Chin Ho was at home to rest up for the next day’s early start of surveillance, and Kono remained on stake out duty at the beach house. Che Fong had stayed long enough to perform initial lab work on the food and drink of the deceased tourist from Paradise Village. The tests confirmed he was killed with the deadly toxin from Griggs.

 

With everyone else occupied, that left McGarrett with the option of going home (because no action was expected from Griggs tonight), or staying here and working. His choice was obvious. After the unsettling day, he could not just abandon his friend – even in spirit – leave the office. Nor could he find any relaxation when the personal items confiscated might give them the answers they needed to crack the case.

 

Routinely, detectives had to sort through bills, receipts, grocery lists – whatever minutia was found in a suspect’s home to further a case. In this investigation, they had yielded almost nothing from the normal paper residue of modern life. Griggs’ bank statements, cancelled checks, pay stubs, etc were all being sorted, but so far it was the story of a regimented lifestyle up until this month, when everything changed for the twenty-six year old chemist. Suddenly, with no warning, she had withdrawn her savings and checking accounts in cash, quit her job, and gone on a massive spending spree with clothing, jewelry, home furnishings, the lease of a brand new Mustang, and the rental of a lavish beach house. May was still sorting through all those receipts and contracts.

 

Knowing this was necessary paperwork, knowing it was helping Danno, however minutely, he persisted. What McGarrett became fascinated with, and what was stacked on his long side table in his office, were the telling collections of what he considered her secret life. It was a symbolism for the psyche, he imagined, and was spending hours of time he could have been sleeping, or on stake-out himself, to instead study what he felt was the psychological core of his nemesis.

 

Outside, Sue Ellen Griggs was a mousey, quiet, studious, hard-working brain. Her looks, clothes, car and most of her apartment reflected a dreary lifestyle that was ordinary and commonplace in the extreme. No personal pictures, no stack of magazines, not even a small animal could be found to make her life more dimensional. Only two books were found in the living room of her apartment – pristine, hard-bound, expensive editions of Romeo and Juliet, and Rebecca, held  a place of honor in her home – as if they were museum pieces, they looked like they were never touched.

 

Stretching, pacing past the massive stacks of books on the table, he shook his head. Here was the inner glimpse into the madwoman against whom he was pitted. Here was her heart and soul – captured and exposed to her enemy – but he was not yet able to grasp the true importance of what he was studying. Confiscated from under her bed – in containers that were not dusty -- stacked before him, were seventy-eigh, well-read paperbacks. Almost all of them were boy-meets-girl romances.

 

May had thumbed through a few and pronounced them almost adolescent in their writing quality and content. Something high school girls would pour over and gossip about on those long weekends when they did not have dates.

 

The exception to the overwhelming majority of books, were three worn nearly to the point of falling apart. Rebecca had been leafed through and highlighted with a pink marker until most of the pages were loose and too thin to read. Wuthering Heights and Romeo and Juliet were worn out as well. Inside Rebecca, May had found magazine pictures of wedding dresses. He didn’t know what the other books might contain. In the morning, he would turn all this over to Bishop and see if she could shed any more light on the twisted personality they were facing.

 

The errant thought came to McGarrett that Danno was lucky Griggs was not into the steamy, lurid romances, and read only the chaste, innocent-meets-her-first love novels. It was a small thing, but something that Steve considered a slight positive in this overwhelmingly frustrating and distasteful case.

 

The phone rang, dislocating him from the busywork of searching through more papers.

 

YYYYY

 

 

It was easy to think of falling asleep: The gentle ebb and flow of the ocean drifting in with the breeze through the open car window was like a lullaby. The subdued moonlight cresting over the lip of Koko Head, casting a silvery wash over the dark sea and the house-light spotted landscape; nature’s nightlight. Kono sat up straight when he realized twin headlights were coming down the private beach house drive.

 

Slumping back down, so as not to be seen, he wondered at this break in the pattern. When Danny and that maniac returned to the house, they never left. Why now? He couldn’t help but think of the disastrous scene on the beach today. Seeing Danny on his knees begging to that creepy witch was sickening. Sammy Ho had made a few jokes about it as they rallied to follow the couple, but Kono had squelched any ribald humor at the expense of his colleague. Danny was in a tough situation and few of the extended support officers had a clue what was really going on here.

 

The red Mustang bounced out of the driveway, scraping sparks on the asphalt as it screeched past. The Griggs woman behind the wheel, there was no sign of Danny! Of course, Williams would never treat a prized car like that!  Hesitating, not sure what to do with this surprise, he started the engine and turned the car around before switching on the lights and following at a safe distance. Picking up the mic, he put in a call to the Palace.

 

It was after ten PM, but he knew where Steve would be tonight – like every other night since this started. Sure enough, the boss picked up almost instantly.

 

“Steve, the crazy lady just rocketed out of the beach pad. No Danny with her.”

 

“No Danno?” The voice was strained and heightened with anxiety. “All right, you stick with her, Kono. Don’t loose her!  I’m going to check on Danno.”

 

The fear in McGarrett’s voice brought his own to the surface. “You don’t think she did something to him after what happened today on the beach, do you?”

 

“She’d better not have,” he growled dangerously. “If she did -- Just stay on her and if she heads back to the beach house, I want to know so I can get out of there in time.”

 

“Right.”

 

Determined not to loose her, Kono shortened the distance between them. It was a tricky judgment, but he could not afford to be the one to fail in this crucial operation. What if she was heading for her stash of poison? She had killed already. Or maybe she was going to poison someone right now? In her anger after the girls approached Danny, she was probably capable of anything. He had never seen a woman look so jealous!  Again thankful he was not the one held captive in this strange trap by a madwoman, he focused on the taillights of the Mustang.

 

The inferno-shaded Ford slowed to nearly a stop, as if the driver was looking for a street. Sure enough, at the next light on Kalani Highway, she turned left into the Kahala district. Cruising Kahala Avenue, she came to a stop across the street from one of the beach estates. Parking at the curb and shutting off the headlights, Kono grabbed his binoculars and read the address. He called in to Central and asked for the ID of the residents. It belonged to Richard Cooke.

 

The red Mustang cruised slowly down the quiet street again, then, as he was about to follow, made a U-turn. He slumped down again as the vehicle stopped across from the house again. Griggs was focusing on someone in the house – no – on the second-story lanai. On the mauka lanai, he saw, through the binoculars, a woman talking on the phone – it was Trudy!  Or course, Trudy Cooke, Danny’s old girlfriend!  The stunning blond with more money than she knew what to do with. Who liked to go to surf meets and play with the surfers for a night or a weekend, then move on to some other activity. She had drifted in and out of Danny’s life for a few years – nothing special, nothing expected – the way both of them liked untangled and uncomplicated relationships. Boy, Danny sure could pick em. Griggs – what was she doing here? Whatever it was, it wouldn’t be good. He put in another call to Central and patched through to McGarrett, who was in his car, traveling to the beach house.

 

“Steve, we got big pilikia. The Griggs lady just pulled up in front of Trudy Cooke’s – the blond from Waikiki this morning – the one who ruined Danny’s scene.”

 

“What’s she doing?”

 

“She’s parked across the street watching Trudy – wait –she’s moving again.” He watched for a moment. “She’s turning around AGAIN and cruising past the house like she’s going to do something.”

 

“Stop her, Kono, but you can’t tip our hand!  If she knows she’s being tailed there’s no telling what she’ll do!  But don’t let her hurt that girl, either!  She obviously sees Trudy as some kind of threat!  Stop her!”

 

“How am I supposed to do that?”

 

“Think of something-- anything!”

 

Waiting until the Mustang was past, wondered if he could get HPD to call her and warn her – no – she was on the phone and an emergency break through the line by an operator would take too much time!

 

The Hawaiian detective dashed from his car and dove into to the bushes avoid being spotted. Pushing his way through the prickley flora, he popped out on the opposite side of the hedge, and kept low as he hurried along the fence. Slipping in a maintenance gate, he jogged to the house and was lucky enough to find some back stairs. Racing up, he clung to the shadows when he noted the Mustang had disappeared. Rounding the corner of the lanai, he was spotted immediately by Trudy. He gave her a wave and with his finger to his lips, he motioned for her to be quiet.

 

“We need to talk wikiwiki,” he whispered.

 

Quizzical, she told the person on the phone she had to go and hung up. Firmly gripping her arm, he pushed her into the room and closed the lanai doors. “You remember me, right?”

 

“Kono, sure,” she smiled, a little curious, a little humored. “Is this one of Danny’s jokes?”

 

“No.”

 

The doorbell downstairs rang.

 

Kono nearly jumped out of his skin. “We’re involved in a serious stake out – that’s what Danny was doing on Waikiki today. There’s someone coming here to hurt you and you can’t open that door.”

 

The doorbell rang three times in short succession.

 

“I’ll explain everything, but we have to get rid of this lady.”

 

“Get rid of her? Isn’t that your department?” the perfectly shaped blond with striking blue eyes smiled. She made a gun with her finger and thumb, pretending to shoot him.

 

“I don’t—”

 

“Never mind – you need her to leave -- is that the story?”

 

“Yeah. Maybe we can make her think you’re not a threat.” He shook his head in frustration. “I don’t know how to do that.”

 

She grabbed his hand and trotted downstairs. She went to open the door, but Kono pushed her to the side. Drawing his weapon, he stood protectively in front of her. A loud knock preceded numerous, frustrated rings.

 

Holding Trudy behind him, Kono growled, “Hey, whatcha want?” he responded in a disguised voice.

 

“I’m a friend of Trudy’s. This is Trudy’s house, isn’t it?”

 

“We don’t want to be disturbed,” he rasped back. “Go away.”

 

Snickering, Trudy leaned forward and around his big chest yelled, “Is that you, Sherry? Go away!  Richie and I don’t want to be disturbed!  And if you want to go party with Eddie, tell him I’m not interested anymore.” She playfully squeezed the cop. “Richie is all the man I need!”

 

“Sorry,” came the uncertain reply.

 

Blushing from the embrace and comments, even if it was acting, Kono listened as the footsteps on the front porch receded. When he could no longer hear them, he raced upstairs to the mauka study from where he had entered. Shutting off the lights, he slipped out onto the lanai and watched as Griggs as she crossed to the Mustang and drove away.

 

Mahalo,” he breathed to Trudy before he rushed down the stairs.

 

“Tell Danny to stop by anytime – and tell him that I won’t make him BEG,” she laughed and waved goodbye.

 

Kono nodded and smiled, but he burned with embarrassment for his colleague and friend. Danny did not deserve this. He jumped in the LTD and revved the engine, tearing out to continue his job of following Griggs. With no alternative in mind, the big Hawaiian assumed that the suspect might be returning to the beach house, so he sped back towards the Kalani Highway, and was relieved to catch sight of the unmistakable Mustang. With his suspicion borne out, his thoughts raced to his boss’s circumstance. Beads of sweat broke out on his face as he collected the radio and requested a patch through to the Five-0 chief.

 

McGarrett.

 

“Steve, the pupule wahine just turned onto Kalani Highway again, heading Koko Head. I think she’s coming back your way!”

 

“I just got here, and there’s NO way I’m not going in to check on Danno!  Call me when she gets closer.” The connection broke.

 

Not liking cutting it so close, Kono kept the tail until they reached the turnoff, then called McGarrett again. There was no answer. Trying again, he got no response. Griggs turned into the private drive and Kono had to pull over and stop. Where was Steve? The woman was coming!  The boss better get outta there wikikwiki!  Wondering if he should do something to stall her, he knew the time for action had passed. There was nothing he could do but sit tight and wait to see what happened, prepared to move in as back up for Steve or Danny.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

McGarrett had rolled to the beach house with sirens wailing until he came within a couple miles of the estate-turned-prison-camp. His speed did not diminish though – uncertain where Griggs was headed, he didn’t know how much time he would have to search the place. To his considerable wrath, Stuart had still not seen to the issue of a blanket search warrant, but if Danno was hurt inside – and this was Steve’s assumption – then he had a right to investigate under the guise of a possible “officer down.”

 

If there had been any doubt in the Five-0 chief’s mind that this woman was a danger to society, it vanished completely with the news that Griggs was targeting one of Danno’s old girlfriends. Grabbing a walkie talkie from the trunk of his car, he jogged up the road to the gated property 

 

Last night I dreamt I saw Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive, and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me.

 

The quote from that book echoed in Doctor Bishop’s voice as he came within touching distance of the cool metal barrier. Yes… this was Sue Griggs’ Manderley. Steve shook the chilling thought from his head as he slipped off his jacket and dropped it behind a nearby bush. Then, he slid the walkie talkie through the bars before lifting himself carefully up to the top and over the six-foot fence.

 

He stood there after collecting the radio for a few moments and listened for sounds of activity, but could attenuate to only the sound of waves crashing in the distance. Breaking into a trot he approached the house, and tried the front door first. It was locked. He wondered whether he should just knock – after all, it was Danno inside. But – just in case Griggs had hired someone to watch the place or guard her prisoner – he opted to go around to the back of the property.

 

To his delight, the sliding glass door from the lanai was wide open, allowing an ocean breeze to filter through the house. Good thing the fresh air was sweeping in here, because he realized he was wearing his usual, bold aftershave and he remembered Bishop’s warning words about the hypersensitivity of nut cases like Griggs. McGarrett looked at his watch and knew that he only had a few minutes before he would have to vacate the premises. As that thought played in on his mind, he broke into a full run around the pool and entered the house, which seemed dark throughout.

 

“Danno!” he called, making sure his voice was slightly louder than conversational level. He listened for a moment, and when no response was forthcoming, he drew his revolver and strode through the rooms, being careful to touch nothing which might alert Griggs to the fact that someone had toured her fantasy without her permission. It didn’t take more than a minute before he came upon a closed door. Interestingly, a key protruded from the lock on the knob. He turned it to confirm that the door had been locked from the outside. Certain he was close to locating his friend, he pushed the door open with his foot, and called out, “Danno!”

 

There was still no answer, but Steve could now make out the still form on the huge bed. The light from the decently-lit lanai streamed in through the open window, allowing the detective to see well enough to make it to his friend’s bedside. He quickly turned on the small lamp on the night stand, which also held an empty Champagne glass.

 

“Danno!” McGarrett rasped again as a pained expression overtook him. Gently slapping his friend’s cheek, he took in the almost deathlike positioning of his protégé.

 

Williams was laid out in silk pajama bottoms, his hands folded symmetrically across his stomach. His head rested in the middle of a cushy pillow, which almost enveloped his head. Relieved that Dan was alive, if completely unconscious in a dead-to-the-world slumber, he considered Griggs’ modus operandi… chemicals… poisons… His focus turned to the goblet on the nightstand. He collected the heavy crystal piece and held it up. Against the backdrop of the light, he could make out a white residue left in the bottom of the glass with several drops of something which smelled alcoholic. Of course – it made sense that she was controlling him with drugs – that was her specialty. Anger boiled his blood at the deranged fiend who was doing this to his friend!

 

Looking back at the snoozing detective, he tapped his cheek again – a little more roughly than he had the first time. “Danno! Wake up! It’s Steve!” Not really expecting any reaction at this point, he jumped slightly in surprised satisfaction as Williams groaned and turned his head.

 

“Danno! Wake up!”

 

A few seconds passed before Dan’s lids opened and his eyes rolled to the back of his head before they managed to refocus on the ceiling, and then finally re-track to the figure hovering over him.

 

As the two detectives made eye contact, Williams finally spoke. “Steve…”

 

McGarrett smiled. “Yeah, aikane – I’m here.”

 

Dan did not move, but his eyes roamed slowly to confirm his whereabouts. “Is it… over?”

 

The sad query plunged a dagger into McGarrett’s heart. He grimaced slightly as he responded. “Not yet, Danno, but soon… I promise.”

 

Almost teary, Dan revealed, “Need help…”

 

It was all Steve could do to not agree at that moment to end this deadly charade. Instead he grit his teeth and leaned close to Williams’ face. “As God is my witness, Danno, I’ll get you out of this soon. Now please hang tough.”

 

The momentary despair with the news was replaced by calm acceptance as he closed his eyes. “Very angry… she was… danger…” He shook his head, his eyes tearing. “Murder . . . .”

 

“I know, Danno I know. We’re going to stop her. I don’t want you to worry about it and don’t think it’s your fault –“ Williams shook his head, groaning in misery and McGarrett held his head still. ”No!  It’s not your fault!  Don’t believe that for a minute!”

 

His friend’s breathing pattern told him that Williams could not fight off the drug-induced sleep any longer. McGarrett blinked though, nonplussed. Danno knew how angry Griggs had been – he’d been living with her wrath and continued displeasure ever since the Waikiki Beach incident and the restaurant murder earlier that day. The surveillance team members had all commented on evidence to that effect. Nor could he imagine what she had put him through – mental, physical, emotional torment – all of them – since the horrendous afternoon.

 

So now, was Danno trying to warn him of the danger to Trudy Cooke OR did he fear that HE was in danger?

 

Steve kneeled there at the bedside for several seconds wondering how he could leave his friend here in the clutches of this mentally deranged black widow. His radio came to life, but only crackled with static. He knew he was out of time – leave his defenseless, drugged friend to his Fate with an insane murderer or stay… When he put it that way, the right choice seemed obvious. Of course, there was the mass murder issue – should he do anything to disrupt Sue Griggs’ fantasy, innocent people would pay the price with their lives, just as that poor tourist at the restaurant this afternoon.

 

Silently cursing, he heard what had to be the garage door opening. His gut told him that he couldn’t leave – not until he had a feel for the suspect’s state of mind now that her plan to kill Danno’s former girlfriend had been thwarted. He would never forgive himself if something happened to his aikane on this night.

 

With a final light touch to Dan’s head, he stood and took the glass to the bathroom, where he collected the contents onto a tissue. A door slammed somewhere in the house as he made it back across the room and gingerly resettled the wine glass back in its original position on the nightstand. Then, he watched his oblivious friend’s features obscure to shadow as he turned off the light and ran for the bedroom door. Another light source somewhere behind him clicked on as he turned the key and locked Williams back into the bedroom. He spun and – with no choices left – literally dove through the slatted door of what turned out to be a huge dressing room.

 

No sooner had he, with painstaking ease, pushed the door almost closed, when the sound of footsteps coming down the hallway made him cautiously press himself against the wood slats. The detective held his breath as Sue Griggs stopped in front of the dressing room. He could see her through the slats toying with the key in the bedroom door. With the woman less than two feet from him, McGarrett thought his lungs would explode as she opened the door, but paused to straighten her dress and run a hand over her hair. His blood chilled as she looked over at the ajar door behind which he stood and frowned. Her obsessive compulsive nature revealed itself as she reached for the handle and yanked the door closed. The Five-0 chief jumped almost imperceptibly as the latch clicked.

Heart beating like a drum inside his chest, Steve carefully worked on breathing low, steady and silent. He had to hand it to Doctor Bishop, she really did know what she was talking about. This could have been a huge mistake. Griggs’ ultra paranoia and extreme sensitivity, could open that door and find him in a second. He did not know what he would do in that eventuality. If Griggs found him, there could be instant, overt violence. If not, could he afford to leave Danno here alone with this unbalanced maniac, even at the price of losing innocent lives?

 

“Hmmm,” Sue intoned still looking at the door. Finally, the detective was able to breathe a sigh of relief as she turned and stepped into the master bedroom, flipping on the light switch by the door as she passed. The room was instantly illuminated with a diffuse light from above the bed, making Williams’ immobile form visible once again.

 

“My love, I’m ready…” she announced in a sing song voice as she climbed onto the bed and wedged herself up under Dan’s arm. Williams stirred only slightly as she stroked his chest. “I yearn for your touch… to feel your lips as they find their way down my neck…”

 

McGarrett’s lip curled in disgust as Griggs pawed his friend and regurgitated what seemed to be lines from the cheap novels she’d kept under her bed. Glad to be within striking distance of the unstable creature in the event she made an attempt on Danno’s life, he still pondered his own predicament cornered in the dressing room. He decided that he would have to wait until she slipped into the bathroom to un-trap himself. He kneeled and quietly kept watch over his protégé from his slat-obscured vantage point.

 

Sue sat up suddenly and ran her hand through her sleeping companion’s hair. “We should dance now… to celebrate. Wake up, Danny!” She shook the detective, causing both of them to bounce with the reaction of the mattress. Williams groaned and rolled his head, but quieted as soon as the bed became still again.

 

To Steve, the woman seemed miffed, as if SHE hadn’t been the one to spike his drink! She plopped her hands on her hips in apparent indignation before she climbed onto her knees, grabbed his arm, and began to pull his limp form from the bed. With a grunt, she brought the sleeping officer to a sitting position, but Dan did not remain that way. As soon as she released her hold, he dropped unceremoniously backward onto the pillow, never offering more than a moan in response.

 

“Oh, boo!” Sue folded her arms and seemed to actually be weeping for a few moments.

 

Apprehension filled McGarrett as Griggs’ head turned and she looked – it seemed – directly through the slats at him. Her eyes narrowed slightly, but she smiled before she re-focused her attention on her fantasy love. She suddenly climbed on top of the prone Williams and sat astraddle his thighs. With both hands, she massaged his chest as she cajoled, “Oh my sweetness, I know you got up while I was gone. You left the closet door open, you silly bear.”

 

McGarrett grimaced, hoping there would be no negative repercussions from his action. At least she did not know HE was there…

 

She continued cooing, “If you’ll get up and dance with me, I’ll tell you the vector for the first shipment of poison.”

 

That enticement was electrifying for the helpless detective in the closet. The vector for the first shipment of poison – if Danno would only… COULD ONLY open his eyes and respond, the suspect would give him a clue about the specific delivery mechanism she intended to use! WAKE UP, DANNO!

 

Neither the Five-0 chief’s mental pleas nor the suspect’s promise did anything to rouse the sleeping officer, who ignored both the physical and verbal stimulation being heaped on him. Griggs tried again. “I hope you won’t fuss at me for leaving you, darling, but I had to make sure that Trudy would not come between us. Now open your eyes, and I’ll tell you all about it.”

 

Knowing Kono had been there did not alleviate the unease McGarrett felt – this woman might be crazy, but she was PhD smart. Had she managed to outwit the Hawaiian detective? An OFFENDER always had the upper hand over a DEFENDER, the detective knew all too well, so it was possible that she’d zagged when Kono had expected her to zig. WAKE UP, DANNO!

 

Both Steve and Sue were disappointed as Dan continued to sleep the sleep of the comatose. Griggs sat there for a few more minutes, stroking her prisoner, humming, and obviously pondering. All the while, the impatient McGarrett – a prisoner in the closet – mused on how he was going to get out of his predicament.

 

Finally, she sighed. “Very well, my one and only love, I’ll wait until the morrow to dance with you. Sleep well.” She leaned over Williams and kissed him lightly, pulled back for a moment, and then dropped back down swiftly and kissed him again, not breaking contact for several seconds. Griggs then scampered from the bed. “I love you sooo much,” she chirped. “I knew it would be like this.” As soon as her feet hit the floor, she began to waltz, humming the Blue Danube. She took a spin around the room before she danced into the bathroom.

 

Steve observed, appalled at the depth of the woman’s abandonment of reality. His ears perked up when he heard the sound of the shower over the continued happy humming. He waited for several seconds before he felt comfortable enough to make good on an escape. With a final gaze at his poor friend, he slipped out of the house the same way he’d entered, with renewed determination to get the blanket warrants.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Even though the sun was well up into the tropical-sapphire sky, Danny Williams felt leaden. Having his face abruptly splashed with cold water did not start the day out on a positive note. Naturally biting sarcasm was on the tip of his tongue, but he remembered his place and circumstances just in time to curb the instant anger. Not that the emotion would have surfaced from his turgid tongue and sluggish mind, he speculated.

 

As usual, casual clothing (khaki slacks and an aloha shirt nauseatingly matching Camille’s dress as was customary) was laid out for him after a cool shower that did nothing to awaken his slow senses. Feeling sick, tired and mightily discouraged, he picked at the breakfast of muffins and toast with no enthusiasm. Fighting to maintain some level of professional acuity, he fought to think beyond the headachy muzziness.

 

Constantly aware there had been a terrible death – that he had caused the day before -- he knew everything he said and did today had to be perfect, beyond reproach, and exceeding Camille’s expectations of him. Why? He knew there was a reason. She had done something yesterday – he had done something yesterday – or not? He was so confused, and he’d awakened this morning with the worst headache and illness yet, and more, a conscience that felt over taxed with guilt. What he knew for sure was that no more mistakes must be made, no more lives lost due to his failures.

 

Nervously, he noted several alterations in the morning routine. First, Camille was perky and cheerful beyond any previous levels. Had he dreamt that something happened last night? Steve had been in his dream – and some kind of threat – the wispy phantom of an elusive memory vanished. He had no idea what had happened last night. Yesterday was a faded, unpleasant, twisted haze – a nightmare with menace, death, and a recollection of him on his knees begging Camille… He felt detached, almost as if it had happened to another person… Steve was in the dream, too . . . .

 

Something was different this morning though. They sat outside on the beachside lanai and ate breakfast. She chattered about today being special and busy and exciting, but as of yet he had no scripted lines for him to memorize. The lack of regimen buoyed him, yet the break in routine gave his instincts a jolt of suspicion. For this unbalanced nut, an alteration in pattern might not be a good thing.

 

“Danny, you hardly touched your breakfast. I feel nervous, too.” She reached across the table and squeezed his hand. “This is a day we will never forget.”

 

No response came to mind, and almost nervous that he had no scripted return, he just nodded. He allowed his gaze to drift out to the roiling, cobalt ocean, crashing against the black lava rocks almost at their feet. It would be so easy to get away, to walk into the surf and swim away…

 

“Danny!”

 

“What?” The growl slipped out as he turned to glare at her. The reaction obviously startled her, and he instantly snapped back into his deferential groveling mode. “Oh, sorry, my love. I was just daydreaming. Such a beautiful day to spend with you,” he smiled with saccharine charm.

 

The sour surprise lifted marginally from her expression. “Yes, darling,” she threw back with a whipping edge. “Here are your lines,” she slapped a stack of papers on the table. He noted the table had been cleared during his distraction. “And they better be perfect, my dear, or you know what will happen.”

 

“Yes,” he submissively returned, staring at the pages, trying to lose his anger and frustration. A role, he reminded, as Steve had told him what seemed like millennia ago. A role. Get through the day, the acts, the twisted play. Soon there would be an end to this. Steve had promised –

 

“Yes, what?” Camille cocked her head expectantly.

 

“Yes, my love. I’m looking forward to…”. His eyes scanned the page quickly so that he could accurately complete his line. “To spending another day in paradise with the woman of my dreams.” Had Griggs not been watching him so closely, Williams’ eyes would have rolled out of his head. Instead, he willed himself to not even blink as he continued. “What do you have planned for us today?”.

 

“Darling, we’re going shopping for our wedding rings today,” she cooed sweetly.

 

She was back in character, stuck in the role of lovey-dovey sweetheart to his devoted puppy. As if he had never rebelled or shown a ripple of original thought. That she shifted in and out of different realities was frightening, and it kept him on edge, despite the thick-numbness surrounding his senses. He never lost sight that he was living on the edge of an active volcano with her and any misstep could plunge him right into the red-hot lava.

 

“We’re – uh – yeah… that sounds wonderful.”

 

“I’ve planned our itinerary loosely, my love. We don’t want to be too restricted.”

 

The change in his role – almost no scripted lines now, mostly locations – worried him anew. He was expected to ad-lib happy scenes at the medical clinic, at the dress shop, at lunch, at the jewelry store. Was she trusting him more, or were his improvisations good enough that she felt there was no need for exactness? Did it have anything to do with her bubbly mood?

 

“Now, I’ll be ready in a jiffy and we can go,” she smiled, bending down to kiss his cheek. “I’m so very happy today.”

 

“So -- yes – am I of course,” he tentatively smiled back.

 

“This wonderful day, after last night, it’s almost too much happiness!”

 

Last night? He couldn’t remember… He gulped, wondering what happened.

 

“We don’t have to worry about you-know-who anymore.”

 

No, he didn’t know who. Before he could ask, she skipped into the house. Rubbing his throbbing temples, he scanned the script, burning the scant lines into his brain, sipping coffee to awaken his eyes, mind and body for the grueling day to come.

 

When it was time to leave, Camille handed him the keys to the Mustang. Hoping the fresh wind in his face would help stir more energy into him, he also felt he was half-dead from the hangover which was now his constant companion. As he vowed to himself that a low-alcohol regimen would dominate his life after this was over, he told her it was his duty to have her drive in his condition.

 

She pressed the keys into his fist, folding her hands over his fingers. “No, darling, it’s your car. You have to drive. That’s what gentlemen do for their ladies.”

 

If only it was his (!), he inwardly sighed. Right now, he was not feeling one bit a gentleman, but knew he had to go along with the order couched in her syrupy insistence. Focused on keeping the car within the correct lane and not causing an accident, certainly if there were any problems, he could have a whole cascade of misery. In his rearview mirror was a black Ford sedan. He had no idea who his tail was on this day, but he knew if there was an incident, his colleague would come to offer back up and Camille would be onto the surveillance.

 

By the time they pulled up to a small office in a Hawaii Kai shopping center, he was wrung out with exhaustion by the short, but nerve-wracking, drive. Opening the doors of the clinic for her, he stood placidly beside Camille while she did the talking. He was burning to ask why they were here at a medical center, but knew curiosity in public would not be tolerated. Why hadn’t she scripted this out? NOT having specific lines was starting to worry him now. Did she think he was sick? Was he going to see a doctor? He suddenly felt like a pet – a poor, wretched creature whose fate was in the hands of his mistress.

 

“We’re here for blood tests.” She smiled at the receptionist and gripped tightly onto his arm. “We’re getting married.”

 

Dan gasped, but closed his lips before a noise could escape. Feeling a little woozier than before, he blinked to erase the dizziness edging at his vision. Married!  She had threatened it before – shopping for rings and talking about dresses – how was he going to get out of this?

 

Camille was too wrapped in her bubble of happiness to notice, but the girl at the counter gave him a hasty glance. He plastered a grin on his face and she turned back to the future bride.

 

The office girl, a pleasant looking Islander, grinned back. “How exciting. Do you have an appointment?”

 

Camille’s happiness faltered. “Uh – no. I called several weeks ago, and was told that no appointment was necessary.” The happy-mask reasserted itself almost instantly. “How long will it be? We have ever so much to do today.”

 

The receptionist glanced at him, as if having difficulty knowing what to say. “I’m sorry – that policy changed two weeks ago. Now, you need an appointment to see one of our doctors. We don’t take walk-ins.” She glanced quickly through the ledger and politely supplied, “We have something open for Friday morning.”

 

“Friday!  No!  That -- won’t -- do!” Camille stuttered. Her face flushed with an approaching storm of anger.

 

Firmly, Dan took her arm, his tone in counterpoint to the urgency of removing her from the target of her wrath. “Mahalo,” he shot out at the receptionist while he pushed Camille outside. “Darling, it’s a simple mistake—”

 

“Simple!  This will ruin everything!” she hissed back, violently pulling out of his grip. “We need the blood tests today!”

 

“We can work around this—”

 

“I have everything set!” She backed into the Mustang and seethed out in a low whisper, “You know what will happen if my play can’t continue…”

 

“I know,” he desperately shot back, uncertain of the sharpest details, but knowing something had gone wrong – yesterday?-- in the recent past ? -- why couldn’t he remember everything? But it had gone wrong and someone had died as punishment.

 

“I can fix this!” he promised quickly. “You can’t get so worked up about this, Camille.” He put his arm around her and patted her cheek. “It’s all right. Let me take care of this… please,” he entreated, hoping he was not going to have to go down on his knees again. “Please,” he begged, taking her hands in his, kissing her fingertips as he pressed her flesh.

 

“It’s HER fault,” she glared through the windows.

 

Dan glanced at the receptionist inside the office. Shivering that the innocent girl could be Camille’s next victim, his fear and desperation made him assertive and inspired him. “I have a friend who can do this for us.” He suddenly knew the answer. Comfort flooded him as he thought of his brilliant save. “Let me call him.”

 

Suspicious and unsettled, she glared at him.

 

“Then we can get back to what you have planned for the rest of the day.” He smiled and stroked her cheek. “Let me take care of my girl. That’s what I love doing most. Then I’m completely yours all day and all night.”

 

Her eyes cleared from shaded anger and unsettlement, to command.

 

“All right.” She kissed his cheek, easing into a pleased demeanor. “Let’s go find a phone. I just love it when you take charge.”

 

Trying not to choke on that, he took her hand and led her along the shopping mall until they reached a phone booth. Punching in the change, he dialed the familiar number. When the strong, deep voice answered, he leaned against the wall, closing his eyes in utter relief. Not even he expected the level of release that washed over him at the accustomed words.

 

Bergman, Morgue.”

 

“Hi, Doc, this is Danny –”

 

Danny!  Great to –

 

“Listen,” he rushed forward before the ME could say something to alert Camille that McGarrett and Five-0 and probably all their support staff knew of his predicament. She leaned in close, touching his head with hers, to eavesdrop. “You could do me a real favor. I don’t know if Steve mentioned it, but I quit Five-0. I’m gonna get married, Doc and I could use your help with the blood tests.”

 

Uh – gee – congratulations.

 

Mahalo.”

 

I – uh – well – this is a surprise.

 

“Yeah, I know.”

 

When are you talking about, Danny?

 

“We need the blood tests today.”

 

Today?

 

Camille pulled away with a frown at the negative tone.

 

Please, Doc, it’s really important.

 

“Okay, Danny, whatever you say. How about in an hour at my office?”

 

Sure, Doc. Mahalo again. He hung up before any dangerous slip of the tongue could occur from the doctor. No doubt Steve would be contacted immediately and Bergman would be filled in on the elaborate play they were all enacting.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Wiping his tired eyes, McGarrett questioned his decision to stay up most of the night. Dashing home to shower and change, then a quick nap on the office couch managed between waiting for phone calls or pressuring others to get their jobs done, had been the most he could bring himself to do for personal time in the last several hours. After his arduous moments inside the closet at the beach house, after his disappointing interview with Danno, after the depressing death and the scene on the beach, he had been too keyed up to do anything but work.

 

When the phone rang he snatched it off the cradle before the echo died. “McGarrett.” More results from the lab, he hoped.

 

“Steve, I’m disappointed I didn’t get an invitation. I consider myself part of the family, you know.”

 

Bergman. Already distracted with thoughts about the lab reports, the cop retorted, “This is too early in the morning for riddles, Doc. What are you talking about?”

 

“Your prodigal son and his bride-to-be are coming for a visit.”

 

Straightening, he focused on the Coroner’s cryptic message. “Danno?” Bergman had been briefed about the situation when Peachy’s body had been brought in, so he was in the loop of need-to-know. The comments still made no sense. “What do you mean?”

 

“He’ll be here in about an hour for their marriage blood tests.” The voice had lost all hint of droll wit.

 

Marriage!  Blood test!  “I’ll see you in forty minutes.”

 

“I thought so.”

 

Mahalo. Doc, how did he sound?”

 

“Not like anyone who’s about to live happily ever after.”

 

Hanging up, McGarrett grimly pondered the comment on his friend’s condition, a confirmation that he was not in good shape. At least Doc would have a chance to examine him. This opportunity might get Steve close enough to talk to Danno again.

 

If only Danno could elicit some more information from Griggs, they could end this before she brought them all to whatever perverse drama she wanted to play out. Feeling pressured to find the answers before Griggs felt like telling them, he stalked to the outer office and checked with Chin’s progress on a background check of the woman.

 

“Chin, we need to know where she would have put those toxins,” he concluded after filling in the detective on the latest developments. “Friends, enemies, anything will help!”

 

Kelly shook his head slowly. “If I had to use a word to describe her it would be common,” he sighed. “Grew up in a little town in Iowa. Only child. Her parents died in a house fire when she was in college. Top grades. Worked for the same company since she graduated. Transferred here to Hawaii four years ago.” He ran his finger down the list of statistics. “Lived in the same apartment since she moved here. Shops at a grocery store down the street. Biggest item of purchase is books every month at the local used book store. They know her on a first name basis there, but her neighbors don’t.”

 

Concluding, he considered her a nameless, faceless wallflower, who had no social life and kept to herself. Her only friend at work was more of a casual acquaintance, and that was the girl who dated Danny a few times.

 

“Unremarkable.”

 

McGarrett agreed, but told him to keep checking. He suggested Chin organize a routine search of the grocery store and bookstore in her neighborhood just in case. Shaking his head, he returned to his office. He was out of his league on this mental case. Griggs was beyond any criminal he had ever dealt with before. Maybe he needed to call in his own cutting-edge vanguard.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Pacing, when the door to the Medical Examiner’s office opened, Steve McGarrett remained still with a clear view of Griggs as she stood on the threshold. From the small, glass porthole in one of the swinging doors leading to the morgue vault, the Five-0 leader could see through the middle room – the autopsy room – to the reception office that was Bergman’s administrative center. The Coroner stepped forward and shook Griggs hand. McGarrett held his breath, waiting to see what the hesitant – suspiciously on-guard girl would do next.

 

Two rooms away, the detective was poised on the balls of his feet to dash forward in case – what? Ready to spring into action and accomplish what? As usual with this case – nothing. There were numerous undercover operatives up and down the corridor, more in the parking lot. They had monitored the couple since their arrival. Kono was still tailing them everywhere they went. Yet, Steve could initiate no momentum, could not even react to some of her ploys. In most of this case all he could do was watch and wait, counterplot and prepare, but it seemed there was very little he could do in the way of pro-active solutions. As he flexed his fists, he observed the deceptively shy-looking murderess, growling under his breath at such a cunning foe.

 

“Please come in, my dear,” Bergman smiled, his voice faint, but understandable two rooms away.

 

Williams stepped through the door, his back to McGarrett, and took the girl by the arm. Offering brief introductions that were low and hard to discern, he urged her to enter. She balked. The two men with her stiffened. McGarrett, and the woman next to him, tensed.

 

“We’re at the Morgue,” Griggs accused, glaring at Williams. “You wouldn’t be playing a joke on me, would you Danny?” The tone was hard, dangerous.

 

The glower contained such coldness, McGarrett flinched, reminded there was a monster lurking barely beneath the surface of this creature. Her claws and fangs could pop out in an instant – causing damage to his friend and at her whim – death to many.

 

“He’s an old friend,” Williams assured.

 

“Yes, and congratulations to both of you,” Bergman smiled, and gallantly kissed her hand. “Please don’t let my occupation worry you, dear, I’m still a physician. And I’ve been watching out for Danny for a while.” He clapped the officer on the back. “I’m delighted he asked me to help you two lovebirds out of a jam.” Without waiting for her to respond, Bergman pulled her in by the elbow and closed the door behind them. “Can I offer you some tea?”

 

Griggs shook her head. “Is that the place where you keep the bodies?” she wondered, slowly turning to stare at the morgue doors.

 

McGarrett slipped back into the darkest shadows, pulling the much shorter Doctor Bishop with him. Griggs wouldn’t be able to see them at this distance, behind the thick glass of the swinging doors, but still, it was unnerving to have her stare at right where he was standing. Just like last night, when she seemed to sense him in the closet. Holding his breath again, completely still, he waited until she turned her back on the doors.

 

Slowly, he released a long, quiet sigh, as did the psychiatrist. She edged forward, stretching on tip-toes to see through the tall portholes. It was a wild idea for him to ask her to analyze someone at a distance, but it was a long-shot in a case full of extraordinary circumstances.

 

“What do you think?” he whispered.

 

“I’ll let you know,” Bishop hissed, “but you can see she is paranoid.”

 

“Don’t let it worry you,” Bergman assured. He pulled over his wheeled desk chair. “Please, have a seat. I’d like to get to know the girl who finally landed Danny. You must be quite remarkable.”

 

Tensing, McGarrett took a step forward to watch carefully. Doc was warned not to provoke her in any way, to do just what she said!  Why was he tempting Fate? Compliments were one thing, but grilling her – that was skirting on the edge of peril.

 

“No, sorry, we don’t have time,” the girl refused. “We’ve just come for the blood test. We’re going to be married.”

 

“It’s like she’s reciting lines,” Steve muttered.

 

“Yes, she is wary and unbalanced. This situation is not what she expected and all her senses are alert.” Bishop tsked. “Control is everything to her. Even to the point of dressing poor Danny..”

 

McGarrett glanced behind them to the cold-storage drawers. There was no escape from this vault room except these front doors. If Griggs spotted them or, in her paranoia decided to search the morgue, the game would be up.

 

“Doc, maybe you could just get on with it.”

 

To the boss, Williams sounded tired and resigned. When the younger detective turned to gesture toward the examination room, the fatigue was evident in the worn face. This ordeal was taking its toll on him.

 

“Certainly. Well, my dear, if you just make yourself comfortable, we’ll just be a minute,” Bergman assured and directed Williams into the middle room.

 

Griggs rushed to cling to Williams’ arm. “We want to stay together.” It was not a lovable statement, but a hard command.

 

Williams slumped, but recovered quickly, his face a stoic mask.

 

McGarrett hissed a curse under his breath. He had hoped Doc could maneuver Danno into the room so there would be a momentary chance of a private conference. The girl was so mistrustful she would not allow him to be separated from her. Only a few feet away, glancing at his friend, he desperately wanted to get through this barrier and connect face to face. Danno needed the bolster to his morale – he could see that in his disheartened demeanor. So did Steve.

 

Bergman’s eyes narrowed. “Young love.” The dry sarcasm hung in the air, oblivious to the target of his cutting remark. “You can have a seat on the autopsy table, then.”

 

Quickly releasing her captor’s arm, she stepped back into the office. “Autopsy room? Here? Can’t we do the blood test at your desk?”

 

“Infectious material blood,” he lectured. “We handle it in its proper place.” She vacillated. “You’ll have to be in there just for a moment. Why don’t you wait out here until I’m done with Danny.

 

“Fine,” she finally accepted. Pacing in the office, she watched her intended like a hawk. When Bergman moved to close the door, she stopped him. “I’d like to – to see him.”

 

“Deeply paranoid and obsessed,” Bishop diagnosed.

 

With nary a glance his way, Bergman seemed to convey his awareness of McGarrett and managed to position himself between the couple so Griggs could not see the quick exam he covertly administered to the patient. Instead of whispering secret messages, he mumbled quasi-diagnoses of Williams’ generally depleted condition while taking the blood sample. When the comments turned to investigation about what he had been doing to get so worn down, Griggs came to the doorway and urged them to hurry.

 

When it was her turn, she refused to sit on the table and stood straight. Bergman’s mild inquiries about where they were planning the wedding and other gentle chit-chat was adroitly avoided. When he finished, he told them there was some paperwork to attend to out in the office. He was also going to write a prescription for some high dosage vitamins for the young man.

 

“When can we have the results?” Griggs asked impatiently, pacing as Bergman scribbled on a pad. “We need these by tomorrow.”

 

“Tomorrow? What’s the rush?”

 

“We’re getting married tomorrow!”

 

Williams seemed as surprised as Bergman, and as shocked as McGarrett. Tomorrow – in a way, it was a relief to know this was coming to a close quickly. Some sixth sense, however, made the date seem a foretelling of doom. If they didn’t know where the poison was hidden before she was ready to share the information, he felt there would be trouble.

 

“We can’t have this processed by tomorrow,” Bergman hedged.

 

“You HAVE TO!” she screeched.

 

McGarrett tensed, ready to make a move if she became violent. Not that Bergman and Williams couldn’t defend themselves against a thin girl much smaller in stature than either of them, but she was unpredictable and insane – both of which could lend power and savagery to a maniacal attack.

 

“The spontaneity of this has her off balance, Steve,” Bishop told him quietly. “It makes her feel vulnerable. That’s very dangerous.”

 

Bergman was quietly, calmly appeasing her, as was Williams. While it was sickening to watch, the exposed weakness of his foe gave him an idea. When Griggs leaned over the desk to fill out some forms, McGarrett motioned for Bishop to be silent. He took her arm and very quietly pulled her from the vault room, through the exam room to the door leading to the corridor. Silently, grateful the door did not creak, they exited to the hall.

 

“I want you to make a surprise appearance on Doc,” he told her as they stood outside the ME’s office. “I want you to rattle her.”

 

Bishop shook her head. “It’s not a controlled environment –”

 

“It’s a chance to push her into doing something outside her control, Doctor,” he emphasized curtly in a no-nonsense demand. “Unnerve her, rattle her cage, and we could crack her.”

 

Shaking her head at the unconventional procedure, she took a deep breath, then entered the office. McGarrett was tempted to slip into the middle exam room, but knew that risk would be too high. Instead, he rushed down the corridor to the next doorway and stood there in tense anticipation. Within a few moments Griggs emerged first, pulling Williams’ arm, and rushed toward the elevator.

 

Wishing he could stay and debrief both physicians, McGarrett jogged to the stairwell and raced down the steps three at a time, running when he hit the sidewalk outside. In his car, he radioed to his men that he was taking over the next part of the surveillance operation. By the time he pulled the Mercury to a space near the exit of the hospital, the red Mustang was cruising toward the driveway. If Danno spotted him he did not give an indication as the sports car pulled into traffic, McGarrett close behind.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

From the front grill, Williams recognized the Mercury in his rearview mirror. It was a comfort to know McGarrett was the one on his back now; a thin sliver of solace in the tsunami of apprehension coursing around what was now his life.

 

Camille instructed him to head for Kahala Mall and he wondered only briefly what their next escapade would entail. When he wasn’t concentrating on driving and staying on the road, he was reliving the unpleasant scene in Bergman’s office. The underlying tension between the Coroner and him had been straining. He knew Doc wanted to say things, tried to give him a once over, attempted covert encouragement, but was thwarted at every turn by the maddening Camille. He had hoped the meet in familiar surroundings would initiate a rendezvous with Steve. He needed that connection with his colleagues, with his closest friend. Despite his best efforts, little of value was traded by either party.

 

When Doctor Bishop, his old professor, had popped in, he thought he would collapse. Camille was greatly annoyed, and when Bishop acted like they were all meeting for the first time, he knew Bergman, or more likely, McGarrett, had engineered the sudden conference.

 

Upset at the ordeal of being poked by a needle and blood drawn, Camille was anxious to get away. Williams longed to remain in the safety of Bergman’s territory, and strove for a way to stall, to stay where he knew eyes of colleagues were surrounding him. It was a mental crutch to know so many friends were watching out for him, even though none of them, not even Steve, who would be the most devoted of all, could do anything to help. It just felt good there, knowing Doc understood his plight, knew he was not well and confused, and could – would – help – if only Camille would give them a little space. The regimented lines, the absurd demands, were all driving him to the edge, but the lack of personal space and private time was probably the thing he missed most. For a bachelor, for someone who had taken care of himself for years, the constant supervision was aggravating.

 

Bergman had recommended vitamins, but he seemed worried. A common occurrence when Dan came in here – always grousing about something Dan had done or not done concerning his health or safety. Knowing the ME had been briefed by Steve, there were no slips in the façade, but he would have liked to have leveled with the doc and received some advice to get rid of the constant headache and nausea, the dizziness and unremitting feeling of illness.

 

The door to the ME’s office opened and Doctor Bishop entered. “Niles, do you have a moment? Oh, I apologize, I had no idea you were busy.” Her eyes glanced at the ME and panned to take in Camille for a little too long. When they reached him, they lingered for too much of a pause before moving back to Bergman.

 

She was good, but as a trained observer, he made her mistake easily. He waited with nerves scraping nerves, breath suspended, for a long moment as Camille distrustfully scrutinized the new arrival.

 

“Just finishing up here,” Bergman hastily picked up the dangling conversational thread. “These two young people are almost finished. They’re getting married.”

 

“Congratulations,” she smiled warmly, as if she had known them for years, and they were the most normal couple around. “You will make such a lovely bride,” she told Camille.

 

The compliment put the girl at ease and she smiled, gripping onto Dan’s arm in her usual possessive manner. He felt lightheaded and hot, wondering if the stress was getting to him, or just the close, small room crowded with people who were all stressed.

 

“You’ve probably waited your whole life for this storybook event.”

 

“Oh, yes,” Camille assured, slipping completely into the role, anxiety washed away in the stiff wind of her returned fantasy. She stared at Dan’s profile. “No more waiting for my dreamboat to come. I’m so lucky.”

 

Bishop nodded. “So you can live happily ever after.”

 

“Exactly.” Her hold on his arm tightened painfully. “Isn’t that right, sweetheart?”

 

“Happily ever after,” he repeated, avoiding a direct glance at Bishop. Wiping his forehead, he yearned to sit down, but knew Camille’s grasp was a mute demand for him to stay at her side.

 

“Yes, we’ll have a perfect life,” the bride-to-be giggled.

 

“Everything you’ve always wanted.”

 

“Yes.” She studied Bishop closely, as if suddenly realizing the stranger was learning too much, or becoming too personal. Perhaps intruding too much into her own fantasy world. “Danny, it’s time for us to leave.”

 

“I was about to invite Niles to lunch in the cafeteria,” the psychiatrist stalled. “Would you two young people like to join us? My treat. I would love –”

 

“No, we have an appointment. So much to do,” Camille smiled coolly. “Isn’t that right, Danny?”

 

“Yes… so much to do,” he mechanically agreed.

 

“Nice meeting you, Camille and Danny,” Bishop bid them. “I hope you find what you are looking for.”

 

Bishop and Bergman seemed like genuine friends, but he knew the meeting was contrived. Steve wouldn’t let any rogue occurrence happen in that kind of controlled situation, and he knew his boss had orchestrated that whole scene in the hospital for the exam. Too much was riding on keeping Camille happy. So Doctor Bishop had dropped in to do an on-the-spot psych reading. He hoped she learned something valuable.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

The Kahala Mall was a place where he was unlikely to run into anyone he knew – his shopping and budget tastes were not on this expensive level – but he was tensed for an unexpected encounter all the same. Nothing happened, though, as he was dragged to a bridal shop and went through the discomfiture of watching Camille try on dresses.

 

He thought he spotted Steve in the doorways of a few of the shops in the area, but could not look too hard to confirm his instinct. Miffed that the store did not have what she wanted, Camille decided they would try another shop. After a fruitless search there, she became frustrated and abrasive despite his efforts to calm her.

 

“Darling, it’s all right, I’m sure the perfect dress is out there for you,” he put on his best smile. It was all he could do to dredge up false, sugary phrases to appease her escalating temper.  “We can keep looking.” He took her hand in both of his. “We’ve set the whole day aside for this, remember?” His focus pushed inward, digging deep to concentrate on the lines, the necessary ad-libbing, the devoted attention to Camille. He could not be distracted by possibly connecting with Steve, or with concerns about last night or even finding the ultimate location of the toxins. He had to avert another tragedy by staying on top of damage control right this minute. “This should be a happy day for you, dearest.”

 

Pouty and petulant, she rubbed his face with her hands. “Thank you, darling, I appreciate your patience. You are so perfect. That’s why everything about our wedding has to be perfect, my love.”

 

“Then let’s keep looking.”

 

“You’re right. And after this, I want you to take me to my favorite restaurant, so we can celebrate.”

 

Another deviation from the script. Restaurant. If she asked to go back to the Paradise Village, he would probably keel over. He already felt nauseous and the persistent headache never went away now. His life had become a narrow path of concentration on keeping Camille happy and averting mass murder, while trying to stay on his feet to combat the debilitating physical illness that was getting worse every day. He wondered if he was creating psychosomatic symptoms because of his revulsion at his mission. That made him feel even worse.

 

Luckily, the clerk took pity on the aggravated bride looking for her dream wedding gown, and suggested an exclusive boutique at the Kahala Hilton that catered to the most discerning – read wealthy – clientele. Money was no object to Camille, and they drove the short distance to the Hilton.

 

Tucked away, far from Waikiki, at the end of rarified Kahala Beach, was the ritzy Hilton. Catering to the rich who loved privacy and pampering, it sported a white sand beach and a picturesque little palm-studded island in the secluded bay that made it one of the most scenic spots in Oahu. The crystal blue water calm enough for beginning swimmers, the pristine beach was mostly used for sunbathing, the dolphin pool a nod to the exclusiveness and proof to the old adage that money could buy you almost anything – luxury, taste and style being at the top of he list for the Hilton.

 

Camille’s good humor and excitement returned as she scanned the elegant gowns and he purposely avoided noting the price-tags. Sticking with his mask of pleasant approval and agreeable comments for several dresses, he tried to stay awake, but the soft cushions of the plush chair fought his efforts for alertness.

 

“Danny, I want to try on this adorable gown. I want it to be a surprise – that means you can’t see me in it. You’ll have to leave.”

 

Finally!  “Whatever you say, dear. Why don’t I order us some drinks at the restaurant. When you’re finished we can have lunch.”

 

“Lovely idea, my dear. Go ahead.”

 

Breathing deeply of the fresh air as he walked in the open corridor of the hotel, he paused for a moment to lean on the lanai. Gazing out at the azure sky dotted with wispy clouds, the cerulean ocean rippling with ribbons of whitecaps, the golden sand edging the surf, he could believe he was free again. For a moment he could imagine it was all a bad dream and he could walk away from the madness. Getting a grip again, he turned and ambled to the restaurant, hoping to catch a glimpse of his shadow. No Kono or Chin or Steve in sight, he noted with disappointment.

 

Settling down at a table with a perfect view of the bay and the dolphin pool in the center of the hotel complex, he stretched out with a cold soda in hand. He didn’t have any desire for more liquor – Camille was keeping him off balance with these constant hangovers. Maybe the sugar and caffeine would help jolt his mind clear of the malaise.

 

When the waiter brought his order he sipped the drink, swirled the thin straw in the glass, and gazed out at the ocean. Aware someone was sitting behind him at the next table, he was still startled when a familiar voice addressed him.

 

“How are you doing, Danno?”

 

He couldn’t help it – he turned around, breaking every rule in the book about covert contact. Under other circumstances, seeing Steve in a big straw hat, sunglasses, and a not-too-bright, maroon, almost-incognito-Aloha shirt, would have given him at least a small dose of cheering. As it was, he was feeling more morose and isolated with each passing hour.

 

“Steve.” He sighed, not sure what else to say. “How’s it?”

 

“You didn’t answer my question, aikane.”

 

Aware there was little time and great risk in this rendezvous, Williams reluctantly turned back around. To a casual viewer, they would seem like strangers. His tone was sullen. “What question was that?”

 

“How are you doing?” McGarrett repeated gently.

 

“I don’t know.”

 

The head of Five-0 did not look in his friend’s direction as he grimaced. Danno’s frame of mind and probably his physical condition were deteriorating with each clandestine visit. Hating himself for being unable to think of an expeditious way out of this mess, he spoke through clenched teeth. “Have you learned anything?”

 

Desolately, Dan shook his head. “I can’t get anything out of her. She insists on following the script almost all the time. And then she makes me drink too much at night and I just fall asleep,” he sheepishly admitted.

“You’ve been drugged, Danno, that’s why you can’t stay awake.”

 

“Drugged!”

 

“Probably just sleeping medication to keep you under control… I got a sample, and Doc’s got your blood, so we’ll find out soon enough what it is.”

 

“A sample, how?”

 

“I was there last night, Danno. At the house.” He briefly explained his stealthy mission which had revealed very little, except what a monster Camille was and how she exerted domination over her captive.

 

An brief, errant snicker of relief escaped the younger detective. “I thought I was dreaming. You were there.”

 

“Yeah, I – uh – tried to talk to you, but you were out.”

 

“Well that explains a lot.” Feeling so relieved he almost cried, he rubbed his face in his hands for a moment. “I feel rotten all the time. I thought it was all in my head!”

 

“No, Danno, it’s her, she’s been drugging you. I’m sorry we can’t help more.”

 

Warily checking to make sure she was not in sight, Dan looked in his friend’s direction briefly. “She said that she did something last night.”

 

“Trudy.”

 

It took too long to connect the name, the dreaded incident on the beach. “She did something to Trudy?”

 

“No, we got to her in time. The silence stretched, the two close friends staring at each other, knowing what the other was thinking and feeling without the need for words. “We know about the man in Paradise Village.”

 

“I didn’t know,” he hoarsely whispered. “She did it before I had any idea…” A slight, quick pressure brushed against his arm, but it was as reassuring and beneficial as one of McGarrett’s habitual, strong squeezes of his shoulder.

 

“I know. There was nothing you could do. It proves she’s as dangerous as she promised, Danno. It makes me all the more anxious to get you out of there.”

 

“And I can’t do anything! It’s all I can do to remember my lines!  If I do anything at all to displease her – or if something I can’t control happens to make her mad, it means death for someone.”

 

“I know. And I know you’re doing your best.” Nerves tight with anger and frustrated inaction, he impulsively, he reached over and patted Dan’s shoulder, giving it a tight squeeze. “I worry about your safety, Danno. Believe me, if it’s not knock-out drops I’ll come in and get you before she can do any more to you.”

 

Knowing the promise was the best he could get, Williams nodded.

 

“Has she said ANYTHING that would give us a lead?”

 

“No! It’s all about her and us! Steve, she wants us to get married tomorrow!  You can’t let her go through with it!”

 

“I’d be happy to stop it, Danno, but this has got to be her finale. Her big story book ending. More importantly, it’s her deadline. Everything ends this week – the lease on the car, the house, everything. As soon as she is married, it’s got to be her end of the line. She’ll have to tell us where she put the poison. This is the last act of her play..”

 

“I can’t do it.”

 

“Danno, it’s not legal. I know it’s abhorrent and wrong, but unless you can get her to confess before that, we have to see it through to the finish!”

 

Miserable, Dan groaned and rubbed his head. “I know. Sorry.”

 

“You’re in a tough spot, Danno, I know that. Trust me, I’m doing everything in my power to keep an eye on you.”

 

“I know. Mahalo. What about Bishop?”

 

“She’s given us a profile, which confirms that we’ve got to play this thing out. Our hands are tied until we get the poison.”

 

“Doesn’t she have any ideas?”

 

“Nothing that you probably don’t already know.”

 

Dan nodded, feeling himself sink back into despair. “That was a great parade you had set up today.”

 

She didn’t – uh – no reprisals or suspicions, I hope,” McGarrett suddenly wondered with deep concern.

 

“Nah. But something did change today. The script was vague. I’m ad-libbing more today. She’s giving me more latitude. Like she’s trying to keep me surprised or off balance or something. But it’s not that she trusts me, she’s even more on edge than usual.”

 

McGarrett’s frown gave away his anxiety. “I don’t like the sound of that. Listen, Danno, you HAVE to interrogate her!  It’s imperative!  I want you out of this as soon as possible. Before the wedding if we can, but we can’t move until we know what she’s done.”

 

“I know, Steve, but I can’t risk someone else dying because of my actions..”

 

McGarrett turned his back and sipped on a tall drink. “She’s coming. Just do what you can, Danno.”

 

Keeping his broad-brimmed hat to the girl, McGarrett stayed in place for a time while Williams and his companion ate lunch. The view was spectacular, the gourmet food exceptional and unappreciated by the tense detective. Camille was secretive and gloating all at once, bubbling with girlish giggling and teasing tidbits of conversation, only to refuse to disclose more when he asked or showed sappy interest in her confidences. It was going to be a wonderful surprise, she kept assuring.

 

Disappointed to leave the open, public atmosphere, all too soon Dan and his fiancé left and drove to Waikiki.

 

He was tooling the Mustang around the scenic rim of Diamond Head, coming up on the lighthouse, and Camille suddenly tensed. “Pull over! She shouted, and he took the first turnout where tourists gathered for pictures of the amazing blue ocean, the Kahala mansions, and dramatic lava rocks of Black Point. Locals crowded the area for the world-class windsurfing.

 

From the corner of his eye, he noted his tail for the last few miles – he thought maybe Nick and Ben – kept driving, and were quickly swallowed in the traffic heading toward Waikiki. After Steve turned off in a diversion pattern of misdirection back by the park, he had spotted the black LTD as the newest round of watchdogs.

 

Without getting out of the Mustang, they watched the surfers and waves, but he detected a strong change in her demeanor. After only a few moments she demanded they drive again, and he angled out, waiting for the slow, snarled traffic to clear enough for him to cross the narrow, two lane highway and heave back into the city. They were heading into the residential area when Camille adjusted the rearview mirror.

 

“I knew it!  That is YOUR car!”

 

“What?” Confused, he readjusted the mirror so he could see Nick Kamekona behind the wheel of his own LTD!  Following way too close, she might not know the officer, but she was right about the car.

 

“I – uh –d”

 

“Don’t lie to me!” she screeched. “I know the license number, Danny, I’ve followed you myself!”

 

The vileness, the revelation that he had been a target of her attention without him knowing it, her anger, were all upsetting. Should he try to appease her? Lie? Say nothing at all and let her rant? She knew they are being tailed and the game was up. What would she do now?

 

Deciding honesty was the best way to deal with it – deception discovered would only mean more people dying – he knew he had to deal with this now. Feeling inadequate because of the illness and difficulty of juggling her temperament and psyche, he took a deep breath. This could tear everything, be the Rubicon that, if stepped across, he could never turn back. Pulling to the curb under the cooling, shading trees along Kalakaua, he turned to stare at her. The desperation pushed him to try a more frank approach. He knew it might burst the delicate bubble of which surrounded her fantasy with him, but he could think of no other alternative at this moment.

 

“Camille, I don’t know what is going on, but you must realize the cops know what you are doing. They would want to keep an eye on you. You have the power of life and death over many.” He took a breath, seeing the value of Steve’s advice, that getting her to spill about the poison was the only way to end this all. His friend’s strength and support lent him boldness to try to turn this around. “Tell me where the toxins are.”

 

Her eyes darkened with rage and he tensed himself to ward off a physical attack, so scary was her expression. She shook, the intense feelings contained for the moment. Should he say more or had he already spilled too much? Go for broke, he decided, knowing it could probably not get worse.

 

“We’ve had our fun. We’ve played a good game. I know I’ve made you happy. You’ve controlled me and who knows how many cops for days. You were smarter than all of us and you got what you wanted. Give them what they want now.”

 

A frightening resolve seemed to sweep down from her eyes to the rest of her face. There was ice and iron in the look and expression. He knew she had come to a decision and he held his breath, knowing the next few moments would tell him if he got his life back, or if he had pushed her to take someone else’s life.

 

“I have been happy,” she responded with a brittle chill in counterpoint to the words. “I am in control. And I AM smarter than all of you. What I want is not finished until tomorrow.” She turned back to face forward. “Now let’s go get our rings.”

 

Surprised she had not further threatened him or anyone else, he put the car in gear and cruised into Waikiki. Wary at any clue to her mood, he was disturbed that she was overly controlled and non-communicative. When he spotted Duke down the street where they parked, he tensed. The Hawaiian sergeant was in plain clothes, so Camille apparently did not recognize him or spot him. Walking along Kalakaua, he hoped any one else on surveillance duty stayed out of sight.

 

Camille, like a chameleon, was back in her usual mode, as if their little tete’tete in the car had never happened. Along the famous, crowded boulevard, they window shopped. Camille chattered as they looked at the displays of a travel agency, and studied pictures of sports cars at the front of the car rental shop.They browsed the bikinis in a clothing shop, and when they finally walked into the jewelry shop, Camille was all business. To the owners delight and Dan’s mild dismay, rings were picked out and purchased. She decided she needed to buy him a wedding present, and he could not stay in the shop for that – it needed to be a surprise.

 

“Go get a cold drink or something, darling, I want to take my time.”

 

More deviating from the script. More time on his own. It made him nervous and grateful at the same time. Not arguing, he strolled down to the nearest corner café and ordered a shave ice. He chose a table on the sidewalk, but near the building, so Camille would not spot him right away when she returned from the jewelry shop. If anyone contacted him – and he hoped Steve was still tailing him now – there would be more of a chance for communication. Should he make a move to talk to one of his colleagues? Was Camille setting him up to be discovered compromising her secrets? HE was becoming as paranoid as she was!  He had the insane urge to run back and see if she was murdering the jeweler, but thought better of going against her orders. In her mood, there was no telling what she might do if he put up any more rebellion.

 

Spotting Duke enter the café from the side door, Dan casually walked back inside and grabbed some napkins, reaching across the Hawaiian officer.

 

“She made Nick tailing us in my LTD,” he whispered, nettled. “She’s upset, but controlling it. No threats yet, but there’s no telling what she’s going to do. Stay loose!  Spread the word!”

 

“You want out?” Duke wondered, his eyes intent, tracking Dan’s casual movement of digging in his shave ice cup.

 

“Yeah, more than anything,” he shakily admitted, “but I can’t yet. She would go nuts if I ran out on her now.”

 

Duke leaned close. “Do you have reason to believe you are in danger?”

 

Staring into his eyes, Dan shook his head.

 

“If you do,” Lukela responded hard, “I will get you out right now. You are our first priority, Danny, not the pupule lady or her threats. If she’s going to hurt you, Steve wants you out wikiwiki.”

 

Warmed by the protective instincts of his friends, of Steve, he smiled. “Tomorrow, Duke. Everything ends tomorrow. I can tough it out ‘til then.” He sighed, knowing he’d better not keep the contact. “I gotta go.”

 

“We’ll stay loose, Invisible from now on, I promise, but we’ll be close, Danny. If you think she’s going to do something to you just give a yell, we’ll be there.”

 

Mahalo,” he nodded, emerging back into the brilliant sun of the Waikiki afternoon.

 

When Camille joined him at the table she was all smiles and cheer. It was strictly back to the script. The trip back to the beach house was completely by the book, and it was a relief to Dan, who was tightly wound with tension over the blow up earlier. Further evidence of her good mood was that he was allowed to swim in the pool as she typed at the lanai table, then he took a nap on the beach until she woke him up with new script pages.

 

To his disappointment, these new offerings were precise, and she warned they must be spoken to the letter. Groaning, he paced the sand, reading, shaking his head. The wedding. The dreaded ceremony. Typed out here in nauseating detail – their devoted love for each other as they exchanged vows!  It was to take place at the Kahala Hilton. Tomorrow!  The good news – tomorrow all of this would be over!

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

McGarrett had turned part of the surveillance on Kalakaua Avenue over to Lukela. From a distance, he noted the sergeant had met with Danno in the café. Tempted to rush over and talk with his friend more, he noted Camille strolling back toward the eatery, so he held his ground. His meet with Danno at the Hilton was disturbing and emotionally straining for both of them, but agonizing for Steve. His friend was suffering terribly, and Steve felt responsible to get him out of it.

 

Taking a side street, he got to his car and parked it just down the block from the Mustang. While he was cruising out of Waikiki on the tail of the couple, Dispatch paged him and Duke identified himself.

 

“Steve, not good news. Griggs is onto the tailing. She spotted them and had a blow up.”

 

“Danno?” His skin had gone cold.

 

“Okay. I talked to him. She’s unhappy, but so far no threats. The good news, is tomorrow is the wedding and then she said it would be over.”

 

The news was bad and good and left him warily distraught. “We need to get him out!”

 

“He said he could handle it.”

 

Steve wanted to speed up, pull in front of the Mustang and take his friend back!  He should stop the sick charade right now!  And allow hundreds to die? Pounding on the steering wheel, he maintained a lose and distant tail as the red sports car wound around the scenic highway toward the windward side of Oahu. This was wrong to allow his friend to keep suffering, but what could he do? What punishment would Camille exact tonight? The possibilities made his skin chill. Well, there were going to be cops all over the place at that beach house tonight and if she tried anything they would save Danno.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Wary that there might be more nightly excursions, McGarrett turned over his stake out duties to Chin and went straight to Doctor Bishop’s office after he tailed the couple to the beach house. Edgily, he waited as she finished an appointment with a patient. She had been generous enough with her time to drop everything and meet at the Morgue to observe Camille. Now, they needed a debriefing, and McGarrett’s civility insisted he grant her a chance to make up for professional lost time, but his own urgency warred with anything interfering with his all important case. Knowing he could give Camille lessons in control-obsession, he sighed with relief when Bishop opened her door and a man left, so she could usher the head of Five-0 inside.

 

“Well, Doctor?” he asked before she could sit in the chair alongside the sofa.

 

“Sit down, please.”

 

He continued to pace. “What did you think of Griggs?”

 

Grimacing at his continued pacing, she shook her head in resignation. “Miss Griggs is what we in my profession call certifiable. She is controlling, using Danny as a puppet for her own ends to fulfill her fantasy. My observation of and subsequent meeting with her gave me some disturbing insights.”

This stopped his movement. His skin chilled. “Like what?”

 

“Remember I talked before about the barrier between reality and her fantasy world? That line is invisible now. And that is very dangerous.”

 

“But she writes the scripts, she makes Danno memorize them—”

 

“Steve, the line between reality and her created universe is gone.”

 

This was not going the direction he hoped. McGarrett worried that he might get bogged down in doc-speak much as he often was mired in Doc Bergman’s technical diatribes. “All right, Doctor, bottom line,” he reminded. “We need the location of her poison traps and we need it soon.” His heart raced at the condition of Williams and the terrible strain, and danger, this was creating for him. “We need to remove her threat and remove Danno from her sphere!  We need that information!”

 

“When I talked to her, Steve, I saw something that frightened me,” she grimly responded.

 

He nodded for her to continue.

 

“This is not particularly scientific, but I sensed… an urgency in her demeanor.

I told you before her plan is finite. Her desperation is increasing. Today, I saw that her whole world is wrapped around Danny. I fear she might find it impossible to give up her constructed world.”

 

“How can she not? She’ll have no place to go.”

 

She tilted her head in thought. “Perhaps, she’ll react like a cornered animal..”

 

McGarrett’s inner voice whispered profound concern with that judgment when he heard the tenuous tone. “You’re not very certain of that, Doctor.”

 

“I’m not, Steve.,” she ruminated, still pondering. “Predicting what a deranged person will do is not an exact science as I’ve told you,” she told him as he walked to the door.

 

Before leaving, he gave her nod. “That’s what we pay you for, Doctor. Profiling our killer.”

 

“Steve, maybe I should do a profile of you someday?” she countered. “What do you think I would find?”

 

“I wouldn’t want to know,” he smiled briefly, and then left, promising himself he would never allow her that much knowledge about the inside of his head.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

When he reached his car, he had a message waiting from May. Bergman had important information. So he diverted to the ME’s office, grateful things were starting to break in one direction at least.

 

“It’s called Somren,” Bergman cited simply as he circled the desk in his office and handed over his report.

 

Somren,” McGarrett parroted as he accepted the paper from the medical examiner with a frown.

 

“Or at least that’s what it would’ve been called if the Food and Drug Administration would’ve approved its use.”

 

When the Five-0 chief looked up in alarm at the physician, Bergman continued his explanation. “As soon as I found an unidentified compound in Danny’s blood, I drove what was left of the sample – along with the substance you collected from the Champagne glass last night – up to Mondavé Pharmaceuticals. It didn’t take but a few minutes for their mass spectrometer to cough up the identity of the drug. It’s a powerful sleeping agent.”

 

“Doc, you said the FDA did not approve the drug? Why? Is it dangerous? From what I saw of Danno under its influence, it’s clearly effective.”

 

“Oh yes, it’s effective all right, Steve – very effective as a sleeping pill.” The doctor dropped onto the stool behind him. “It was the side effects that put the kibosh on its release.”

 

“Side effects – such as?” McGarrett demanded warily.

 

“Test subjects experienced altered states of consciousness for hours and days after a single dose. Headaches, bouts of nausea, impaired hand-eye coordination, irritability, decreased attention span.”

 

“Sounds like hangover symptoms. Poor Danno!” The detective shook his head.

 

Bergman added, “AND the longer a subject took the drug, the more pronounced the side effects became.”

 

The Five-0 chief grimaced as he studied the physician’s face. “Will it hurt Danno if she continues to slip it to him until this mess is resolved?”

 

“Well, Steve, if I had my druthers – which clearly I DON’T – I’d rather my patients not take drugs which have not been approved for human consumption.” Bergman hesitated slightly, but held up his hand in a conciliatory gesture as he saw that McGarrett was preparing to demand an answer to the question. “BUT… I don’t anticipate any problems that a few days of aspirin won’t manage.”

 

The detective breathed a gentle sigh of relief. He could at least put aside his guilt about leaving Danno’s drugging while in the clutches of that poisonous viper – for the moment…

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

The sun was just setting at the end-horizon of the gold sheet of the sea. The surveillance team, McGarrett – who could not keep himself away from the terrible ordeal his friend was experiencing – and Kono, were forced to take up their observation post amid the eastern rim of lava rocks overlooking a secluded cove on the windward coast. They had been watching Dan and Camille on the beach for Camille’s romantic watch-the-sun-go-down scene, agonizingly repeated several times, apparently because of the “director’s” – not displeasure with the scene, but rather her extreme happiness. Because of the repetition, Dan was imbibing heavily of the liquor, which was an integral part of the romantic evening. After several glasses of Champagne, McGarrett was grinding his teeth, now knowing that every sip pushed more of the drug into his friend’s system.

 

“Camille… my little… love… bunny… love…” Dan swayed as he reached out to stroke his date’s hair.

 

Neither McGarrett nor Kono could keep wrinkles from their noses at the syrupy language. They exchanged an expression of agreement on the issue, but their attention quickly returned to the couple less than thirty feet away.

 

Sue reacted by coming up under his arm to keep him from falling. “What is it, my darling?”

 

To McGarrett, she sounded legitimately, innocently curious. It made him wonder whether she was so wrapped up in living her fantasy that she was not cognizant of the fact that her prize – as Doctor Bishop had labeled Danno – had to be blind drunk. Griggs had literally forced Williams to down most of the bottle of Champagne. It was becoming apparent to Steve that the suspect’s notions of romance were wrapped around one-dimensional images of drinking, exaggerated displays of affection, and the motions of companionship – no consequences or cross words in her scenes.

 

Of course, what seemed invisible to Griggs was all too apparent to McGarrett. Danno was pickled. It meant that his detective would not be clear headed enough to convince the suspect to reveal anything useful about where the drugs were hidden. So close to the scene, and yet helpless, the Five-0 chief silently groaned. At least his friend was on soft sand if he fell on his face…

 

“I’ve forgotten my lines… I’m sorry,” Williams spoke with an uneven meter, but seemed relaxed, possibly more relaxed than Steve had seen him since this horrific episode had begun. He smiled slightly and kissed Camille’s neck, which elicited a small giggle from the delighted woman. “You’re really a very pretty girl, you know that?”

 

Camille smiled demurely as she edged her lover towards the blanket. “You need to sit down, I think.”

 

“I’m getting married in the morning… ding dong the bells are gonna chime…” Williams sang softly as the pair, driven by Dan’s heavier frame, staggered to the blanket where they made a less-than-controlled landing. With Griggs back on the blanket, Dan wrapped his arms around her, and studied her adoring expression. “Do you love me?”

 

The question seemed to surprise Sue, but she responded quickly. “I love you more with every breath I take.”

 

Dan’s lips curled into a crooked smile, as he pressed on. “Then, darling, love of my life… please tell me about the poison.”

 

Griggs might have tensed – Steve couldn’t tell for certain from his vantage point -- but he knew that HE tensed. Yes! Danno was trying, even in his diminished condition, to extract information from the suspect. The lead detective held his breath as he awaited the next move in this important mental chess game between the very smart – and equally paranoid – suspect and his very drunk second-in-command.

 

When Camille didn’t respond immediately, Williams pushed. “We’re getting married… aren’t we? Make it a wedding gift… to me…” He kissed her, and pulled back so that he could drop to the blanket beside her.

 

“Okay,” Griggs responded quietly, but McGarrett’s mental stir made the news seem loud.

 

Several seconds of heavy silence ensued. The sound of the waves crashing onto the sand seemed to grow louder as Steve wondered what was going on in the woman’s head. Perhaps she was going to tell him later? Or was she considering what to tell him? In retrospect, the wait probably seemed longer to the surveillance team than it was. Finally, she rolled onto her side, propping her head up with one hand so that she could draw circles with her index finger on Dan’s chest.

 

“I call it magic,” she offered in a sing song voice. When Williams did not respond, she poked him in the chest. “Don’t you want to know why I call it that?”

 

Yes! Say YES, Danno! McGarrett cried out in his head. What Steve would not have given at that moment to be the puppet master and Danno his puppet!

 

Dan, apparently having difficulty staying focused, inhaled and released the breath before he responded. “Ummm, yeah… yeah…”

 

Griggs continued wistfully, “I call it that because it’s the reason that we’re together.”

 

“Ma…gic… okay…I’ll call it that too.” The prone detective returned softly as he clumsily reached a hand up and stroked Sue’s hair. “Tell me… more.”

 

Good, Danno, good! Steve couldn’t control a slight nod of approval as his detective somehow managed to return to the track.

 

Griggs smiled. “The magic is in three warehouses near the waterfront – I’ve been watching the schedules for months. It would begin its journey tomorrow, but I knew you wouldn’t let that happen.”

 

“How… how do I stop it?” Williams wondered around a yawn.

 

Hold it together, aikane! Steve willed his friend not to pass out at what would be an incredibly inopportune moment.

 

She paused for several seconds as everyone within earshot waited tensely for her response. Finally, Dan added, “Cupcake honey.”

 

That seemed to be the secret password. Griggs sighed. “We’ll exchange our vows in a very private ceremony. Afterwards, I give you the details – the specific physical vector of the magic and its locations – and then you may make a phone call to your former employer, Steve.”

 

“Steve…” Dan mused. “By the way… he should be my best man.”

 

“There will be no best man and no maid of honor – we love each other so much that we don’t want anyone to intrude on our privacy.”

 

“Oh, yeah,” Williams agreed sullenly.

 

The woman sat up suddenly, startling everyone. “We really need to get back home. We’ve got a big day tomorrow.” She gave Dan a peck on the lips and began to rise to her feet, pulling at the detective’s arm as she rose. “And this bride has things to do!”

 

With a brief nod to his boss, Kono gingerly rose from his hiding spot behind the bush-laced dune topping the lava rocks, and trotted away so that he could radio Chin. The Chinese detective would be trailing the couple back to the beach house that evening.

 

It was only after several false starts and stumbles that Griggs was able to bring her date to his feet. She abandoned the blanket they’d brought and maneuvered them back to the waiting Mustang a hundred yards away. The woman did not seem disturbed by Dan’s condition as he periodically nuzzled her neck. On the contrary, McGarrett decided that things must be going according to her plan. He relaxed a little more when he saw that she had gently placed his friend in the passenger seat of the muscle car. Williams was in no condition to walk, let alone drive.

 

The Five-0 chief was rejoined by Kono, and they watched as the red car peeled out of the parking area and onto the highway. The Chinese detective’s vehicle appeared moments later, in a borrowed, yellow convertible – not the standard-issue Five-0 sedan -- and disappeared around the bend.

 

“They might be better off with Danny behind da wheel – dat wahine drive like a drunk race car driver,” Kono broke the silence as the two men strode towards their transportation which had been hidden up the road.

 

“Yeah,” McGarrett agreed absentmindedly – his thoughts had already leaped to the formulation of a plan for his friend’s ‘wedding day’.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

“Good morning, my darling,” the familiar, dreaded voice melodically greeted the groggy detective.

 

Keeping his eyes closed for a few extra seconds of denial, Dan tried to will away the discomfort from the bile bubbling in his gut. Only a painful poke in his chest from one of Camille’s fingernails alerted him to her growing impatience.

 

“Morning,” he croaked as his eye lids scraped across his corneas. Camille, wearing a silk bath robe, leaned down and kissed him before shoving a piece of paper in his face. He clumsily accepted the page and tried to gracefully manage the horrible dizziness while his eyes focused on what he assumed was another page from her macabre script. That he was being fed his lines so early, he knew did not bode well for her tolerance level on this – he swallowed – their wedding day.

 

“Uh, let’s see… good morning, love of my life…” He squeezed his eyes shut tightly for an extended second before he opened them and struggled to a sitting position – an act which nearly sent his head rolling to the floor. Another brutal hangover – when this was over, he considered in passing that he would never drink again.

 

“Yes?” She pushed with strained cheerfulness as he took a little too long to continue with his lines.

 

“Uh…” The officer slowly lifted his eyes from the script to stare into the brown eyes boring into him. “Please, Camille… How ‘bout some orange juice?”

 

Her eyes narrowed and her lips tightened as she shook her head slightly. “No! Do NOT ad lib today, darling!”

 

Dejected, he sighed and slowly recited the un-palatable line he’d just read. “How ‘bout a mimosa to start the first day of the rest of our lives…” The Champagne-orange-juice concoction was the last thing the detective felt like consuming, but maybe a little hair of the dog would help. Maybe he would just stay roaring drunk until he was married… with his little bride’s permission of course, he thought bitterly.

 

Apparently obliviously to her lover’s real feeling on the matter, Camille immediately leaned over and grabbed two fluted goblets, full to the brim of the orange beverage, from her nightstand, and pushed one of the glasses into his hand. Clinking the edge of her drink to his, she beamed, “To us.”

 

“To us,” Dan parroted mechanically before he took one sip, and then a gulp, before he downed the rest of the drink with a couple of swallows.

 

The woman studied him as she took a single, demure sip. “We’ll have breakfast on the lanai before we must get ready to leave.”

 

“For the Hilton, right?” Williams knew it was an ad-lib, but he hoped she would accommodate a simple question like that with no attitude.

 

She hesitated for a moment before she obliged neutrally. “Yes… just as we planned. Here.” Camille exchanged her nearly full goblet for Dan’s empty one. “Drink up, my sweet,” she commanded gently.

 

“Why not,” the detective breathed – the alcohol did seem to help a little. He knew it did not mean the avoidance of a hangover – merely the delay of one, but he was living in the moment. Anything he could do to make his un-well body feel better and cooperate with his wishes, he would do.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Dan finished buttoning his shirt – a three-quarter-length-sleeve, white cotton un-tuckable design, with two-inch, rolled cuffs and a collar splayed into a v-neck – then he let his hands drop to his sides to stare into the wall mirror in “his” dressing room. His head spun as his eyes dropped to fix on his off-white pants. Since his awakening, he’d had four mimosas, and it was hard to focus on such… such whiteness. Heck, it was hard to focus period. With any luck, his nightmare would be over before the morning was out.

 

The unhappy groom heard the door waft open, and he gingerly turned to face his bride. If he took away a week of knowing her, he could have called her stunning in the white, flowing, dress, which appeared to be a few layers of irregular-length shear scarves overlaid by lace. Camille had accessorized the plunging, scalloped neck with a white lei. A matching floral wreath adorned her brown hair, swept into a chignon. She stood, studying Williams uncertainly as she apparently awaited his reaction to her appearance.

 

Dan finally found his voice, and responded honestly. “You look beautiful,” he intoned quietly, and swallowed before he remembered to add his line from the script. “You look just like I dreamed you’d look.”

 

Joy leapt onto Camille’s face. “And you are gorgeous, my darling.” She stepped towards the detective and touched his cheek as she studied him, her expression almost poignant. Dan stood unmoving as he she stroked his cheek – he’d grown accustomed to her strange bouts of microscopic inspection, and knew well enough now to not disturb her while she worked through whatever was going on in her head.

 

Finally, she sighed. “I’ll drive today – you don’t mind, do you, my love?”

 

Williams blinked. That wasn’t in the script, was it? He hesitated for only a moment before deciding the best he could do was to be agreeable if she was going to violate her own mandate of no ad-libbing. “Uh, no, no, of course not… whatever you want,” he whispered. He was drunk, or well on his way, so Camille’s desire to shuttle them to their wedding ceremony was probably a good idea – even if she did drive like Steve, he mused.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

“Chin, they just turned into the main driveway of the Hilton. Have you got ‘em?

 

“Yeah, Ono – I take it from here. Mahalo.”

 

The disembodied voices of the surveillance team crackled over McGarrett’s radio. Wishing he could justify posting himself inside the Hilton so that he could personally witness Sue Griggs’ arrest, the head of Five-0 knew that he needed to take the information baton from his second-in-command and run with it as soon as it was available to him. This meant that he and several HPD units would be standing by in the warehouse district, where the suspect had hinted the toxins were hidden. Chin, Kono, and several HPD officers were covering Williams and his “bride” as they made the trip from the beach house hideaway to the Hilton in Waikiki.

 

Since his return to the Palace the previous evening, he and his staff had worked on the shipping manifests for as many warehouses as they could. Finding foremen at home in the evening had been difficult, then came the disgruntled cooperation as they rousted office managers or owners to read billing statements of food or drink items in warehouses for a few months. It was as bad as a wild goose chase, and had netted little in the way of results in the overnight search. They were really no closer to finding the toxins than they were before. They had managed to stop any consumable goods from leaving the docks this morning, but the tainted edibles could have left the warehouse yesterday, delivered in time for the receiver to open them today. They still needed Griggs’ information for the exact items and location.

 

“Kono, they’re leaving their ride with the valet – where are you?”

 

“Duke and I are standin’ by just outside the room Griggs booked for the ceremony – they’ve got it all decorated and ready to go, and the preacher man is there already too.”

 

McGarrett picked up the mic and couldn’t help but make the sarcastic query. “Do the HAPPY couple look ready for their wedding day?”

 

Dey both dressed for wedding, but only half of dem look happy,came the pigeon English reply from Chin.

 

McGarrett smiled thinly. “Yeah, well I’m sure the other half will be much happier shortly.” He relieved the pressure from the push-to-talk button so that nobody would hear what else he said. “Hang in there, Danno.”

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Duke and Kono exchanged a silent communication as an almost zombie-like Dan, with an admittedly beautiful Sue Ellen Griggs attached to his arm, trod past their positions into the small jury-rigged chapel. The bride’s happy eyes were fixed on the young detective, whose expression was more reminiscent of someone making a trip to the gallows. Williams made no effort to visually seek out any of his discreetly-positioned colleagues – it was this action – or absence of it – that caused the visual exchange of raised eyebrows between Lukela and Kalakaua.

 

Just before the couple vanished into the room, Griggs released her grip on her prisoner-husband-to-be and took a quick – possibly paranoid – look behind her. She hesitated for only a moment before she smiled and closed the door.

 

Kono stepped closer to the door and looked down. A paper, twice folded and crumpled, lay at his feet.

 

Duke joined the big Hawaiian as he collected the paper. “Did Danny drop that?” the HPD sergeant wondered as he stared at the page around the Kono’s shoulder.

 

“I think so… it’s the script for the wedding ceremony,” the Five-0 officer responded as his eyes continued to scan the page. Chin slipped up and joined the pair as Kono announced, “Okay, it says here that the reverend in there is gonna do a reading…” He looked up and let his eyes bounce between Lukela and Kelly. “Wonder what kind of reading.”

 

‘Maybe a passage from the Bible – they do that at a lot of weddings,” Duke suggested.

 

“Or some poetry maybe – we know Griggs loves poetry,” Chin added.

 

Kono shrugged. “Well, whatever kind of reading it is, it’s gonna take about thirty minutes. See—” He pointed to the margin of the page. “She made notes about how long each thing would take.”

 

Duke frowned and studied the page. “Hmmm… that means that they’re gonna be in there about… about… thirty… forty… fifty five minutes.”

 

The Chinese detective nodded. “I’ll let Steve know.”

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Dan heard Camille close the door behind them, but his focus was on the grinning preacher, who rose from the chair he’d pulled up to wait for his customers. The middle-aged, Polynesian man was dressed in a black suit and traditional white, religious collar. His suit was draped with a traditional Hawaiian Maile lei.

 

“E komo mai, my children,” the minister greeted the couple warmly with an open arm gesture.

 

Williams’ legs suddenly felt leaden, but he and Camille continued to make progress toward the man.

 

“Reverend Kihei,” the bride greeted happily as she retrieved a folded page from her small pearl-coated clutch. “I have a small change to the ceremony, if you don’t mind.”

 

With an agreeable nod, he accepted the document from the delicate hand and read over it for a moment before he looked up at the couple. “Of course, my dear. This is your wedding day, and it shall be exactly as you wish it to be.”

 

If the preacher thought it was odd that the groom stood trance-like and allowed himself to be positioned by the bride without argument, he did not say so. Instead, he grabbed two Maile leis from the podium behind him and draped one over each of the two young people before he referenced the paper Camille had given him. With a reassuring wink at the bride, he looked at his watch before opening his notebook and beginning.


The man spoke of the lei being an unbroken circle, and that, like the rings they would be exchanging the leis should also remind the couple of their eternal commitments towards one another.

 

Dan released a quiet, involuntary humph, causing Camille to snap her eyes from the reverend toward her groom, who swallowed and focused innocently on the man standing before them. The bride’s eyes narrowed slightly as she suspiciously observed Williams, but within a few seconds, she let her gaze drift back toward the officiator, who turned and collected the two Koa wood goblets behind him, and handed them to the bride and groom. Williams peered into the cup. Great… more alcohol… he mused acidly as the preacher directed them to drink the contents.

 

Dan swallowed the red wine in a few gulps while Camille demurely sipped hers down and handed the goblet back to the older man. The detective let the hand still holding the wine goblet drop back to his side. The preacher hesitated for a moment before he reached over and gently collected the object from the groom with a very slight shake of his head. Perhaps this groom had already had a little too much to drink today.

 

The reverend spoke for another three minutes – on what Dan could not have recalled at gunpoint -- his focus was staying upright. He decided it was best not to listen too closely. Another sarcastic noise, such as the one he’d inadvertently allowed moments earlier, could mean the deaths of thousands.

 

“Danny?”

 

Quickly returning to the moment with the tightening of Camille’s grasp on his arm, Williams focused on the reverend. “Yes?”

 

The older man whispered un-necessarily. “You’re supposed to say I do – just like your lovely bride just did.”

 

“Oh… of course…” Dan nervously made eye contact with Camille and paused again. He was suddenly very sad for the lovely creature gazing adoringly at him. He would say the words that she wanted to hear now, and then, before the sun set again, he would read Camille her rights. The woman clearly needed serious help, and he would make sure that she was remanded straight to the state psychiatric hospital instead of jail. “I do,” he said softly with a smile his emotions did not reflect.

 

Reverend Kihei sighed with satisfaction. “If that is the case, then, Danny and Camille, I, by the powers invested in me by the state of Hawaii, do hereby pronounce you man and wife.” With a smile and a nod to the detective, he added, “Danny, you may kiss the bride.”

 

The kiss exchanged was as passionate as the couple had ever shared primarily because the bride – with the marital bond established – now seemed to feel freer to express her sentiment physically.

 

“Congratulations!” The pastor stepped forward and shook Dan’s hand. “Camille, per your request, we managed to complete the ceremony in less than ten minutes. I hope this meets with your satisfaction.”

 

Dan frowned slightly, wondering why the lengthy reading had been cut, but the glowing woman explained before he could question the change. “We’re going to do the reading ourselves in a surprise location, my darling husband.”

 

“A surprise location?” Dan echoed suspiciously.

 

“Yes… I’ll reveal the other secret to you after the reading,” Camille maintained a level gaze at Williams, who knew full well to what secret she referred.

 

“Hmmm… okay… darling,” Dan wasn’t sure what else he could do, so he took his bride by the hand and started towards the door. “Thank you, Reverend.”

 

Camille planted her feet and stopped the detective’s progress. “Darling, we’re slipping out the caterer’s entrance. I have another little surprise for you.”

 

Taken aback, Dan did not have time to speak before the bride addressed the preacher. “And remember, Reverend, you need to remain here for another forty five minutes before you leave.”

 

Kihei nodded. “Of course, my dear. I wouldn’t want the press to be able to follow you.”

 

Williams blinked. The press? Not the press – the police!!! Camille was onto the surveillance!!! He tried not to react outwardly, but he wondered what she was up to now as she guided him out the service door behind the podium. Did it really matter that the police were watching? The couple slipped through the busy kitchen with glances of amusement from the staff.

 

Dan fired a look over his shoulder, hoping he would see somebody – ANYBODY – from his unit. Had they even known there was a service entrance to the room?

 

With dejection, he realized that it probably was not visible with a casual scan of the room. “Where are we going, Camille? The deal was that you would tell me the SECRET when the ceremony was over!”

 

The woman tugged Williams along as she retorted over her shoulder, “The DEAL was that you would have no contact with the police!”

 

“I don’t know—” Dan started to try to deny what Camille obviously already knew, but, as they reached the door to the parking garage, she spun to face him.

 

“We’ve been followed – that means that you’ve been in touch with your former friends!” She accused.

 

“I can’t control what the police do!” Williams defended.

 

“True,” she returned. “But it means a change of plans. I decided that we’re going to finish the ceremony with a truly private reading in the Valley of the Temples!”

 

“The Valley—” Dan started, but then changed his tack. Taking in a deep breath to curtail his outward anger, he spoke more slowly. “Okay… we go to the Valley of the Temples, do the reading, and then you tell me where the toxins are, right… my wife?”

 

Hearing spousal term come from the detective obviously muted the woman’s ire. She smiled slightly and nodded. “Yes – and we must hurry.”

 

“Why? Do we have an appointment?” Dan asked as she led him into the garage.

 

“An appointment… yes,” she agreed as she stopped at a car – not the red Mustang. This car – another high-powered beauty – was a sky-blue Mustang, just like the red one. “Get in!” She commanded as she gave him a peck on the cheek and slipped around the vehicle to the driver’s side.

 

Dan shook his head as he opened the passenger door. Camille was a wily one – the team would certainly not be looking for them in this ride.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Used to being a passenger in McGarrett’s car, Dan was less inclined than the average person to be nervous about careening down the road with an inattentive driver at the wheel. Now though, with his head struggling to stay on his shoulders, the journey was almost a cartoon of near misses and off-road experiences. With any luck, Williams hoped, one of the citizens who’d nearly been run off the road by Camille would call the police. The wine had obviously pushed his stomach beyond the point of alcoholic tolerance, and it was all he could do to not throw up. He leaned his head back on the head rest and closed his eyes. It helped a little, but he was grateful when the vehicle finally rolled to a stop.

 

He sat up a little straighter and saw that they were parked in front of the little chapel at the Valley of the Temples. Weddings and funerals alike happened here in this pastoral setting. From near to far, the surrounding countryside was dotted with crypts and memorial markers for those who’d passed on. Dan jumped at the sound of Camille’s voice cutting into his thoughts.

 

“My darling husband…” She paused until his head turned to look at her. “I’m going to tell you where I’ve been keeping the magic.”

 

Williams stared at her flushed face for several seconds before he took in the meaning. “Magic – the toxin.”

 

“It’s in the Wiki Warehouse down by the docks. There are forty crates of sugar to which I added the crystalline version of my compound. They’re slated to be delivered tomorrow to all of the Cornerstone Market locations throughout the islands.” Her voice was soft. “If you’ll escort me into the church, we can call Steve.”

 

Dan felt his body flush with relief. Mission accomplished… or almost. They had to let Steve know! The detective nodded with a smile as he exited the vehicle and made his way around the front of the car to open his faux wife’s door. He found he had to lean on the hood of the car as he realized how unsteady he was. Good thing Camille drove…

 

The woman clutched Williams’ extended hand and the couple rushed into the church, which they found devoid of human occupants. Dan led the woman, her wedding dressing swishing in the rush, to the back of the small building where the target of the detective’s search was visible on a desk. He released Camille’s hand and made it to the phone in two strides. He almost dialed Steve’s number at the Palace, but realize his boss would most likely be in the car, poised for action, so he called HPD Dispatch, and had to sit on the desk to keep from toppling over while awaited a patch through to his boss.

 

Camille gently placed her hand on the handset near her spouse’s. “Let me tell him.”

 

“I’ll tell him,” Williams insisted firmly.

 

“I’ll tell him, and then we finish the ceremony, and I’ll tell you where the rest of the lot is,” she returned firmly.

 

“You mean you’ve hidden the toxin in two separate—” Dan nearly swooned off the desk as a wave of dizziness overtook him.

 

Camille grabbed the phone from his hand and put other arm around him. “I’ll explain…” The woman stopped talking as the imposing voice barked from the phone.

 

“McGarrett!”

 

Dan, his head leaning on Camille’s shoulder, found he suddenly felt too faint to do much of anything but listen as the woman calmly spoke to his friend. “Steve, it’s Camille.”

 

“Yes, Camille, talk to me!”

 

“Danny wants me to tell you that you must contact the Island Shipping Company. There is a particular bill of lading number --- seven five zero five four eight nine eight zero one. You should confiscate all crates in this shipment and destroy them. Is that clear?”

 

“Can you confirm the bill of lading number and the contents?”

 

Impatience slipped into her tone, but she repeated the number and hung up the phone abruptly. Turning her attention to her un-well husband, her tone turned gentle. “Now I’ll show you my other hiding place, my darling. We can have the final part of the ceremony there.” She gently kissed Dan on his forehead and helped him stand.

 

“As long as it doesn’t involve drinking,” Williams breathed as he put his arm around her shoulder for support.

 

The pair made their way down the steps and wandered back behind the chapel a couple hundred feet before their destination was apparent to the detective. He stopped their progress as he studied the façade of the granite structure, which was large by tropical standards – perhaps fifteen feet by fifteen feet. A large Maile leaf garland was draped across the entrance of the private mausoleum.

 

“You want to finish the ceremony in a CRYPT?” Williams asked incredulously.

 

“I bought a crypt. It’s very quiet and peaceful,” She offered as she tried to push-pull him into action again.

 

Dan took several more steps until his foot was on the first stair. A stomach cramp unlike anything he’d every felt before suddenly bolted through his being. He cried out and doubled over as he collapsed unceremoniously to the ground.

Oww,” he moaned.

 

“Danny… wait… it’s not time,” Camille’s voice echoed in his head.

 

“Camille, help… it hurts…”

 

He started to roll to his knees to try to rise, but found his legs jerked from him. His little bride was dragging him by his ankles up the steps of the mausoleum! He tried to kick free, but could not muster the strength. His head bounced up the granite steps as he tried to focus on his captor, who looked tearful, but determined. He clutched desperately at the garland draping the entrance, and it dropped onto his body as Camille successfully continued her mission. He knew he was in trouble, but the depth of his dilemma did not strike him until his eyes partially focused on the name engraved over the crypt door: Williams.

 

Williams…. Williams… His new bride had poisoned him… Camille’s happy ending was not a happy one at all…

 

“Camille, it hurts so bad … please… help me,” Dan pled. Once they were completely inside the vault, the detective felt his legs drop to the smooth, marble-feeling floor. “Camille… come here... my darling…” The pain was almost more than he could bear, but he tearfully continued to call out to the woman, whom he could not see either because of the darkness in the enclosed space or because his vision was failing. The reason didn’t matter – his last chance was to get his hands on her.

 

“Danny, love of my life, we’ll be together forever now,” the woman whispered. “It won’t hurt. Don’t worry – we’ll just go to sleep in each other’s arms. I gave you yours before we said our vows so that I wouldn’t be able to change my mind, and now, I’m taking mine.”

 

“Camille, kiss me,” Dan beseeched.

 

The plea, to Williams’ marginal relief, worked. The woman dropped to her knees and embraced the detective. As her lips drew near to his, he grabbed her by the hair. “What have you done, my darling?” He hissed through clenched teeth.

 

Ow! You’re hurting me!” She tried to pull away, punching him in the stomach. He groaned and released her hair, but managed to trip her with his foot as she drew away. The move made her stumble, and he grabbed at her, catching a fist full of her dress. She kicked him violently in the face. “You made me drop my poison!”

 

Tasting the blood he knew had to be pouring from his nose, he ignored her near-hysterical scream, and continued his hold on her dress. The tear of the material came suddenly, causing her to tumble backwards. Dan used the opportunity to roll to his stomach and start crawling for the door. He could hear her coming, but did not have time to react as she pounced on his back shrieking like a banshee.

 

“Now, I’ll have to go back and get more poison!!” She clawed at him.

 

In a last resort to get the wild cat off of him, he rolled and back handed her. The move worked – she fell backward and was slow to come to her feet. Unfortunately, the vigor it took was all Dan had. He lay there on his back for how long he did not know. When he was able to look up, it was to see the frightening shadow of Camille hovering over him.

 

“I’ll be back,” she breathed hoarsely. She stepped over him, but he didn’t have the energy to try to stop her egress. She pulled the door almost all the way closed before she spoke again. “Try not to die before I return.”

 

With that calm admonition, she sealed him in the intensely dark space. Panic battled with agony as he lay there. What was left to be done? He was too weak to move, and now he was sealed in a mausoleum purchased just for him.

 

Never give up, Danno!

 

The voice of his mentor echoed in his brain, and he wheezed, “Leave me alone, Steve…”

 

Never give up!

 

“Okay…” Dan grimaced as he summoned strength he did not have and rolled again to his stomach. Dragging himself to the metal door, he struggled to feel for a latch or a door knob or something. He made it halfway up the door before he slid to the floor. He lay there, with three inches of metal between him and the fresh tropical air, and chuckled despite the pain. “Most customers don’t try to leave…”

 

His thoughts wandered to the nonsequiter places one’s brain travels when undirected as he drifted off to a welcome sleep, and respite from the tremendous cramps wracking his body.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Returning to his car, McGarrett checked in with the office. The news May offered, in a voice edged with uneasiness, set his nerves on edge. Danno and Griggs had not returned to the office. The unexpected news momentarily set him off balance. The sham ceremony might have gone through, but as soon as Danno had fulfilled his part of the bargain, he was to arrest Griggs and hand her over to the back up team at the Hilton.

 

Deeming it too risky to create a mob scene of officers at the exclusive Kahala hotel – uncertain of Griggs’ instability if she was cornered/ confronted before her fantasy was fulfilled, McGarrett had ordered the HPD men to join Williams as soon as the undercover officer exited the hotel after the wedding. They were to book Griggs at HPD and take Williams to the hospital for an instant check up from Bergman.

 

For only a moment he was disconcerted. Then he ended the connection and patched through to the officers at the Hilton. Confused that Danno and his “wife” had not emerged from the chapel, he ordered that the officers go in and find out what was happening!  It had been far too long, his nerves told him. Holding the mic in one hand, snapping his fingers with the other, he reviewed his course of action in this bizarre and troubling venture. Had he acted correctly? He HAD the toxins. Allowing Williams to suffer through the torturous charade had been difficult and painful for all of them, but they had emerged victorious.

 

This snag in the plan, though, reminded him that they were up against a cunning and shrewd maniac. She had developed this sly scheme over years of stalking his friend through demented imaginings. She had tried to loose the tail before – she spotted them yesterday – did she have a back up plan to avoid arrest? Why WOULDN’T she have a back up? She was a brilliant strategist with the added craftiness of madness to give her an extra edge.

 

Anxiety slipping into dread, he jumped when the radio crackled to life. He snapped out a demand to the back up officers to go find Williams immediately, searching the Hilton and anywhere else to find him.

 

Hopping into the car, McGarrett started driving toward the office. On the other side of town from Kahala, it was impractical to drive out there to finish up this last phase of the operation himself. In hindsight, he knew he should have taken the back up duty himself, and now wondered why he did not. Because he felt Danno could handle this last detail with little help. Williams, more than anyone, was desperate for this masquerade to end. McGarrett had felt it more important for his personal attention to be on recovering the poison. He was beginning to consider that a mistake in judgment – an oversight in the cunning of Griggs.

 

“Mister McGarrett,” came the voice of Officer Lau, the sergeant in charge of the back up team at the Hilton.

 

“Go ahead.”

 

“Sir, they skipped. Danny and the girl –“

 

“They what?”

 

“They, yeah, they went out the back. Had a car waiting in the garage.”

 

He did not waste time on anger or reprisals. “What kind of car?”

 

“Uh – unknown at this time, sir.”

 

“Get on it!  Let me know when you know anything!”

 

Tossing the mic down on the seat of the car, he made a few quick lane changes, shifting his direction to head to Kahala. Only a few moments were spent dispelling his wrath on the negligent officers. Much of his reproving was directed inward. HE had been the one to set up the operation to nab Griggs and the poison. HE had justified this whole agonizing drama – playing along with a madwoman – allowing his friend to suffer – for the good of the populous. Now Danno was missing, ill, dejected, alone, and in the hands of this lunatic!

 

YYYYY

 

Nearly asleep, Ben Kokua yawned widely and blinked at the sound of a speeding engine. A young HPD officer on his first assignment assisting Five-0, he wanted to be sharp and at his best for this surveillance duty. Only having a glancing acquaintance with the regular detectives of the state police, he had even less contact with McGarrett – only through radio orders – but had heard enough about the Five-0 chief. He knew a solid performance in assisting the elite unit would be high marks in his service file. Maybe even a fast track to promotion. Sergeant Lukela, one of the most respected officer s in HPD, was friends with the top cop of Hawaii, and on call for McGarrett. It never hurt to have friends in the right places.

 

When he spotted a car careen around the corner with a squeal of tires, he slumped down in the front seat of his sedan, his eye-level barely above the steering wheel, but high enough to track a blue convertible tooling toward him at high speed. Erratically, the BLUE Mustang skidded to a halt as the gates to the beach house slowly opened. It gave Kokua enough time to grab his binoculars for a quick check, and the magnified sighting confirmed his initial suspicion, that the suspect, Griggs, was alone in the car. Dressed in her wedding dress; yeah. A bride without a groom; yeah. Definitely not what they had expected.

 

Griggs and Danny had dropped out of sight when they went into the Kahala Hilton to get hitched. It had thrown McGarrett’s plan to serve as back up for Williams when he arrested the girl. Now, no girl and no Danny.

 

Picking up the radio, he called into Five-0. McGarrett was out of the office, and while waiting for the patch, Kokua wondered if he should walk up to the gates and kind of stroll past the beach house. There was nothing really to report except the no-show of Danny.

 

He knew Williams only in passing at HPD, but considered him friendly enough and knew, from reputation, the young man (around Ben’s age but exceeding him in experience and achievement), was top-notch. After working with Five-0, even on the peripheral of a case, he had come to see Williams was not just the second-in-command of the unit, but the heir apparent and close friend to the boss cop. Anything going wrong concerning Williams on his watch, and Kokua was sure his career was ended before it began. It could mean the difference between eventually making detective grade – maybe even working for Five-0 someday – or pulling traffic and road construction duty the rest of his professional life.

 

About to take the initiative and check out the beach house, the radio crackled to life and he held his ground.

 

“McGarrett.”

 

“This is Officer Ben Kokua, Mister McGarrett. Griggs is back at the beach house. She driving a blue Mustang now and she’s without Danny.”

 

What do you mean without him?”

 

“She’s in her wedding dress and driving all pupule and no Danny.”

 

The growl of displeasure was clear over the radio. “All right. You stick with her. If she doesn’t make a move soon let me know.”

 

“Right.”

 

Kokua closed the transmission and watched the gates, still pondering if he should take a more aggressive action. The very worried McGarrett had ordered him to follow. This critical operation was not the time to take initiative, he figured, so he elected to do as commanded. Only moments later, the Mustang rocketed out of the private lane and zipped down to the highway. Kokua revved his car and established pursuit immediately.

 

The Mustang did not stop at the corner, and barely avoided a wreck. Kokua kept as close as he dared. The driving was worse than before, and he soon realized, from the sharp turns and jarring lane switching, that the driver of the blue Mustang was trying to ditch him. She was either skilled, or pupule, or both, and her high speeds and dangerous maneuvering caused two wrecks, while she narrowly missed three crashes.

 

In the quick snatches of a close visual that he managed, he noted she looked a mess. Her hair was in wild disarray and her flower headpiece askew, more around her neck instead of atop her head. During the wild chase McGarrett called again and Kokua reported his ongoing pursuit.

 

“We can’t find Danno,” the tense Five-0 leader reported harshly. “I’m sending a team out to the beach house, just in case, but I don’t know how he could have gotten there. Stop her and bring her in.”

 

That would be easier ordered than done, but Kokua pushed on the accelerator and came up to a few dozen feet of the crazy wahine. In her effort to flee, she ran a red light and clipped another car in the rear fender. The Mustang careened to broadside a telephone pole. Kokua was forced to skid to a halt and veer onto the sidewalk to avoid the accident.

 

By the time he got out of his sedan Griggs was wobbling out of the damaged Mustang. Asking if she was hurt, she fought to get free of his gentle grasp. Seeing she was well enough to resist, he cuffed her, read her the standard rights, and asked if she needed to go to a hospital.

 

“No!” she screamed. “Get me back to Danny!  You’re ruining everything!  There isn’t much time left!”

 

Visually noting that she was scraped and messed up, but not seriously damaged by the accident (her injuries seemed like scratch and punch injuries, actually, he thought), he considered his duty was to take her to McGarrett wikiwiki. Whatever was going on the chief of Five-0 could deal with it.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Pacing, snapping his fingers, McGarrett managed to accomplish nothing as he waited for Kokua to arrive with the prisoner. Checking, via radio, his various officers and their activities, he knew the tampered goods containing poison were nearly secured. Honolulu was safe. The culprit was in custody. With a sick knot in his stomach, he knew the worst question – the one concerning him the most – even more than the poison! – was yet to be answered. What happened to Danno?

 

Launching out of the office, he stopped at May’s desk. “Any word?” He knew there wasn’t, but he had to do something. Instincts told him when Griggs pulled the very clever slip at the Kahala Hilton and ditched the surveillance team, that she was up to serious trouble. For her to reappear in a new Mustang – without Danno – he found ominous for his friend.

 

May put down a paper and stood, placing a tender hand on his arm. “Boss, they’ll have her here in a minute. It’ll be okay.”

 

Unable to respond to the false optimism, he just shook his head. “What are you doing?’ he wondered, noting she had been making various piles of papers across her desk. At the far edge of the scattered papers was a small stack of paperback books.

 

“Griggs’ receipts and such.” She grimaced, pointing to the books. “Her trashy novels. They’re awful.”

 

He managed a grimace. “Then why are you reading them?”

 

“She’s got them all dog-eared and highlighted. She must have read them through a thousand times. So I thought they might be important,” she reasoned while she went over and poured a fresh cup of coffee and handed it to him.

 

He refused the drink, but gave her a wink. “You’re one smart cookie, May.” He signed and shook his head, continuing to pace. “I just wish it would help us find Danno.”

 

The side door opened and Chin and Kono rushed in, glancing around quickly. Their faces were set in masks of barely restrained fury, and McGarrett realized they knew Griggs was coming in and this was their chance to confront her. The puppet master who had led them a very agonizing chase the last several days was now in custody.

 

“She here yet, boss?” Chin asked as they approached.

 

McGarrett shook his head.

 

“We hear Danny ain’t with her,” the big Hawaiian wondered.

 

“No, he’s not.” His voice trembled with rage at the mysterious disappearance. Like a magician’s act, Griggs had managed to distract them, manage a slight-of-hand trick long enough to make a Five-0 detective drop out of sight.

 

“Who’s bringing her in?” Kelly wondered, glancing at the door as if willing the perpetrator to arrive.

 

“Officer Kokua.”

 

“Good man,” Kelly noted absently. “I checked the Hilton staff,” he distractedly reported. “They say Danny and the Griggs woman were married all right,” his lip twitched and he shook his head.

 

Ain’t no legal thing about it,” Kono denied.

 

May scoffed in disgust and took refuge behind her desk.

 

“They went out through the back of the garage. Valet says they had a blue Mustang convertible waiting. Danny didn’t look too happy –“

 

“Course he didn’t,” Kono muttered. “So if Ben arrested her, then what did she do with Danny?”

 

“That’s the big question,” McGarrett sighed, shooting a quick glance toward the empty cubicle in front of them, feeling a pang of distress at the symbolic vacancy of Williams’ work space. “I sent a team over to her apartment to check it out. It’s been sealed, so we had no reason to leave a surveillance team there.”

 

“They couldn’t have gone to the beach house, we had Kokua there all day,” Kelly reminded.

 

“I’ve sent someone over there anyway,” the boss assured. Turning to the secretary, he suggested, “Why don’t you keep checking the bills and paperwork, May. It’s possible Griggs had another hideaway we don’t know about.”

 

“Sure,” she snapped out vehemently. “No telling what that nut has done with Danny!”

 

The office door opened and he drew in a sharp breath when he saw Griggs led in by Kokua. The woman was disheveled, torn, bleeding. Steve wondered what the muscular Samoan, Kokua, had done to her and even though he hated her with a passion for what she had been willing to do to a city full of innocent people – for what she had done to his friend – he was struck with a fleeting lance of concern and compassion for someone who had been so injured. In the back of his mind came the judicial footnote that Stuart and the DA would be furious that an officer had beaten a woman to arrest her, and that would go badly for their case. All of that flashed though his mind in a moment, ending with a hot wave of renewed anger that this woman deserved anything – and almost anything was justified -- because of her merciless actions in her twisted and insane drama.

 

He wasn’t sure if he had ever even met Kokua before, but from the distasteful expression on the young man’s broad face, from the knowledge that this officer was hand-picked by Duke Lukela to support Five-0 with this delicate investigation, he knew whatever happened it had not been because of police brutality.

 

Shouting, snarling, her hateful slurs were vicious; directed at Kokua. When she spotted him she stopped everything for a moment, her eyes widening. “You!  I should have known!  You never wanted us together ever, did you? You were jealous of me!  Danny loves me and didn’t want to be part of your club anymore and you did everything you could to drive us apart!”

 

Disregarding any legal standing or civility, he grabbed onto her arm, livid at her ravings and distorted vision of life. As soon as the door slammed behind him, he turned on her, his own ferocious strain surfacing, unable to be contained.

 

His mind snagged on the alarming clue that she was firmly living in her fantasy realm, even after the arrest, but he charged on with the most demanding question at hand. “Where is Danny Williams? What have you done to him?”

 

Chin, Kono, Kokua and May had followed them into the room. At her stubborn silence, the Samoan offered a report on his apprehension of her, and that she was in this state when she was arrested. He had not wounded her and she had refused to go to a hospital.

 

Noting the injuries, which indicated she had been in one heck of a knock down drag out fight – Steve’s mind raced. The foremost concern brought him to the instinctive conclusion.

 

“What happened to Danny? Did you have a fight with him? Did you try to hurt him? What have you done with him?” he shook her, unable to restrain from wanting to drive the answers from the woman who held the key to his friend’s fate in her twisted head.

 

Her face was red with flushed emotion – anger. ‘Our hearts will ever be as one. Though we must part in his life, we will have eternity. We will live there happily ever after!’ ” she screeched.

 

Was that a quote? She acted like she was delivering a soliloquy on stage, but he was not familiar with the lines. “Where is he?” he snarled, wishing he could force her back to reality through the desperation of his words.

 

Griggs tried to pull away. “We were meant to be together forever. Happily ever after, dearest Danny. She glared at McGarrett, who still held her in a vice-like grip. From the corner of his eye, he noted May’s exit, but his focus was on the raving girl. “You ruined it!

 

“You one pupule wahine!” Kono shouted, confronting her with an ominous presence.

 

McGarrett moved forward, prepared to stop the huge, bulky Hawaiian from harming the criminal. All of them wanted to lash out at her and physically drive a confession from her – an admission of where Danno was and what she had done with him – that he could not allow. Within striking distance of someone who caused his friend terrible anguish and harm, he could do nothing to her but offer her the legal protection due any law-breaker. The knowledge filled him with disgust, but it was the code he lived by and could not break it even for Danno.

 

“You tell where Danny is!” Kalakaua demanded.

 

Kelly came over to pull him away, the concern clear on his face that he was also afraid for her safety. His eyes, however, were filled with contempt. “We know you were with him,” he accused. “Just tell us where he is and we can end this.”

 

McGarrett had never been face to face with pure demented madness before. Staring into his eyes was a being completely removed from reality. She veered back to his dimension long enough to accuse him of destroying her plan, but then she all-too-easily slipped back to her manufactured fantasy world. The proximity lent added urgency to his desperation and regretful dread. He had allowed his officer, his friend, to live with this for days. He had left Danno victim to this intimate study in unbalanced lunacy. He knew his confrontational anger was not breaking through, but there was no reasoning with her, no patience for the craziness. Despite the ragged mania displayed now, he knew Griggs’ mind was cold, calculating, and brilliantly deadly. She could not be dismissed, even as she unraveled before him.

 

“Ruined what?” The words had struck to a core of fear he had only guessed beneath the frustration and anxiety he had lived through this week. Danno’s fate seemed ominously decided already. “What is ruined?”

 

“My wedding day!” she screamed. “ ‘Destiny belongs to the young lovers. Forever entwined in love’s embrace.   Happily ever after!’

 

May who had been hovering at the door since Kokua brought the woman in, came forward now, her face red with livid accusation. “Boss, she’s quoting from one of her trashy novels.”

 

Griggs turned on her so suddenly, as if to attack, the strong, much bigger Kokua was knocked off balance as he restrained the madwoman. “You – you – just shut up!  You can’t know about my Danny!  You can’t understand what I share with him!  ‘‘ ‘Our hearts will ever be as one. Though we must part in his life, we will have eternity. We will live there happily ever after!  Destiny brought us together. Eternity can’t part us!  Even in death!’

 

“She’s quoting,” May reiterated. “Some sappy novel about a girl and a boy who fall in love and the world is against them.”

 

“Shut up!” Griggs screamed. “’They were lovers, destined forever together, just as Romeo and Juliet,’ “ she quoted again.

 

Dealing with the lunatic was straining the very few nerves and complete lack of patience possessed by the head of Five-0. Invoking the legendary, infamously tragic couple from Shakespeare, however, raised the hairs on the back of McGarrett’s neck.

 

“What are you talking about? Where is Danny Williams?” he demanded, shaking her again.

 

“Her laugh was screeching, high-pitched and mad. “ O true apothecary!  Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die. What's here? A cup, closed in my true love's hand? Poison, I see, hath been his timeless end:  I will kiss thy lips;  Haply some poison yet doth hang on them, To make die with a restorative.’ “

 

THAT quote, he did recognize from his college Lit class. Romeo and Juliet.

 

“My love, Danny, we are together forever now.”

 

Chilled, before he could come up with a response, May interrupted.

 

“It’s from that book, boss,” she gulped, staring at him for a moment, obviously reluctant to proceed.

 

“What?” The invocation of her own paraphrasing of Shakespeare chilled him. Romeo and Juliet, the infamous lovers who had a very unhappy end. She was ranting, he reminded. He ignored May’s comment. Griggs was off her rocker, but she knew where Danno was.

 

May continued. “She just quoted the end one of her horrid books! We are together forever now.

 

Griggs made a lunge toward the secretary who stepped back safely behind Kokua and McGarrett, who had firm holds on the prisoner. “Don’t you DARE say those words!” she screeched at the secretary. “Those are MY words!  MY words for Danny!  We’re going to speak them together!  You can’t know the script!” Griggs smiled, in her own demented world again, flashing back and forth with irritating and bewildering speed. . “HAPPILY EVER AFTER. ‘Two Star-crossed Lovers Try To Live Happily Ever After, A Modern Day Romeo and Juliet.’  ‘Our hearts will ever be as one. Though we must part in his life, we will have eternity. We will live there happily ever after!’   

 

Undaunted, May kept up her stream of information. “That’s what the girl in the book says before…” She just stared at him, her voice frozen with fear.

 

The dread telegraphed to him, but McGarrett worked past the knot of illness in his throat and asked her again what she meant. In his hands, Griggs madly struggled to flee, desperate to fulfill her fantasy to the end. To what end, McGarrett worried.

 

May glared at the prisoner for a moment before responding to her boss. “The characters in the book called Happily Ever After. She’s crossed out the names of the characters in the book, and wrote in Danny’s and her’s.” She glanced quickly at the madwoman, her lip curling, then back to McGarrett. Her voice now a trembling whisper. “The young man and woman, they commit suicide to stay together.”

 

No, McGarrett refused to accept the pronouncement. No. Griggs was alone. She left Danno somewhere and was returning to act out her terrible finale. It couldn’t be over yet!  She had forced Danno into a sham marriage and so many other disgusting events the last week to act out her mad fantasies. No. She could not finish it all by killing his friend!

 

“What did you do with him!” he demanded, viciously shaking her. “He fought with you, didn’t he? You tried to kill him and he fought back!! Where is he? You’re going back to him.  He’s still alive!  You wanted to die in his arms – so he is still alive!” he raged – demanded.

 

“I was supposed to die in his arms!” she spat back. “Now you’ve ruined everything!  My wedding day is ruined!  At least let me stay beside him for the rest of eternity – I want to stay with him,” she cried, tears streaming down her face. “Happily ever after,” she cringed, curling over with such emotion she crumbled. “Oh, NO!  It HURTS!” Holding her stomach, she doubled over. “Danny!  Danny – you said it hurt but I didn’t believe you!”

 

“What do you mean?” McGarrett demanded, clutching her arms.

 

“Danny – he said it hurt – he said he was in pain. I never believed it would be – like – this!” she gasped, her face completely washed of color. “The stories – it’s never like this…”

 

McGarrett wend down on his knees with her to the floor.

 

“Happily ever after, Danny. Let me die next to him!” she pleaded, coughing, sobbing. “This is all for nothing…”

 

It took him a few moments to realize she was no longer weeping, but choking. He turned her over so she could lie on her side. He gasped when blood sprayed from her mouth, and he understood she was cringing in pain. Ordering Kokua to unlock the cuffs, he held onto her convulsing body as her hands were freed. By the time he pushed her shoulder back to the floor, she was completely still. No breathing. He reached for a pulse. Nothing. She was dead.

 

No – NO!  She couldn’t be dead!  She had the key to Danno’s whereabouts!  Only she knew where she left Danno!  His mind reeled. Could she have been telling the truth? Was Danno dead? He couldn’t believe it, but everyone she wanted dead was dead. Everything she wanted she got. No, not Danno. Not for this. He had left his friend with this woman to save hundreds of innocent strangers. Had he sacrificed his friend for the good of unknown numbers? No!  It couldn’t end like this!

 

“Get Che on that car,” he ordered between clenched teeth. “Get her over to Bergman. I want to know everything she’s done and handled and where she’s been – anything they can find!  Danno’s life depends on it!” It was hard to think beyond the fear, but he struggled through, relying on investigative instinct more than conscious thought. “Get every officer on the streets on this. We need to know who saw that blue Mustang and where she came from. She left Danno somewhere. We need to know now!”

 

Aware that May was still standing there and Kokua had been the one to run off to obey his orders, he could not find it in himself to offer comfort to the stunned secretary. She had probably never seen anyone die before and she was rocked, but he was livid and shocked and desolate and desperate. He could not channel anything but his anger right now.

 

“May, honey, we have to find out where she left Danno,” he urged.

 

“I – uh – I’ll check on – on the Hilton see what they know, boss,” she quietly returned, then quickly fled the room.

 

After settling his nerves somewhat, McGarrett was able to follow through with what he had ordered his staff to accomplish. Progressing to the next investigative step – finding Danno. His initial duty, then, was to assess the deceased. She had been in a fight, yeah. Cuts and scrapes told him that. But no purse, no pockets with incriminating evidence to lead them to Danno.

 

Shakily coming to his feet, he paced, staring at the body, absorbing the clues that he DID have at hand. She had poisoned herself that was obvious from the bodily reaction to some toxic agent. Her pain immediately preceding death, the chemical smell that permeated her now, the bubbling at her lips.  Poison WAS her MO. She wanted her fairy-tale story to end like Romeo and Juliet. He never saw it coming, and the shocking denouement still left him off balance.

 

Seconds ticking by were like weights on his heartstrings. They didn’t have time to wait!  She had fought with Danno – left him for dead – she had taken poison herself – seemingly before Kokua apprehended her. Okay – then there was a chance, wasn’t there? She had gone back to die with her fantasy love. To die in his arms -- he nearly choked on the thought. It didn’t mean anything, her warped ravings. She had killed Danno – no – he could not give up now!

 

Searching Griggs when he brought her in, Kokua found no clues that were obvious. She had not been carrying a purse or any other accoutrements. Wedding dresses had no pockets, so she had no ID or other personal affects.

 

It seemed absurd to even think such things, but here in his office was a girl in her wedding gown who had just committed suicide. She was a  murderer, kidnapper and lunatic. They had to treat her as she chose to live and die.

 

Fairly certain it was a useless endeavor, McGarrett took it upon himself to return to the beach house in Hawaii Kai. The place had been staked out, and they were pretty sure only Griggs had returned there since she left with Danno that morning, but he had to be sure. Had to see for himself what had happened at that last place she was gravitated before her arrest.

 

Tearing up the driveway – which he had not done before – clued him into to an instant departure from Griggs’ normal MO. It did not take an experienced detective to surmise that the open front door and crumpled lei on the step meant a radical digression from the obsessively, orderly criminal.

 

Instinctively drawing his revolver before he stepped inside the palatial manor, he had an absurd flash of an idea – wondering if Danno was captive inside. He could have been stuffed down in the back seat of the Mustang, Kokua would not have seen him . . . . The thoughts seemed absurd, but he kept in mind two important precepts: one, the insanity of the perpetrator made it difficult, if not impossible to track her mania. Two, he BELIEVED – desperately – that Danno was still alive.

 

Carefully stepping into the first room of the house, an area he had not seen before, he noted the toppled plant and vase, the foyer table jolted askew – as if there had been a struggle. The appearance gave his heart a jolt of renewed optimism and he rushed through the rest of the single-story mansion with an eye only for his ultimate goal – Danno.

 

“Danno!”

 

He held his breath, listening for a response, hearing only his hard breathing and the muted susurrus of surf just beyond the huge panoramic windows.

 

“Danno!  Are you here?” He crept forward, poised on the balls of his feet, waiting – praying – for a response – edged to respond in an instant in whatever direction he heard his friend’s returning call. “Danno!  Can you hear me?”

 

Out of superstition more than any adherence to procedure, he stopped at the walk in closet where he had hidden for those harrowing moments when he had come in here to contact Danno. He knew well enough how a body fit inside . . . He breathed out an audible, long, deep sigh when he found only clothes inside. No Danno. He wasn’t sure if he was relived or disappointed.

 

In Griggs’ bedroom, he found an extreme mess with furniture knocked over and bottles on the floor. Perfume, he smelled before he took more than a few steps into the room. . Yes, this was not a struggle or a search, he thoughtfully considered s he studied the evidence of positioning and placement. She had been in a hurry.

 

The trailing evidence of disarray in the otherwise meticulously orderly house was a building footnote, but not the main focus now. He expected to find Danno – alive, he kept chanting, alive – around the next corner, in the next room. When he coursed through the entire house and the back yard, he stood on the sandy beach and stared back at the estate with stunned dejection. From this varied angle, different from his surveillance perspective, he was bewildered at his lack of success. Danno HAD to be here!  Pacing across the concrete, along the edge of the pool, oblivious to the crashing surf at his feet and the sea wind whipping his hair, he struggled to come to terms with the failure. He had been so certain Danno was here. Flawed logic. Distorting and desperate hope. Clouding his mind with emotions, he had lost sight of the most reasonable inferences.

 

To clear his mental processes now, he reviewed what they knew:  Danno had been with Griggs at the Hilton. Griggs returned alone to the beach house. Before her accident and apprehension, she had ingested poison. He tried to follow her twisted thinking – which had been planned with the mind of a deranged but brilliant scientist. He knew the warped fantasy with Danno and her tragic, dramatic end to the fairy tail resembled tawdry novels and a loose plotline typed after Romeo and Juliet. She had killed herself and inferred she had killed Danno – an ending he could not – would not – accept yet. Where? Where had this dramatic reenactment taken place? Not here. Somewhere, between the time they escaped the Hilton and she returned here. Then something happened to thwart her well plotted strategy. A smirk twitched at his lip. Like Danno not accepting the suicide pact? Fighting back – that would explain her injuries. Then where was he?

 

Taking one more quick circuit through the house, he knew the answers were not here. The things out of place were consistent with her racing around to accomplish something vitally important. A concerted drive to return to Danno? To die with him in her arms – to die in his arms? Was he twisting her final words to accommodate his fierce refusal to accept that Danno was dead already? To die with him – in his arms. Ambiguous if he stretched the point. Which he did. Her goal had been to murder Danno and kill herself in a stupid fantasy comparable to the cockeyed Romeo and Juliet adolescent selfishness that drove the young couple to such a desperate and irreversible act. He remembered enough from his college Lit class to know the metaphor Shakespeare was striving for was a lesson in tolerance, that love could conquer old rivalries and hatreds. It was never meant as a role play for teen angst – or warped women who were emotionally adolescent! He condemned Griggs with a lashing thought.

 

He could send a lab crew back for the contents of the broken bottles on the floor. He would have Che personally go over tires, shoes, the hem of the wedding gown for microscopic evidence of where Griggs had been that she might have hidden Danno. Until he had solid evidence to analyze, he had better avenues to explore. Feeling the pressure of ticking minutes pounding by as symbolic measure’s of his friend’s heartbeat pulsing in a countdown of a dead end – literally – he stalked from the house that had once been a prison, which now, he hoped, could tell him a better story than the perverted play of a demented soul.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Coldness on his cheek – at first, it was annoying, but then it slowly became painful. Dan tried to open his eyes, but did not think he’d succeeded for a few seconds because of the intense blackness surrounding him. Panic built slowly and crescendo’d as he recalled his circumstance. “Help…” he croaked. The effort made his throat feel like it was cracked and bleeding. He swallowed, but he had no spit. “Help.” He whispered unenthusiastically one last time before deciding the effort – in addition to being incredibly painful – was fruitless. He was sealed in a crypt… a room without a view… possibly for the rest of eternity.

 

Uncertain of how much time had elapsed since he’d been entombed, he wondered why he wasn’t dead yet. Perhaps he had not taken enough of the poison? Wouldn’t that be ironic? To have survived an attempted poisoning, but die from asphyxiation… or dehydration…

 

What had happened to Camille? And what was her real name? He was too tired… too weak… to be angry anymore. Dan only hoped that his boss had managed to head off the toxic shipment before it was dispersed. He closed his eyes again and snuggled up closer to the door. Oh to go home to his own bed.

 

“Not giving up, S… Steve,” the detective breathed. “Just need a nap.”

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Knowing there had not been enough time for the Coroner to determine much about the corpse, the ME’s office was the next stop after checking in at the office. Five-0’s home ground had become a depressing haven for grieving staff and friends who tried to manage some work, but most were funereal in their attitude and opinion that they were searching for a corpse – not Griggs – Danno. Not buying into the mass error, McGarrett went to bully the ME. Not something he could manage any day, but today picking a fight with Bergman seemed more productive than being in the midst of mourners.

 

Griggs was on the slab already, most of her body covered by a sheet. The head was visible and Bergman glanced up from his study of the nasal passages to give him a nod, then stiffened and straightened when he saw who had come in the door.

 

He seemed uncertain what to say, so he crossed to a side table and held up a clear evidence bag. No personal effects recovered, Steve. This was all she had with her, and Che recovered that from the car wreck.”

 

The Mustang car keys and a big silver key attached to the ring. Not a car key. Not a house key, either, he puzzled. No other personal belongings with her except the odd key and the ones to the car. Not a purse, not a house key (she had not expected to return – the denouement of her fantasy ending somewhere specific and special and unknown.

 

Bergman cleared his throat. “Uh, Steve. I – uh – I honestly don’t know what to say except -- sorry about Danny –“

 

“Danno is missing,” he chopped out savagely, the hand holding the bag shaking. “He IS NOT dead!  This woman holds the key to where he is and you’ve got to tell me everything you can about her, Doc. She left Danno somewhere, possibly injured, and we need to find him.”

 

For a moment Bergman held a steady look at him, with eyes that were so sympathetic Steve found comfort in staring at the dead body rather than the doctor. So, Bergman believed Danno was a goner, too. Being alone in wild convictions was nothing new to McGarrett. That he held that stubborn ground now with little evidence to back him – just the feeble wisps of hopes and prayers – he knew he would remain divided from his colleagues on this matter until Danno was returned to them.

 

“What can you tell me?”

 

“First, that Ms Griggs died of poison. From the symptoms in your office exhibited before death, length of suffering, blood bubbling from the mouth, I am guessing it is the same toxin she used on Peachy. I’ll run tests to be sure. Secondly.” He took a deep breath and looked straight into McGarrett’s eyes. They were nearly the same height, and the frank toe-to-toe address gave his message a somber delivery. “You need to brace yourself, Steve. This might not work out the way you hope.” His voice trembled and he gruffly cleared his throat. “We all have come to love Danny, Steve, but – just – just – you know what I mean.”

 

The head of Five-0 shook his head and sharply turned from the room. Lips pressed tightly together, he did not utter a rebuttal, a denial, a protest to the information and opinion. Doc was right about medical matters with a nearly perfect record. His abilities as a detective were less than stellar. And this time he was dead wrong about Danno.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

The sound of the outer door opening and shutting snapped him to alertness. Had he been dozing? He rubbed his eyes and glanced at the clock. It was after 7AM. Too early for the staff… They had all gone home late. He had sent May away around twelve hours before, but Duke, Chin and Kono and even Ben had stayed to work various threads of the fruitless investigation. Some time in the wee hours of the morning he had noted the rest of the staff drooping off to sleep. He ordered them all home. They were too worn out to be effective.

 

There was another reason to burn the midnight oil alone. He had sensed in their moods, seen in their faces, felt in their looks to him, that they were already in mourning. They had abandoned hope of finding Danno alive. They considered him dead. They didn’t say so aloud to him, but the way they skirted the summation of Griggs’ death by self inflicted poison, by her quotes, by her madness – it all added up to Danno’s death in their minds. Somewhere, she had left Danno to die, returning to the beach house for some unknown reason, leaving Williams as-good-as-dead – already poisoned.

 

“I brought in some breakfast,” May announced as she stood in the doorway.”

 

Even from across the room he could see she had been crying. Her eyes were red and her make up smeared at the beginning of the day. Wanting to deny the bereavement, he chose to ignore it, forcing them to focus on work. The despair edging at his nerves all night was still a formidable, looming dread that shadowed him with every heartbeat, but he refused to give into it – to admit its validity. Danno WAS NOT dead!

 

“I’ll make fresh coffee,” she told him, not waiting for a response.

 

Too distracted, or tired, or disturbed, to linger at his desk, he stalked out to the main office. Pacing near the coffee machine, he surveyed the unusual clutter atop May’s desk. The mounds of paperwork a blur, he snatched up the paperback May had tossed onto her desk. On the phone, the secretary turned her back on him, and he had the fleeting impression she was crying. She believed Danno was dead. No – he couldn’t – Danno could not die like this!  Abandoned by his friends and his colleagues – left to the crazed torture of a madwoman – no – it could not end like this.

 

Reviewing the lab report he had practically memorized, he was disgruntled Che Fong had found standard Hawaiian dirt in the soles of Griggs’ shoes, and smeared on her dress. Nothing special –fertile, well nourished soil. The blue Mustang was rented the day before the wedding from an agency on Kalakaua. While the cops had been trying to secure a secret meting with Danno, Griggs had slipped into the rental place under their noses and arranged for the second car. Talk about a blind!   Akamai, Duke kept labeling her, and Steve had to agree. Right from the start he had been forewarned about her cunning, but he had failed to match her devious machinations.

 

The only anomaly in the case so far was the extra key on the key ring of the Mustang. The silver key with a large knob on the top obviously did not belong to a vehicle. It was made to unlock something substantial like a big door, but with only two digits stamped on it  --14 – and no name (like a bank or a hotel), for now it remained a dead end. They had to connect Griggs to it from her side – tracking her path. That should be easy since she had been under surveillance for most of the last week. Most. That left gaps, obviously. Where had she taken Danno after the ceremony? That was the burning question he had to answer soon. Almost twenty hours since his disappearance, Steve fleetingly admitted, only in the most remote part of his mind, that Danno’s time was running out. Others believed it had already run out, but he could not.

 

Not so barbaric that he could intrude on May’s grief, he shuffled through the papers she had been sorting last night before she had left. Paperwork from Griggs’ apartment. Receipts, bills – all paid. Crushing a handful in his fist, he slammed the desk.

 

“May, there’s got to be something here. She had to leave a paper trail to what she had planned. She was meticulous in her scheming. Her lunatic quotes. This –” He cleared his throat and steadied his voice. “This Romeo and Juliet thing. She had to leave something behind. She tricked us into thinking she was marrying Danno at the Hilton. So where did they go?”

 

“There’s so much here, boss,” she sniffed miserably.

 

“Okay,” he sighed, patting her shoulder. “Okay, let’s think this through,” he counseled, as much for her as for himself. “She was orderly.”

 

“Extremely organized,” she agreed, calming. “All the costs she expended for her fantasy week with Danny are in the same box. I haven’t gone through all of them yet.” She grimaced. “I got distracted by the books.” Her lip quivered. “She was crazy about the books. She wanted to end her life like that book. Only with Danny…”

 

The tears started trickling down her cheek. He hugged her, to keep from showing his pain at the display, at the mutual despair that weaved between them, as they suffered, trying not to believe their friend had been murdered to reenact a demented dream.

 

“We’ll get him back, May, I promise you, we will,” he declared between clenched teeth.

 

She nodded against his chest. “We better, boss.” She sniffed. “Maybe you can take some of the ---” She gasped and pulled away, not bothering to wipe the moisture from her face. “Two envelopes came in the mail the day you raided her apartment, boss.” Rushing now, she whipped through the box of orderly paperwork. “I remember the postmarks. A wedding chapel. And,” she paused to look at him, her eyes pooling again. “A funeral parlor.”

 

Joining her behind the desk, he leafed through the envelopes as fast as his fingers could shuffle. May found the wedding chapel envelope and tore it open, reading aloud.

 

“Weddings – Valley of the Temples – the Chapel,” she looked at him. “It’s beautiful there. Like a fairy-tale.”

 

“Next to a—” He gulped as his blood chilled. “Cemetery.”

 

The next envelope he found was – yes --the funeral home – he ripped it open, scanning the page quickly. She had paid in full – a family sized crypt – number 14!

 

“Get Chin and Kono from wherever they are. Tell them to meet me at the Valley of the Temples,” he shouted, running out the door with the receipt in his hand.

 

YYYYY

 

 

Racing through traffic on the freeway seemed like a blur of motion swirling around him while within the Mercury, McGarrett seemed to be in a bubble where time stood still. Barking orders to HPD back up units and his other detectives while he drove, he had vague impressions of staying within the dotted white lines, of avoiding accidents, of speeding from the bright morning sun over a sparkling Honolulu, to entering the dark, misty, mysterious world of the pali. Zipping along the black ribbon of highway slashed into the crevice of the stark, dark, lava ridges of the Koolau Cliffs, his senses reacted to the leaden, subdued shroud closing in around him. Heavy vapor that was something beyond fog and less than rain moisturized the windshield. The primordial trees shrunk in on the isolated road to give the impression of traveling back in time, not journeying to the other side of the island.

 

How he wished this could be a time machine instead of a car. If only this was a magical instrument that could buy back the wasted hours that had slipped through his fingers in the course of the long night. It was not, of course. Pragmatic, dogged, desperate, and obsessive searching for answers had not been enough through the eternal hours of fighting to find Williams. Time had betrayed McGarrett and now, when he maddeningly had the answers – they had been in his office the whole time – now – almost a day after the crisis of the wedding and the disappearance of Williams – was he too late?

 

Yesterday, last night, he fought to believe Williams still lived. Now, with the dawn of a new day, speeding to a crypt, McGarrett fought to maintain that glimmer of faith he had harbored for so long. As he flew through the cloying, misty canyons of this ancient realm, he found hope fading as fast as the wheels of the sedan coursed him to his journey’s end. What would he find there? When he used this silver key in his pocket, to unlock the door of the crypt, he would have the answer to the long sought questions, he would find Williams, and he fought to believe it would be the happy ending he wanted.

 

Sunlight a weak, distant echo through the thick clouds pressed over the valley, he exited the freeway onto Kahekili Highway and entered the lush tropical Kaneohe basin with tires burning rubber. The sight of Kono and Chin pulling up behind him in one of the company cars gave him some small measure of comfort, but his thoughts staggered back to his environs. The emerald of the hills seemed unreal with verdant foliage too green for nature, back-dropped by the blackened flutes of the looming cliffs shrouded in charcoal clouds. The region known as the Valley of the Temples was picturesque beyond description. For a moment, as he careened through a yellow light, screaming into a fast turn, he had trouble believing this was anything but a perfect landscape. The buildings, the dotted ridges, reminded him this was not just any hillside, this was a cemetery. The most beautiful and expansive graveyards he had ever seen, but still, a place for the dead. He prayed, as he screeched to a stop near the mortuary, that he was not here for the dead, but for the still living.

 

YYYYY

 

 

An old Japanese man with a rake in hand observed the two Fords accost the silence of the sacred area before they rocked to a stop and cracked open to allow their animated cargo to spill out.

 

McGarrett fired a desperate glance at his two detectives before angling towards the only other human being in sight. The man’s placid expression did not waver despite the Five-0 chief’s aggressive posture as he held out the mystery key. “Can you tell me – where’s the crypt this key unlocks?”

 

Steve’s insides grew tense as the serene man, who was apparently a groundskeeper for the cemetery, took his time studying the object, and him, then back at the key, as if confused. Why would anyone be rushed to find a crypt? Certainly the inhabitants were beyond the point of urgency.

 

Finally, he calmly looked up at the much taller man and, with a brief glance at the other two detectives hovering behind him, pointed. “New -- that way – last one near church.”

 

McGarrett’s eyes followed the slight figure’s finger toward an outcropping of trees and tropical foliage above. A small church was visible on the hill above the few memorials which were partially obscured by the plants. Without wasting any more time, Steve, with Kono and Chin in lock step behind him, began jogging towards the chapel. As they traversed the damp grass, his eyes came to rest on what appeared to be a cream-colored marble structure still some two hundred yards distance. The building, with three steps leading to the over-sized door, was bigger than he’d anticipated – perhaps twenty feet square. The receipt had described the facility as a family-sized mausoleum, but it offered no data as to how many family members could be entombed.

 

The bubble of dread in his gut swelled and pressed against his lungs and heart as he slowed to read the name carved in the stone over the large, metal door –

 

WILLIAMS

 

Unable to stop his body from slowing in horror, he noted the large floral garland which was flung across the steps, errant pedals strewn on the stone and landscape – evidence of haste or battle.

 

The trio stopped in their tracks some ten feet from the vault’s entrance as McGarrett looked down at the key he’d been clutching. Somehow, it was suddenly obvious that he held, not the answer to his friend’s salvation, but merely the mechanism to enter a crime scene. Danno – the unfortunate object of Sue Ellen Griggs’ intense obsession – was also her last victim. His friend had remained in the dangerous situation to save the lives of others, and it had, in the end, cost him his own life. The insane woman’s happy ending was Steve McGarrett’s personal worst nightmare, and now, here he stood, with no intelligent way to deny the fact it was happening.

 

His knees weakened slightly as he felt himself losing the battle to squelch outward signs of grief, causing Kelly and Kalakaua, now standing on either side of him, to each gently grab an arm. The instant urge to shake them off lost to the aside realization that, without their physical support, he might actually drop to the ground. So, the three men stood there for several seconds, each silently gathering himself for what was likely to be a horrific, life-changing sight which would be burned into their memories for all time.

 

Finally, the Chinese detective swallowed and broke the silence. “Steve… let me…” His voice died as he saw McGarrett began to slowly shake his head.

 

“No…” The Five-0 chief’s voice was already hoarse. “This is my fault… Danno’s…” He couldn’t bring himself to speak the words. Danno was dead. He’d promised his friend that he had his back. Williams had trusted him with his life, and for it, that life was forfeit.

 

Realizing the moment he dreaded was not getting easier, he steeled himself with a slow, deep breath, and stepped to the stone portico. His legs felt like he was wading through thick syrup as he climbed the steps and inserted the key into the lock. He inhaled again and held the breath this time as he began to push against the thick door. His head spun as he realized that the door was being blocked. He hesitated long enough to find the hands of his two detectives next to his, and they all gently pushed in tandem. The source of the blockage was no match for the three men, and the door gave way with a slight creak, allowing light to pour into the dark area. Within a second, it was apparent that Williams’ body had been parked in front of the door.

 

Unbidden, the scenario instantly played out in the lead detective’s mind. Danno had realized too late that Griggs had poisoned him. He struggled with her, but was unable to win with the deadly toxin coursing through his system. She’d managed to lock him into the crypt and make for the beach house. Meanwhile, his friend crawled to the mausoleum door. With no way to open the door from the inside, Williams had lain there… in pain… finally succumbing to the sleep which would carry him from life forever.

 

Kono pushed past his boss and entered the crypt first. The big Hawaiian wasted no time in gingerly dragging the still form out of the big door’s path while Chin shoved the door open as far as it would go, and stepped out of the light’s path to better illuminate the dreaded scene. McGarrett slowly made a controlled fall to his knees as he focused on his fallen second-in-command, who was on his side, loosely curled. With hands still clutching his stomach, telling of the pain he’d endured in his concluding breaths, his face was pocked with dry blood. The image of Griggs final moments as crimson erupted from her nose and mouth paralleled what had no doubt unfolded here in this dark, cool resting place.

 

“Danno,” he sobbed. He came to a seat unceremoniously and tugged Williams’ torso onto his lap. He wasn’t sure – and didn’t care at that moment – whether he would be able to keep any measure of the self control which was generally of paramount importance to him as he touched his friend’s cold cheek with a shaking hand.

 

To McGarrett’s electric-like shock, Williams’ eyes popped open, and the “dead” detective released a soft, brief groan before closing his eyes again.

 

This time the Five-0 chief’s voice was a disrespectful shout. “Danno!”

 

“He’s alive!” Kono cried out.

 

Steve slapped William’s face lightly. “Danno! Thank God! Stay with me!” McGarrett breathed as he began to shake his friend’s shoulders.

 

Chin reached over and shook Dan’s leg to aid in the attempts to rouse the prone officer.

 

The efforts proved successful as Williams moaned hoarsely and slowly lifted his eye lids. Moving his mouth, slightly, it seemed as if he was trying to speak, but no words came out.

 

“Hang on, Danno! I’m here, and I’m gonna get you to a hospital!” The lead detective’s voice boomed in the enclosed space, and to McGarrett’s delight, Dan flinched slightly.

 

Clumsily reaching into space for nothing in particular, it was obvious that Williams was actually trying to sit up. His tired expression was one of complete and utter confusion as Steve pushed his friend from his lap and helped him to come upright.

 

“No…” Dan croaked through dry lips.

 

It’s okay, Danno – you’re gonna be okay,” McGarrett repeated the mantra as an errant tear dragged down his cheek.

 

Not making eye contact, the bedraggled detective turned his eyes toward the light streaming into what must have been a terrifyingly dark confinement. Narrowing one eye, Dan closed the other in reaction to the brightness. “Ho… home…” he whispered with a dull grimace.

 

“You’re going to the hospital and then home – don’t worry, aikane,” Steve reassured.

 

“No… home…”

 

To the surprise of his colleagues, Dan now began to struggle to his feet. They all helped him while exchanging glances of surprise and unbridled joy. That their friend, whom they had expected to find stone-cold dead, was not only alive, but alive and struggling to have his way, was amazing and uplifting.

 

McGarrett knew that the car which would transport his friend would be heading to the hospital regardless of his friend’s wishes, but he saw no point in arguing. Danno was alive! Alive to argue! That was all that mattered.

 

Chin quickly removed his suit jacket and draped it over Williams’ shoulders as he managed to make it to his feet. Clutching the sleeve of McGarrett’s jacket with both hands, Dan staggered towards the vehicles with helping hands sharing his weight. The Chinese detective released his hold and trotted ahead to move his car closer as the other two officers remained at Williams’ side, murmuring words of encouragement and reassurance.

 

In the cool light of day, McGarrett silently assessed his friend’s amazing condition and marveled that Danno had somehow survived ingesting the poison which his attempted murderess had not. Williams struggled to keep his eyes open and wavered continuously as Kono bore most of his weight on the slow walk, but still, there was an air of determination which made Steve rejoice.

 

Chin pulled the car right into his colleagues’ path and jumped out to open the nearest back door. Kono judiciously guarded his friend’s head as Dan awkwardly climbed into the vehicle and dropped onto the seat. McGarrett tossed his keys to the Hawaiian detective as he raced to the other side of the car to take a seat in the back beside Williams. No words were spoken until Kelly was peeling out of the cemetery.

 

McGarrett wiped his face roughly with the back of his hand and then gently repositioned Dan so that his friend’s head could rest against his shoulder. Suddenly, the Valley of the Temples was a peaceful and beautiful place again.

 

Hoarsely, he commanded his driver, “Call the doc and then May, bruddah!”

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Williams dozed on his shoulder most of the trip to the hospital. The defiant show of energy and the struggle for an occasional comment allayed most of McGarrett’s fears. Most. That his friend had miraculously – delightfully -- survived poisoning was obvious. The reasons for that were less important than the solid fact that he was alive. Briefly wondering if he should have diverted them to the nearby Castle Memorial Hospital, he felt Danno’s condition was stable and non-crisis enough to warrant the trip into Honolulu to meet with Bergman, who was aware of the case as well as the poison used on the younger detective.

 

On the drive, he overheard snatches of conversation between Kelly and Bergman, and inferred the ME did not consider Williams’ condition critical. The medical-speak was lost in his own buzzing emotions that were gradually settling down from hours of strained dread, to crushing grief, to accepting relief. The tangible proof that his officer was alive was under his guardian-touch. He did not consider an interrogation, a report, or an explanation, from the officer who had endured and triumphed over unimaginable fear, pain and near-death. Danno was alive -- that was all that mattered. 

 

Pulling up in front of Queen’s Hospital, McGarrett’s concern spiked when he spotted Bergman standing in front beside a gurney, and equipped with an IV waiting at the entrance. Throat dry, he shook his friend, announcing they had arrived at the hospital.

 

Williams’ eyes blinked open, to squint at the brightly-lit surroundings of Honolulu in the stark morning sun. After the Stygian black of the tomb, the mellow overcast of the Valley of the Temples, this must’ve seemed blinding.

 

“Hospital? Thought  -- home,” came the raspy whisper, laced with stubborn resolve.

 

McGarrett smiled at the obstinate tone. “You didn’t think you’d go through something like this without Doc checking you out, did you?” he rhetorically reminded as he reached over and opened the door.

 

Two attendants moved to drag the officer from the car, but Williams pushed them away and struggled out on his own power. As soon as he was nearly standing, though, the trained assistants grabbed onto his arms and lifted him onto the gurney. Bergman inserted the IV line with such speedy finesse the operation was accomplished in seconds and the little party, with McGarrett alongside and Kelly behind, were quickly wheeling into the ER.

 

Mkay,” Williams tiredly protested. “Wanna – go -- home –“

 

Bergman was taking his pulse as they whipped into a nearby room. “Sure, Danny. Just relax.”

 

Now wishing he had paid more attention to the conversation between the doctor and Chin Ho in the car, McGarrett’s anxiety was still escalated. Bergman was all business, no joking around, not even chastisement or brusque commentary about the Five-0- detective injury rate. Was there reason to be concerned over the curt attitude?

 

“Doc?” McGarrett asked as the door was closed behind them.

 

“Home . . . .” the patient insisted weakly, ignored by all.

 

Bergman did not glance at him as he examined Williams’ eyes. “He’s dehydrated, Steve. The IV is just to get him started on some liquids.”

 

“The poison . . . .”

 

Feeling tilted off his axis, he knew he should have been thinking more like a detective on the quick journey into the city. Griggs had ingested the poison and died. He knew Williams had been given the toxin by the madwoman, and expected to find his friend dead. The wonderful surprise of Williams’ being alive had rocked him from any curiosity. Distracted with delight, he had failed to even consider why his friend lived. It had been more than his wildest imaginings that he DID live. Obviously, Bergman had figured it all out during the transit.

 

The ME ignored his comment, still focused on Williams’ exam. “How are you feeling, Danny? Besides tired and thirsty?”

 

Williams nodded his head in confirmation, then grimaced. “Yuck. Home.”

 

“You’re going to feel crummy for a little while, but you’re okay. Am I correct that you’ve been drinking quite a bit in the past few days?”

 

Williams’ brow furled, and he nodded slightly, but it was McGarrett who spoke for him. “Quite a bit is an understatement, Doc. Griggs practically poured it down his throat at every turn.

 

No disagreement came from the prone detective. Instead, he mumbled something about home, which the doctor ignored. Bergman then described the symptoms McGarrett had witnessed in Griggs at the office.

 

Williams nodded again, this time with his eyes closed, his head resting to the side. “Steve?”

 

Never far away, McGarrett moved up to touch his friend on the shoulder. “Right here, Danno. Just take it easy. Doc’s taking care of you.”

 

“Home.”

 

“Stubborn as ever,” he almost smiled at the patient. “You’ll be fine,” Bergman assured, patting Dan’s arm, but looking at McGarrett. “Most families of drugs react completely differently when alcohol is involved. Alcohol may enhance the effect of a drug—”

 

“Make it more potent.” The head of Five-0 confirmed his understanding with the phrase.

 

The ME nodded and continued. “OR – and this is more often the case – it may reduce its effectiveness, or possibly even render it completely ineffective.”

 

McGarrett’s eyes grew larger as he began to comprehend the scenario which the medical man had obviously begun to suspect before their arrival. “So all of poor Danno’s forced imbibing reduced the effectiveness of the poison!”

 

“Exactly, Steve. The poison obviously made him very ill, and because he was unable to receive medical attention and food immediately, he dehydrated and grew weaker by the hour.”

 

Bergman’s glance at the patient, and the subsequent expression told the lead detective that the physician would not discuss any more in front of the ill officer. McGarrett hovered until after Williams was placed in a private room. Lightly touching Danno’s arm, he promised he would return soon, but noted the detective was already asleep. Maybe the doc slipped him a little something to keep him still and quiet, even though he had been unconscious for hours. He wouldn’t put it past Bergman.

 

Meeting up with the Doc in the hall, his surmise was confirmed. “This is only a guess until his blood work returns from the lab, but I’m betting he ingested enough poison to kill him as quickly as Lassen and Griggs died. If he’d had any less to drink, I hate to think what you would’ve found in that mausoleum,” Bergman began as he scribbled on a chart. “Your boy narrowly avoided death yet again,” he grumpily shook his head, his trembling voice the only betrayal of deep emotions at the miraculous survival. “I’d like him to stay here a few days, but I suspect I’ll have to be happy with keeping him locked down until tomorrow afternoon.” The crack was not delivered with his usual sarcastic asperity, and when he looked up at the head of Five-0, his eyes reflected the grave demeanor of his countenance. “Poisoned and left for dead in a crypt… That would certainly bring out my hidden phobia.”

 

The trauma of what Danno had lived through – barely – had not registered yet. Steve had been far too focused on fighting to believe, and then dashed in the face with death and grief as he stood outside the crypt. Then, the inexpressible joy of having his friend alive burst forth, but settling in, now, with the reality of recovery, he understood the validity of what Doc was saying. Just thinking about what Danno must have felt, certain he was dying a slow death – alone – trapped – hopeless.

 

“I recommend he have a talk with Doctor Bishop before he leaves.”

 

Doctor Bishop herself had mentioned this, but McGarrett had dismissed it. Instinctively, he resisted the thought of any of his men being psychoanalyzed by a shrink. Cops and head doctors had a history of prickly relationships. Spilling your guts to psychiatrists could make a man doubt himself -- particularly in the field, second-guessing decisions in the split-second crises of life-and-death situations, where a cop lived every day, was not healthy, despite what current mush-headed philosophers wanted to believe. Now, in the light of Bergman’s empathetic comment, the detective understood the potential need for a casual conversation with an expert in things psychological.

 

In this case, he reluctantly conceded, Danno had been through a wretched experience. Perhaps he could benefit from a chat with someone who could help him. He would leave that decision up to Danno, he decided, resisting any urge to make any demands upon his friend. After being humiliated, held hostage, controlled, poisoned, and locked in a crypt to die, Danno was going to be given some vacation time to do whatever he wanted.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

 

As with any murder investigation, and the injury of a Five-0 officer, this sensational case would be scrutinized by the press. May already had a cover story giving a watered-down version of Griggs’ killing of several people, and her murderous intent toward others. Instead of going into details that would embarrass Danno and inhibit his future work, there would be scant mention of all that happened, but it would be noted that Williams survived an attempted poisoning during the course of the investigation, and that Griggs was dead. Of course, any persistent reporter would eventually be able to pull out more details, but with a little luck, the gory details would never surface.

 

Although Bergman had assured him the patient would be slumbering until morning, McGarrett dropped in that evening to see for himself. The thought of his friend waking alone was disturbing to him, and when he opened the door to the room, he was annoyed to find the room very dark. Not wanting Danno to have a single moment of doubt as to his whereabouts, Steve flipped on bedside lamp and bathed the immediate area around his friend in gentle light. To McGarrett’s mild surprise and delight, Williams’ eyes blinked open.

 

“Hey, Danno,” he quietly greeted as he pulled a chair over to the side of the bed. Some of Williams’ color had returned, he observed.

 

“Steve.” The voice held the gravel of awakening. “Did you come to spring me?”

 

The typical reaction elicited a chuckle. “Tomorrow, Danno,” he promised, knowing Bergman would brook no earlier escapes. “How are you doing?”

 

“I want to go home,” he grimaced, glancing around the room. Reaching over for the glass of water on the bedside table, McGarrett grabbed it and handed it to him. “I just want to sleep in my own bed again, and be in my own home.”

 

“Yeah,” the boss nodded, only guessing at what a strain it had to have been to live a double life while drugged, and knowing any false move could precipitate the death of innocent people. A desire to return to a familiar sanctuary was only reasonable – a certain sign that the nightmare was over. “I know. Tomorrow, I promise.”

 

Williams seemed to weigh his boss’s words, and must’ve decided that the man would not be swayed. He released a shallow sigh before he changed the subject. “So what happened?”

 

McGarrett frowned slightly. “Happened?”

 

Dan clarified with mild annoyance. “The toxins. Camille…”

 

Suddenly nonplussed, McGarrett realized there were things Danno needed to know. The hostage-cum-undercover-officer had no idea what had happened on their side of this terrible case. Isolated, imprisoned-in-plain-sight, Williams knew only the controlled and rigid world the mad ‘Camille’ had created around him for the last week. Where to begin?

 

“We found the toxins,” Steve offered before he wanted an answer of his own. “How are you feeling?”

 

Williams blinked as he considered his response. “Okay… headache… sore stomach.” The report was given with the air of a necessary statement, and the patient guided the conversation back to his own questions.

 

He struggled to sit up and McGarrett helped, propping the pillows at his back.

 

“Nobody else was hurt?”

 

One hundred percent cop, McGarrett assessed proudly, barely restraining a smile that his protégé was all too like him sometimes. “No one else was hurt, Danno. Your heroism – and make no mistake – what you went through was heroism on a level few men could handle –saved countless lives.”

 

Face brightening at the praise, he nodded. “Mahalo, Steve. I’m glad it was worth it.”

 

Worth it. Standing at the door of the crypt, McGarrett had been certain the trade had NOT been worth it. Faceless, nameless strangers saved, and his closest friend murdered. In retrospect, now that they had come through the tortuous trial, they had to mark it off as valor in the line of duty. Clichés of trite words which impersonalized the anguish and courage, and left them with a closed case file. For McGarrett, though, the selflessness of his friend, and the emotional burden he, himself, carried in allowing Danno to live in the lion’s den, risking the sacrifice of his greatest asset, would never be forgotten.

 

“What about Camille?”

 

Camille? He could not think the name, let alone say it, without a marrow-deep stab of hatred lancing his heart. Without allowing the rage to seep through, McGarrett gave a brief account of her arrest and self-inflicted death.

 

Surprised at Williams’ wince and sad expression, he stopped, uncertain how to proceed. The death had been ugly and disturbing, but not in any sense that would have evoked his charity or compassion. He had hated her with a passion, and reviled her in death because she had – he thought – killed his best friend and died with Danno’s whereabouts a secret. There was no room in his soul for forgiveness or pity.

 

About to question his friend’s reaction, he held his lashing condemnation of the kidnapper/killer. Danno had suffered – unquestionably. He had also lived with her and, perhaps, in his more empathetic heart, he felt some pity. Loath to attack his friend for living a high moral law – even though it was completely undeserving in his opinion – he deigned to color his answer with emotion.

 

He first clarified Camille’s real name. Without sordid details, he explained her obsession with Williams. He brushed over a few examples of her elaborate and technically brilliant plan of coercion and murder. He concluded with assurances that Griggs was no longer a menace. Ingesting her poison before the arrest, she was dead.

 

Williams nodded, not commenting, not reacting at all to the messy denouement of the woman who had been his tormentor.

 

McGarrett tried to conclude his tale on a positive note. “The important thing is that she is not around to threaten you or anyone else ever again.”

 

After another sober nod, Williams leaned his head back down onto the pillows, his eyelids heavy, his sad tone belying the sentiment of the words. “I haven’t… thanked you, Steve. Mahalo… for saving me.”

 

The miserable hours of searching, of ineffectively sifting clues, piggybacked by the guilt that he had not pulled his friend from the atrocious fate before it was too late, all flashed through his mind. Saving Danno? He had arrived far too late in the eleventh-hour and managed only the simple task of finding the right lock to fit the silver key. He’d been outfoxed by a madwoman, and barely managed to find his friend before it really had been too late.

 

“I should have been there sooner, Danno,” he began a halting confession. “She played us. I should have had a tighter tail on you –”

 

Williams waved him to stop, yawning. “You did the best you could, Steve. Camille— Sue… was too paranoid for a tight tail.” He was sternly earnest despite his fatigue. “Knew you would never give up...” His eyes closed.

 

Shadowed by guilt, McGarrett kept the grip on his friend’s blanket-covered leg as Williams slipped back into slumber. Maybe someday, McGarrett might confess his side of what happened. Maybe, he would just let Danno believe what he wanted and move on with life.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

A noise awoke him; different from the routine, nightly patient checks. With a groan, McGarrett sat up, stretching crinkled muscles from sleeping in the chair overnight. Glancing over to the door, expecting the visitor to be Bergman on his arrival, he was surprised to see a nurse arriving with a meal tray.

 

“Morning, Mister McGarrett,” the pretty girl smiled at him. When she turned to Williams, her expression darkened. “How are you this morning, Mister Williams?”

 

Danno was blinking his eyes open, a little slower at coming to grips with the morning than the boss. She moved to help the officer sit up, which he did not accept with his usual appreciation of attention. Even in such a little thing, he wanted to be in control – working at doing things on his own – and McGarrett could only encourage such an attitude after the past week. Captivity could break a person, or strengthen them, or warp them into being stubbornly, obsessively in control. He had been in the latter category most of his life; certainly after the death of his father and his imprisonment in North Korea. He didn’t see Danno dropping into that third category except on a temporary basis. Once things settled down, he expected his friend to bounce back to normal. Danno was resilient, resourceful, and most of all, fundamentally optimistic about life. He would get through this all right. And McGarrett would be there to make sure these first few bumpy days were smoothed out as much as possible.

 

The nurse deposited two covered plates on the table and wheeled it over the reclined officer. Lifting the lids, McGarrett found a full course meal near him, and a bowl of porridge for Williams.

 

“I must be getting my appetite back. This actually looks good,” Dan smirked unenthusiastically, in counterpoint to his tone and expression.

 

Sarcasm and appetite returning. Both good points. Steve smiled.

 

“You didn’t have to stay here all night,” Dan told him, sniffing the gruel.

 

“I didn’t want you to be alone.”

 

That said it all. While he had some control over his friend’s recovery, he would provide guardianship in his presence, and assure the lights were on. No darkness, no solitary for Williams for a while.

 

Mahalo.” The shared look assured he got the message, understood, accepted, and appreciated the silent pact.

 

McGarrett sipped the black coffee. “Nurse, please bring the phone back in. I need to make some calls.” He glanced at his watch and relinquished a low whistle. “I’m already late.”

 

“You can go, Steve,” Williams allowed. Eyeing the eggs and bacon on his mentor’s plate, he gestured toward the door, “You don’t need to stay and watch over me.”

 

Nodding, he looked at the nurse. “The phone when you can, please,” he ordered, ignoring Williams.

 

The woman took a firm stance with hands on hips. “Doctor Bergman expressly forbid a phone in here, Mister McGarrett. He said he would be by around nine.” Her expression fell into sympathy and she looked to the patient. “Mister Williams, I’m very sorry about your loss. A man from Honolulu Mortuary called and wanted to come by to discuss your late wife’s arrangements. I’m sure Doctor Bergman will allow that kind of visitor later.”

 

Her exit was not noted by either man. They stared at each other for several silent moments. Williams seemed frozen. McGarrett didn’t know exactly what to say.

 

“I’ll take care of it,” he commanded, coming to his feet. “Don’t worry about it.”

 

“She was – we WERE married,” Dan reminded, as if talking mostly to himself. “It’s not – legal – or anything – right?”

 

“No!  No, of course not!” he shot back vehemently. “It meant nothing!”

 

“But on record—”

 

“Danno, even if the ceremony was presided by a legal authority, you were under coercion. It’s meaningless. I’ll get the DA on it right away, so don’t worry about it.”

 

Williams gave a distracted nod, but said no more. McGarrett lingered, piecing at his breakfast and encouraging his friend to eat the cereal. In the back of his mind, though, he acknowledged that having Danno back alive was not the end of this story, just a closing of a climactic chapter in a convoluted book of serpentine complexity.

 

Knowing there would never be a good time to bring this up he decided it might be tidy and relieving to get all the unpleasant things out of the way this morning before Danno left the hospital.

 

“Danno, you’ve been through a lot. More than most people could ever understand or imagine. If you want, we can arrange a meeting with Doctor Bishop.”

 

Williams’ brow scrunched. “Bishop? Oh – oh –“ he scowled. “You mean in her professional capacity as a shrink.”

 

“I think you need to talk –“

 

“I’m okay, Steve. I’m all right to leave alone. I’m not afraid of the dark,” he raised an eyebrow to underscore the significant meaning that he had figured out McGarrett’s sentinel concerns. “I just need time. And some space and quiet. And no alcohol,” he ended lightly.

 

“Whatever you want, Danno, and I mean that,” he sternly returned. “And if you ever want to talk, I’m here for you. I promise.”

 

The vow was all too close and uncomfortably reminiscent of the oath he had given his friend only days ago – that he had Danno’s back and would be there for him in any crisis Griggs generated. He had failed in that intent utterly, but determined he would not falter for his friend this time.

 

“I mean it.” He didn’t know how he could emphasis it more.

 

Not judgmental, not denying, the younger officer gave a slight smile. “Mahalo, Steve. If I need anything I promise to let you know. Even talking.”

 

Not entirely satisfied, McGarrett nodded his approval. For now. Gently, in the near future, he would try to convince his friend to have at least one conversation with Bishop. Williams had to be more scarred than he admitted. Who would not be affected by the obsession-enslavement by a brilliant, cunning madwoman? Even the most easy-going man would crack at the enforced role-playing and humiliating, scripted, fake courtship. Even the toughest cop would have lingering hauntings from being drugged, then poisoned, then left to die in a crypt!  McGarrett had undergone his own terrors in captivity as a POW – he knew the residual scratch that left on the inside.

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

Arriving at the apartment, Steve was surprised his friend was not there. Checking the carport, noting his personal car, the red Dodge pickup, was absent, he wondered where his friend might have gone.

 

The visit had not been scheduled, but it was implied that every day after work McGarrett arrived here to bring in dinner or take his friend out to a quiet, decent place to eat. The deviation was unexpected, and initially concerning, even though McGarrett knew his friend was probably reveling in driving his old truck and being completely free to do anything he wanted at any time he felt like it.

 

Strolling back to his car to ponder where his friend might be – anywhere from grocery shopping to surfing he imagined – he moved from the side fender to reach inside the interior of the Mercury when he was paged on the radio.

 

“McGarrett here.”

 

“Hey, Steve, I need a favor.”

 

Smiling at the voice, sounding relaxed and normal again – even healthy – McGarrett clicked on the button. “What do you need, Danno?”

 

“I need you to meet me in Kahala. At Griggs’ apartment.”

 

His sunny mood frosted completely into disturbed irritation. This was a nasty surprise he had not anticipated. Danno was not one to sit on the sidelines when anything concerned him, but seeing Griggs’ mad museum was too much.

 

“No, Danno –“

 

“Steve, let’s talk it over.”

 

Reasonable. He had no hope of swaying the boss, but discussing it in person was more appropriate than having an argument over the police band where all their colleagues would overhear the difference of opinion.

 

“Why don’t you meet me here.

 

Here. Possession was nine-tenths of the law. Danno was already there!  So dissuading him from seeing the macabre shrine and frightening home ground of his kidnapper was already a lost cause probably.

 

“I’m heading there right now.”

 

He jumped in the car and sped away, logic and firm demands swirling in his brain as he raced there. On the way over, he made another call. He might need reinforcements if he knew his stubborn friend – and he thought he did – very well.

 

When he spotted the younger detective, dressed in jeans and a polo shirt, casually leaning against the red truck, parked in front of the apartment building, he switched to another tac. He doubted he was going to win this debate, but he needed to try, in a reasonable and calm manner.

 

Steadily staring at his friend as he walked across the street, he shook his head. “Danno –“

 

“Steve, I know you don’t want me in there, but this is something I need to see for myself.” He waved an envelope in his hand. “I’ve been getting legal notices –“

 

“It’s not lega –“

 

“Well, everyone thinks it is, Steve, so –“

 

“My lawyer can handle it –“

 

“I need to close this for myself,” he gently, firmly demanded, his blue eyes reflecting the brightness of stubborn resolve. “I was the one she obsessed about. I want to finish it myself.”

 

McGarrett had seen it in his friend’s demeanor often – the quiet, but tough stance that brooked no denying the intent. There was always a good point, and at times like this he found no voice strong enough to counter the demands, not even his own.

 

The unpleasantness started as they were mounting the steps up to the second floor. The manager had spotted them and rushed out of his own place to trot up and join them.

 

He introduced himself and asked them the prickly question first. Griggs was dead, what was he supposed to do with the apartment and all her things? Were her relatives coming for the goods?

 

With dark looks exchanged, McGarrett fielded the questions. “We’ll take care of it.”

 

Opening the apartment for the policemen, McGarrett made sure the manager was pushed out and he closed the door to a sure privacy. Opening the blinds to allow in the light, the older cop watched his friend amble around the apartment. When he started toward the closed second bedroom, Steve stopped in front of him.

 

“Danno, as your friend, I’m advising you not to go on.”

 

Glancing at the door, then back at the taller cop, Dan almost smiled. “Mahalo for trying to protect me, Steve, but I can handle it. I lived through the worst already.”

 

With a nod, McGarrett accepted the decision, but stayed close as he swung the door open and switched on the lights. Williams edged in and took in a sharp breath, standing still for a moment, taking it all in with several sweeps of his eyes. Back and forth across the room he did a visual scan before making a move.

 

McGarrett stayed close, wondering how Danno would react, trying to prepare himself to be of assistance in any eventuality. He was probably doing just what Danno did not want – crowding, closing in, being overly protective when the younger man wanted freedom and control. The difficult thing for McGarrett was he knew EXACTLY what Danno was feeling and thinking. In his own way he had been there before and it was a terrible emotional and mental burden to carry. After Korea, there had been only rudimentary help for former POWs. As he had dealt with every other tragedy in his life, McGarrett shouldered the burden alone. He did not want Danno to do that now.

 

Taking a deep breath, Williams stepped forward and walked first to the garish beach house replica. Biting his lip, he bent down and studied the pictures, shaking his head as he scanned the images of Griggs’ face pasted atop pictures Danno would be familiar with.

 

Next he moved to the shrine where his personal belongings were held in a place of honor. His lip twitched, he grunted a few times. Picking up his car magazine he elicited a “huff” of exclamation. “I thought I was going nuts. How did she get these?”

 

“She befriended Peachy. He provided innocent access for her collecting of trophies.”

 

“Poor Peachy.”

 

McGarrett had no comment for the compassion. Peachy was the first known victim in their sphere. He had unwittingly aided the insane Griggs. He would be charged as an accessory if he was still alive, but received a different kind of punishment already.  What the top cop found amazing was Danno’s capacity for sympathy after all that had happened to him.

 

He reached out toward one of the mutilated pictures, then withdrew his hand. “I triggered this, and it led to murder.”

 

“You did not, Danno, you were the victim here more than anyone else.”

 

“Maybe I could have done something different –”

 

“You had no idea, Danno. She succumbed to your natural generosity and charm, and warped it. It was out of your control. If it hadn’t been you, there would have been someone else,” he refuted, certain she as so unbalanced she would have eventually snapped. Seeing his friend was considering and accepting the observation, he assured nothing Danno did or didn’t do triggered the craziness in an already twisted mind.

 

“I guess this is still evidence?” Williams wondered quietly.

 

“The case is over,” McGarrett shrugged. “You’ll want your property back.”

 

“Yeah,” the younger detective nodded, visually touring the room from where he was standing. “It’s creepy and maddening,” he finally decided. “She stole my life and plastered it up on these walls. Then she took over my life and tried to take it.” He shook his head. “I can’t understand it.”

 

“No, neither can I. I’ll take care of the rest of this, Danno, don’t worry about it.”

 

“There’s no relative who could –”

 

“No.”

 

“Friends?”

 

“No one close.”

 

“What a sad statement, huh?”

 

A little irked at the empathy, Steve scoffed, “Danno, she was nuts!  She tried to murder you after she kidnapped and drugged and tortured you!”

 

“I know, but she was –” He shrugged, disturbed and at a loss. “Lonely.”

 

“She was sick and took out her demented needs on you!” He shook his head at his friend. “You should be the last one to offer sympathy!”

 

“I guess it seems strange, but I don’t hate her.”

 

“How can you NOT hate her after all she did? She left you to die –”

 

Noting someone standing in the doorway, McGarrett turned to see Doctor Bishop standing there, watching them in attentive silence.

 

“Don’t let me intrude,” she smiled gently. “I find your conversation enlightening.”

 

McGarrett scowled at the shrink, now regretting he had called her. He was doing just fine trying to talk this through with his friend, except Danno didn’t seem to get the significance of Griggs’ actions.

 

“Called in the cavalry when I wouldn’t ask for help, huh?” he wryly asked of McGarrett, shaking his head. “I don’t like being drunk and I don’t like hangovers, but if I had to be married to her it was the way to go.”

 

“Humor is a good way to deal with the trauma,” the doctor observed lightly. More seriously, she asked, “I was going to ask how you felt being here, how you could face this, but you are doing just fine, Danny.” She studied McGarrett. “I think, for several reasons, this is affecting you more than Danny, Steve. Want to talk about it?”

 

The twist threw him off for a moment, but he closed up quickly, giving the much shorter doctor a sharp glare. “I’m fine, doctor. Danno is too.”

 

Bishop pointed out that maybe they were dealing with some of Steve’s issues. Refusing to be under her microscope, he closed the discussion, silently acknowledging these issues were his, especially the claustrophobia, his helplessness at being unable to help Danno, his lack of control that might have ultimately led to Danno’s death.

 

After a commentary about psych stuff between Williams and Bishop, the trio left. They walked the doctor to her car, and then crossed to the red truck. Neither made a move to leave, leaning there for a moment. The younger man broke the comfortable silence.

 

 “Steve, this was all a pretty nasty experience, and I’m lucky to be alive, thanks to you. But I’m going to be okay. Yeah, I was locked inside a crypt – but I was drugged and sick and scared, but it helped to just go to sleep and hope to not be in pain when I woke up.”

 

Steve had been defensive and irate for his friend, when his friend had such an amazingly different perspective.

 

With a wry twist of his lips, the shorter man offered, “You’re the one with claustrophobia, Steve. I know you were upset, I can imagine how you must have felt being on the outside of this while I was suffering. You were upset for me. You want to know the truth? I don’t think I was as disturbed as you. I knew you had my back, and if anyone could get me out if that jam, it would be you.”

 

Humbled and touched, McGarrett just nodded, patting his friend on the shoulder, wishing he had been able to do more. Wishing now, that he could say more. “I always will, Danno, and I hope in the future to do a better job.” Clearing the knot in his throat, he ordered, “Now get this rattle trap back to town and we’ll go get something to eat.”

 

 

YYYYY

 

 

The last time he was here, Danny had not taken note of the beauty of the Kaneohe valley, the magnificent mountains and the lush greens of the rolling hills. He had been drugged and displaced in a strange cocoon of misery and confusion. As only a bad, residual shadow of a memory, he recalled the travesty of a ceremony. There had been blurred lines and resentment and illness predominantly coloring his mind and emotions. At the back of his brain he had been upset and suspicious at the change of venue. He knew Camille bringing him here, ditching out so suddenly from the Hilton, had been a warning sign, but trapped, there had been little he could do until she revealed the location of the poison-tampered goods.

 

He had been helpless for the entire ordeal!  That was his fault. He should have been more clever or smart or – something. The sting of the death at the restaurant shot into his mind and he shivered. That death was on his conscience. He should not have been so blunt or indelicate to upset her that day.

 

The mist turned into a tangible rain, gently dusting him as he stood in the open, staring at the place that he barely remembered from this perspective. Inside – yeah – he remembered that with enough to give him some creepy nightmares, despite the brave words he had told Steve. The pain, the fear, the regret, he recalled.

 

He hadn’t been good enough to out-think her. He had failed. All of that had coursed through his drifingt mind as he had fallen asleep for what he thought was the final time. And what he didn’t tell Steve; the desolate, resigned emptiness that he could not hold on long enough for a rescue. He was certain Steve would find him. It was an unexpected miracle that it was in time.

 

The man from the mortuary touched his arm and asked if he was ready. Acknowledging that it was time, knowing he might never be ready for this if not pushed, he gave the man leave to open the crypt. Not sure what to expect, when he entered the tomb, holding the canister of ashes that had once been Sue Ellen Griggs, he held his breath. Once inside the crypt, now illuminated by an anemic glow from the open door, he shivered, remembering with shocking clarity, what it had been like in what he felt were his last moments. He had told Bishop and McGarrett that he was over the affects of the entombment, but being here – he wasn’t so sure anymore.

 

Placing the urn on a pedestal, he heard the man say something and he gave a nod. Only after the man stepped out, did he realize the funeral home manager expected him to WANT to be here alone for last, private moments with his ‘wife’!  Backing out quickly, he told the man to close the vault and lock the door, unnerved at the thought of being in there alone again – even with someone close at hand and the door open.

 

Handed the key, he held it tightly, stepping back to stand on the steps and stare at the door etched with his name. That would have to change, of course. The man left, uttering words of condolence. Dan stayed to stare at the door, feeling unaccountable pity.

 

Camille, so he would always think of her, had been warped. No question she had been mad. Clinically, he understood she was sick, and for that he felt pity for her.

 

Insane, loony and many other colorful descriptions he could apply to her dementia. In her obsessive desire to own him, to live out her twisted fantasy, she had kidnapped, murdered, terrorized. He had barely survived the worst week of his life. Despite all of those condemnations, he did pity her. He could not comprehend being so desperately passionate about someone that it could lead to the things she did to him and others.

 

In generosity, though, he COULD empathize with desperation. He grasped feeling emotions so passionately, that everything else in life receded until the goal was won. He understood the depth of what people were capable of doing to each other – but more importantly – what they were capable of doing for each other. Almost every day he saw the results of bad choices when people were overcome with failure or disappointment, and turned to crime and violence. He had seen the value and worth of good. There had been dramatic deaths and solitude and amazingly great examples in his life. He could not condone her actions, or even understand, but he knew she was sick and had looked to him to fill the empty space in her life. Going about it in all the wrong ways, she had gained him as a hostage, as an unwilling accomplice, and as a companion in misfortune. Not what either one of them wanted, but it was the way she had scripted it to begin and end.

 

Footsteps on the concrete alerted him that he was not alone. Recognizing the tread, he felt an inner warmth envelope him.

 

“How are you doing, Danno?”

 

He smiled at the quiet, tentative question. It felt good to have a big brother watching out for him. That certain faith had sustained him in this dark ordeal – all the way to the end in this black tomb, long enough for his friend to reach him.

 

“Okay.” He continued to stare at his name on the crypt. It was a mockery for her to have used his name for this, but surprisingly, he did not feel more than resentment at her affront to his real flesh and blood family who were long dead. It was an insult to his Five-0 ohana that was as real as any family could ever be to him. “I’m going to have the name changed.”

 

“Yeah. Good idea.”

 

Taking on all the administrative tasks resultant of this strange case, Danno had not been sheltered from everything. Chose not to be protected from it all. No surprise, McGarrett concluded. He could only wonder at Danno’s strength – to return here after so much. Steve understood it, though. It had been easy to find him once he remembered today was Griggs’ interment.

 

“You didn’t have to come here.”

 

“Yeah, I did. She lived a sad life and I was part of it at the end.”

 

McGarrett snorted.  “She forced you to be included in her insanity.”

 

In the aftermath of the crisis, the mere thought of her name, now, flashed an instant red wash of hatred across Steve’s mind. Now that he had time to think and feel something besides scraping fear and anguish, he recognized and accepted his sincere relief that she was dead. No public trial, no further humiliation to Danno. Only the closest within the Five-0 ohana would know the truth.

 

“I couldn’t let it be a place of fear.”

 

“No, I guess not.” Danno would never let fear rule his life.

 

Williams turned and gave a slight nod of thanks. “She wanted drama and a fairytale ending. You made sure I made it out of here so it wasn’t a complete tragedy.”

 

The words of faith were salt in his wounds of regret. Professionally, he had handled the case the only way possible. As a friend, he had dangled his friend – his second-in-command – out there to be nipped by a cunning shark. Evil happenstance, delayed timing, any number of factors could have proven fatal for Williams, and through luck or providence or divine intervention they had come through this one with Danno alive.

 

That was Five-0’s -- his -- happy ending.

 

ZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZYZ

 

PAU