A/N: All right, here is the end of this wild ride for now. I hope this chapter does not disappoint. Tentatively, the sequel will be titled: Booking Danno. Thanks so much for the great reviews and alerts! It was fun!
Danny let out an involuntary groan as he hit the hardwood, his body reminding him of it's fragile condition. At any other time he would have been able to withstand Steve's kindergarten antics but today he'd been caught off balance.
Now the question was how to get up and still save face? Every nerve ending was screaming at him to stay down but having been blessed with a healthy male ego he chose to ignore his body's request. Every muscle shook as he attempted to push to his knees. Things would have been easier had his left arm still not been a sling. Bum leg, bum shoulder, stitches in each, plus his abdomen yeah getting up with all of that was going to be a lot of fun.
Kono and Chin both reached for him but he ordered him them away. "I got it."
Steve watched pale faced. As soon as Danny hit the floor he realized what he had done. Confusion spread through his brain like wildfire. He clearly knew he had shoved Danny but it was like he had watched someone else do it.
"C'mon Danny, let someone help you, "he moved toward the shorter man only to have Chin grab him by the crook of the arm pulling him from the room.
"Let him handle it, Brah."
Chin led him outside and for several seconds Steve did nothing but pace back and forth. "I don't know what just happened in there." The person that had shoved Danny was NOT him.
"Just take it easy," Chin said, seeing that his friend was getting notably flustered. "You and Danny have both been through a lot."
"Yeah…but Danny's my partner-" his voice trailed.
"And after he finds a way to beat the crap out of you he'll get over it."
"Should I let him beat the crap out of me?" Steve asked wide eyed
Chin just gave him a look. These were the types of conversations Steve usually had with Danny and he wasn't going to play that game. Bantering was not Chin's style.
"Right, right…" Steve muttered changing his train of thought. "I just want to make things right for Doherty. Tom was a member of my team. He was a victim. I owe it to his family to prove that."
"By finishing the Black Tiger operation that Doherty was working on with Johnson. I have to find out who else was involved."
That was a suicide mission Chin thought. That's why Johnson used the techniques that he did. He wanted people to think that they could actually do the impossible. Look at Doherty, the man had committed heinous acts thinking he was serving the greater good but essentially had gotten nowhere in his quest to rid the world of Taliban operatives.
"Sounds like a mission that has no end."
Steve looked at his father's ex-partner with conviction, "I've got to try."
Chin made a mental note to do some research on brainwashing. He wondered if it could be subtle, if what he had witnessed could be called subtle. Steve obviously knew who he was and seemed to be in control of all of his mental functions, but yet something was amiss.
"It's just something I have to do," Steve returned looking back at the house and wondering how he was ever going to square things with Danny.
"C'mon, let me take you back to the hospital," Kono said softly.
"I don't need to go back to the hospital," Danny seethed. "What I need is five minutes alone with my so called partner and a shovel." At this moment, bashing Steve's head in was a definite option and when he got the opportunity he just might do it. "I knew there was something wrong him, I told you…didn't I say that Johnson had messed with the wiring in his brain?"
"Yes…yes…you did," Kono nodded. "But unless Steve is willing to let us help him there's nothing we can do."
Danny rolled his eyes at the rookie. "You still have a lot to learn about police work. You see when you have a partner you help them out when they need it even if they don't want you to. It's kind of like a marriage."
Danny glanced around the room, debating his next comment. "Does Chin know any good deprogrammers?"
"No, I don't think so," Kono, replied with a big grin. "But I know someone who might."
The ambiance of the restaurant was dark and quiet Lauren thought as she entered the bar and took a seat at one of the corner tables. Slinging her laptop case from her shoulder, she ordered a glass of the house Merlot and pulled out her phone. Absently, she started to scroll through the pictures she had taken in Danny's office until she got to the one of Danny and Grace. He definitely looked like a father who deeply loved his daughter she thought noting the protective look on his face. A sad expression masked her face. Tom Doherty had loved his family too and there was no doubt in her mind that Steve McGarrett loved his sister. Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to stop McGarrett from meeting the same fate. She had hoped that Johnson's death had meant that McGarrett would have been relatively unaffected, but given his actions it was obvious that Johnson's plan had worked on some level.
"You've got to be kidding me."
At the sound of Danny's voice, Lauren touched the screen of her I-phone prompting the photo to disappear.
"Expecting someone else?" Lauren copped an immediate attitude as he sat down across from her.
Danny responded with his infamous grin. "I'm just wondering how a liaison keeps popping up in a brainwashing scheme."
Lauren took a sip of her wine. "I'm good at what I do."
Danny ordered a rum and coke. "You see that's what bothers me. Usually, Liaison's are just fact gatherers who serve as a go between but, you? You seem to have more clout than that. How exactly did the Governor choose you for this assignment again?"
Lauren's hand tightened around her glass. "That is none of your business"
Danny winked at the waitress as she brought him his drink. "Oh but it is." He picked up his drink taking a swig. "Any person that comes into contact with Five-0 is my business."
"Yes, you see I have a certain perception for detecting the good guys from the bad guys and whenever I see you it goes off like a big warning light"
"Maybe it's just you're testosterone talking. I gather that since you're divorced that it's been awhile."
Danny sank his teeth into his bottom lip contemplating. She was right. Damn. Was he that transparent? "You only wish you could have a piece of this sweetheart."
Lauren bit her lip as well. The annoying charm of Danny Williams was hard to resist not to mention there was something about him that she found downright sexy. Too bad he was such an interregnal part of her case. "Do you want my help or not?"
"That depends." Danny returned. "What do you and your friends know about deprogramming someone who has been brainwashed?"
Lauren reached for her laptop. "Technically, the American Psychological Association doesn't recognize the term brainwashing. They believe that a person's attitude can be altered or changed through the use of certain drugs such as LSD or heroin and in some cases torture. But research shows that even torture under the most extreme cases is ineffective in changing a person's attitude."
"Then what do they call it?"
"It doesn't matter what they call it because it doesn't exist. For the most part brainwashing is a term coined through fiction. Even during the Korean War the Chinese weren't that successful with it."
"So what are you saying?"
Lauren lowered her eyes and ran her finger over the rim of her wine glass. "I'm saying that since your friend was only under Johnson's influence for a couple of days that most likely the behavior you are experiencing is solely derived from McGarrett's free will."
"Oh yeah?" Danny challenged. "Well what about that psycho Doherty? I suppose everything he did was of his own free will."
"And drugs," Lauren pointed out. "Tom was under the care of an unscrupulous doctor for over a year. God only knows what they gave him. The guy was probably flying higher than a kite when he bumped into you."
Danny felt his jaw cinch. "So what if he was? What about the drugs that Johnson gave to Steve?"
"Whatever they were they're gone now." After being admitted to Tripler, doctors had a run a tox screen that can come back clean. "I'm telling you McGarrett may be a bit traumatized but he isn't doing anything he doesn't want to do."
It was well after midnight when Steve saw the Camaro pull into its usual parking spot. He watched as Danny stepped out and started towards the porch before he revealed himself.
Unprepared, Danny jumped. If he had had his service weapon on him he would have pulled it.
"Sorry," Steve apologized holding up his hands. "I didn't mean to scare you."
Danny's face twisted as he pulled out his key. "You didn't scare me."
"Yes, I did. I saw you jump."
"It was a spasm." Danny retorted pushing the door open.
Steve followed him inside watching him set his keys on the counter. For several seconds Danny did nothing but look at the second hand on his watch.
"What are you doing?"
"Timing you," Danny answered. "It has been exactly 45 seconds and you have yet to apologize for shoving me."
Steve eyes went wide as he tried to contain a laugh. "You think that's why I'm here to apologize?"
"Yes!" Danny whirled. "When you push someone down (or get them shot) you apologize!"
"I'm not going to apologize. You were being arrogant," Steve returned. "And for the record, I didn't push you. I touched your shoulder and you fell!"
"You shoved me down when I was exactly one hour shy of being discharged from the hospital!"
"Fine," Steve conceded. "Maybe, I shouldn't have touched you when you were in such a fragile condition. I'm sorry, okay?"
"No," Danny replied flippantly.
"No?" Again, Steve's eyes went wide in disbelief. "You're not accepting my apology? Why?"
"Because, I don't have to. That's why!"
"Fine," Steve rolled his eyes. "Do you want to hit me?"
Storm clouds formed on Danny's brow. "What are you 12? No, I don't want to hit you." Actually he did but that was beside the point. "I want you to leave so I can go to bed. In case you haven't noticed it's after midnight and I'm still on the mend thanks to your psycho friend."
"I already told you. Tom wasn't my friend."
"Yeah? Then why do you want to run off and play Teenage Mutant Ninja Warrior?"
"Because it's the right thing to do," Steve said exasperated. "I know this is hard for you to believe but at one time Tom Doherty was a good person. He was my responsibility!
"Let me finish!" Steve countered. "If something or someone suddenly caused You or Kono or Chin to act irrationally in a situation where you hurt other people. I would do everything in my power to find out why and to make sure that whoever was responsible was brought to justice."
"You already know who was responsible!"
Steve shook his head. "This is bigger than Johnson, Danny."
Danny closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. He still couldn't believe what he was hearing. Lauren was wrong. He said over and over. Lauren was wrong.
"What?" Steve questioned.
"I changed my mind." Danny replied coolly. "I want to hit you."
"Fine," Steve sighed opening his arms and lifting his chin. "Take your best shot."
"Fine, I will." Without further warning, Danny reared back his fist and drove it straight into Steve's mid section immediately following up with a knee to his groin. Grant, he'd hurt himself by putting pressure on his own injured leg but it was worth it he reasoned watching his partner doubling over.
"I said you could hit me." Steve gasped as all of the air left his lungs followed by a coughing fit. The pain was so intense that Steve slid to his knees.
Danny placed his hands on his knees, so that he was nearly eye level with the coughing SEAL. "You're lucky, I didn't have a bat and for the record I know a hell of a lot about honor!"
He waited a moment for Steve to catch his breath. "For what it's worth if hunting down the people who caused Doherty to torture me is really what you want then I'm in."
"What?" Steve looked up at him, his ocean colored eyes still watering.
"I'm in," Danny repeated. "I want to help you take down the bad guys."
"No," Painstakingly, Steve pushed to his feet. "What I'm about to do means that I may have to leave the island and I don't want you involved in anything that might take you away from Grace."
From an unmarked car in the parking lot, Lauren listened to the rest of their conversation. Bugging Williams' apartment while he'd been in the hospital was definitely going to pay off.
Gazing down at her lap, Lauren smiled as she looked at a photo of she and her step-brother when they were kids. "Don't worry, Tommy. With McGarrett's help I'm going to take down all of the people who took you away from me."