A Partner's Prerogative
By: Ridley C. James
A/N: Just a little side trip into this lovely fandom. My muse insisted. Please be kind as I am dipping my toes for the first time in the Hawaiian surf. For those who aren't familiar with my work, I'm not a shipper, but I do love a good dose of hurt comfort with some angst on the side as long as there is a fairly decent plot. I love all the characters on this show, but have become quite partial to Steve and Danny. It may take a few tries to feel out these wonderful guys as I try to remain as true to the show as possible. All reviews are eagerly read and greatly appreciated.
"It's my rule never to lose my temper till it would be detrimental to keep it." –Sean O'Casey
Detective Danny Williams was not a violent man by nature. Not really.
Sure, growing up in one of the shadier neighborhoods of New Jersey, the scrawny, height challenged kid of a generational fireman had leant to some issues with physical aggression in the past. The fact he had a kid brother who was constantly running with the wrong pack, and often found himself in need of protection didn't help matters. School counselors at Danny's middle school and high school had called it a self-defense mechanism with Danny compensating for his lack of stature and bulk by building a vast repertoire of fast talk and one hell of a ballsy attitude. Danny called it survival when he learned to back up every bit of ire with an explosive left hook and a vicious upper cut that could easily level the playing field with a guy twice his size.
'Grown up, respectable member of the law enforcement community and father to one sweet eight year-old girl' Danny Williams might have learned to lean more on talking the talk, but he sure as hell could still walk the walk if necessary. Officer Keoni Baker was finding out the hard way just what Danny considered reasonable conditions for reverting back to his pre badge-bad-ass Jersey boy days.
"Danny, let him go."
Danny barely heard Chin's unwavering voice through the high pitched ringing in his ears. He'd forgotten what this felt like, the free-floating heady sensation of letting his feelings take the lead, giving himself completely over to his rage. It was hauntingly familiar, the sensation of being transported out of his body, hovering above the scene watching himself from afar as he pounded his enemy mercilessly into the ground through a red haze of anger. The growl he elicited in response to Chin's command was foreign, barely recognizable as human. He wasn't surprised when his friend's grip on his shoulders tightened when his fervent struggle to get Danny's hands away from Keoni's throat increased with sincere panic as he realized this was a side of the detective he had not dealt with.
"You're going to kill him." Chin's breath was hot against Danny's ear. He leaned his body against Danny's back keeping the declaration between them and away from the twenty or so officers gathered watching the fight. "Danny, stop!"
Killing Keoni hadn't exactly been Danny's intention. Premeditation would be off the table. Smashing the smug look off Baker's ugly face was the initial plan. Just one good punch, that's all he'd meant to deliver and that might have been the way it played out if not for several mitigating factors. Years of police work had taught Danny that crimes of passion were always swirling with mitigating factors.
First and foremost, the son of bitch, Keoni had the nerve to reciprocate Danny's punch. He should have taken what he had coming like the backstabbing, two-faced jealous bastard he was instead of catching Danny with a lucky right jab. Secondly, Danny was running on fumes. Not counting the ten minute cat nap he'd caught on the drive back to headquarters with Chin, he'd been awake for twenty six hours straight. The blow to his cheek, which should have maybe knocked some sense into Danny, only seemed to serve as a shot of adrenaline fueling his thirst to unload his pent up frustration on the easiest target- Officer Baker.
It didn't help matters that Danny was hungry. He'd had no nourishment to speak of unless you counted the scorched coffee and stale Danish that Kono insist he eat sometime before dawn. Danny didn't count cardboard cuisine as food. Low blood sugar most definitely could have been a factor in Keoni's demise. Any jury worth their weight in pastry would understand.
Then there was the problem with Danny's wardrobe. To be perfectly honest, it probably sealed the brazen officer's fate. Danny liked to look nice, to project an air of professionalism and decorum. It kept him on his best game. But today, gone were Danny's perfectly starched shirt and the silk tie Grace had bought him for Christmas, leaving him with only a t-shirt and torn pants. Not just any random t-shirt either. No, this particular shirt was not only a slightly nauseating Pepto shade of pink from a laundry mishap with his daughter's Hello Kitty beach towel, but it was now stained and stiff with dried blood. Steve McGarrett's blood.
"What the hell is going on out here?" The police chief's booming voice had HPD's finest moving their asses, scattering, some scurrying back to their desks with heads hanging, while others quickly offered sudden assistance to one Chin Ho Kelly as he tried to keep Danny from facing at best, considering all those mitigating circumstances, justifiable homicide charges.
"Just a little horseplay got out of hand, Chief." Danny had often admired Chin's ability to remain calm and collected in all situations, including an incident where he'd been strapped to enough explosive to take out a three block radius. What he obviously hadn't appreciated enough was the man's talent for understatement. "We're handling it."
"Obviously not well enough." The Chief's bark was closer now, somewhere off to Danny's right. "This isn't a school yard playground."
The man's harsh tone and close proximity refueled Danny's thirst for revenge as he was reminded he and Chin wouldn't have been at HPD if not for the new Chief's strict adhesion to Standard Operating Procedures. Danny was all for thorough, by the book police work, unless it got in the way of what Danny viewed the most important part of the job-watching your partner's back. He removed his hands from Keoni's throat, delivering another vicious blow to the downed man's face. He'd forgotten how extremely satisfying the distinct sound of a cracking bone could be.
"That's enough!" Chin changed tactics; his police training overruling his duty of friend. He wrapped his arm around Danny's throat in a regulation choke hold. The precise amount of pressure had black dots dancing before the still-swinging detective's eyes and Danny realized he had two choices- follow Chin's lead and disengage with Keoni or succumb to a lack of necessary oxygen and pass out like some cranked up suspect in an incident that would obviously be talked about for ages around the water cooler.
"Keep this up and you'll be spending the night in lockup instead of at the hospital." Chin's warning was once again delivered up close to his ear, calm and reasonable as usual, but with a pleading tone that Danny hadn't heard before. The threat was effective and easily cut through Danny's fury. "Don't make me explain that to Steve when he wakes up asking for you."
"I'm good." Danny gasped, slapping at Chin's forearm. All the fight was fleeing him, leaving a tired weariness that made it difficult to struggle to his feet even with his friend's support. "Let me go."
"Are you sure?" Chin tightened his forearm ever so slightly and Danny winced.
"Unless you also want to explain to McGarrett why I'm wearing a neck brace?" Danny pulled away from his friend, running his hands through his hair to tame it back in place. He worked on getting himself in check as he watched Keoni's partner and some other officers help the downed man off the floor. Danny took pleasure in the fact Baker swayed when he was on his feet, his knees nearly buckling as he tried to stand completely upright. That would teach the son of bitch when to keep his mouth shut.
"I'm not going to be the one explaining any of this to McGarrett, Haole." Chin placed a hand on Danny's shoulder, giving it a slight squeeze. Danny wasn't sure if it was a gesture of silent support or one of restraint. The fact Chin didn't let him go had Danny leaning towards the latter.
"How about someone try giving me an explanation, seeing as this is my department and the last time I checked I was chief of police." Makaha was glaring at Danny in an 'I know exactly who is to blame for this' way that once again had Danny recalling his not so stellar days of foolish youth. "Detective Williams?"
"It was just a misunderstanding, Sir." Keoni was the one to speak, keeping Danny from saying something he might later regret. The HPD officer wiped a hand under his busted nose, smearing blood across his face. He sniffed.
"Really?" Chief Makaha looked from his officer to Danny, the disbelief evident in his dark eyes. "This was just one big misunderstanding?"
Danny clenched his fists, crossing his arms to keep his hands from flailing about. It was a sure fire way to keep himself silent, effective as a gag. He wasn't surprised at Keoni's quick explanation. It would not be in the officer's best interest to share what was truly going on. It would also probably not be in Steve's best interest either so Danny saved his typical lament.
"It's all cleared up," Keoni continued when Danny said nothing. "Nothing to worry about, Chief."
"You sure this misunderstanding wasn't something that should have shown up in the report for last night's raid?"
Danny was so tempted to tell Chief Makaha exactly what he thought of the man's report, but felt Chin's fingers tense on his shoulder.
"The report's complete on Five-O's part, Sir." Chin gestured to Keoni and his partner. "Officers Baker and Lan said they would debrief the remaining witnesses and finish up the paperwork."
The chief gave Danny another withering glance before turning to his men. "I want this case wrapped up before the governor is back on the island. Is that clear?"
"Yes, Sir." Keoni nodded contritely.
"As for you." Makaha pointed his finger at Danny. "Governor's pet task force or not, I'll have no more 'misunderstandings' in my bull pen. Is that clear, Detective?"
"Crystal," Danny said through gritted teeth. He gave a mock salute once the chief's back was turned, resisting the urge to add another not so respectful hand gesture as the man strode to his office.
"Come on, Brah." Chin gave him a small shove to get him moving. "We need to get back to the hospital."
Danny was all for that plan. He hadn't wanted to leave the hospital in the first place. Still he took a moment to address Keoni, who smartly took a step back when Danny approached him. "You better hope for your sake my partner comes out of this with no more than a bad headache and a temporary limp because if he does an investigation by IA will be the least of your problems, Baker."
Chin cleared his throat and Danny rolled his eyes in exasperation. "What are you my mother?"
Despite his grumblings over Chin playing vigilant watch dog, a job obviously given to him by their commander on the sly, Danny let him drive. The adrenaline dump from the fight, combined with lack of sleep and no food had left the seasoned detective shaky. He was willing to risk his badge with an impetuous, reckless move, but not his car. Still, he kept his eyes straight ahead, or locked on the scenery flying by out the passenger's window. It was too strange to look over to the driver's side and not see Steve.
"You going to tell me what Keoni said to set you off like that?"
Danny rubbed a hand over his face, letting his head rest against the seat. He knew Chin deserved an answer. After all it wasn't every day a guy came out of the break room to find a fellow teammate embroiled in a brawl with another officer. It wasn't like Chin didn't already feel the outsider in the ranks of HPD without being drawn into another conflict. "He called McGarrett Super Seal."
"Super Seal?" Chin laughed. "Seriously?"
"Seriously." Danny glared at his friend. That wasn't all Keoni said. There was that little something about means and blanket immunity not helping the Governor's golden boy one bit when it came to outrunning a speeding bullet.
"I hate to point this out, Brah, but you call him that and much, much worse on a daily basis."
"I do." Danny straightened in his seat, his hands taking flight. "And everything I say is true! He's a pig headed, cocky sonofabitch with an ego bigger than Kamekona's appetite. Basically, McGarrett is an idiot, but he's my idiot and if I want to stand on the steps of the justice building and shout out his very long list of faults all the day long that's my prerogative, but no two bit, Neanderthal cop with half McGarrett's brains and not even a tenth of his guts and integrity is going to go there. You got that?"
"Easy, Tiger." Chin shot him a half grin, lifting one hand off the wheel to stave off the verbal assault. "I get it, believe me I get it. A guy can throw his partner under the bus, but nobody else better be behind that wheel when it hits him."
"Exactly." Danny punched the air with a fist. "I'll throw Super Seal under the bus, back it up over him then drive across him again for good measure because I can. I. Am. His. Partner. It's my job to put him in his place, just like it's my fucking job to watch his back, especially when a punk ass, ignorant cop like Keoni is in the ranks." The latest tirade did nothing for Danny's dark mood. Speaking of his partner had not only driven home the point Steve lay at the root of Danny's real anger, but that Steve was also facing only God knew what once again without a partner looking out for his wellbeing. For once he missed McGarrett's insane, Evil Knievel driving and was tempted to tell Chin to get them to the hospital speed limit and safety be damned.
Chin brought his gaze back to the road, letting the silence settle around them like a dark cloak. "Are you sure that was what that little misunderstanding back at the precinct was really about?"
"What?" Danny demanded. "You mean it might have been something else entirely? Like the fact that while you and Kono were rounding up the rest of Montero's gang, and I was trying to extricate myself from the stack of shipping crates that just happened to fall on top of me, no one was watching Steve's flank when he went solo after our latest gun-smuggling, cocaine dealing, sex-trafficking local yokel of the month?"
Chin arched a brow. "He didn't exactly wait for anyone to cover him."
"Yeah, well McGarrett was pissed and locked on target with one goal in sight, and that was to take down the enemy before the bastard Montero could wreak anymore havoc." Danny couldn't believe he was defending Steve's stupidity. His partner had paused for only a moment to make sure Danny was alright before zeroing in on the retreating form of Montero. Danny had caught the lust for justice in McGarrett's eyes just moments before he took off despite Danny's shouts for him to wait one damn minute. Danny shouldn't have had to explain Steve's illogical thinking or his crazy course of action to Chin. The man had witnessed on many occasions the one man wrecking crew that was their fearless leader when his inner Rambo was kicked into overdrive.
"I'm just playing devil's advocate." Chin gripped the steering wheel. "We both know how cops feel about lone wolves, not to mention lone crusaders. Commissioner Gordon was probably the only guy with a badge who liked Batman. It could be that some of HPD's finest are a little tired of being called out for window dressing, especially when lately it's Five-O that gets mention in the papers."
"So Steve doesn't play well with others." Danny growled, bringing a fist to his mouth. It was not the first time he had gotten the cold shoulder from his former colleagues at HPD since being drafted into Five-O. Investigating the murder of his former partner had been the real eye opener. Meka's death had revealed the delineation that had begun to take shape like a fine blue line between he and his old comrades. Danny couldn't be pissed at Chin for vocalizing what he himself had been thinking. Still, his loyalty to the badge demand he hold out some hope. "Cops would not endanger one of their own purposefully."
"Steve's not a fellow cop, Danny." Chin took the exit off the busy freeway that would take them to the hospital. "He's not shy about making his credentials known when he's leading the charge into battle."
"He would die for any of them." Danny felt his anger kick in again. McGarrett might not have come to his position the traditional way, but he lived for the job. He believed in everything a good cop should, the defense and protection of the innocent above all else. Steve was fearless when it came to his own safety, but he was fierce when it came to protecting the men and women he saw as under his command, even more so in his duty serving the citizens of Hawaii.
"And most of them honor and respect that," Chin continued. "I'm just saying from experience that cops have a way of handling their own, and dealing with those in the rank that don't meet their expectations or those that fall out of their good graces."
Danny let his head fall against the seat. He knew his friend was right. It was why Chin never went into a situation without Kono or one of their team watching his six. The man might have proved himself over and over to his Five-O teammates but in HPD's eyes, he was still a dirty cop. Steve had not ingratiated himself to the ranks by choosing a rookie, a haole and a disgraced officer for his elite team.
"It's not anything we can prove." Danny glanced over at Chin.
"But you think their lack of immediate action nearly got Steve killed." Chin pulled into the lot closest to the hospital, gliding the Camaro into an empty spot. "That can't happen again."
"I say Keoni and Lan dragged their feet getting to Steve's position. Keoni could just as easily say they were being cautious, securing their position before drawing fire. Steve was already hit and pinned down when I got there. They had already taken Montero and his associate out. Some people might think they deserve an accommodation for saving the Lt. Commander's ass."Danny sighed, running his hands along the sides of his hair. He was ready to get out of the car, opening his door as soon as the engine stopped. He needed to see for himself that his partner had made it through surgery.
"You could talk to the Governor." Chin came around the car, catching up to Danny who had already started for the entrance.
"And have her come down on Chief Makaha, who in turn is going to chew some asses in his department? That's not going to boost our popularity one bit. A cop is only as good as the back-up he can call in. Even if McGarrett won't admit it, we need HPD."
"Then you should talk to Steve."
"And tell Batman what? That he should lose the cape and cowl. Maybe seriously stop using that calling card of his, the one that says 'I only answer to God and the governor'." This was Steve McGarrett they were talking about-the man who shanghaied Danny's life, ordered him to be his partner against Danny's will under the consent of the governor and drove Danny's car like it was his own any time he liked. The same guy who commandeered boats and helicopters at a drop of a hat, and hurled live grenades in public businesses as if he were in the streets of Bagdad instead of a residential area of Hawaii.
"It's a start." Chin slapped him on the back as the doors of the ER opened with a whoosh of frigid air. "Do it while he's still under the effects of the anesthesia, Brah. Maybe it will sink in."
Danny rolled his eyes, struggling to get his stiff and sore body to move a little faster. He made it to the elevator, jabbing the button that would take them to the OR waiting room. "Why don't I just use a two-by-four and some of Agent Jenna Kay's secret CIA mind-bending techniques while I'm at it? The end result would be the same."
"You never know until you give it a try." Chin not only had a talent for understatement, but an annoying habit of looking on the bright side.
"Then maybe you should give it a go, Mr. Sunshine." Danny was thankful the elevator car was empty considering he reeked of blood and sweat. It was testament to his state of mind that he did not swing by his office and pick up a clean change of clothes.
"Oh no. I wouldn't dream of it." Chin was the first out of the elevator when the doors opened. He glanced over his shoulder to Danny. "After all, McGarrett is your partner."
Chin was right. Steve was Danny's partner, it was Danny's duty to keep him alive and relatively in one piece, even if that meant doing the impossible, like getting Steve to see his way of doing things. What good was a perfect arrest record if you weren't around to enjoy it?
Chin's question drew Danny from his thoughts, bringing his focus to Kono who uncurled from a chair and stood to greet them. Danny noticed the outdated surf magazine in her hand, the empty coffee cups scattered around the area she had claimed when the rest of the team had been summoned to HPD. She looked exhausted, was going on caffeine and worry. Danny would have ordered her home if he thought the command would not have fallen on deaf ears.
"Boss is in recovery. They said we should be able to see him within the hour." She tilted her head, brows knitting together as she took a closer look at Danny. "What happened to your face?"
Danny reached up to touch his eye, having almost forgotten about the lucky tag Keoni made. "What about the surgery? How about the head wound? Did the doctor talk to you?"
"Not really." Kono shared a glance with her cousin, a silent communication passing between them that had her dropping her line of questioning concerning Danny's new look. She gestured to the nurse's station. "You're listed as emergency contact."
"Yeah, yeah." Danny fluttered a hand in the air. "That happened about the same time the caped crusader confiscated me as his sidekick. Apparently Robin, Boy Wonder had other duties besides riding shotgun in the Bat Mobile."
"He doesn't want Mary worried every time he's brought in," Chin surmised.
"Considering Boss's penchant for encountering the worst case scenario in every job, that's probably a blessing on her part." Kono sighed, looking longingly towards the silver bay doors. "Little Sister duty in McGarrett land is not for wimps."
"Passing McGarrett on the street can be hazardous to your emotional health." Danny prepared himself for what the doctor might have to say. He hoped there would be no need to call Mary today. He and Steve had agreed that Rachel and Mary were only called in life threatening situations. "Being one of his entourage is just asking for an anxiety disorder."
"Lucky for Steve, ohana doesn't quit on you when things get a little crazy." Chin picked up a magazine from a side table and settled into the chair his cousin had vacated. He gazed from Kono to Danny. "Lucky for all of us."
And just like that Danny was reminded of Chin's greatest talent. The man cut through all the bullshit to get right to the heart of a matter. Chin Ho spoke the truth.
"I'm going to talk to Steve's doctor." Danny gave Kono a half-hearted smile that had been known on occasion to get him whatever he wanted. If he couldn't get her to go home, he could at least give her a job to occupy her time, and an opportunity to stretch her legs. "Think you could go find me some decent coffee and a bagel that didn't pass its shelf life like five months ago?"
"You bet, Rocky." Kono returned his smile, punching his shoulder as she walked by.
"Is it really that noticeable?" Danny gestured to his eye, waiting for Chin's reaction.
"Got any sunglasses?"
Danny groaned, turning on his heel. "McGarrett so owes me a steak dinner and a six pack of beer."
To be continued…