A/N: A few people pleaded so sweetly for a second chapter that I thought a tag for ep. 1.24 would fit. Hope it works. Again, there are slight spoilers if you haven't watched the finale, and a mention of my first story in this verse, A Partner's Prerogative. Again, I am not speculating after that amazing episode last night, just adding a little filler and fluff.
This time he'd failed, brilliantly, spectacularly. All his talk to Steve over the last year about back up, about having your partner's six, and he, Danny Williams was the one to drop the ball. Yes, Steve had broken into the governor's house, yes, he had gone after said governor when Danny had begged him to just lay low and let the team handle it; but that is exactly what Danny should have expected his partner to do. The very recent incident with Sang Min should have been a warning. Steve didn't do passive, careful or cautious. Danny wasn't sure the man even understood the meaning of those words. To say his partner's philosophy of life was the 'direct approach' was a grandiose understatement. Danny knew this from the beginning, but had duped his stupid self into believing he had, by becoming 'close' to the man he now considered his best friend, affected some kind of change on Steve's insanity. Danny had become the equivalent of one of the nut jobs who bring home an orphaned lion cub, believing their love and devotion has somehow tamed the beast's natural instinct right up until the moment their cute cuddly kitty devours their next door neighbor for dinner. It was a pompous, egotistical error on his part. Danny was an idiot.
Steve had never once pretended to be something he was not, or given Danny any kind of hint he was a reformed crazy person. Danny's affection had merely dulled his senses to the truth. Steve was never one to take orders, or stand down when presented with a daunting and dangerous task, even if said task might lead to his own demise. Super SEAL would always bring his A-game, be exactly what Danny told him they could not be in this extremely delicate situation, a bull in a china shop. If Danny were honest, it was one of the things he loved about the guy, but at the same time hated with a passion usually reserved for the LA Lakers and all things Stan.
"I want to see McGarrett." Danny kept his eyes on the officer behind the front desk; ignoring the stares from the other HPD personnel he could feel burning a hole in his back.
"I'm sorry the suspect is not allowed any visitors."
Danny gritted his teeth at the term suspect but forced himself to do what his partner obviously could not- show some self control. "I know my rights, and more importantly I know Joe Citizen's rights. I want to talk to my partner. I'm willing to bet McGarrett hasn't called a lawyer, just consider me his counsel, his one phone call."
"I'm sorry, Detective, that's not going to happen."
"It's okay, Jim." Chin appeared by Danny's side, flashing the uniform a quick glance. "Have McGarrett brought back to one of the interrogation rooms. I'll make sure an officer stays with them."
"Yes, sir, Lieutenant." Jim immediately picked up his phone and started punching numbers.
"Don't do me any favors." Danny whirled on his former teammate, unable to keep the fury from his voice any longer. He felt more than saw some of the uniforms move towards them. "Oh but how silly of me, Lieutenant Kelly. I guess that won't be happening considering you now work for the other team."
Chin gripped his arm, pulling Danny a few steps away. His voice stayed low and calm. "The last time I checked we were on the same side, Brah."
"Don't call me that." Danny jerked free, unable to reconcile just hours ago he considered the man in front of him as close as a brother. He stabbed his finger towards Chin. "The last time I checked you were shoving my partner, your boss, our Ohana in the back of a patrol car in handcuffs."
Chin stepped closer to him, his dark eyes narrowing to dangerous slits. "I was doing my job, Danny, following proper police protocol. I had to go by the book. You of all people should understand that."
"You betrayed one of your own, Chin, treated him like shit." Danny slammed the palms of his hands against Chin's chest, shoving him hard. "You of all people should understand that."
Chin stumbled, but regained his balance quickly. He held up a hand to halt the rush of feet flanking them. At this point Danny was hoping for a good fight, the hell with self control and his promise to Chief Makaha not to enter into anymore interdepartmental skirmishes in the man's bullpen. "Do you want to see McGarrett or not?"
Danny's desire to talk to Steve overrode his physical need to pound his fist into someone's face, quite possibly Chin's. He would hate to have to explain to Kono after promising her he would be on his best behavior if she would go home, get some rest, and let him worry about what their next move was going to be. "I expect you know me well enough to know my answer to that."
"I expect you know me well enough to know I have good reasons for what I'm doing." Chin nodded towards the doorway that would lead them to the interrogation rooms. He started forward without waiting for Danny.
Danny followed, not speaking until they were alone in the narrow corridor. "What fucking reasons?"
Chin stopped, whirling to face Danny. He took the detective by surprise when he shoved him against the wall, thrusting a finger into Danny's face. "Like me being a member of HPD gives Steve at least one person to watch his back in this hornet's nest."
"I have his back!" Danny's own recriminations from before were nothing compared to having his fear of failure spoken out loud by Chin. He lashed out, knocking Chin's finger out of his face, tempted to try Steve's ninja move, the one he'd used to nearly dislocate Danny's shoulder during their first case together.
"Danny," Chin breathed, running his hands through his hair in frustration. "Don't you get it? They are not going to let you anywhere near this case. You are Five-O."
"Make up your mind, Chin. Just a few hours ago you were claiming that Five-O no longer exists. Which is it?" Danny pulled his badge from his belt, holding it up at Chin. "Either way, I'm still a detective, an active member of the police force."
"You're also McGarrett's partner. You know how that works. You'll be riding a desk, if you're lucky."
"And if I'm not lucky?" Danny demanded, returning his badge to its rightful place.
Chin's face twisted in pain. "Then you'll be asked to turn in your badge and gun like Kono."
"You're talking about the money; you think they'll link me to the heist." Danny knew it was a possibility, more than that, it was inevitable. The trail would lead to all of them eventually; Kono was just the first to be made. Despite Steve's insistence Danny not be on the scene when the money was actually taken, he had helped plan the job, was damn well going to take his shared responsibility for the caper. He only hoped the consequences would hold off until he could get Steve cleared of murder. A life sentence was far preferable to the death penalty his partner was sure to get if he went down for a double homicide. Danny lowered his voice to a harsh whisper, a new wave of anger and resentment rolling through him. "We took that ten million dollars to save your life. Steve risked everything to save you, and you spit on him the first chance you get."
His verbal punch hit home. Chin flinched, remorse filling his dark gaze. "No matter what you believe, Danny, I am trying to help Steve the only way I can."
"What I believe is that Steve McGarrett, insane maniac or not, would do anything, and I mean anything to protect one of his own. I believe he deserved a whole hell of a lot better than what he got from you tonight."
Chin sighed. "You have to trust me, Brah. Please."
"I don't have to do any such thing." Danny took a deep breath, running his hands along the sides of his hair. He might have wanted nothing more than to believe Chin had a plan, that he was stacking the deck in their favor, but at the moment any faith he usually would have mustered in his teammate was tempered by the image of Steve's face behind the glass of that squad car-the lost little boy look that had raised every single one of Danny's protective hackles to full alert and would haunt him until Steve was in the clear. "Just take me to see McGarrett."
Chin held his gaze for a long moment before giving a resolute nod. "This way."
Steve might not have looked quite so helpless sitting behind the table in his bright orange jump suit but something about seeing his partner in restraints and doing a damn good impersonation of the scum they hunted for a living had Danny's chest constricting, his throat threatening to close up. He glared at the guard behind Steve, satisfied when the man at least took a step back from the table.
Steve's tone wasn't quite as desperate as it had been at the scene of the crime last night when he'd spoken Danny's name like a prayer, as if Danny had brought the magic wand to fix everything, but it still strummed along Danny's central nervous system, sparking every guilt receptor. "Steven, orange is most definitely not your color. They couldn't find something in a nice neutral gray or your tried and true favorite, camouflage?"
"What can I say, Danno?" Steve attempted to give his usual smirk. "The ranks aren't exactly listening to any of my commands these days."
"Did you say please like a good boy?"
"You know me."
"I do know you." Danny forced a smile, taking a seat in front of his partner. He let his eyes rove over the Navy SEAL, noting the exhaustion from earlier was now magnified taking Steve's unhealthy pallor to a new level. Danny also took note of the impressive bruising on the right side of Steve's face, a mark that had most definitely not been there at the governor's house. "Did you try to use your face to beat them into submission?"
"Something like that?"
"Are you alright?"
"Sure you are." Danny turned to glare at Chin, his hands gesturing in the air. "Is this your idea of having his back? Or maybe you're trying out some of McGarret's interrogation techniques now, Lieutenant?"
"It's not Chin's fault." Steve attempted to lift his cuffed hands to touch the mark on his face, but was prevented from doing so when the chains to his shackled feet stopped him. "Officer Baker and I had a disagreement about his pat down techniques. It seems he took objection to me choking out his partner at the justice building."
"That bastard Baker hit you?" Danny returned his attention to Steve, the knife of guilt twisting in his gut as he remembered the beating he'd delivered to the HPD officer not long ago. Now, he would kill the sonofabitch.
"I'm already in here for murder one, Danno." Steve seemed to read his thoughts. "It isn't going to do me any good if we end up sharing a cell. What I would I tell Gracie?"
"I can only give you a few minutes," Chin spoke, keeping Danny from denying or confirming his murderous line of thinking. "Don't waste them."
"Then leave us alone and take your guard dog with you." Danny gestured to the other officer in the room.
"I can't do that and you know…"
"I know that you can just as easily watch us from behind the two-way glass." Danny removed his firearm, handing it hilt first to Chin. "I also know it would be crazy to try and attempt to break my partner out of HPD headquarters. You forget, I am the sane sidekick, the voice of reason. You can trust me to act rationally. No Steve McQueen antics, I swear."
Chin took the gun, giving the officer a nod that he could leave the room. "Five minutes, Danny."
"Yeah, yeah." Danny dismissed their former teammate with a wave of his hand. He returned his gaze to Steve to find his partner frowning at him.
"Constipated face? Really?"
"Chin's doing what he needs to do." Steve brought his elbows to the table, leaning forward. "It's sink or swim time."
"So he keeps telling me." Danny folded his hands to keep them still. He eyed Steve, keenly aware of what his partner must be feeling trussed up like one of their perps. The man's energy was hard to contain in wide open spaces on a good day. "It's just hard for me to hear him talking when his actions speak so much louder."
"How's Kono?" Steve expertly redirected the topic of conversation. "I saw her here when I was brought it."
"IA pulled her in after your disappearing act." Danny ran a hand over his mouth. "Some far-fetched idea that she had something to do with missing funds from the evidence locker."
"That's crazy." Steve kept his voice calm but Danny easily read the look of panic that swept over his face. "Next thing you know they'll be pointing their finger at you, bringing you in."
"Don't worry about Kono." Danny leaned forward making a point of holding Steve's gaze. "You know our rookie is as pure as the driven snow, and as for me, I have IA's number. They're just shaking the trees to see what coconuts fall out. Besides, we have bigger issues than ridiculous trumped up charges of grand theft."
"Like me being framed for a double homicide?"
"Yes, let's start with that, Steven, shall we." Danny smiled sweetly. "You really thought going out to see Kamekona for some shave ice was really what I had in mind when I asked you to lay low?"
"It seemed like a good idea at the time." Steve shifted in his seat. "It wasn't like I could get back to the house to get anything to eat, and you know how I feel about being out on the streets with an empty stomach."
"I would have made sure you had rations, my friend, maybe some nice powdered eggs." Danny understood how vulnerable a cop could feel without his weapon, knew it was ten-fold for a trained soldier like his favorite SEAL; but Danny also knew that an 'armed and dangerous' qualifier was just giving a police officer permission to shoot on sight. An unmarked weapon procured from a known felon with nefarious ties was also going to look really bad in court if things went that far.
"I was just trying to fix things, damn it." Steve slammed his hands down on the table. "This whole fucking mess is my fault."
"Contrary to your overdeveloped ego, not all events revolve around you." Danny took a deep breath, letting it out slowly to calm his pounding heart. "Just tell me what happened."
Steve glanced towards the mirror then returned his gaze to Danny. "Here?"
"It's not likely we'll be hanging out at your place or the Hilton kicking back a few cold ones anytime soon. I sincerely doubt I could come up with the bail money even if the judge would consider it, which he won't seeing as how our beloved governor is dead and you, my friend, are the epitome of a flight risk." Danny cut his gaze to the two-way. "Let them take notes if they want. Maybe hearing the truth will get them on the ball to find the real killer."
Steve nodded, licking his lips before starting. "After stocking up on shave ice, I headed to the governor's to talk to her."
"You went to interrogate Jameson? What were you thinking? That you might hang her off her balcony, dunk her head in the kitchen sink like you did Sang Min and she'd spill her guts?" Danny was trying to keep his temper under control but found it hard to manage considering the situation Steve had willingly placed himself in; the situation Danny had allowed Steve to put himself in.
"I went to talk to her-to demand she come clean. I was tired of all the convoluted lies and twisted games. I wanted the fucking truth, Danny. I deserve the truth!" Steve rocked back in his chair, jerking his chained hands as they clanked against the table. "I wasn't going to hurt her. I sure as hell didn't go to kill her."
"Hey. Hey." Danny snapped his fingers in the air. "I know you would never hurt her. I'm just pointing out the slightly faulty logic in your assumption that interviewing the person of interest in our investigation by yourself while on the run for a previous trumped up murder charge was ever a smart idea."
"It wasn't like I could exactly call in back-up to do it for me," Steve huffed.
"You didn't even give me a chance." Danny couldn't exactly blame the man. He'd not exactly kept up his end of the partnership. Maybe he was blinded by his current situation with Rachel, or lulled by so recently escaping the clutches of death. Then there was the fact that he was pretty certain in the back of his mind, despite all the evidence to the contrary, Danny truly believed Steve was some freaky super hero, indestructible and beyond reproach. Whatever the reason, Danny had let Steve down and was now proceeding to yell at him for his justifiable lack of faith. "How long is it going to take for you to get it through your head that you're not in this alone?"
"I didn't want anyone else to get hurt because of me, especially not you, Kono and Chin."
"I understand that, and I appreciate it more than you know but we're in this together." Danny pointed to himself. "Just let me handle things from here on out, alright. Considering your new jewelry and living arrangements, that shouldn't be so hard for you to handle."
Steve lowered his head, slack in the chains allowing him to rub his eyes. "Okay."
"Now tell me what happened after you gained audience with the governor." Danny had already read the police report, describing how his partner had single-handedly incapacitated the official's security detail. No doubt the SEALS would be drug through the mud for creating such a potential threat to national security.
"I demanded she give me a full confession, cop to killing Laura."
"Steven, you do realize in the eyes of the law the very act of holding a gun on someone kind of negates whatever it he or she is owning up to, right? I know the Pentagon might treat prisoners of war confessions a little differently but for like the hundredth time Hawaii isn't exactly Guantanamo Bay."
"Damn it, Danny, I didn't know what else to do. You know Wo Fat is behind this. I just wanted her to say it."
"Did she?" Danny watched his partner's face, not exactly prepared for the reaction he got. It was a new look, one that graphically reflected every ounce of pain humans could inflict on one another by ultimate betrayal. He couldn't stop himself from wondering if Stan had a similar look when Rachel told him about their affair. Maybe all this was some kind of bad Karma. Danny's moment of weakness, his desire to reclaim a family that was rightfully his in the first place, was coming back to haunt those closest to him.
"She did it, Danno." Steve's brow furrowed, his eyes brightening with a mixture of hurt and anger. "All of it. The task force was just a way to keep me under her thumb, to own me. I pulled you, Chin and Kono into it. She used all of us. She was supposed to be my father's friend. How could she do that? How could she betray everyone?"
"I don't know." Danny wished he had an answer that would make Steve feel better. Giving a recant of the most likely top three motivations of greed, power, and lust was not going to help his friend one bit. "But tell me you got her confession on tape, some kind of proof we can use in court."
"My phone." Steve nodded. "But I doubt there's any trace of it now."
"We'll check evidence log and make sure it's found." Danny knew the chances of any of the recording remaining in tact were slim, but long shots were all they were bound to get on this case. "Tell me about Wo Fat. You said he was there, that he did the shooting."
"He got the drop on me. Tazer to the neck, just like at my house." Steve uncounsciously tried to reach up and rub his neck, an action that was stopped by his restraints. The look of mortification and frustration that clouded his face had Danny's temper boiling. "I couldn't move. I couldn't do anything. He shot the governor with the gun I brought then placed it on me."
"They check your hand for residue?"
"I don't know." Steve shook his head. "I was wearing gloves."
"They would still show you fired the weapon." Danny would make sure Chin checked it out. "So basically they can place you at the scene with the weapon that killed Jameson."
"I might as well have been covered in her blood." Steve sighed. "Wo Fat has done exactly what I said he was going to. He's taking everything."
"Not everything." Danny tapped the table, waiting for Steve to look at him. "Some things are untouchable. You understand?"
"You need to be careful." Steve leaned forward. "Kono's set up, Chin is out of the way. You're a loose end, Danno."
"I have no job, no in with the police department, and I'm likely to be in the same boat with Kono very soon. He thinks he's effectively cut me off at the knees." What Wo Fat didn't realize was that badge or not, Danny wasn't about to give up.
"At least get Grace and Rachel off the island. I can't be responsible for them being hurt."
"Rachel and Grace are safely on their way to New Jersey as we speak." Danny glanced at his watch. He was supposed to be on that plane with them, a revelation he was not about to place at his partner's feet. Rachel was not going to be happy.
"What?" Steve's aneurysm face made an appearance. "When did that happen? What aren't you telling me?"
"It's a long story." Danny forced a smile. "One I came bearing a six pack of beer to tell you, but then your Ninja alter ego nearly blew my head off and crushed my dreams of some good natured guy bonding with your tales of covert activity. So now, you will just be forced to wait on the latest scoop in the Danno saga until we get more important matters taken care of, like clearing your good name."
"Are you alright?"
Danny sighed. He was not alright, not by a long shot. "Will you please try to focus on the fact that I am not the one in chains and shackles wearing a hideous orange jumpsuit and facing unsolicited affection by countless burly guys with prison tattoos? We won't even touch on the whole death by firing squad."
"I think it would be lethal injection."
"Because that makes it so much easier for me to take." Danny pinched the bridge of his nose. "It's always hardest on those left behind, Steven. Lucky for both of us, it's not going to come to that."
"You have some brilliant plan you're not sharing with me?" Steve fidgeted with one of the cuffs, pushing it up against his wrist and moving it around.
"Not yet." Danny reached across the table and bumped his fist against Steve's. "But I do have my great detective skills, a suspended rookie with no weapon or badge for back-up, and one very talented, albeit squirrely out of work CIA analyst at my side, so it's just a matter of time."
"Gee, I don't know why I was ever worried." Steve gave his partner a half-hearted chuckle that did nothing to help Danny feel better. In fact it made him want to reconsider his sensible nature and pull some kind of crazy prison break. Maybe he could recruit some of Steve's SEAL buddies for a job.
"I trust you, Danno. We're going to figure this out, get our team back, take down Wo Fat and everything will be fine."
Steve's words had Danny swallowing thickly. It was suddenly hard to look his partner in the eye, but he did it anyway. "I promise you I won't stop trying, Steve. I swear I'm going to find a way to get you out of this. It's my first priority."
Steve's reply was interrupted by a brief knock on the door as Chin entered, his stoic mask of contrition in place. "Times up, Danny. Chief Makaha got word you were back here. You have to go."
"Of course I do. We wouldn't want the chief regretting his newest hire." Danny stood, ignoring the disappointed frown Steve flashed him. He pointed at his partner. "Sit tight, and try for the love of all that is holy to not piss anyone off until I can get you out of this."
Steve nodded. "I'll do my best, partner."
"I'm holding you to that." Danny turned to Chin. "I am also trusting you, Brah to watch his back-that means no more misunderstandings with vendictive officers, no accidents in the shower, and absolutely no run ins with current clientele we might have put away. Do not, I tell you, do not, make me regret this decision."
"I promise I won't let him down." Chin cut his gaze to Steve for an instant before gesturing Danny to the door. The guard passed them on the way in and Danny was glad to be leaving before the man escorted Steve out. He didn't think he could handle a repeat of last night's departure.
"I won't let you down either, Danny." Chin's promise was soft, infused with sincerity. He held out Danny's gun to him. "Ohana always comes first. No matter what, that hasn't changed."
"I'm going to hold you to that." Danny took the weapon, sliding it into his holster. He gave the closed interrogation room one more glance before turning and walking away. Family did come first and Danny would not rest until every last member of his was safe.
Danny Williams, unlike his partner, had never been one to fear failure; in fact some of his best things in life had come after moments of crushing defeat-moving to Hawaii for instance. But this was one time when winning had become paramount to Danny. Only a spectacular success would be acceptable.
The end…for real this time, of course reviews have been known to change my mind.