A/N: You can blame (or thank) my mother for this one. It's inspired by a conversation we had about the show. Thanks to Faye Dartmouth for the beta and the encouragement of my crazy ideas.
Disclaimer: Unlike CBS and its affiliates, I make no money from the product placement herein. Nor do I own H50. Title is an old Ford slogan.
ETA: Updated February 2012 for stray typos, factual errors (thanks to whoever sent me the PM about the island hopping!), and an unnecessarily rambling beginning.
The first sign of the pattern happens — as most things do with Five-0 — in the midst of chaos. Danny and Steve are hunkered down yet again behind the Camaro for cover, avoiding the spray of bullets being sent in their direction by the drug dealers hiding in the house.
"When I get my insurance bill next month, I'm sending it to you!" Danny fumes, popping up over the hood to get a couple shots off. He ducks back down when three bullets finish taking out what's left of the windshield. "They never believe me when I say this kind of thing isn't my fault."
"Hey, you were the one who said we needed to take cover back here, not me," Steve says, ducking his head a little lower when a bullet whistles just past him and into the asphalt a few yards away. He aims a few shots over the trunk at the second story of the house, smirking in grim satisfaction when they hear a gurgled scream.
"And you were the one who parked on the side of the house that has absolutely no other cover!" Danny replies, raising his voice to be heard over another long burst of gunfire — because of course the bad guys have an AK-47 in their possession. "I thought the army was all about finding the tactical advantage. This is not the tactical advantage, McGarrett!"
Steve frowns at him. "Navy, Danny, Navy, and in my defense, we weren't exactly anticipating a full-fledged gunfight."
"Oh, because we always are every other time," Danny snarks, emptying the last few rounds in his clip before ducking down again. "And unless you've been stowing ammunition in the glove compartment again, I'm out."
"Sorry, no ammo," Steve says. Then he grins. "There might still be a grenade, though."
Danny resists the urge to bash his head against the car door. Barely.
Then there's a screeching of tires, and a moment later a large black truck with a reinforced grill is crashing through the garage door, heading straight for them. "Move, move, move!" Steve shouts. Not that he needs to — Danny already knows what's about to happen and is diving away from the Camaro, cursing as he does so.
The truck clips the Camaro as it peels down the road, connecting with enough force to send the Camaro's front bumper flying and spinning the car almost a full one-eighty. One of the suspects fires a few shots out the window, but they go wide, kicking up chunks of grass and asphalt.
Steve rolls out of his dive into a crouch, aiming his last few shots at the truck before it disappears around the corner. Seconds later, he's got dispatch on the phone. "Yeah, this is Steve McGarrett, I need an APB put out on a black Ford F-350, tag number charlie-alpha-tango-six-niner-two. There's significant damage to the grill and left side panels and a couple bullet holes in the tailgate. Suspects are armed and extremely dangerous."
Danny, meanwhile, is staring at his car with his legs sprawled in front of him and his shoulders slumping as the adrenaline rush fades. His car — his car, his only mode of transportation, one of his most prized possessions, the vehicle that he hasn't even finished paying off yet — sits there, a tattered shell of its former self. He can see daylight through a couple of the holes in the door.
Steve's forehead furrows in concern when he notices Danny's silence. "Danny, you okay?"
Danny glares at his partner. "Am I okay? Am I okay?" He waves an arm toward the Camaro. "I just got it tuned up three days ago. Three days, and now that damn Ford has taken off the bumper, the windshield and two windows are missing, and the doors look like Swiss cheese. Car doors should not look like cheese, Steven!"
Steve looks from Danny to the Camaro and back. He's fighting a grin. And mostly failing. "I thought Chevys were supposed to be built like a rock."
Danny flips him the bird and calls for a tow.
There's another incident five days later. This time, Danny's with Chin, heading up to an apartment on the fourth floor of a low-income complex. They're here to talk with Jenn Prachet, the ex-girlfriend of one of the suspects in a fatal jewelry heist.
The stairs are very old and very steep. Danny's knee is not happy.
"Look, I'm just saying, I like it when we have the ability to use elevators," Danny declares as they pass the door to the third floor. He's avoiding using the handrail — it doesn't look very sturdy, and the last thing Danny needs is a tumble down the stairs. "Believe me, I've had my fair share of crappy apartments. I had to keep my service weapon by my bed in my first apartment because the cockroaches were large enough to carry off small animals. And I'm pretty sure the landlord of my second apartment worked for the Bonanno crime family. But that does not change the fact that an elevator would be useful right now."
"We'll leave a note for the owners on the way out," Chin says blandly, pushing open the door to the fourth floor.
"Something tells me our recommendation won't get very far," Danny replies as they step into the narrow hallway. The tile floor is uneven and stained with fluids that Danny doesn't want to identify. It smells of ammonia and stinky socks, and the walls are so close that it feels almost claustrophobic.
Chin seems immune to it all, heading straight for room 4K with a confident stride. His pace is a little quicker than normal, though, letting Danny know Chin's not as unaffected by the smell as he'd like to appear.
Danny probably shouldn't feel so smug about that, but he can't really help himself. It's not often that Chin gets ruffled when they're on a case. Or ever, for that matter.
Danny takes up his position just to the right of the door. Chin knocks twice. A moment later, the door opens, revealing a weary-looking Asian woman with a young baby on her hip. She tenses noticeably when she sees Chin and Danny. "What is it?"
"Jenn Prachet?" Chin asks.
"That's what the name on the door says," she replies. "What do you want?"
They both flash their badges. "We're with Five-0. I'm Chin Ho Kelly, this is Detective Williams," Chin says. "We need to ask you a couple questions about your ex-boyfriend, Manuel Rivera."
Prachet sighs. "This is about the jewelry store robbery, right? Because I can already tell you he did it."
Danny blinks in surprise. "How can you be sure?"
She gives him a look. "Because that lowdown son of a bitch showed up here yesterday, trying to give me a diamond ring and some earrings. He wanted to win me back, thought he could buy his way in here." She snorts, bouncing the baby on her hip when he starts to fuss. "As if. I heard about that robbery on the news, figured it had to be him when he showed up. He doesn't have the money to be buying those kinds of things."
"Do you know where he is now?" Chin asks.
Prachet shakes her head. "No, but you'll be able to find him driving a shiny new Ford. He showed me the keys — wanted to take my oldest son for a ride, but I wouldn't let him."
"A Ford, huh?" Danny says, frowning a bit. "Do you happen to know the model?"
"Not for sure, but it's probably a Mustang," she replies. "He's always wanted one."
"Thank you very much," Chin says, handing her a card. "If he contacts you again, or if you think of anything else, just let us know."
"Yeah, sure," Prachet says. She nods at them once, then shuts the door in their faces.
Danny snorts a little. "Interesting."
"What?" Chin asks as they head back to the stairs.
"Second bad guy in a week that drives a Ford," Danny says.
Chin shrugs a shoulder. "I'm sure it's just a coincidence."
Two weeks after that, Danny and Kono are taking their turn staking out a warehouse in Hilo. It's a suspected drop-point for human traffickers; it's in a prime location, near the ocean and an airport.
It's also owned by one of the most prominent businessmen in the islands, Geoffrey Wyanne — a man who's influential in state and local affairs, and who happens to top Five-0's suspected list of local traffickers. The governor had been able to secure a warrant for the surveillance, but her backing only goes so far; Five-0 has to have absolutely solid evidence if they want to ensure Wyanne ends up behind bars for a long time.
They've been watching the place in shifts over the past four days. It's nearing midnight, and Danny and Kono are only on hour three of their eight-hour shift. Activity around the warehouse has been limited, and Danny can only drink so much coffee before the lack of sleep starts to negate the effect of the caffeine. They're resorting to playing games to amuse themselves while they wait.
"Is it bigger than a bread box?" Danny asks, looking through the night vision binoculars Steve's provided for the stakeout.
"Yes," Kono says. "Nineteen."
"Is it a person?"
Danny sighs, rubbing his eyes as he passes the binoculars to Kono. "Animal?"
Kono slugs him in the arm. "Damn it, how do you always know so fast?" she asks, ignoring his cry of pain.
"I'm a detective, babe, that's what I do," Danny replies, shifting in his seat. They're in a rental car since they hopped islands for this case, and while it's fairly decent, the seats don't fit him quite right. Of course, that might just be because this is his sixth shift in four days, and his body can't handle stake-outs like it used to.
"There's detecting, and then there's mind-reading," Kono says, taking a look through the binoculars. "You sure you're not a psychic?"
Danny snorts. "If I were, you think we'd be sitting here waiting for something to happen?"
"Point." Kono sighs and runs a hand through her hair. "You think Wyanne knows something's up?"
"He about has to," Danny says. "We definitely know there's a steady cycle of new arrivals coming in every eight to twelve days. If nothing happens tonight, we're most likely back to square one."
Kono scowls. "I still can't understand how someone could sink so low as to make money selling other people."
Danny's about to reply when the sight of an approaching car causes them both to sit up. "Could just be someone passing through," Danny comments as Kono peers through the binoculars again. The car pauses outside the gate leading to the property surrounding the warehouse, then moves forward as the gate slides open. "Or not."
"It's gotta be someone working for Wyanne," Kono affirms, leaning forward to keep a line of sight on the vehicle.
"How do you know?"
"I ran his background check. Other than his Porsche, the only cars Wyanne owns are Fords — he's got a significant amount of stock in the company. And he makes his employees drive Fords, too." Kono passes him the binoculars. "That car is a Ford Focus. Coincidence?"
"I think not," Danny says. He hits speed dial two on his phone. It doesn't even take one full ring before it's answered on the other end. "Steve, we've got something."
Later, after finding safe places for the rescued trafficking victims, providing the D.A. with enough evidence to lock Wyanne away for a long time, and catching up on all the hours of lost sleep, Danny thinks about Wyanne's affinity for Fords, about the Mustang, about the Ford truck that officially totaled his car, and starts looking through some of the old case files. Specifically, he starts looking through the makes and models of the vehicles the criminals have been driving.
Several hours later, he sits back in his chair and skims over the notes he's taken. "Well, I'll be damned."
Danny gets an unintentional chance to test out his theory ten days later. He's walking back from a trip to the malasada stand down the street — they'd pulled another all-nighter on a case, and it's Danny's turn to get breakfast — when he notices something off in front of HQ. There's a dark-colored SUV parked along the sidewalk in front of the main doors. The windows of the vehicle are tinted, and it's parked in a strict loading and unloading zone only; no one's supposed to idle there.
It's unusual, yes, but he can see someone moving inside, so it could just be someone dropping something off. Still, something's not right about it all — there's a warning bell in the back of his mind, cautioning him to stay away.
Then he notices the Ford logo on the back of the vehicle.
He drops the malasadas and pulls out his phone as he ducks back behind a tree at the edge of the lawn. Steve picks up on the second ring. "You get lost on the way back from the stand, brah, or are you just — "
"Steve, you need to lock down the entire building right now," Danny orders. "Don't let anyone out the front door, and make sure everyone's clear of the windows on that side of the building."
There's no trace of humor left in Steve's voice. "What's wrong? Where are you?"
"I'm fine, but there's a suspicious looking Ford parked in the drop-off zone, and I could just be paranoid, but I'm pretty sure something's not right here."
"No, no, it's a good call," Steve says. "Chin's locking the building down right now, and Kono's calling in a SWAT team for backup." Danny hears Kono say something in the background. "SWAT's going to be here in ten. Just stay put, alright?"
Danny snorts despite himself. "No, see, you're getting us confused, you're the one that goes in guns blazing, and I'm the one who waits for—"
The passenger door opens, and a tall guy in a long, dark trench coat and sunglasses climbs out of the vehicle, and Danny's every instinct screams wrong, wrong, wrong!
Before he has time to think about it, he's dropped his phone and drawn his weapon. "Freeze, Five-0!" he shouts, stepping out from his hiding place. "Stop right there, or I will shoot you first and ask questions later."
The man pauses and turns toward Danny. The breeze pulls open one of the flaps of his coat, revealing four rows of dynamite encircling his torso. Danny lets out a stream of curses, adjusts his aim, and sends two rounds through the guy's right shoulder, knocking him onto his back. There's a long moment where Danny waits — for what exactly, he isn't sure. Maybe for the man to move, for the dynamite to blow, for another perp to step out of the Ford.
Then he realizes he can hear Steve yelling, albeit faintly, and he remembers his dropped phone. With a shaky sigh, he lowers his weapon and takes a step back to pick up his phone.
Steve's swearing and rambling. "—swear to God, Danny, pick up the damn phone—"
"Easy, Rambo," Danny says.
"What the hell, Danny, what happened to you being the one who waits for backup, huh?"
Danny tenses when he sees the guy struggling to sit up. "Yeah, listen, I'm going to have to call you back," he says and hangs up. He might regret that later — Steve can rant longer and louder than Danny if he gets on a roll — but he consoles himself with the fact that at least he and Steve will be around for that discussion, instead of lying in a hospital because of a suicide bomber.
"Hey, I wouldn't move if I were you," Danny calls to the would-be killer, holding his weapon up as he approaches the man, who's lying flat on his back again. "Unless you want a pair of bullets in your leg to match your shoulder."
The man rolls his head on the grass and mumbles something. "What was that?" Danny asks, pausing at a safe distance.
Well, as safe as he can be when there's a crazy guy wrapped in at least thirty sticks of dynamite just a few yards away.
The would-be bomber turns his head to stare at Danny. The early-morning sun glares off the lenses of his sunglasses, obscuring his eyes and adding a strange glint to the smirk that crosses his face. "Gotcha."
The Ford disintegrates with enough force to send Danny flying, and then another blast catches him mid-air. There's heat and sirens and screaming and air flowing past his face as Danny flies for what feels like forever. Steve's gonna be so pissed, he thinks, and Damn it, I hate Fords.
Then there's more screaming and an instant of white-hot pain when he hits something, and then everything goes black.
The first thing he's aware of when he wakes up is a constant, annoying beeping. It sounds too soft, too rhythmic to be his alarm, but it's currently really hard to work up the energy to think, so maybe he's forgotten that he bought a new one. It wouldn't be the first time that's happened. He lays there on his side for six beeps before he decides he should probably get up before he's late for work.
When he tries to roll over, however, he's suddenly quite aware of how much he hurts.
The beeping speeds up, and through the haze of pain and fog, he feels someone lay a hand on his shoulder. "Hey, Danno, hey, you need to breathe, okay? And try not to move again."
Steve. Of course.
"Thank you for that — for that enlightening comment," Danny hisses, twisting his fingers in the sheets to keep from screaming. He realizes the material feels way too stiff at about the time he realizes he smells the familiar scent of antiseptic and hears the sound of someone else entering the room. "Hospital?"
The hand on his shoulder tightens. "Yeah. Hold on, we'll get you some of the good stuff."
"What?" Danny asks, but then he feels warmth in his veins, and a moment later he's out.
This time when he wakes up, Danny's fully aware of his location. The pain is a low throb right now, but the memory of what happened last time he tried to move keeps him in place. Not that he can move much at the moment — it's a fight just to open his eyes.
When he does, though, he's not surprised to see his team sprawled in various places across the room. Kono's curled up on a cot in the corner, and Steve's in a chair against the wall, asleep. Apparently it's Chin's turn to keep watch, because he's in the chair closest to Danny's bed, looking through a tattered issue of TIME.
Chin glances up when he senses someone watching him, smiling widely when he sees Danny's awake. "Hey, brah," he greets, keeping his voice low and pulling his chair closer to Danny's bed.
Danny frowns. There's four stitches just above Chin's eyebrow. "Wha' happened?" he rasps, wincing at the dryness in his throat.
"Local terrorist group tried to blow up HQ," Chin replies, grabbing the glass of water waiting on the end table. There's even a straw; Danny's never been so grateful for tepid water in his life. "You got caught in the explosions — the car and the bomber both had a significant amount of explosives wired to them," Chin adds as Danny takes long, slow sips of water.
"No, mean — you?" Danny asks as Chin sets the water aside. His brain seems incapable of forming sentences longer than a few words, and it's something that would frustrate him if he weren't so tired.
Chin seems to understand him nonetheless as he fingers his stitches. "The blasts knocked out all the windows on the west side of the building. Most of the ones on the north side, too. A piece of glass grazed me."
"Oh," Danny says. Something doesn't add up though; it takes a minute for his drugged mind to think of it. "Why?" Told you to stay away from windows, he thinks, but he can't quite figure out how to get that thought from his brain to his mouth.
Chin shoots him a level look anyway, still in total sync with Danny's train of thought. It'd be freaky if it weren't necessary at the moment. "You hung up on Steve. We were worried, and we needed to see what we were dealing with." He swallows. "You're lucky the first blast knocked you away — otherwise the second probably would've killed you. We haven't been able to ID the bomber because the body's practically disintegrated."
Danny frowns. "How long?"
"Four days, brah," Chin says. "Four very long days."
It's about then that Danny realizes he's got his arms wrapped around something. He glances down and chokes up a bit at the sight of Grace's favorite stuffed dolphin tucked in the sling keeping his left arm to his chest. "Grace?"
"She and Rachel have been here a couple hours every day," Chin says. "I expect they'll be here longer now that you're awake and aware."
Danny nods, eyeing his heavily wrapped arm and the lumps under the thin hospital sheet that look like bandages down his side and legs. "Damage?"
"Three cracked ribs, a broken one, shattered left arm, pretty severe concussion," Chin recites. "You hit the side of the building. There's some second-degree burns on your torso and legs, and a third-degree burn that required a graft on your back — that's why they propped you on your side. And your knee went out again. All in all, though, you're lucky to be alive, brah."
Both Chin and Danny look up as Steve stirs in his chair. A moment later, he's up and moving to Danny's bedside, a look of utter relief on his face. "Hey, D, how're you feeling?" he asks.
"Doped up," Danny says honestly, smiling a little when Steve and Chin chuckle. He relaxes into his pillow, holding Grace's dolphin a little closer. He wants to see her, but he's glad she's not here at the moment — he hates it when she sees him hurting and unconscious.
Kono joins them a moment later, a wide smile on her tired face as she squeezes Danny's hand. "Welcome back, Danny," she says.
"Thanks," he replies, suddenly feeling much more awake now that the rest of his team is. It's odd; he decides not to dwell on it. "Chin said you guys haven't been able to ID the guy yet?"
Steve and Kono shook their heads. "There's a group claiming responsibility, but so far no name on the guy who actually did it. ATF's looking into it; we're supposed to be debriefed this afternoon," Kono tells him.
Danny raises an eyebrow. "You let another agency take over?"
Steve shoots him a look. "We've had other priorities."
Danny swallows at that. He opens his mouth to say something, but he really has no idea how to respond to that. He's always known about his team's loyalty — it's really not that hard to miss — but he's still blown away by the depth of it every now and then. Particularly in situations like this.
Chin thankfully breaks the silence that's descended on the room. "Is there anything that we could use to identify the guy? Did he say anything to you?"
Danny shook his head once. "He only said 'Gotcha,' just before the car exploded."
They all frown; Chin's fists clench reflexively. "Definitely targeting cops, then," Kono says.
"What tipped you off to trouble in the first place?" Steve asks.
Danny stifles a yawn. "The Ford."
There's a moment of silence. "What?" Kono asks. She sounds like she's trying not to laugh.
"The Ford," Danny repeats, letting his eyes drift shut. The last thing he wants to do right now is sleep, but apparently his body disagrees. "All the bad guys drive them."
"I'm sure that's an exaggeration," Chin says.
"No," Danny counters, forcing his eyes open again to stare at his team's amused faces. "I checked. The majority of the criminals we arrest own at least one Ford."
Kono looks ready to ask more questions, but Steve cuts her off. "Get some sleep, brah," he says. "You'll need to be well-rested for the lecture that's coming your way about not waiting for back-up."
Danny snorts as his eyes close again. "Pot, kettle," he mutters.
Just as he's about to drift off, he hears Kono murmur, "You think we should tell him what happened to the Camaro?"
"No," Steve says. "It would only add to his grudge against Fords."
And really, Danny wants to sit up and figure out just what happened to his car, uncover what Steve's hiding, but his body decides at that precise moment to drop back into sleep.
Two days later, Danny stares in disbelief at the photo. "You have got to be freakin' kidding me."
Steve shrugs apologetically. "Randy says he should have it fixed up by the time you're released from the hospital."
"I can't believe I'm on a first-name basis with the owner of an auto body shop. I've barely been here a year — hell, I've barely had my car for six months!" Danny gripes, unable to look away from the picture. It's a copy of one of the evidence photos from the bombing; one of the Ford's doors went airborne in the explosion and crashed into the hood of Danny's Camaro — recently repaired — which had been parked twenty-five yards away. The windshield's been shattered, and the hood is dented. It's a pretty safe bet there's some damage to the engine block, judging by the severity of the damage to the hood.
Steve can't help but grin. "Randy happened to mention that he's been making solid profits for the past few months. He's doing better financially than he has in years."
Danny snorts. "I'm going to end up putting his kids through college, at this rate," he mutters, setting the picture aside and slumping back against his pillows. He points a stern finger at Steve. "This is why people should never buy Fords. They cause complete and utter havoc. Also, we should investigate. Apparently Ford dealerships cater to the criminal element."
Steve raises an eyebrow. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't you driving a Mustang when I met you?"
"Test driving. I was test driving a Mustang," Danny corrects.
"Uh huh," Steve says skeptically, smirking. "You were test driving a licensed Mustang."
Danny scratches at his neck. "It was Meka's. I was borrowing it for the week because the clunker I'd been driving needed a new starter."
The grin slips from Steve's face. "Oh."
"Yeah," Danny says with a slight nod. "So I guess not everyone who buys a Ford is all that bad." He taps the photo with a finger. "This guy, though. This guy was more than a little nuts. So were those perps who turned my car into cheese. Which, by the way, you still haven't paid up for that fiasco."
Steve lifts his hands. "Hey, it's in the Governor's hands right now, brah. I filed it in the expense report."
"You might as well make it a permanent line item," Danny grumbles, "what with all the trouble you're always getting me into."
"Hey, do you see me holding a gun to your head whenever we get into a situation?"
"No, I see you driving my car into those — potentially lethal, may I add — situations."
Steve's phone pings with a text alert before he can respond. "It's Kono. Looks like we've got a case — someone just found a body up on the shore," he says.
Danny waves a hand. "Go on then, get out of here."
Steve takes a step toward the door, then pauses. "You gonna be okay?"
"Grace is coming by in an hour, I'm sure she'll entertain me by making me watch that show about the sponge in a pineapple," Danny says. "Just do me a favor."
"Name it," Steve says.
Danny smirks. "Watch out for crazy bastards in Fords."