Chapter 4: McGarrett? McGarrett!
When Rachel's guard spun toward Steve's voice, Danny slammed his elbow into the underside of the man's jaw. The click of teeth sounded like billiard balls cracking together. Continuing his move, Danny swept his hoodie aside and drew the gun in the small of his back. He thumped the falling guard in the skull with the pistol grip to make sure he stayed down, then brought the gun up and fired at the guard with the semiautomatic who was moving beneath Steve. The man clutched his leg and fell backwards. His partner pulled him out of sight, leaving a substantial pool of blood on the polished concrete floor.
Meanwhile, Steve was covering his partner, firing at the guards who were hustling Heyes into shelter.
"Kill them! Kill the girl!" he raged. A guard shoved him behind a car as Steve's shot ricocheted off a floodlight stanchion where Heyes' head had been a second ago.
The guard with the machine gun raked the balcony with bullets, but Steve had already dropped to the floor. Steve ignored the lamps and glasses on the bar shattering behind him and popped off two quick shots. The guard fell forward on his machine gun. His partner reached for the weapon, but a shot from Danny ricocheted off the concrete next to his hand. He retreated into cover with Heyes. Danny fired two more shots into the breach of the machine gun, hoping to put it out of action.
Steve popped a new clip into his automatic and fired methodically at any sign of Heyes and his trio of guardians, forcing them to keep their heads down.
The detective grabbed the back of Rachel's chair, called to his daughter and ran, towing his ex behind him as if she was on a sled. Grace trotted beside her father.
Between cars, out of sight, Danny used the borrowed switchblade to carefully cut Rachel free of the chair. Then, kneeling beside his daughter, he sliced through the bonds on Grace's wrists. She immediately threw her arms around his neck.
"I knew you weren't a bad guy," she said fiercely.
Danny hugged her tightly. "I love you. I'm sorry if what I did hurt you."
"I gave Tommy a black eye when he called you a cop killer," Grace said with remembered satisfaction. "But it hurt my hand," she added, showing off her bruised knuckles.
"Yeah, I make that mistake all the time myself," Danny admitted.
He directed the girls to crawl into a heavily built sedan. The proud old vehicle was solid steel construction. It looked as safe as bunker. When Grace lay on the back seat and Rachel crouched on the floor, they couldn't be seen until someone walked right up and peered in the window.
Rachel held onto Danny's hand a moment after she slid into position. "Danny, I'm sorry. I thought you'd really …"
He shook his head. "No, don't apologize. You were supposed to believe, you most of all because you were being watched. I'm sorry, I thought our plan would keep you safe. Maybe I'd better leave the planning to Steve. Straightforward, 'blow the door lock with a grenade' seems to work for him."
With the girls tucked away as safely as he could manage, Danny handed Rachel his backup gun.
"That's the one I gave you," she recognized.
"Do you still remember how to shoot it?"
"I remember," she said, baring her teeth like a mother grizzly.
"Stay quiet, don't shoot unless you have to and don't shoot me or Steve, OK? Now I've got to go help my partner."
— H50 —
Occasional gunshots were exchanged during the few moments Danny spent with his family. No one seemed to have a target. Danny could no longer see Steve, but suspected he remained on the balcony where he could cover both exits.
Danny began to move quiet as a cat toward the sound of Heyes' furious voice, still ranting at his people to kill Danny's family. A clink of sound, the accidental contact between a gun barrel and a fender, sent Danny diving and rolling beneath a heavy touring car.
The semi opened up, peppering the car door where Danny had been standing. From beneath the car, Danny fired back hitting the guard twice in the chest. He dropped, coughing. Smart enough to wear a bulletproof vest on guard duty, the man was still stunned by the impact. In no mood for mercy, Danny slammed him with his own gun butt, then plasticuffed him to the open-spoked wheel of one of the cars.
Now that he'd been spotted, Danny saw no point in keeping quiet and decided to share his worries with the guards. Maybe it would make them nervous.
"Hey Steve. You do know these cars are full of gasoline? Try not to blow us all up."
"You do know that's just a movie myth, don't you?" a spectral voice replied, echoing from nowhere and everywhere. Danny admired the spooky effect, even as he retorted, "With any normal person, I'd agree. But with you, Captain Destructo, I figure a big bang is in our future."
"You never know," Steve agreed with a spooky laugh.
One of Heyes guards leaped out of hiding, firing at the balcony where he thought Steve was. From the other side of the balcony, Steve picked him off easily with a shot to the shoulder, but under cover of this action, Heyes and his two remaining guards raced for the exit.
Steve fired ahead of the men, deliberately sending rounds into the gas tank of a classic car to demonstrate the real peril of firing into cars — slippery spills on the concrete floor.
Heyes skidded in the gasoline puddle and fell on his side. One of the guards hefted him to his feet and shoved him onward. The second guard slipped to his knees and dropped his gun. Danny pounced, throwing the guard on his face, making a splash in the gasoline puddle. Danny strapped his prisoner's wrists and ankles with the plasticuffs. The detective bounded up and pursued Heyes.
On the balcony, Steve ran toward the rear stairs to cut Heyes off.
Reaching the landing outside, Steve fired at the fleeing duo who were headed toward Heyes car. The bullets just missed the men and hit the car beyond them. The steel jacketed rounds struck sparks and Steve, being Steve, managed to find the right ratio of air to gas fumes to cause combustion. The car erupted into flames with a roar that wasn't quite an explosion.
The guard stumbled and fell. Heyes squeaked in fear and headed toward the open fields. Danny flicked one "I told you so" glance at his open-mouthed partner, then dropped the semiautomatic and set off in hot pursuit. Steve shrugged an apology that his partner didn't see, then descended to the parking lot to handcuff the submissive guard. He hauled the guard to a safe distance from the brightly burning car and bound his feet so he couldn't run; then he pulled the rear door guard and "Buttercup" over to join him.
Hearing distant sirens approaching, Steve looked for his friend but couldn't see him in the darkness. Picking up the semi, the commander returned to the barn to retrieve Rachel and Grace who could explain just who the kidnappers were around here and who were innocent undercover cops.
Steve hastily checked the fallen guards and was pleased to find that only the machine gun guard was dead. The one Danny had shot through the leg had lost a lot of blood, but his cohort had tied off the wound before picking up the semi. He in turn was wheezing and possibly had a broken rib or two from the impact of Danny's bullets. Steve handed a pad of bandages to the pale, cursing man he'd shot in the shoulder. None of the wounded men seemed to be in any immediate danger — or likely to move very far — so Steve left them where they were.
Rachel's guard had groaned his way back to consciousness and was holding his aching jaw and his aching head as if trying to keep his skull from flying apart. Steve hauled him and the gasoline soaked bodyguard out to join their friends by the auto bonfire. And that made nine accounted for, he thought with satisfaction; so it was safe to go back inside and call for Rachel and Grace.
— H50 —
Heyes had longer legs than Danny, but was not in shape. Danny was fit from running after his taller partner all the time. (All the time!) The disguised detective caught up to Heyes as he reached the trees at the edge of the fallow field. Danny grabbed the businessman's shoulder and spun him around, then punched him in the face. Heyes fell back against a tree. He touched his face and whimpered when he saw blood dripping from his nose.
Shaking his stinging fingers, Danny chided himself, "What did you just say to Grace?" He planted a second punch in Heyes midsection.
"You threatened my daughter! You threatened my friend! You kidnapped the mother of my child! And you thought it was cute!" Danny raged.
The criminal mastermind clutched his belly and made no move to fight back. As angry as he was, Danny couldn't keep hitting such a pathetic specimen. He hauled Heyes to his feet by the back of his suit coat.
Danny reached for the last of his plasticuffs and realized he'd lost them sometime during the run. He pulled his gun and pushed Heyes ahead of him.
"Back to the barn. Walk. Go on, walk! One foot ahead of the other. Walk!" he ordered.
— H50 —
The burning car made a beacon to attract Cage and the SWAT team. SWAT commander Lt. David Akutagawa and his men leaped from their armored van, and were surprised to find three plasticuffed men sitting in a neat row beside the remodeled barn — and none of them were Danny Williams. The captives didn't respond to any questions. They knew that the woman and girl could pin a kidnapping charge on them, so they'd decided their best option was to remain mute.
Before Aku could deploy his men, one of them called, "Someone's coming."
Two men entered the light cast by the burning car. One held a gun on the other. Cage and Aku couldn't see the gunman's face, had no appreciation of Steve's disguise work, but they knew the posture and the stride.
"It's Williams, and he has a hostage!" Cage exclaimed.
— H50 —
Danny marched Heyes back to the barn, forgetting he was a fugitive, not a cop.
"He's got a hostage!" someone shouted.
Heyes began to run. Danny aimed at him. Aku brought up his rifle and fired. Danny fell backwards.
"No!" Emerging from the building with Rachel and Grace, Steve saw his partner drop. "No! It's an undercover operation!" he shouted. "Danny Williams is not a criminal!"
Though he desperately wanted to check out his friend, Steve barreled past Aku, all his focus on catching Heyes. Catching the man who'd threatened Grace is what Danny would have wanted.
"McGarrett? McGarrett!" Aku exclaimed, as Steve ran past.
"McGarrett?" the other officers murmured.
"McGarrett!" Cage said furiously.
Steve passed a red Cruze that skidded to a halt in a cloud of dust. "Chin, Kono, check Danny," he ordered, pointing at their fallen friend.
Grace screamed, "Daddy!" and started toward her father. Cage caught her by the arm. He only meant to protect the girl from seeing her wounded, possibly dead, father. Grace turned on him in a flash, as she'd been trained to treat a child predator. She bit his hand ferociously. When he let her go with a cry of pain, she kicked him hard in the shin so he couldn't follow and ran for her father. Aku caught Rachel's arm and prevented her following. She quickly explained about the kidnapping.
"Danny rescued us," she insisted.
Grace threw herself on top of her father, shielding him with her body. "Danno!" And then she saw his blue eyes looking at her.
"You shouldn't be here, monkey," he wheezed, without moving.
"Daddy, are you OK?" she asked anxiously.
"A little bruised. The shot hit me in the bulletproof vest, baby, but I don't want to move. They might shoot me again."
"Not with me here," she said with determination.
"Probably not," he agreed with a smile. "Can you see what happened with the bad man?" All the trouble was for nothing, and his daughter was still in danger, if Heyes got away.
Grace looked around. "Uncle Steve tackled him," she reported. "Now he's hitting him. Lots of times," she said in satisfaction.
"Here come Uncle Chin and Aunt Kono," Grace added.
"Even better," Danny said.
They dropped to their knees, one on either side. "Danny, how bad is it?" Kono asked.
"Vest caught it," Danny answered. "I'll get up if you'll protect me from Sgt. Cage — and Rachel," he added thoughtfully.
The two were approaching with Aku. Steve was coming from another direction, dragging a staggering Heyes by the necktie and whispering not-so-sweet nothings in his ear. Heyes was getting more and more pale, as Steve recounted everything he'd do to the man if Grace Williams so much as stubbed her toe.
Kono and Chin helped Danny to his feet.
"You were right, Danny. These are good for something," the commander said cheerfully, yanking on the tie; then forcing Heyes to his knees. "Hey, Cage," he greeted the sergeant who was holding his bleeding hand.
"McGarrett. You're looking better than the last time I saw you. So Bergman was in on this, and the paramedics."
"And the governor," Chin confirmed.
"I wish you'd told me, Daniel," Rachel said quietly.
"I just couldn't, babe. You were being watched." Danny gestured at the building where the kidnappers served as confirmation of his story. "I'm sorry. That was the worst part knowing that Grace, and you, thought I was a murderer."
"So you pretended to kill Steve and escaped from jail, risking being shot as a fugitive, all to protect our daughter?"
"And to catch Heyes," Steve added.
Rachel threw her arms around her ex-husband's neck and hugged him like she had when they were newlyweds.
"Thank you. Thank you," she said in his ear.
Cage knew it was a daydream, but it was so pleasant he had to say it aloud, "You've still broken dozens of laws — breaking out of jail, assaulting police officers, filing a false police report!"
"You filed the report," Danny retorted.
"You said you killed McGarrett."
"I said I shot him," Danny corrected. "And I did. With a blank. You said I killed him. How did I know you were wrong?"
"That still leaves plenty of charges," Cage challenged.
Danny looked at Steve. "Immunity and means," he suggested.
"Immunity and means," Steve agreed. "The governor fully sanctioned this operation. Want to speak to her? I have her on speed dial." He held out his phone with a smirk.
Danny almost felt sorry for the IA officer. That smirk was an inhumane weapon. Danny should know, it had been aimed at him often enough.
— H50 —
Two days later, Cage carried a box into Five-0 headquarters and caught the officers at play.
Danny was hunched over a plate fending off the depredations of his coworkers. Steve stood back, arms crossed. The commander had shaved his beard and dyed his hair black and looked like his pre-death self, apart from the strangely pale hair on his arms.
Danny could only wait for his hair to grow out. Light at the roots, dark on the ends, his slicked-back hair made his head seemed oddly striped. He had lost the dark shadows around his eyes, but still seemed thinner than he had been when he first received the photo. The way he was eating, he seemed determined to make up for that weight loss.
"Danny, it's only 11:30. It's too early for lunch," Steve protested.
"I've got a lot of missed meals to make up for," Danny retorted, rather proud of his alliteration. He slapped Kono's fingers and elbowed Chin away from his delicious smelling feast.
"You should have something healthy with vegetables, or you'll just get fat," Steve said disapprovingly.
"This has vegetables."
"Tomato sauce is not a vegetable!"
Danny sighed and forked aside a noodle so Steve could see the filling.
"It's got zucchini and eggplant and a little carrot all mixed up with the meat. And the sauce is homemade with chunks of tomato. It's got all the food groups, meat, dairy, grains and vegetables that you can't taste, which are always the best kind.
"Really?" Now Steve was intrigued. He snagged a fork and swooped in past Danny's guard.
"That is good!" he said; then Danny had three to fight off. He curled his arm around the plate and growled.
Cage dared to approach Danny's office.
"Cage, isn't there a law about stealing coworkers' food?" Danny asked, unabashed by the free-for-all going on around him.
The sergeant shook his head thoughtfully. "Sorry, Williams, immunity and means. I don't think I can touch them," he said drily.
Steve laughed at the turnabout and scrounged for another bite. Chin and Kono backed off, moving away from the Internal Affairs officer who had caused Chin so much grief. Cage sucked happiness from the room like a malevolent vacuum cleaner. Danny didn't like it.
"Immunity and means," Danny said pensively. "Then I don't suppose you can do anything if I stab these intruders, either."
His fork struck out like a snake and he caught Steve's finger — but just with a warning tap. Steve leaped back and sucked his finger (there was sauce on it).
"That does smell good," Cage said, lips twitching. "Where does it come from?"
"New Jersey. My mother's kitchen. It's my mom's secret recipe for making her kids eat vegetables. She thought I needed something to fatten me up after my ordeal," Danny said, remaining on guard while Steve stalked the lasagna.
"Wait, is this your mother's lasagna. Your last meal lasagna?" Chin asked.
"It is. She FedExed me three pans full and I was going to invite my friends to dinner tonight, if I can eat my lunch in peace."
Chin and Kono shared a look; then advanced on Steve, who, with his usual laser focus, had not registered Danny's words. One on either side, the cousins quickly pinned their boss' arms behind him.
"Dinner at Danny's," Kono said hastily.
"All the lasagna you can eat, if we leave him alone now," Chin added.
"And Grace's chocolate chip cookies for dessert," Danny added to (literally) sweeten the deal.
"Oh, why didn't you say so," Steve said, relaxing. "It's too early for lunch, anyway." He backed away, suddenly all business as he faced Cage. "What can we do for you?"
"Are you always like this?"
"My people have earned some relaxation," Steve said.
"It's been a tense couple of weeks," Chin answered.
"What's in the box?" Danny asked, polishing off the last of his lasagna.
"All the files and records from your crime spree," Cage said.
"You disapprove?" Steve asked.
"Our job is to uphold the law, not make a mockery of it," Cage said coldly, as he set the box on the smart table. "I wonder if immunity and means applies to your friends in EMS and the ME's office."
"I think the governor would think so," Steve said. "In any case, the paramedics did not file a false report. Riley and Chandler took three days off for sick leave and never got around to filing a report at all."
"And Bergman?" Cage was particularly angry about the sick joke played on him by the Medical Examiner.
"He gave you a verbal summary, but didn't file a formal report either," Danny said. "And before you ask, the body he used had been donated for study. Max made sure to give it a thorough autopsy."
"So it doesn't bother you that HPD wasted hundreds of man hours searching for a false fugitive?"
Steve shrugged. "Call it a training exercise and everyone failed," he said drily. "Except Aku," he amended.
"We also solved three murders," Kono reminded Cage.
"And ended a fraud scheme that threatened pension funds throughout the state — including yours," Chin added.
"Wrong, wrong and, again, wrong," Danny said, pointing at each of his teammates in turn. "What's important is we prevented the murder of my daughter … and what's his name." He flicked his hand negligently at his boss.
Danny stalked out of his office, aiming his weaponized finger at Cage. "But 'failed' is too small a word for your sloppy, disorganized manhunt," Danny ranted, glad to finally tell Cage what he thought of him. "You neglected, you failed to keep watch on the family of the fugitive! That's the first person a fugitive runs to. That's the first step in any search for any missing person!" Danny finger jabbed at Cage, driving him across the room toward the exit. "Why did anyone leave an inexperienced IA officer in charge of a manhunt?" Danny cupped his hands as if praying for an explanation.
"Um, Danny, we didn't want them to catch you," Steve pointed out, while Chin and Kono tried unsuccessfully to hide their grins. The detective rounded on his boss, to Cage's relief.
"And you! Why is it you give an 'A' to the guy who shot me?" Danny demanded of his boss.
"Not an 'A'," Steve protested. "A 'B' at best. Aku should have killed you."
"Should? Should!" Danny saw Cage wince and begin to edge away. That was fine with Danny. The IA officer was spoiling everyone's good mood. Danny's arms revved up. Grinning, Kono and Chin sat side-by-side, ready for the show. It had been two weeks without a good Danny rant and they'd missed them. Steve crossed his arms and leaned against the wall, attempting to keep a solemn look on his face.
"He should have killed me? I should have saved myself a lot of trouble and just hired a sniper to take you out! But, no, I have to get involved in a cockamamie plan to go undercover as a fugitive!"
"It was your plan!"
"It just proves I've been exposed to you for too long. I'm suffering from McGarrettitis. An incurable desire to get myself killed in as painful a manner as possible!"
As Danny's voice grew louder and more rapid, Cage began to edge away moving ever more quickly until he was nearly running when he reached the door. Danny watched him go, first out of the corner of his eye, until it was obvious Cage wasn't going to look back. By the time the IA officer escaped the Five-0 madhouse, Danny had turned fully to watch him go, arms wrapped around his chest; but still directing his words at Steve.
When the door shut behind Cage, Danny sat on the edge of the smart table and laughed.
"Keep going," Kono begged. "I've missed it."
"I can't," Danny answered, laughing into his hand. "I was so busy watching Cage run like a rabbit, I forgot what I was saying."
"Mark it on the calendar!" Steve announced dramatically. "Danny Williams has run out of words."
The detective rounded on his partner and, to Kono's delight, proved yet again — with hand gestures and illustrations — that Steve was utterly and absolutely wrong.