Steve McGarrett and Kono Kalakaua stood next to the police scanner listening to the drama unfolding. It was in a street not too far away from the Iolani Palace. Confused and sketchy, the radio reports gave little detail on the domestic violence situation, which had turned into a standoff. Steve knew his newest and youngest detective was attempting to negotiate a peaceful end. Suddenly an urgent radio call for an ambulance and the coroner to attend the scene caught the full attention of the two detectives.
Snatching up the mic, McGarrett demanded an immediate update of the situation. Dispatch announced the situation had turned deadly with the loss of at least two, possibly three lives and an officer wounded. No other details were available and no officers on scene were responding to radio calls. Growling from the lack of information, McGarrett threw the mic down as he turned and ran out of the door with his Hawaiian detective close on his heels. The two raced down the Palace stairs and jumped into the black Mercury parked nearby.
Kono held his breath as McGarrett drove through the narrow, tree lined streets. The impatient man pressed heavier onto the accelerator, urging the big black car to greater speeds, in a hurry to reach their destination.
It seemed as if two wheels came off the ground when McGarrett steered the vehicle around a corner. Gritting his teeth in fear and drawing a deep gasp, Kono closed his eyes tightly as his boss braked hard, stopping the car's forward momentum only inches from the police cars and ambulance parked haphazardly across the small street. Stepping from the vehicle, he quickly followed his boss as he silently thanked the Gods for letting them reach their destination in one piece.
Weaving their way through the maze of police cars, they headed towards the small bungalow nestled behind a screen of Hibiscus trees. Duke Lukela, an experienced HPD sergeant who frequently worked closely with the Five-0 team on many cases, met them. Steve sensed that under Duke's professional facade, the officer was upset and disturbed but, remembering the initial report, knew that no officer was ever left unaffected by the tragic loss of innocent lives.
"What happened, Duke?" McGarrett asked.
"Domestic situation turned bad, Steve. A man, by the name of Michael Hunter, was holding his young wife and little girl hostage." Duke explained as they hurried towards the small house past several HPD officers taking statements from witnesses in the yard. "The negotiations were going well. Danny almost had the guy agreeing to end the stand-off peacefully, when all Hell broke loose." The two men stepped aside as a female HPD officer led a sobbing middle-aged woman out of the house and down the stairs to a waiting HPD car.
Lightly touching Steve's arm before he could open the screen door, Duke paused, deciding to finish his report before they entered. His voice dropped as he continued. "That was the mother-in law, Mrs. Marcia Porter," he explained softly. "Danny had the situation well under control when she arrived. Somehow she managed to break through our lines and entered the house, yelling that after this stunt she would make sure Michael would never see his wife and kid again! Before anyone could react, he yelled that if he could never see them, then no one would. That's when he open fired, shooting his wife and child at point blank range. They never had a chance."
"Auwe!" Kono whispered, watching the mother-in-law climb into the passenger side of the police car before looking back at Duke.
The taunt muscles on McGarrett's cheek rippled as he glanced through the closed screen door. "Reports said an officer was down?" he asked, beginning to dread the news yet unspoken.
"Danny tried to grab the little girl when the father started shooting. He almost had her when the father turned the gun on them. Dan took a round in the shoulder. Doc's inside with him now. We were forced to shoot the father. He died instantly."
Steve muttered as he quickly turned and rushed inside the building to offer support to his youngest detective. He paused for a moment to observe the scene unfolding in front of him. A sheet-draped body lay near the doorway as if the victim had tried to escape. A second blood-drenched sheet covered a body near an overturned coffee table.
Stepping further into the room, Steve could see Doc Bergman and Chin crouched down beside a young man propped up against the sofa. The sandy colored curls immediately identified the man as Danny Williams, the detective he was seeking. Chin glanced up at Steve's approach and said something quietly to Danny before rising to his feet. With a small concerned shake of his head, the Chinese detective silently communicated to his boss that his colleague was taking the outcome of the standoff hard.
Stepping around the end of the sofa, Steve knelt down, his chest tightening at the sight of the bloodstained shirt that had been torn open to enable the gunshot wound beneath to be treated.
"Danno?" he said softly, gently placing a hand on the young detective's uninjured shoulder in an attempt to gain his attention. "Danno, look at me!" he demanded a little more forcefully when he received no response. He could feel Danny's uncontrollable trembling beneath his touch.
His breath caught in his throat as he saw the devastation and the pain reflected in the blue eyes of the detective as Danny slowly looked up into his eyes briefly. Then the young officer's gaze returned to a blood-splattered sheet that covered a small bundle, about the size of a medium dog, near his feet.
"I blew it!" Danny whispered. "I blew it and she paid the price!" An anguished sob escaped as he continued to stare at the small sheet covered body. "I blew it!"
"NO! NO, YOU DIDN'T, DANNO!" Steve snapped at the distraught man, unable to believe that Danno would even think such a thing. "You did your best! That's all you can do! THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT!"
Danny shook his head slowly, his gaze never leaving the small body. "I should have known! I should have grabbed her sooner! That should be me -not her!"
Opening his mouth to refute the wild ramblings, Steve fell quiet as Doc Bergman caught his eye and silently shook his head. The crusty coroner, who was the official physician to the state police unit, quietly drew up medication into a syringe.
"Danny," he said softly. "I'm going to give you something to help you relax and then we're going to get you on the gurney and on your way to the hospital."
With no acknowledgment that he had heard the doctor's words, Danny continued to stare at the bloodstained sheet, not even flinching as the needle slid into his arm. Glancing up at the ambulance attendants, Doc nodded as they approached with the gurney. After securing the now silent young man upon it, they started his egress from the house.
Rising to his feet, Steve turned to his two detectives, who stood close by, offering silent support to their distraught young colleague. "Chin, take over things here. I want a full report. Kono I want a full background check on Hunter and his family, including the mother- in-law. I'll be at the hospital."
"On it, Steve."
Steve turned to hurry out to join Dr. Bergman and Danny in the ambulance when he stopped at the door from a soft call by Kono. "Ah Boss, tell the Kaikaina that...that he did everything he could. Umm...no, just tell him to hang in there. Tell him...I'll see him as soon as I can."
Not surprised by the request, Steve nodded, "I'll let him know."
"Mahalo." Kono murmured as he watched Steve turn and hurry out of the door to the waiting ambulance before returning his attention back to his work.
Steve paced the small waiting room restlessly. It had been three hours since he had arrived with his wounded detective to the emergency rooms of Queens Hospital. After being examined and stabilized in the treatment room, Danny had been rushed into surgery to remove the bullet lodged in his shoulder.
Steve shivered as he remembered the devastated look on Danno's face before Doc had sedated him. The young man had become unresponsive to verbal or physical stimuli in the ambulance and appeared to have withdrawn fully into himself, as if he was trying to escape from the world.
Both Chin and Kono stopped by to check on Danny and give their boss a preliminary report. Both detectives looked drained, physically and emotionally, so Steve sent them home.
Finally the waiting room door opened and Steve went to meet Dr. Bergman as he entered the room. "How is he, Doc? Is he going to be O.K?"
Holding up a hand to forestall any more questions, Doc removed his surgical cap, walked past the detective and over to the table upon which the coffeepot sat and poured himself a cup. Easing down on the small sofa, he motioned Steve to sit as well. He waited for the anxious Five-0 chief to sit before he began to speak.
"Danny is in recovery. I've listed his condition as serious but stable. The bullet nicked the subclavical artery, which caused some hemorrhaging when we removed it but we were able to bring the bleeding under control quickly. The bullet also broke his collar bone but I don't believe it has caused any permanent damage."
"What about the way he reacted at the scene and in the ambulance?" Steve asked, still unnerved by Danny's responses or lack thereof.
"Shock, Steve. A combination of physical and emotional shock." Doc quietly explained. "Danny's young. He has never dealt with the death of a child before and to be confronted with the death of a baby in such a violent way would affect all of us. Did Duke tell you Danny tried to save the baby from being gunned down? He physically threw himself into the line of fire and was wounded but then tried to grab the baby again, only to have her shot just as he reached her. I'm not surprised he reacted the way he did. I would be more concerned if he did not react to the situation but, that said, I do intend to keep a close eye on his emotional state for the next couple of days." Doc tried to reassure the upset man.
"Can I see him?"
"Only for a couple of minutes in the recovery room. We'll be settling him into his own room soon but don't expect him to wake tonight. Between the sedative I gave him at the scene and the anesthetic from surgery, I very much doubt he will regain consciousness before tomorrow morning. So don't think I'm about to let you make camp in his room for the night. After you see him in recovery, I'm ordering you home to rest as well. It's been an emotionally trying day for us all and Danny is going to need your strength and support to help him through the next few days."
Steve nodded and followed Doc into the recovery room where Danny had been placed after his surgery. He stood close by for a few minutes studying the young man; his hand resting on the sleeping detective's arm in the hope that Danny would know on some unconscious level that he was not alone.
Danny looked pale and drawn, his right shoulder heavily bandaged and his right arm strapped tightly across his chest to prevent it from moving. An IV bottle hung above the bed and the tubing snaked its way down to disappear under the sheet where Danny's left hand now rested. His eyes moved restlessly beneath the closed lids and Steve hoped his dreams were peaceful but doubted that they were.
"Just rest, Aikane. I'll be back when you're awake in the morning." Steve murmured gently squeezing Dan's arm before he turned and quietly left the room.
May glanced up as the outer door to the Five-0 office opened and an exhausted Steve McGarrett entered. She silently studied her boss, aware that he had remained at the hospital last night until after Danny had undergone surgery and had been admitted to the recovery room. She was certain that Steve would not have left until after he saw his young detective. It was obvious that the boss had not slept well after he had made it home. The dark circles under his eyes and the grim expression he wore on his face told her that Danny's condition was serious.
Kono and Chin had briefed her about the hostage drama and its terrible conclusion. Her heart ached for young man knowing she would have to wait until he was awake later this evening to visit.
The media was running the story as a top news item. The phones had been ringing continuously with reporters hoping to get the inside scoop of what went wrong.
"I rang the hospital, Boss, Danny is still asleep. The nurse said she will let us know when he wakes." May informed the detective as she poured him a cup of coffee.
Steve nodded, "Mahalo, Love."
Accepting the steaming cup of coffee she handed him together with the phone messages, he asked. "Anything important in here that I should deal with first?"
May shook her head. "Mainly calls from the press wanting to know what happened. I gave them our standard answer. Both the Governor and Walter Stuart rang asking the same thing."
"Ring them both back and make a lunchtime appointment for me. I should have a full report by then. Have Kono or Chin arrived yet?"
"Arrived and stepped out for a few minutes. Kono has gone over to HPD to pick up some files and Chin has gone down to the lab to pick up the forensic report."
"When they get back, send them straight in."
"Will do, Boss." May promised as she watched McGarrett turn and enter his office, closing the door behind him.
A short, sharp knock preceded the two Five-0 detectives as they entered their boss's office. Both men held files and notebooks in one hand and a cups of coffee in the waited for them to settle into the white chairs directly in front of his desk before he asked.
"O.K. Gentlemen, what have you got?"
Kono placed the file he carried onto his boss's desk as he glanced quickly down at the notes in his book and began to read.
"Michael Hunter was 32, born in Dallas, Texas and moved to Hawaii seven years ago. Employed as a waiter. Good worker according to his boss. No criminal record here or on the mainland. His wife Julie, maiden name Julie Porter, was 28 years of age, born in Honolulu. Worked as a tourist guide until she married Michael in June '64. The couple had a daughter, Ashley, 15 months of age. Mrs. Marcia Porter, age 51, widow. Born in Los Angeles and moved to Hawaii in '39. No criminal record. Currently living in a small bungalow near Koko Head."
Steve nodded as Kono picked up the file he had placed on the desk and handed it to him.
"Since the marriage, there has been several calls to HPD about an ongoing domestic situation. Nothing serious, usually just loud shouting. Usually settled quickly with a warning."
"So there was trouble in the marriage?" Steve mused. Kono nodded.
Chin opened the slim file that he held and slid it towards McGarrett. "The forensic report for the coroner's inquest confirms that Hunter shot and killed his wife and daughter with a .38 caliber weapon that was recovered at the scene. The bullet removed from Danny is also from the same weapon. The gun was registered to Michael Hunter and the only prints found on it were his. A .38 police special caliber bullet that penetrated the heart killed Hunter. Death was instantaneous."
Opening the small notebook Chin continued. "I interviewed the Hunter's neighbors and friends. They all tell the same story, Steve. Michael and Julia Hunter were devoted to each other and adored their daughter Ashley. They were a quiet couple, happy and content, no money worries, no major problems except one - Mrs. Marcia Porter, Julie's mother. The neighbors said after each of her visits the couple would fight. Loud, angry fights which usually ended with Michael leaving the house to cool off. Friend's said that Michael complained bitterly about her on several occasions. Saying that he felt he could do no right in Mrs. Porter's eyes and she constantly criticized everything about him. He was fearful that she was trying to destroy the marriage and had begged Julie from having any contact with her but Julie refused, saying that she was her mother. Yesterday, Mrs. Porter visited the house and Julie confided afterwards to a close friend that her mother was trying to encourage her to take the baby and leave her husband. Michael apparently walked in during the conversation and overheard them. The friend left when the couple began arguing. A neighbor, Mrs. Emily Cotton, contacted HPD about an hour later when the argument become quite loud and heated. Danny and I were called to the scene a short time later when Michael pulled out the gun and threatened to shoot his wife and child. Danny managed to calm the situation and began to negotiate with Hunter to release his family.
Michael was about to surrender peacefully when Mrs. Porter arrived on the scene and pushed through the police line. She entered the…"
The three men were startled when May suddenly rushed into the room and switched on the small portable TV.
"Boss, I think you better watch this!" She announced breathlessly, "Mrs. Porter is holding a news conference and she is blaming the Police and Danny."
"She's one pupule wahine!"
The three detectives crowded around May as they watched the live news interview on the small TV. Their disbelief and anger rose as they watched the small, gray-haired woman bitterly accuse Danny of callous disregard of her daughter's and grand daughter's safety when he tried to play hero by negotiating their release with her son-in-law. She stated that Williams was too young and had little experience in negotiations but disregarded this fact when he entered the house. He was a kid playing cops and robbers, she asserted, and the police department should be held responsible for the loss of three lives.
McGarrett hit the off switch and growled. "She's trying to blame Danno for this mess! She's denying her part and is trying to lay all the blame on him, making him the sacrificial lamb!"
"That witch!" May muttered.
"Is there any way we can stop her, Boss?" Kono asked.
"If we react to her comments, it will look like we are trying to cover something up. The best thing we can do at the moment is not to comment on it and to support Danno by allowing the true facts to be revealed in the coroner's inquest."
The shrill ringing of the phone halted conversation as Steve walked over to his desk and answered it.
The others watched as he listened to the caller, before sighing loudly. "Yes Sir, I understand. I'll be right over."
Hanging up the phone, he reached for his coat as he said, "That was the Governor. He just saw the interview and wants a full report. I'm headed over to his office for a meeting with him and Stewart. Kono, I need you to get busy on the Waikiki robbery reports. Chin, I'll leave you preparing the report for the coroner's inquest. If anything comes up, I'm headed to the hospital after the Governor's.
His two detectives nodded as Steve walked out of the big office with his secretary. "May, if any reporters call, our comment is…"
"No comment!" May said, completing his sentence.
Patting her shoulder as he passed to leave, he murmured, "Good girl!"
May called out as he reached the outer door, "Boss." He turned as she finished. "Give Danny my love and tell him I be by later."
"Will do," he replied before disappearing out of the door.
Steve McGarrett glared angrily at Walter Stewart, unable to believe the man would even believe such lies.
"No Walter, Danny's youth and experience had nothing to do with this. I have the written statements of all the officers involved. They all state that if Mrs. Porter had not entered the home as she had and had not made her threats, all of this would have ended peacefully. And I'm sure any internal investigation will reach the same conclusions. This woman is using the media to cover up what she did! My God, Stewart, can't you see that? She's trying to blame Danno, use him as a scapegoat in this tragic affair!" Steve said angrily.
The Governor interrupted, hoping to ease the thick tension between the two men. "How's Danny doing? I hear he's in serious but stable condition."
Steve turned his attention back to the Governor, answering softly "He took a round in the shoulder. The bullet nicked the artery and broke his collarbone. Doc says he should make a full recovery. Mentally he is taking the outcome hard but I'm confident that he'll bounce back quickly. Now Sir, if you don't mind, I need to get back to work."
At the Governor's nod, Steve rose and left the room, closing the door firmly behind him. The two men left in the office waited until the footsteps died away before speaking.
"O.K. Walter, what do you think?"
"I hope Steve is right about this Sir, if he's not than I believe the State of Hawaii is going to have one very big lawsuit on their hands."
The Governor sighed, "Well I guess we will have to deal with that if it arises, but Steve is certain on his facts."
Walter reluctantly agreed.
McGarrett stepped out of the hospital elevator and slowly walked down the corridor towards Danny's room. It had been a long, exhausting day and the media frenzy surrounding the case had only added more stress to a stressful day. He had hoped to spend some time with the young detective during the day but had not been able to between the meetings and internal investigation over the shooting combined with the other 50 cases that had not been able to be ignored.
He pushed open the door to Danny's hospital room and entered, standing silently near the door as he studied the young man propped up by strategically placed pillows in the looked pale and drawn, his eyes closed as if asleep, a dinner tray sat untouched on the small bedside table.
Steve briefly wondered whether he should leave and return later But the thought was quickly dismissed when Danny lethargically opened his eyes and looked towards the door with disinterest to see who his visitor was.
Steve's breath caught in his throat as he stared into Danny's almost lifeless eyes. The spark that was Danno seemed to have vanished. Forcing a smile, he walked over to the side of the bed. "Hello Danno."
"Steve'" The whispered greeting was almost missed as Danny turned away to stare out of the small window.
Steve sighed silently and pulled up a chair close to the bed. "Doc says you're good for a full recovery. A couple of weeks physical therapy and you will be as good as new."
Danny shrugged but did not comment and Steve sighed again, uncertain of what to say. Spying the untouched dinner tray, he pulled the table closer. "How about having something to eat?"
Danny shook his head; his attention focused on the scene outside the small hospital window.
Sighing deeply, Steve studied his deeply troubled officer; uncertain of how to break through the seemingly impenetrable, emotional wall Danny had built around himself. "Danno, what happened was not your fault," he gently tried to reinforce. "Chin told me what happened. You have nothing to blame yourself for."
Danny turned his head and looked at Steve, the devastation and pain he felt clearly showed in his eyes. "I blew it. Don't you understand? She died because I blew it!" he whimpered weakly before turning back to stare, unseeingly out of the window. All he could see was her face as she turned towards him in fear.
Steve watched as Danny's breathing slowed to the gentle rhythm of sleep. The young man moaned several times as if dreaming but did not awaken. Settling back in the chair, Steve prepared to spend the night close by his friend, hoping to give the young man some silent support through the night.
'If I can't see them, then nobody will!' The words shouted as the gun swings upwards and fires.
"NO! DON'T!" As the gun swings back at her, he tries to grab her, to move her out of harm's way. Her eyes are wide with fright from the loud noise and the shouting. He almost reaches her when he hears a deafening roar of a gun and feels a deep burning sensation radiate through his shoulder as he's thrown backwards from the force of the bullet. He barely manages to struggle to his feet when he hears the blast and sees her thrown towards him from the bullet's impact. Her tiny body was motionless. Her wide eyes were now unseeing.
Danny Williams' eyes snapped open as the tortured cry tore from his throat. He lay motionless, staring at the white ceiling above unaware of the tears streaming down the sides of his face. He felt nauseous and was unable to stop the uncontrollable tremor that shook his body.
Dozing in the chair next to his friend's hospital bed, Danny's cry instantly brought McGarrett to full alertness. This was the third time the nightmares had woken the young detective during the night. Quickly rising to his feet, Steve leaned over and gently grabbed Danny's uninjured shoulder, softly reassuring him everything was OK, that he had only been dreaming.
Danny blinked a couple of times before he slowly rolled his head and focused on his friend's face. Steve smiled as he wiped the perspiration and tears from Danny's face.
"It was just a dream, Danno. Go back to sleep. Everything is going to be fine."
He watched as Danny's eyes slowly closed as the younger man drifted back to sleep. Although still under the influence of painkillers and sedatives to help him rest, the drug induced sleep was neither restful nor peaceful for the troubled officer.
Steve remained close to Danny's side, managing to doze off and on throughout the night. Several times his young friend would awaken from some nightmare, only to fight hard not to return to sleep.
Awakened by a quiet rustling near by, McGarrett opened his eyes and tiredly watched the nurse silently approach the now sleeping patient. He watched her check Danny's IV and then pick up the chart to fill in the new information. It was as she placed the chart back down that she realized Steve was awake. Aware of the nightmares and restlessness, the nursing staff had called the on-call night doctor who had heavily sedated the wounded officer a short while ago.
"I think the sedation is beginning to take effect," she whispered.
"Hopefully, he'll get a couple of hours of uninterrupted sleep."
"Dr. Bergman should be here soon to check on him. He said he would be in early."
Steve nodded and glanced at his watch, six AM. Standing up, he stretched his cramped muscles and then ran a hand over his face to shake the remnants of sleep from his over to the window, he watched the sun rise slowly above the city's skyline. The blue sky and fleeting clouds tinged with gold promised another perfect day in sighed, not everyone would enjoy its beauty.
Startled by a soft voice behind him, he turned around and found the nurse smiling warmly, holding a cup of coffee in her hand.
"I thought you might like this," she said in a hushed tone. "I know it's been a long night."
"Mahalo." Steve said, accepting the cup of coffee and taking a sip of the hot, strong brew.
Dr. Bergman arrived just before seven, quietly entering the room and observing Danny as he slept before picking up the chart. With a silent nod towards the door, he indicated for Steve to follow him out into the hallway.
"The nurses told me Danny had a restless night. So restless, he needed extra sedation to help him sleep," Doc stated quietly. "But I know you know what type of a night Danny had. The nurses have already told me that you stayed with him all night! I can see you didn't get much sleep, either."
"Danno had a few nightmares. I guess that's to be expected with what he has gone through."
"You need to know this. Danny's condition worries me at the moment, Steve. Physically he is recovering from the gun shot wound, but..."
"But what, Doc?" Steve asked suspiciously, already knowing the answer he was about to receive.
"What concerns me at the moment, Steve, is the amount of emotional trauma Danny has suffered. And it's obvious effect on him." Taking a deep breath, he knew he was about to get an explosive response at what he had to say next. "I'm going to ask a colleague of mine to try to help Danny deal with the emotional problems he is experiencing."
Steve's eyes narrowed, clearly not happy with the development. "You mean a Psychiatrist?! Do you know what that could do to Danno's credibility as an officer?"
"Steve, Danny needs to talk about what has happened and he is going to need help to deal with it. You heard him at the scene. He's blaming himself for the death of that 's withdrawn. He's having nightmares. I doubt if he'll bounce back from this overnight. Thankfully, we can keep it unofficial while he is in the hospital. After he is discharged, if he requires more sessions, we can say he is being debriefed."
Steve sighed, before nodding his head reluctantly., "OK, Doc. I would like to keep it unofficial if we can."
Doc smiled, "I have just the person- Dr. Bishop. I've already spoken to her and she'll have her first session with Danny this afternoon. She has advised that until she can assess him, she wants him to have no exposure to any of the media frenzy surrounding the standoff. I have spoken to the nursing staff and they are aware not to speak of anything they may have heard or allow him to read any news reports."
"I agree, he's been through enough already without knowing all the lies being spread in the media."
"Steve, Danny's young," Doc said quietly. "With a little help, he'll get through this."
Glancing towards the closed door to Danny's room, Steve murmured. "I certainly hope so, Doc."
Danny felt nauseous and light headed as he lay staring up at the ceiling. He was vaguely aware of a deep painful throb in his right shoulder but the pain hardly matched the ache he felt in his soul.
The door to his room opened and he watched as a hospital repairman entered. The man smiled and apologized for disturbing him, telling him that he needed to make a quick repair on the tap in the small bathroom. Danny nodded and as the man turned to enter the bathroom, he noticed the morning edition of the newspaper folded in the repairman's back pocket.
"Excuse me, would you mind if I had a quick read of your newspaper?" Danny asked quietly.
The man smiled, "You can have it if you like. Guess it must get a little boring being stuck in a room by yourself all day." He continued to chat as he worked in the small room. "Not much good news in the paper though, Bruddah. The only thing they want to talk about is that standoff the other day. You know the one where the father murdered his wife and baby, before the cops killed him. They reckon the young cop doing the negotiations wasn't trained properly for it. They say that he was one of the reasons why it went wrong!"
Danny stared at the headlines –
FAMILY OF THREE KILLED IN MURDER-SUICIDE
INEXPERIENCE OF FIVE-O NEGOTIATOR MAY HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THE DEATHS
His chest tightened in anguish. He was responsible for her death! He killed her almost as if he had been the one firing the gun! He closed his eyes tightly as the tears began to flow.
"Hey Bruddah, you OK? Want me to get a nurse or something?"
Danny opened his eyes to see the repairman watching him with concern. "No, I'm fine." he whispered. "Guess my shoulder is a little sore."
The man continued to stare a moment longer before he said. "You sure, Bruddah? I don't mind fetching a nurse."
Danny shook his head. "I'll be OK."
The repairman nodded unconvinced and left the room, pulling the door closed behind him. He hesitated a moment outside the door as he realized who the young man with in the room was. He briefly wondered if he should speak to the nurse about the detective's upset state but decided against it. The young man had assured him that he was okay. He shook his head as he wandered down the corridor towards his next repair job, glad that he would never be involved in such a situation.
Danny stared at the closed door. He needed to get away from here. Needed some time to think.
The three Five-0 detectives were reviewing the current cases under investigation. With Danno in the hospital, the workload increased dramatically for each man. The meeting was interrupted by a buzz on the intercom as May's voice filtered through.
"Boss, Doctor Bergman is on the phone. He says it's urgent! Line 2."
Acknowledging May's message, Steve quickly snatched up the phone and pressed the appropriate button. "Yeah Doc, what's wrong?"
Chin and Kono watched as a look of confusion clouded their boss's face.
"Gone! What do you mean gone?" Steve demanded. "Well, when did the nurse see him last?" Chin and Kono watched as the confusion changed to concern and anger as he listened to Bergman's reply. "And nobody saw him leave? Have you checked the hospital?" Steve shook his head in disbelief at Doc's reply. Softening his tone, Steve reassured the crusty medic. "We'll find him, Doc."
Hanging up the phone, McGarrett's hand rested on the receiver as he digested the information in his mind. A moment later, he looked up into the anxious faces of the two detectives who had only been privy to one side of the conversation. Drawing a deep breath to settle himself, Steve said. "Danno is missing from the hospital."
"Missing? But how, Boss?" Chin asked.
"Bergman says Danno appeared to be sleeping when the nurse checked on him. She returned a short time later to do his wound dressing and he was gone."
"And nobody saw him leave?"
Steve shook his head. "Nobody." he confirmed angrily. "They carried out a full search of the hospital and the grounds but he's gone."
"Auwe! You don't think...?" Kono's voice trailed off, unable to complete the question.
Steve glared at the Hawaiian detective, his hand slamming onto the desk at the mere suggestion of such a thing. "No, I don't think he's gone to do anything as...as drastic as 's upset. He blames himself for what happened at the standoff. I think he is running, trying to get as far away from the memories as he can get."
Steve stood and walked to the lanai doors, staring out at the bright Hawaiian sunshine, his thoughts focused on the emotional pain his young friend was suffering. He turned back."He's hurting and he's confused. We need to find him, help him."
"Do you want me to get an APB out on him, Steve?" Chin asked quietly.
"No, not yet. Let's see if we can find him ourselves first. I think the last thing Danno needs at the moment is the media getting wind of this." Returning to his desk, Steve silently and carefully worked out the next step to take.
"Chin, get over to the hospital. Check with the nurses about what time they discovered him gone, what condition and mood he was in, anything that he might have said that could help us find him. Then check his room, see if he took anything with him, if he changed clothes, etc."
"On it, Boss." Chin answered, jumping from his chair and hurrying out of the room.
"Kono, you know his friends. Ring around, find out if any of them have seen him in the last couple of hours but play it casual. You're checking on a friend, not a fellow cop. Don't let them know that we are worried about him." At Kono's nod, Steve continued. "I'm going to check his apartment. See if he's gone home. Is there anywhere else you can think that he would go to if he's upset?"
Kono sat silently, thinking of where his friend would go before finally answering. "A beach maybe. Although sometimes he goes to Makapu'u Point. He says that it helps him to think."
Steve nodded, not surprised that the ocean would draw his troubled detective "OK, if he's not at his apartment, I'll work my way up the coast. We'll keep in close contact, if you hear from him, let me know immediately."
"Will do, Boss." Kono confirmed slowly rising and following his boss out of the office before going to his own cubicle as Steve rushed out of the outer office door.
Parking the big Mercury in the loading zone outside the apartment complex, McGarrett's exit from the vehicle was delayed by a radio call from Central dispatch. Impatiently snatching up the mic and answering the call, he was patched through to Chin.
"What have you got for me, Chin?"
"The nurses said that Danny was noticed missing about an hour ago. He was upset and depressed most of the day, not wanting to talk, refusing to eat. I checked his room. His clothes from the closet are gone. I also found this morning's edition of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin on the bedside table."
"Damn! How did he manage to get a hold of that?! I thought Doc left strict orders that he was not to be exposed to any media reports about the stand-off!" Steve exploded angrily.
"I don't know, Steve , but I'll try and find out how." Chin answered, silently wondering about Steve's angry outburst that was directed not at him but at the hospital staff.
"OK, Chin. Make sure they understand that there is to be no leaks out of the hospital about Danny's disappearance."
"Will do, Boss."
"I'm about to check Danno's apartment now. If he's not here, I'll start checking the beaches."
"Do you want me to join you?"
"No, not yet. Get together with Kono, finish checking with his friends. I'll be in contact." Replacing the mic back on the dash, Steve sat for a moment, silently fuming that Danno had been exposed to the poisonous assertions of the media while he was so vulnerable. Quickly slipping out of the car, Steve entered the foyer of the building, crossing quickly to the small elevator, which would take him to the second floor.
Reaching the small, bachelor pad on the second floor of the apartment complex, He was surprised to find the front door ajar. Uncertain of what he may discover inside, Steve slowly pushed it open and entered, quietly calling Danny's name. The apartment was silent. The only noise Steve could hear was the rapid beating of his own heart.
A quick search revealed the apartment had been visited by it's occupant after his escape from the hospital. The clothes Danny was believed to be wearing for his escape now lay scattered on the floor. His bedroom closet was in disarray with other garments dropped carelessly on the floor.
Steve eyed the bedside table as he slowly checked out the room. Sitting down on the edge of the bed, he tried to open the drawer where his friend had previously told him he kept his off duty .22 locked away. Damn, it's locked. Pulling a small pocketknife from his pocket, Steve carefully inserted the blade between the drawer face and the drawer, jiggling the lock until it released. Sliding the drawer open, he found the gun still in its holster, nestled in the drawer. With a sigh of relief, he slowly closed the drawer. His greatest unspoken fear now vanquished.
Kono mentioned Danny was often drawn to the Makapu'u Point when he needed some solitude and somewhere to think. Something deep in his soul told him there was where he would find his missing friend. Danny wanted to escape the memories, wanted to be alone in his pain.
Stopping the vehicle at the end of the dusty road, Steve stepped out of the car and peered at the figure sitting near the cliff's edge. Even from there, he knew he had found his friend.
Danny sat huddled on the rocky outcrop, his attention focused on the mighty waves crushing below. Steve approached quietly, stopping a few feet beside the young man, before crouching down to his level. "Hey Danno," he said softly, looking out at the ocean. "Nice view."
Startled by Steve's voice so close, Danny jumped before turning his head warily towards his boss. "What are you doing here?"
"Doc told me that you had left the hospital. I wanted to make sure you were OK. When I didn't find you at your apartment, I remembered what Kono said, that you like to come here to get away from everything and think."
"Well you found me so leave me alone." Danny paused, realizing how petulantly childish he probably sounded to a man he nearly hero-worshipped. "I just want to be left alone."
"I can relate to that," Steve admitted, easing himself down to sit on the rocky ground. "Sometimes it can feel like the walls are closing in and all the air has been sucked out of the room. I guess that's how that hospital room was starting to feel like."
Danny nodded, turning back towards the sea. "Everyone keeps watching everything I do. They keep telling me that everything will be OK but they don't understand."
Steve nodded but remained silent as he studied the pale young man sitting a few feet away from him.
"I just want some time to think. I just want to be left alone. Please!" the distressed man pleaded.
"I know, Danno!" Steve said, carefully moving closer to his distraught young detective. "I just want to make sure that you are OK before I leave."
"I don't think I'll ever be OK." Danny sighed, his voice dropping to a mere whisper, almost as if he was talking to himself. "I keep seeing her face. Every time I close my eyes. Every time I sleep." An anguished sob tore from his throat as he closed his eyes, reliving the horror. "I try and grab her but I'm too slow. God, she was just a baby, Steve, barely walking and I couldn't save her. I'm supposed to serve and protect. And I DIDN'T even manage to protect her!"
"Danno, you were wounded," Steve gently admonished, carefully placing his hand on the Dan's shoulder. He felt Dan tense at the contact but did not remove his hand. "You're a cop, Danno, not superman. Cops are human too, you know. We can't always stop bad things happening to innocent people. All we can do is do our best. And sometimes, our best won't always be good enough, but at least we tried." Gently squeezing Danny's shoulder, Steve continued. "You did your best. You tried your hardest and that's all anyone could expect you to do. Unfortunately, things went wrong. Things that you had no control over. That's not your fault. You can't keep blaming yourself, aikane."
Unconsciously cradling his injured arm, tears flowed down Danny's face as he murmured. "Maybe the reporters are right. Maybe, I am just a kid trying to play cops and I was too inexperienced to handle the situation. Maybe I shouldn't be a cop at all."
"And MAYBE the reporters are being treated like the fools that they are." Steve hissed angrily. "MAYBE the ONE person who changed a peaceful end to the stand-off into a bloodbath can't accept the role SHE played in the whole drama. She is using your youth as a shield to hide what she did. It was Mrs. Porter's threats that pushed her son-in-law over the edge." Dropping his voice to a quiet heartfelt plea, Steve implored. "Don't let her guilt become your guilt, Danno. You don't deserve it. You're too good a cop...too good of a friend."
Danny turned and stared at him. Moving closer, Steve placed his arm around the detective's shoulder. "Danno, please believe me when I tell you, this was not your fault. Nothing you did or didn't do caused Michael Hunter to do what he did. I have spoken with, and read the statements from everyone involved and all agreed if Mrs. Porter had not intervened and made the threats she made, Michael Hunter would have surrender peacefully."
Steve gently squeezed his shoulder, "You need to talk to someone about how you are feeling, Aikane. I know Doc has already spoken to you about talking to Doctor Bishop and that you have refused but I also agree with what Doc has told you. What happened was traumatic Danno, something that no one should ever have to experience. You need to talk about what happened and how you are feeling. You can't leave this bottled up inside. It will tear you apart, my friend. Doc thinks Dr. Bishop can help guide you through this. I believe she can also. You have nothing to blame yourself for."
Keeping his arm around Danny's shoulder, Steve allowed the young man a few minutes of silence to think about what he had said. Watching the sun begin its descent below the horizon, Steve quietly said, "I think it's time we headed back to the hospital, Danno. You have a lot of friends who are worried about you at the moment my friend and I know they will be relieved to see you back."
Drawing a deep breath, Danny slowly nodded, accepting Steve's help to stand and walk back to the car. He felt incredibly weak and tired.
Steve sat studying the peaceful look on his friend's face as he slept. The nightmares had finally stopped plaguing the young man. The days since the standoff, along with Danno's escape and return to the hospital had taken their toll physically and emotionally. The long sessions with Dr. Bishop had exhausted Danny.
Steve smiled; his kaikaina was going to be fine. Kaikaina-little brother, that's what Kono had called Danno the day of the standoff. Steve shook his head; this young man managed to do what no one else had ever done before. In the few short weeks he had been on the team, Dan Williams had managed to get under his skin, effortlessly moving from subordinate to friend to...yes...to kaikaina.
A small knock at the door interrupted his thoughts. He was surprised when Marcia Porter nervously pushed open the door and entered the room. Instantly rising to his feet to stop her progress, Steve blocked her pathway before she reached the bed.
"What are you doing here?" he whispered fiercely, glancing back over his shoulder to assure himself that Danno had not been disturbed.
Mrs. Porter hesitated, tears pooling in her eyes as she looked into his angry face before she turned her attention to the sleeping man in the bed. "I...I just want to talk to him." she said softly, trying to step around him.
Steve stared at her in disbelief. His anger rose as he bodily stepped in front of her, preventing her from getting near his friend. "You just want to talk to him. Don't you think you have caused him enough pain in the last few days?!" Steve growled, his voice rising to an angry shout.
"Steve?" The soft call from the bed indicated Steve's heated words had woken the sleeping patient.
Swiftly turning towards him, Steve reassured him firmly. "It's OK. Danno, Mrs. Porter is just leaving. Go back to sleep."
"No, It's alright, Steve." Dan said, easing himself more upright in the bed. "I'll...I'll talk to her."
"Danno," Steve eyed him skeptically. "You don't have to."
"It's fine, Steve. Really," Danny reassured him with a small smile. "I'd...I'd like to talk with her."
Nodding reluctantly, McGarrett stepped aside allowing the woman to walk over to the side of the bed but he remained close enough so he could physically remove her from his friend's room if the need arose.
Nervously, Mrs. Porter stood looking down at Danny. She chewed on her lip for a moment, glancing anxiously over her shoulder at the protective Five-0 chief before returning her attention back to the man in the bed. "I...I know that I'm probably the last person you want to see but I need to apologize to you."
Danny canted his head slightly; his brow frowned slightly with confusion. "Apologize?"
Dabbing at her eyes with the tissue she held in her hand, Mrs. Porter nodded before continuing. "I...I blamed you for the death of my daughter, granddaughter and my I tried to destroy you in the press. That was wrong of me. I know the person who is to truly blame in this whole mess. I never really gave Michael a chance. I was jealous that he took my little girl away from me and made her a woman. I wanted to hurt him for that. To punish him. Well, I guess I succeeded, didn't I?" She laughed sadly.
"My selfishness has destroyed three lives this week and when I heard the rumors that you were blaming yourself about what happened and considering giving up your career, I knew that I would be responsible in destroying a fourth life. I WON'T do that! What happened was not you're fault!"
She paused a minute, as she tried to stop the tears. Steve stepped closer offering silent support to both the distraught woman and his now teary friend.
Nodding her head in appreciation, she continued to focus on Danny. "I just wanted you to know how sorry I am and that I'm going to try to undo some of the damage I've caused. I've called a press conference to talk about what really happened that day. I'm going to tell the truth. I'm going to tell everyone how I was the one who pushed Michael over the edge. And I'm going to publicly apologize for all the harm I have inflicted on you."
Too distraught at the woman's pain to speak, Danny gently squeezed her hand and tried to convey his thanks.
She straightened and looked at him through her tears. "I know that you can never forgive me, but please don't throw your life away because of me." With that said, she turned and raced from the room.
Steve watched her flee, before turning anxiously back to his friend. "Danno, are you OK?"
Danny glanced at Steve through his tears before returning his attention back to the closed door. "I'm OK...I wonder if Mrs. Porter is going to be OK? That's a lot of guilt for one person to have to bear. I hope she is able to have the same sort of support from her friends and ohana as I am lucky enough to have." Looking back at his closest friend and biggest supporter, he whispered. "Mahalo, Steve."
Feeling his own eye's beginning to fill with tears at the generous forgiving nature of his closest friend, Steve reached over, lightly touching Danny's arm. "Danno, you will always have our full support, no matter what. You deserve no less, my friend."
Looking up from his own paperwork, McGarrett cocked an ear at an interesting conversation coming from just outside his doorway. Walking over to the door, Steve watched in silent amusement as his youngest detective tried to convince May to type up his report. Danny tried to use the excuse that his injured shoulder was making typing difficult and slow, claiming that Steve wanted this by the end of the day.
"Danny Williams, you type with one finger anyway. Your typing is always slow," she scolded.
Steve smiled. The last few weeks had been a trying time for the young detective but he had managed to bounce back as Steve knew he would. All was right in the world with his little ohana. Steve shook his head in wonder. The last few weeks had shown him how close and important his men had become. They were more than just his detectives. They were ohana.