Chapter 6 – Still Monday

"However," Marvel continued, bringing Steve's head around with a snap. "We do have surveillance video."

Steve swung back to face him and Kono moved up eagerly.

"Even in a small estate sale like this, we take in a tempting amount of cash," Marvel explained.

He used the receipt code to find the correct video file — date, time, register 2. "Here we are."

Steve and Kono crowded forward to see two big Hawaiians, enough alike to be brothers. They were paying in cash. One man was keeping an eye on the furniture, so he never turned his face to the camera. But the one who paid the cashier was clearly visible.

"May I?" Kono asked, fingers poised over the keyboard. With Marvel's permission she paused at the best frame, made a still shot and sent it to the Five-0 computer.

Steve's phone rang while Kono worked. "Chin?" he answered it. "Where are you?"

"Back at headquarters. Nothing new in either of the apartments," Chin reported. "No sign of surveillance equipment except there are a couple of worn spots on a tree branch with a good view of Danny's apartment. Might have been a camera clamped there, but it's not there now. Oh, and Peter Aweau is an alias. The ID he gave the landlord was phony."

"OK, Kono's sending you a photo of the guy who bought the furniture. Matches Aweau's description. Run it through facial rec."

"You got it."

"Sending now, cuz," Kono leaned over to speak into McGarrett's phone.

"Thank you," Steve told Marvel as he and Kono rushed out.

"Good luck. I hope you find your friend."

"So do I," Steve said to himself. "So do I."

Don't sit down," Chin said, when his friends rushed into the Five-0 war room. "Just got a hit. Peter Keaweehu, 35. Known enforcer and leg breaker for hire."

"Got an address?"

Chin pulled it up on the big screen.

"Then gear up and let's go," Steve said with determination.

As they jogged out, Chin added, "There's one odd thing. Keaweehu doesn't have a brother."

"Huh, wonder who his lookalike is?" Steve said.

HPD cordoned off the area and SWAT was quietly moving in through the back, while Five-0 took point. When Steve pulled up in front of Keaweehu's home, Peter was sitting on the front porch drinking a beer. The big man didn't seem alarmed to see the black Silverado, but he leaped to his feet when he saw McGarrett.

"Peter Keaweehu!" Steve shouted, pulling his gun.

"We did what you wanted!" Peter shouted back. "Leave us alone!" Seeing Chin and Kono exiting the truck, Peter lunged for the door. "Ben! It's a setup!"

"What the hell was that?" Chin asked Steve.

"I don't know!" Steve answered. "I've never seen him before! Keaweehu!" he shouted. "We just want to talk!" Gunfire answered him.

The Five-0 officers ducked behind the Silverado. "Dammit," Steve said with clenched teeth. "We need these guys to tell us what they did with Danny."

Shots peppered the pickup. "Doesn't look like they want to cooperate," Chin said calmly. "HPD can move up now. We can bottle them up and talk them out."

"We can't wait. Danny may not have the time!"

"They're the ones who aren't waiting!" Kono warned.

A car engine revved inside the garage. The ramshackle door burst apart and the SUV used in the kidnapping charged onto the street.

"No!" Steve exclaimed.

Five-0 scrambled for the Silverado. The powerful pickup roared after the SUV. Steve hunched over the steering wheel in concentration, foot flattening the accelerator. Kono clung grimly with one hand, keeping her gun ready in the other. Over the radio, Chin directed HPD to intercept.

The tailgate of the SUV swung open. Peter crouched there with a shotgun aimed at his pursuers.

"Steve!"

McGarrett swerved and the blast went wide. The shotgun barrel tracked the Silverado, and there was no more room to dodge.

An HPD patrol car zoomed out of a side road, cutting off the SUV. It veered wildly. Peter lost his grip on the shotgun and grabbed for a handhold, but missed. He flew out the back of the SUV. Steve braked frantically but the big Hawaiian's body slammed into the pickup's grille with a sickening crunch and then fell out of sight. The Silverado bounced over a soft bump, with an equally sickening sense of squishiness. Kono gagged at the thought of the mangled body beneath them.

Blocked by HPD, the SUV climbed the curb but bogged down in a muddy garden. Ben fled on foot, firing a pistol as he ran to keep the police at bay.

Steve vaulted out of his blood-spattered pickup, followed by Kono. Chin was barking instructions into the radio, reminding HPD they needed this suspect alive.

Steve tackled Ben, sending the gun flying. The two men disappeared into a thick stand of hibiscus and Steve realized he'd made a possibly fatal mistake. Ben had hand-to-hand combat training equal to that of the Navy SEAL.

Ben spun and flipped Steve over his head. Steve bounced to his feet and struck back. Ben blocked and the two went back and forth — striking, kicking, blocking — neither gaining an advantage, as they thrashed in and out of the dense hibiscus, through the bird of paradise and into the rose garden next door.

"Where's Williams?" Steve demanded.

"You should have left us alone," Ben retorted bitterly.

He pulled a commando knife from behind his neck and lunged at Steve, slashing.

Steve leaped away, bending backwards at the waist to let the blade pass his neck. Then he struck at the knife hand, but Ben blocked the blow with his free hand.

Steve was at a disadvantage. He was trying to subdue Ben for questioning, but Ben was aiming to kill.

The SEAL spun in a tornado kick, but pulled the strike too much. Ben absorbed the blow with his forearm, caught Steve's foot and flipped the commander on his back between two rose bushes. Steve couldn't roll aside. Ben flipped the blade downward and drove it at Steve's belly.

A shot knocked Ben from his feet. He tumbled sideways, falling headlong into the spiky tangle of roses. He screamed when a thorn punctured his eye and a thick barbed stem gouged deep into his neck. He recoiled, doing even more damage as he blindly tore free from the bush, and collapsed on his back on the grass.

Blood seeped from the gunshot wound in his shoulder, but it gushed from his torn throat.

Horrified at the outcome of her careful shot, Kono holstered her gun and rushed to stanch the neck wound. She pressed firmly, but blood continued to pour between her fingers.

"Paramedics, right now!" Steve yelled at Chin who was beating his way through the bushes; then Steve loomed over the dying man.

"Where's Williams?" Steve demanded again. "What did you do with the man you kidnapped?"

Ben's bloody visage focused on Steve's face. "Go to hell!" he said, blood bubbling between his lips.

And then he died, and Steve's hopes of finding Danny died with him.

Kono sank back, legs splayed awkwardly, sobbing in grief and frustration.

Steve stumbled back a step, hand scrubbing through his hair. He knew it was unfair even as he said it, but the words tumbled out, "Why, Kono? Why?"

Tears running down her face, Kono said, "Because Danny would have wanted me to."

Don't worry, it's still to be continued!

That'll teach those Tiger Twins to torture my Danno!
(Oh, wait, that was my idea, wasn't it. Never mind.)