The trial was due to start at 9am sharp. McGarrett planned to be at the courthouse no later than 8.30am. He could only hope that Danny and Melissa would be there, too. If they weren't… It was a thought Steve didn't want to entertain.
The press was gathered outside. Steve hated that the press were allowed to crowd the steps of the courthouse, stopping anyone and everyone they thought might have even a small part in this trial. Haliburton was big news, whether innocent or guilty. Steve parked his car and braced himself for the verbal onslaught.
"Mr McGarrett! Over here." The cacophony of calls was enough to deafen him. Steve resolutely pushed his way through the reporters, not offering a single word. It was a good thing they were used to this treatment by him, because otherwise he might raise suspicions that something was not quite right.
From their position in the bushes, Danny watched Steve clear the pack of reporters and head up the steps. It was no or never and a better chance was not going to come. "Ready?" he asked Melissa and the girl nodded. Danny took her hand and they burst from hiding, running at full speed across the parking lot. "Steve!" Danny shouted and for a moment, he thought the clamouring of the press had swallowed his call. His back seemed to be very wide and he could practically feel a bead being drawn on it. "Steve!"
Miraculously, Steve had heard him. Danny saw his boss turning towards him, a warm smile dawning on his face and relief stamped his features. Steve hurried down the steps, reaching out to take Melissa into his own grasp and he quickly drew her up into the safety of the courthouse, leaving Danny to follow in his wake.
It was done, Danny thought as he stumbled up the last few steps. All the worrying and the sleepless nights were all worthwhile because he had done what he had set out to do and protected this most important witness. There was nothing left for him to do; it was all up to Melissa now. He realised he had stopped walking just inside the imposing building and he watched as Steve led Melissa over to the clerk of the court and she was whisked away to a secure room. Steve followed a few steps behind, keeping them in view until they were inside. Danny could feel the tension draining out of him.
Suddenly, he found himself mashed against the wall and his arms were twisted behind him and cuffs snapped shut tightly around his wrists. "What…?" he gasped and felt his gun taken from his holster.
"You're under arrest for stealing a patrol car, buddy," snarled an unfamiliar voice. "Somebody tried to tell me you're a cop, but I know better than that!"
"I am a cop!" Danny protested, but he was already being hustled from the building. This is ridiculous, he thought bemusedly. He was being arrested by some rookie who didn't believe he was a cop. The world had gone mad.
"I'll take it from here, patrolman," another voice interposed and a shiver ran down Danny's spine. He had only heard this voice once before, but it was one he would never forget and Danny knew he was in big trouble.
"Uh, sure, lieutenant," the rookie stuttered. He let go of Danny's arm and the other man took it in an iron grip.
Turning his head, Danny looked at the lieutenant and recognised one of the plain clothes detectives from HPD. He knew the man's face; they had worked together on part of the Haliburton case – a part that had not borne any fruit. Now, Danny suspected he knew why; this man was in Haliburton's pocket. "Donovan?" he growled, dredging the name from his memory. "What the hell are you playing at?"
"You heard the rookie, Williams," Donovan smiled. "You're under arrest. By the time McGarrett realises you're gone, it'll be too late. Perhaps I'll let him know where to find your body. Haliburton isn't going down; Melissa will never reach that court room alive."
"You're too late," Danny retorted. "She's already in the witness room."
That stopped Donovan in his tracks. He yanked Danny round and looked into his face, searching for the truth. He found it only too easily and frowned darkly. "It's still too late for you, Williams," he sneered. "Haliburton will want to make an example of you! I'll be back in court to testify on his behalf before your body is cold."
"Steve!" Danny yelled at the top of his lungs as he struggled to stop Donovan pulling him away. For once, the media were oblivious to the drama being played out, as Haliburton was arriving in his chauffeur-driven limousine. Nobody had seen Danny's 'arrest'. "Steve!" Danny yelled again, suddenly feeling like a little kid shouting for his big brother to come and save him.
It seemed incredible when Steve emerged from the courthouse at that very moment. Danny knew that there was no way Steve could have heard him calling. Those shouts had been sheer desperation; any attention would have helped him out. However, Steve had wanted to talk to Danny; to check that his friend was unhurt;, to find out what he had gone through to deliver their witness to the courthouse on time and to find Danny suddenly not standing where he had been left had been enough to trigger panic. Now, he came out just in time to hear Danny's voice. He could not hear what was said, but he knew that voice better than he knew his own. He turned his head and saw Danny being pulled away by that HPD lieutenant… What was his name?
It didn't matter what his name was. Steve suddenly put it all together, just as Danny had done moments before. Donovan! That was it. He was quite new to HPD, having transferred from somewhere on the mainland. He seemed competent enough, but Steve now remembered that Danny hadn't spoken very highly of him when they had been working that line of enquiry on the Haliburton case. That line had petered out, but Steve now wondered if the lieutenant had helped it to disappear. Ignoring Haliburton, Steve drew his gun and hurried towards Danny. Behind him, he heard Chin shout his name.
"Donovan! Hold it!" Steve shouted.
The lieutenant twisted round and saw Steve. He reacted at once, swinging the off-balance Danny around until he was a shield between Donovan and Steve. Donovan drew his gun and placed it against Danny's head with a very deliberate movement. "Try it, McGarrett!" Donovan taunted.
"Put the gun down," Steve ordered. Behind him, Chin quickly marshalled the HPD officers to keep the media at bay. The last thing they really needed was to have this played out live on TV, but that looked like it was going to happen, so they would keep the media as far back as they could manage. If there was shooting, the media were far too close. Chin dreaded the thought of any casualties, but especially media casualties.
"I don't think so," replied the detective. He was now dragging Danny slowly backwards towards his unmarked car. If he managed to get into with Danny, it would be a disaster.
Furious at this turn of developments, Steve tightened his grip on his gun. "You have nowhere to run," Steve reminded him. "This is an island and I can have it secured so tightly that a gnat would not get out without me knowing about it."
"Sure, snap your fingers," taunted the other man. "We all know you've only got one weak spot and that's this guy." He shook Danny. "The Golden Boy; McGarrett's do-no-wrong second in command. I've got to give him a little credit. I didn't think he would manage to keep the girl safe for so long. It doesn't matter though. I know that Haliburton is going down and I've got the perfect solution for us all. Melissa won't testify and Haliburton won't go to jail and Five-O will be obliterated."
"A bomb?" Danny gasped. The courthouse was always buzzing with people. A bomb in there would not only destroy the historic building, but would kill and injure dozens, if not hundreds, of innocent people. "You're supposed to be a cop!" Danny snarled. "You gave an oath to serve and protect!"
"Oh shut up!" Donovan snapped, provoked despite himself. "You're just so bloody perfect, aren't you, Danny Boy?"
Two nights of no sleep, not enough food and water and now used as a shield while a rogue cop talked calmly of blowing up the courthouse was really the last straw for Danny's temper. "You scum!" he hissed. Ignoring the gun, Danny turned his head and tried to head-butt Donovan.
It was a good try, but his aim was off and his tiredness made him unusually clumsy. Donovan dodged easily enough, but those few seconds allowed Steve to move closer. Donovan was aware of the lead detective drawing nearer and he tried to re-establish his hold on Danny and use him as a shield again, but it was too late for that. Danny resisted and then Steve was on top of them both like a line backer. Donovan went down, Steve on top of him, as Danny tumbled to the ground.
As many men had found to their cost, an angry Steve McGarrett was a force to be reckoned with. He was doubly – maybe triply – angry with this man. Not only had he betrayed the HPD, he had been working for the bad guys and he had tried to hurt Danny. It would have been impossible for Steve to say which was the biggest betrayal, but the most recent was the one that had the big detective angriest at the moment.
Despite the urge to pound Donovan into dust, Steve was still aware that there were half a dozen or more TV cameras pointing in his direction. He jerked the gun from Donovan's hand and flipped the man over. Panting, he waited for Chin to arrive at his side and allowed his associate to handcuff the rogue detective. "Book him!" he ordered. "Conspiracy, attempted murder and attempted kidnapping to be going on with."
Pushing off the ground, Steve looked around for Danny and found him lying limply nearby. His heart immediately jumped into his throat and he threw himself down beside his friend, fearing the worst. There hadn't been a gunshot – had there? "Danno!"
The blue eyes opened to reveal a deep weariness. For the first time, Steve realised how tired Danny looked, with dark circles under his eyes. He was grimy, his clothes dirty and dishevelled and he was barefoot. "I'm all right, Steve," Danny assured him, his voice hoarse. "Just get these cuffs off me. Unless I really am under arrest for stealing a patrol car?" The joke was weak, but under the circumstances, it was pretty good.
"That wasn't stealing, that was borrowing," Steve countered. He reached for his cuff keys and freed Danny's hands. He helped the weary younger man to sit up. "Are you sure you're all right?"
"Nothing that a hot shower, good food and some sleep won't fix," Danny promised. "Melissa… she's safe? What about the bomb threat?" Danny tried to get to his feet, but his body had had enough. The adrenalin that had carried him so far had gone, leaving him distressingly weak.
"Duke is evacuating the courthouse," Chin offered as he wrestled Donovan away. "Bomb squad is on the way."
"I could go…" Danny started, but Steve shook his head.
"You've done enough, aikane," Steve told him. "You're exhausted. Don't worry; Donovan isn't going to win. We'll get everyone out. I'm going to get an ambulance and get you over to the hospital to get checked out." At those words, Danny blanched and Steve worried that Danny had been hurt after all. "What?"
"Kono," Danny whispered. "Is he…?"
"He's fine," Steve assured the younger man, understanding. "He'll get out of the hospital today."
"That's wonderful," Danny breathed. A partial weight was lifted from his shoulders. The rest of it would not leave until he had spoken to Kono and gained the other man's forgiveness.
"We need to move away from the building, Steve," Chin advised, coming over. He had left Donovan in the custody of Tank and had been surprised to find that, for once, the sergeant was not bad-mouthing Five-O. He had found a new target: Donovan.
"Help me with Danno," Steve requested. Between them, they got the younger man to his feet and helped him over to the shelter of a couple of cars. There was going to be a delay on the requested ambulance, which Danny strongly protested that he did not need, because of the traffic being diverted away from the Capitol District and so they had front row seats as the bomb squad entered the building.
While they waited, Danny told Steve and Chin about his two days with Melissa. "She is all right, isn't she?" he demanded again.
"She's fine," Steve asserted. Haliburton had surrendered himself into police custody for the duration of the trial and was currently locked up across the road in the Palace cells. Melissa's escort had taken her to the Palace, being both the closest building and the most secure. The young lady had been delighted to learn that not only was all her luggage there, but there was a shower she could use.
"You were right, Danny," she had told him as she walked past. "You said when we found your boss we would get a shower."
"I'm always right," Danny replied. He made an effort not to look as weak and worn as he now felt, but by the look on Melissa's face, he did not succeed. He smiled at her enthusiasm. It seemed that the prospect of hot water had made Melissa feel better and then he remembered that she had slept both nights and he had not. That made a difference. "Give him hell," he added quietly and saw Melissa's face sober.
"I will," she promised. "I won't ever forget what you've done for me, Danny Williams. I won't let you down."
"Good girl," Danny smiled and thought how far she had come in such a short time. The arrogant spoiled girl from 48 hours was now a thoughtful young woman. She had learned an awful lot. He hoped she would always remember those lessons.
It didn't take long for the bomb squad to discover that Donovan had been bluffing. If he had hoped that Haliburton would be able to make a break for it while the court was vacated, he was sadly mistaken. Seeing Melissa alive and well, Haliburton knew the gig was up. By the time the court was reconvened, Haliburton had asked his lawyer to make him a deal. However, it was too late. The trial went ahead and after the jury heard about the harrowing ordeal Melissa and Danny had endured, as well as Melissa's other evidence, there was no doubt at all that the jury would convict him.
The icing on the cake for Steve was that Danny was, as he had claimed, all right. Tired, dehydrated and filthy beyond measure, he was sound asleep at the hospital when Steve went there that evening to tell him what had happened. Over the course of the afternoon, Haliburton had told HPD where the hit men were that he had sent after Melissa. HPD went after them and found only one of them alive. The one that Kono had shot had died of his injuries.
Kono himself had been released from the hospital around about the time that Danny had been admitted. The big man had taken himself up to visit his exhausted colleague as soon as he had heard and the last of the weight from Danny's shoulders had disappeared. Kono wanted to apologise for not doing more to help Danny when he found them.
Now, Steve sat down beside Danny's bed. The younger man would not waken that evening he knew, yet there was nowhere else Steve wanted to be right then. He had to be able to look at his friend. Those two days when he didn't know if Danny was alive or dead had taken their toll on Steve and the rest of Five-O. Kono had gone home to rest. Chin had gone home to his family. Steve had come here.
"You did it, Danno," Steve told the slumbering detective. "Thanks to your determination and bravery, this island is a better place. Mahalo, my aikane."
If this had been a book or a film, Danny would have opened his eyes at that point and smiled at Steve. However, this was real life and Danny did not so much as twitch. He continued to sleep, oblivious to his visitor.
Smiling, Steve patted his arm and left. There would be plenty of time to tell him about the trial tomorrow.