*** To Hawai'i! (McGarrett Home) ***
A/N: Sorry this update was such a long time coming, but I wanted to get caught up on all the DVDs so I could clean up what's been written so far before tackling this and the coda. In the meantime, chapters 1-7 have been tweaked to clean up settings, context, characterization, and backstory.
While Danny remained transfixed by the congressman and his very relieved daughter, Steve quietly checked in with the unis on duty. When he finished, he turned to Danny, placing a hand on his shoulder. "C'mon, man," he said, "we're not quite done for the day yet."
Danny nodded silently and turned for one last look before following Steve down the hall. With Freed and his daughter reunited and secured, Steve's attention returned to Wo Fat with laser-like intensity. He determinedly stalked out the hospital's main entrance, forcing Danny to a light jog to keep pace.
"Hey, whoa, whoa, whoa," Danny called. "Hold up there, cowboy. Where are we going in such a hurry?"
Steve turned back and glared at Danny, eyes blazing. "We almost had him, Danny."
"Maybe," Danny acknowledged, "but he probably had at least a 10-minute head start on HPD. He's long gone."
"This is the closest we've gotten in months," Steve insisted.
"And you think that makes us any closer to catching him?" Danny asked, wearily. "We'll have Freed's testimony, but that's not gonna help us find Wo Fat, or make this set of charges stick any better than the ones before."
Steve stop and raised a pointed finger to emphasize his point stopped himself before speaking. "Never mind," he said. "Let's just get back and see if Kono and Chin have had any luck."
"Okay," said Danny, practically sleepwalking behind him to the car.
Steve drove, with the speakerphone constantly blaring along the way, alternatingly dictating orders, and receiving updates from HPD tactical. By the time they arrived at Five-0 headquarters, Danny had to consciously resist the urge to duck into his office to avoid all things Wo Fat.
As they entered, Danny rubbed the sore spot on the front of his right shoulder. Back in Jersey he'd been happy to leave the heavy-duty offensive maneuvers to SWAT and the federal tactical teams. Although his vest helped disperse the impact, it still ached from the recent extended exposure to heavy and repeated kickback.
Chin looked up as Danny and Steve approached, asking, "So how's the congressman?"
"No major organs were hit," Steve reported, "just soft tissue damage. He's gonna be all right."
Chin nodded. "All right."
Chin and Kono both noticed the elephant who'd walked in with the boys, but it was Kono who finally put a name to it. "What about Wo Fat?"
"The entire department's searching the jungle," Danny replied. "Perimeter's set up. Helicopter in the air." Danny pointed to the sky. "Everything." Danny sighed.
"Find anything at the abandoned house?" Steve asked, hopefully.
"Yeah," Chin replied, "a cell phone. Wo Fat left it. He must have been in a rush to chase down the congressman."
"And judging by the call log," Kono added, "looks like we were right. He was trying to buy himself a powerful ally." She swept a page from the computer table onto one of the peripheral view screens. "We have calls to our sniper, to Serena Adams, Amy Davidson, Brad Powers's known associates and to Powers himself, beginning only days after the candidates were announced. We can also trace contributions to the Powers campaign and to a number of his PACs from Wo Fat's shell companies and associates."
"Nice," Danny said.
"We need to find Brad Powers," Steve said.
"Already done," Chin replied. "Powers is at a Town Hall meeting over at the Blaisdell Center. It's scheduled to end in…" – he glanced down at his watch – "…about 20 minutes. We can probably catch him there if we hurry."
"Good work," Steve said. "Keep tabs on HPD and let me know if they get any leads on Wo Fat. Danny and I'll head over and pick up Powers."
As they walked to the car, Danny pulled his phone call and took a quick peek at the view screen: 5:10 p.m.; still no missed calls, no messages. He sighed deeply and pressed his attorney's speed dial. "Hey, Danny Williams here. I'm guessing that there's no news yet since I haven't heard from you, but I've been tied up in case all day so I thought I'd check in, just in case I missed your call. Keep me posted, I guess." He dejectedly hung up and placed his phone back in his pocket before sliding into his seat next to Steve.
Steve looked over, concerned. "How're you holding up, bud?"
"I feel like I'm crawling out of my skin," Danny replied. "If I don't hear soon, I'm going to start molting – like a snake or a cicada, maybe a kinorhynch. "
"A what?" Steve asked.
"A kinorynch," Danny replied. "It's a marine invertebrate. Some people call it a 'mud dragon.'"
When Steve continued to stare back blankly, Danny added, "Animal Planet."
Steve shook his head in disbelief. "Really?"
"I watch it when I can't sleep," Danny protested. "And at this rate, it looks like I'm not getting any sleep tonight, either."
"Why don't you come hang at my place tonight?" Steve proposed.
"So I can listen to you bitch about Wo Fat?" Danny asked. "No thank you."
"No, seriously," Steve said, "I promise. I won't even mention Wo Fat."
"Steven, how many times have we talked about making promises you can't keep?" Danny asked.
"Okay, no promises," Steve agreed. "But come anyway. I don't like the idea of your being alone like this."
"Why, cause I might do something stupid?"
"The thought's crossed my mind," Steve replied.
"I'm not gonna do anything stupid, so you don't need to worry about me," Danny curtly replied.
"Well how about if I just wanna be there for you, if you wanna talk or anything."
"I'll think about it," Danny sulked.
"Okay," Steve conceded, dropping the subject. He redirected his attention to finding a parking spot as they approached the Blaisdell entertainment complex.
He found an empty spot near the end of an aisle and they made their way to the event center's main entrance. A red carpet had been laid, and excited sign-waving supporters had been cordoned behind velvet ropes.
Steve and Danny stood watching the crowd as they eagerly awaited a glimpse of their chosen candidate. Powers emerged soon thereafter, posing for the camera. He shook hands with a row of supporters, smiling and waving congenially.
"Look at him," Danny said, folding his arms. "I think I just threw up in my mouth. If I wanted to be surrounded by corrupt politicians, I would have stayed in Jersey."
"Are you saying that Hawaii has something in common with Jersey?" Steve kidded.
"It's not a compliment."
As Powers made his way to the end of the assembled supporters, Steve saw Danny removing a set of handcuffs from his waistband and readying them for use. As Steve turned his attention to Powers, Danny waited for Steve to say something.
When Steve remained silent, Danny leaned in and asked, "Aren't you gonna say it?"
"Say what?" Steve asked.
"You know," Danny replied.
"I thought you didn't like it," Steve said.
"I don't. Didn't." Danny corrected himself.
"Well then I won't," Steve said. "You know what to do."
Danny, still preparing himself to get on a plane to Vegas in the near future, begrudgingly insisted, "Would you just say it?"
Despite being concerned at the helpless tone in Danny's request, Steve quietly complied, nodding towards Powers as he approached. "Book 'em, Danno."
Danny smiled grimly and made his way out from behind the security barricade.
Powers reached the end of the line, but his outstretched hand met up with a decidedly unsmiling and unsupportive Steve McGarrett. Steve held up his badge, effectively wiping the smile off Powers's face. "Nice to see you again, Mr. Powers," he said.
Danny stepped behind Powers, and gently grabbed Powers's left arm. "Relax," he advised.
"What the hell are you doing?" Powers demanded.
"You got bad taste in friends, buddy," Danny replied.
"Bradley Powers, you're under arrest for conspiracy to commit murder," Steve recited. Danny led him away, as Steve finished Miranizing Powers, and the canidate's s bodyguards and supporters gaped, dumbfounded.
Powers's presence in the backseat effectively killed any personal conversation, and they drove in silence before dumping him at Central Booking and officially calling it a day.
"Did you think about it?" Steve asked, as they finished signing off on the arrest papers.
"Think about what?"
"Coming over tonight."
"Thanks, but no thanks," Danny said as they descended the steps at HPD. "I'll drop you off at Five-0. Then all I wanna do is go home, order a pizza, stand in the shower for an hour, and then watch TV until my brain shuts down."
"No you're not," Steve replied.
"What? You're my keeper now?"
"No, but I'm not gonna let you go home and wallow in self-pity," Steve said.
"I don't wallow," Danny said.
"Like hell you don't," Steve retorted. "You are like the king of wallowing."
"Come to dinner with us."
"Your friends, Danny," Steve replied. "It's been a long day and we did some good work today. Chin and Kono said they'd meet us at Kamekona's."
"Look, I appreciate what you're all trying to do," Danny said, "But I'm not really feeling social tonight."
"You don't have a choice," Steve smiled, dangling the keys from his hand. "I've got the keys."
"I hate you," Danny muttered, reluctantly getting into the car.
"I know," Steve grinned as he got into the car himself and started the engine. Danny purposely stared out his window as Steve put the car in gear and backed out of their parking spot. He cautiously glanced over a few times to find Danny still avoiding eye contact.
"Look, Danny," Steve finally said, breaking the silence, "I remember how you told me how your brother Matt had to talk you through rough times when you and Rachel split…" He waited until Danny at least tilted his head a bit in acknowledgement. "Matty's gone now. So you're gonna have to rely on the people who are here for you, now, Danny. You're stuck with us – with me – whether you like it or not. And I'm not gonna let you beat yourself up again." Steve paused to wait for Danny's reaction.
Danny let Steve's words sink in and then came to the most depressing conclusion. "So you think I lost?" he asked, non-confrontationally.
"What?" Steve had been thinking about getting Danny through the night. It hadn't occurred to him that Danny would assume he meant the next several weeks.
"You think the judge is gonna rule for Rachel and Stan?" Danny asked. "That's why the pep talk, right?"
"That's not what I meant," Steve said, regretfully. "If I were the judge, it would be a no brainer. I meant every word I said, Danny. Grace is lucky to have you."
"But you're worried about me."
"Of course, I'm worried about you," Steve replied. "And I just wanted to make sure you knew that I'm here for you tonight so you don't have to sit around alone. And I'll be here for you if the judge were – hypothetically, of course – to make a really stupid decision."
"Okay," Danny said softly. They drove the remaining way in silence, arriving at Kamekona's just as the shadows started getting longer.
Steve had been texting Kono and Chin updates on Danny's situation all day, so they already knew that there had been no news. So, as Danny and Steve approached, they stood and said a soft "Hey," accompanied by friendly handshakes and comforting hugs.
Kamekona made his way out with a tray of beers and greeted his newest guests with his customarily jovial smile, "Hey, McGarrett. Jersey." Behind Danny's back, the others were trying their best to wave any additional friendly inquiries, but their motions went unnoticed. "Any news on Short Stuff?"
"Not yet," Danny replied. "Though you might as well get used to losing a quarter of your nightly revenue, since no news has gotta be bad news."
While Kono and Chin instinctively started to protest, Kamekona saw an opening. "Aw, Detective Williams. You hurt me good. You don't think I have other customers?"
Danny looked around and saw just the four of them sitting at their picnic table. "Well, yeah! You see anyone else here, Bubba?"
"Well, as a matter of fact," Kamekona began, sitting down on the end of the picnic bench and nudging until Danny slid over and practically into Kono's lap, "I'll have you know that business here is up. And, once I get my helicopter license…"
For the next 10 minutes, Kamekona proceeded to regale the Five-0 team with progress reports on his helicopter touring plan. He'd already had several flying lessons and was beginning to log the requisite hours to seek his pilot's license. As Kamekona suspected, this tidbit alone was enough fodder to keep Danny ranting for the ensuing 20 minutes about the insanity of aviation regulation and how the bone-headed authorities will clearly let any wahoo with an over-leveraged SBA loan take the lives of innocent tourists in their hands.
An animated debate with Kamekona – not to mention a beer and few plates of garlic shrimp in his belly – soon had Danny sounding more like himself again. Satisfied that he'd done his part, and pleased to see that conversation had returned to lighter, more routine matters, Kamekona cleared the plates and returned to his truck to retrieve another round of beers.
"So, did you hear? Denning's press conference? We heard it on the way over," Kono said.
"That oughta have been interesting," Danny commented. "What'd he say?"
"Well, I have to say," Chin replied, "he did a remarkable job of giving out a very limited set of facts and shutting down questions."
"Figures," Danny said. "I assume he left out the bit about gubernatorial interference and obstruction of justice."
"Right, that," Kono smiled. "Then Josh Lowry gave a statement about Amy Davidson."
"Ink isn't even dry on her death certificate," Danny said, shaking his head. "Lemme guess, he's using the death of his allegedly beloved colleague as a way to garner sympathy with the voters."
"Actually, Danny," Chin replied, "he pretty much stuck to the facts just like you and McGarrett relayed them earlier — "
"And," Kono interrupted, "get this – Lowry played a recorded statement from Chris Freed. He gave a pretty moving speech about staying in the race and integrity and perseverance. I think his 'hero legend' pretty much sealed the deal. He's got the election in the bag. The talk shows are going crazy for him."
"I really might have to vote for the guy," Danny said, still shaking his head.
"Well, in two weeks you're gonna get your chance, brah," Chin replied.
"Assuming I'm still here in two weeks," Danny said morosely.
"C'mon, Danny," Kono coaxed. "Don't think that way. You're still gonna be here – and you can bring Grace to the polls with you and she can gush to her friends about how Danno saved the election."
"You got it," Steve smiled. "Besides, anybody who tells Wo Fat to, quote/unquote 'fuck himself' has my vote."
"He said that?" Kono gasped in surprise.
"Verbatim, the way he tells it," Steve gleefully replied.
"Good for him!" said Chin, admiringly.
"To Chris Freed?" Kono asked, raising her beer.
"To Chris Freed!" the others agreed noisily clinking her bottle.
"Hey, what're we drinking to?" Kamekona asked, having just returned with a tray of full beers.
"How Five-0 saved democracy in Hawaii," Kono boasted with a big grin.
"Oh," Kamekona said wearily. "That again?"
"You!" Kono accused, punching him playfully in the shoulder with a left jab.
"Hey, Mama," Kamekona replied. "Watch it with the goods! That's a valuable asset you're damaging!"
"Wait a minute," Danny interjected, his disbelief temporarily outweighing his wallowing. "What asset?"
"My arms, bruddah," Kamekona said.
"Your arms?" Danny asked incredulously. "In what universe are those oversized bratwursts valuable assets?"
"My arms are attached to my hands," Kamekona replied with a reverent tone. "And these hands are the tools of a master."
Danny took the bait. "Master what?"
"Master of all trades, of course," Kamekona said.
Danny opened his mouth to reply but their CI's bravado was so over-the-top that he couldn't even find a suitable retort. When Danny didn't reply, the others turned back to Kamekona's side of the verbal volley.
"Master chef, master marketer," Kamekona began, and finished with a confident nod, "and soon to be master pilot."
"You know," Danny replied. "You're certifiable, right? In fact, I think you're even more nuts than McGarrett here, and he clearly has more than a few screws loose." Steve mimed pulling an arrow out of his gut while Kono and Chin chuckled amiably.
"Hey, sue me," Kamekona challenged. "I can't help if I got ambition. You laugh all you want now. When I'm rich and famous, I'll remember who my friends are." He turned with a mock huff, picked up a tray full of empties, and ambled back to his truck.
"Hey guys," Kono said, "I hate to say it, but I gotta split."
"Hot date?" Steve asked, waggling his eyebrows.
"Yeah, kinda," Kono said, still feeling guilty for cloning Adam's phone on their last date.
Chin shook his head disapprovingly. "Kono…"
"Don't start with me," Kono said, humorlessly, cutting off any additional protective fawning. "Look, I have to go." She turned to Steve and said, "We'll get him next time." Then she turned to Danny and added, "Don't worry, Danny."
Danny nodded unconvinced as Kono hopped into her cherry-red Cruze and drove away.
"Am I the only one who thinks a cop dating the head of the Yakuza is a bad idea?" Chin asked.
"If she were my daughter, I'd ground her for life," Danny muttered.
"See, Danny," Steve said. "That's exactly what I mean. It doesn't matter what the hell we're doing or talking about. It's always Grace you think of first. The judge has gotta see that." Chin nodded in support.
"From your lips to god's ears," Danny said.
"Hey, I gotta head out, too," Chin said apologetically, tossing a few bills on the table to cover his share and Kono's. "I promised Fong I'd get back to him on what additional analysis we wanted done on the stuff we picked up from Wo Fat's shelter."
"'kay, Chin," Steve said, "Thanks." He held out his fist and Chin gave it a gentle fist bump and gave Danny a reassuring rub on the shoulder before he headed away on his motorbike.
As the sound of Chin's engine faded in the distance, Danny turned wearily to Steve. "Now can I go home?"
"Not a chance," Steve replied.
"So where are we going, now, pray tell?"
"Oh, c'mon, Steve," Danny whined. "I've had enough torture for one day. The game's not even on for another three hours out here on this remote hunk of rock."
"Just come hang out, Danny. Sit on the beach. Watch the sunset."
"I might as well," Danny replied, folding his arms. "Dunno how many more chances I'll have to do that."
"Don't be such a Danny Downer," Steve scolded.
"I'm not!" Danny protested.
"Really?" Steve asked.
"Well, maybe I am, but at least today I have a right to be."
"Come on, Danny," Steve repeated. "You can bitch at me as much as you want – and I promise I won't complain."
"Scout's honor," Steve said, holding up the scout salute and putting on his most sincere face.
Danny scrubbed his hand through his hair.
"I still have the keys," Steve teased, dangling them again.
"Fuck you," Danny said, climbing into the car.
"Good choice," Steve said, getting in himself.
Steve flipped through several radio stations until he found a suitably drippy '80s love anthem to annoy Danny with. Danny played to form, stabbing at the radio buttons and muttering under his breath about the ukulele tunes and bubblegum pop that seemed to dominate the local airwaves. He finally paused on the local public radio station, which was replaying Denning's earlier press conference, including Freed's taped message.
They listened intently, each nodding occasionally as Freed made his case.
"Damn, he's good," Steve said.
"No argument from me."
"Glad he's on our side," Steve added, pulling into his driveway.
Danny nodded in agreement, getting out of the car and slamming the door shut. He stuffed his hands in his pockets and waited for Steve to go ahead, following behind as Steve unlocked the front door and entered the alarm codes.
"You want anything to eat? Beer, maybe?" Steve asked on his way across the room to unlock the back doors.
"Nah, I'm stuffed," Danny said. "And I need to pace myself or I'm not gonna be able to drive home later."
"All right, suit yourself," Steve replied, stepping outside to stare at the waters. Danny followed closely behind.
Steve silently made his way to the beat-up old wooden chairs parked on his back lawn near the water's edge. He lowered himself into a chair and leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. He looked up as Danny joined him in another of the chairs. The golden light of the early evening sun reflected off the waters, casting long shadows across the lawn.
Danny had tired of replaying the morning in his head – the more he thought about Martin's words, Steve's speech, and his own feeble recovery, the more depressed he became. He stared out at the puffy pink and orange clouds which were reflected in the receding before them.
He looked over and recognized the look on Steve's face. Steve sat with his arms dropped by his side, one leg crossed over the other, his lips set in a defiant was mentally replaying the day, and it would only be a matter of time before he returned to the moment when they turned the helo around and left Wo Fat futilely firing bullets at them from the ground. Wait for it…. Danny told himself.
How could we let Wo Fat get away again? Steve asked himself.
Danny watched Steve, brooding and finally couldn't stand it any longer. And I'm wallowing in self-pity? "Would you please stop?" Danny complained. "Please? We didn't have a choice. We had to let Wo Fat go. And, we are going to find him, I promise. Okay?"
Steve nodded skeptically; he'd made those promises himself many times, sometimes with more success than others. And he wasn't sure they'd be able to make the charges stick any better this time than in the past…even if they could actually catch the bastard.
An unexpected voice interrupted their reverie. "Mind if I join you guys?"
Steve and Danny turned around to see Sam Denning strolling across Steve's lawn. He wore a straw hat, dark olive board shorts, a pair of brown leather sandals, and what was possibly the ugliest Hawaiian shirt Danny had yet seen – a fact even he found hard to believe, given some of the doozies he knew Chin had stashed in his closet.
"Hey," said Danny. His phone began ringing as he, along with Steve, stood to greet their visitor.
"Of course, Governor," Steve quickly responded.
Denning pointed back at the seats. "Sit, sit, we're not on the clock."
Danny glanced down at the caller ID on his ringing phone and replied, "Oh, no. I gotta take this," he said. He gently placed a friendly hand on Denning's shoulder to guide him towards his own recently vacated seat. "Sit down, please," Danny said, as he walk-jogged as quickly as he could politely manage back towards the house to get some privacy. He looked grimly back at Steve as he left.
Denning held out a six-pack of Longboards to Steve and asked, "Your brand?"
"Yes, sir. Thank you," Steve said, accepting a beer. He stole a sidelong glance at Danny's retreating figure before returning his attention to Denning. "What's the occasion?"
"Powers cracked under questioning," said Denning, taking a seat.
"Huh," Steve grunted, resisting the urge to turn around and check on Danny and trying to focus on Denning. Steve tossed the cap from his beer onto the table and sat down as well.
"He admitted he was in bed with Wo Fat," Denning continued.
"Really," Steve replied, still only half-listening. He watched as Denning sat down in Danny's chair, dropping his hat on the ground beside him. "He almost pulled that one off, huh?" Steve said, gazing at the ocean, keenly aware that Denning was watching him studiously.
Denning paused for a moment, seeming to search for what he wanted to say next. "I owe you," he finally said.
"No sir, just doing my job," Steve replied dutifully.
"No, you went above and beyond. And…" Denning paused again before adding, "I'm sorry."
Those words caught Steve's full attention. "Sir?"
"I should've been straight with you from the start," Denning admitted. Steve nodded barely perceptibly. "Trust," he mused. "It, um, well, it's a mighty big word."
Steve smiled and nodded. "Yeah, it is." He tried to keep his mind on his conversation as the deafening silence from his lanai kept him wary. He had expected – or he cautioned himself, at least he had hoped – to hear a whoop of joy, or an excited "hot damn." When all he heard coming from Danny's direction were quietly-spoken conversation, Steve began to dread the worst.
Trust, he thought. Rachel sure gave Danny cause to abandon all trust.
Steve's mind turned to Amy Davidson, her bullet-punctured forehead still forming a vivid afterimage in his mind. If only she'd trusted us sooner. Damned Wo Fat. He got to her. Images flashed by in Steve's mind of others he'd trusted, others who hadn't trusted him with the truth. Pat Jameson. Jenna Kaye. John McGarrett.
"And if I may…" Steve began, before the governor interrupted.
"Of course," Denning said, "I'm sitting in shorts drinking beer with you. All right, fire away and don't hold back."
"I got a lot of respect for you, sir. Got a lot of respect for the office, but if this thing between us is gonna work out then honesty is the best policy. Your predecessor, she didn't believe that, and uh, well, it got her killed."
Denning nodded soberly in acknowledgement. "Well, that was her. This is me," he said. Then he held out his beer and proposed a toast: "To Five 0."
"All right." Steve nodded his agreement and the beer bottles clanked. Steve looked down, his thoughts returning to Danny. Shit, what if this is it? What if he's moving to Vegas. So much for Five-0.
After a few more moments that seemed to stretch on interminably, Danny made his way back towards them, pocketing his cell phone. "Hey," he said.
"Hey," Steve replied, trying to remain as casual as possible.
"Uh…." Danny began. He stood with his hands on his hips; his hesitation only fueled Steve's concern.
"You all good?" Steve asked.
"Uh…" Danny began again. He raised his hand, as if to make a point – a very important and complicated point, and finally found the words to concisely say, "She's not moving."
It took a moment for Steve to process the words he'd hoped to hear, but wasn't altogether convinced were coming. Steve frowned trying to make sure he'd heard correctly. "Grace?" A hopeful smile began tugging at his face.
"The judge ruled in my favor," Danny said breathlessly. "Shared custody!" Upon hearing those words, Steve could no longer contain the wave of relief he felt or the smile that spread across his face.
"She cannot leave the island," Danny continued, and then, for emphasis, he repeated, "She can not leave the island. Huh? Huh?" Danny gave a restrained victorious fist pump, waiting for Steve's response.
Steve could feel the elation bubbling inside himself. He put down his beer and stood up, clapping his hands together excitedly. His first instinct was to grab Danny and spin him around in a bear hug, but conscious of their esteemed company, and the freshly-broken ice between them, thought twice.
Danny, too, was keenly aware of their audience, who watched one then the other with interest, only marginally aware of Danny's custodial issues. But despite their hesitation, the occasion was too momentous to let pass and they wrapped each other in a warm embrace. Steve could feel Danny's giddy laughter bubbling through him as he held tight, grateful he wouldn't be losing his partner, best friend, or the little girl he'd come to love as well.
Denning looked on amusedly at the two ass-kicking alpha males who stood before him hugging and back-patting for dear life.
Steve smiled warmly. "Congratulations."
"Thank you, buddy," Danny replied, beaming back.
Sensing the need for a celebration, not to mention someone to break the silence, Denning uncapped another beer and handed it to Danny. "Congratulations."
"Thank you," Danny said, gratefully accepting the beer.
Finally able to let down his guard and relax, Danny grinned, relishing an opportunity to stick it to Steve. "Uh, the judge said that your courtroom behavior was completely unacceptable and despicable…"
"Oh, come on!" Steve protested with mock indignity.
The governor was not surprised and smiled in recognition, not realizing that it was his own phone call that had precipitated a good portion of said unacceptable behavior.
"But," Danny added, pleased, "she also said that you were a fantastic character witness, so thank you very much." He raised his beer in salute.
Steve beamed and clinked his bottle. "You're welcome…I'll remind you of that later."
Danny laughed in response. "I'm sure you will."
"Well done, gentlemen," Denning said.
Steve returned to his seat, leaving Danny standing and staring off into the surf and sand he detested. "I can't believe I'm actually happy to be staying here."
"Neither can I," Steve added.
Danny chortled and Denning chuckled knowingly – even in the few hours he'd spent with Danny Williams, he'd grown well aware about the detective's feelings about his island.
Steve raised his beer in toast, "To Hawai'i."
Denning seconded. "To Hawai'i."
Both looked expectantly at Danny, who mumbled, "To, uh…." He waved his hands, not quite able to bring himself to complete the thought. Steve's smug, know-it-all smile reminded Danny of everything that both drove him nuts and tied him to the damn pineapple infested hellhole. Oh, fuck it, he thought. "Uh…to Hawaii," he finally said, with the characteristically haole lack of glottal stop. "Okay. Okay," he reluctantly added, his sheepish smile giving him away.
The governor laughed heartily and Steve smirked knowingly at Danny. You're staying…
Steve couldn't resist a wink when the governor's back was turned. …And you're happy about it. Danny shook his head, staring at the ground and still trying to hide his grin.
"To Hawai'i!" they repeated for emphasis, laughing to the cheerful clink of bottles.
A/N: There is definitely one final chapter to come, because, after all, everyone wants to know what happens when Denning FINALLY gets out of the hair of our favorite BAMF (about freakin' time). Thanks for hanging in there and reading. Thanks for reading this far. Hope you enjoyed the story so far and the revisions. Feedback always appreciated.