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Steve McGarrett looked up at the clock. Eleven o’clock on a Friday night. Nothing more I can do here today. Might as well knock off and go home, he thought.
The telephone rang.
“Steve...Chin here.” Chin Ho Kelly sounded hesitant. “I just got a call from Yuki down at Mama’s Bar. She says Danny’s there, and he’s pretty out of it. She doesn’t want him driving home like that, but I’ve got two kids sick with the flu, and my wife is exhausted from staying up with them last night....”
“You stay with your kids. I’ll take him home,” McGarrett assured Chin.
“Go easy on him, boss...he was really broken up about what happened today.”
“He’s going to have to grow a thicker skin if he wants to be a cop,”
McGarrett snapped, then in a gentler voice said, “Don’t worry, Chin, I
won’t chew him out.”
At Mama’s Bar, a dive favored by law enforcement, McGarrett found Danny at one end of the bar, slumped over and mumbling, a half-empty glass of beer and an empty shot glass in front of him. Yuki, the establishment’s regular waitress, hurried over.
“Boilermakers, Yuki?” McGarrett asked, raising his eyebrows. “You know you’re not supposed to serve an intoxicated customer.”
“I’m sorry, Mr. McGarrett, but he seemed OK until the last one. He kept going on about some girl, and I felt sorry for him.”
McGarrett settled Danny’s tab, then said, “Come on, Danny, let’s go,” draping Danny’s arm over his shoulders and pulling him to his feet. “Yuki, help me with the door, will you?”
“Steve?” Danny asked, his voice slurred. “...’m sorry, Steve, I blew it. Looked right in my eyes....” he trailed off.
“I know, Danny,” McGarrett said gently, steering him towards the door. “It wasn’t your fault.”
“Detective Williams’ car can stay here until he comes to pick it up,” Yuki told McGarrett. “He seemed so unhappy. You’ll take care of him, won’t you?”
“Don’t worry, I’ll take him home and tuck him into bed,” he reassured her.
He propped Danny against the side of his car while he got the door open, then lowered him into the passenger seat and fastened his seatbelt.
“...right in my eyes...couldn’t reach her hand....” Danny was saying. “...she screamed...couldn’t help her...couldn’t....”
“Easy, Danny, easy,” McGarrett said, putting his hand on Danny’s shoulder. “I’m going to take you home now.”
Behind the wheel, he realized that he didn’t actually know the address, and he was pretty sure that Danny in his current state would be no help. He sighed, leaned over, and slid his hand into Danny’s jacket to extract his wallet. Getting the address from his Five-O ID, McGarrett drove through the night-time streets of Honolulu to an attractive small high-rise building.
“OK, Danny, you’re home,” McGarrett said, opening the passenger door.
“Home?” Danny looked up blearily.
McGarrett supported him up to the glass doors of the building, locked at this late hour. “Keys, Danny?” he asked. Danny was leaning against McGarrett’s shoulder, apparently dead to the world. “No, huh?”
Taking a deep breath, McGarrett patted him down until he located a bunch of keys, then reached into his pants pocket and fished them out. Supporting Danny with one arm, he tried keys until one opened the door.
Up in front of the door to Danny’s apartment, located from the building directory in the lobby, McGarrett repeated the process. “Danny, you should really get a girlfriend for this sort of thing,” McGarrett grumbled. “Although I suppose she wouldn’t be able to lift you.”
“...girlfriend...Steve....” Danny mumbled disconnectedly as McGarrett attempted to get them both through the door, extracting the keys in the process.
Inside, he leaned against the closed door and held Danny against himself with one arm while he tried to remove his jacket with the other. He unfastened Danny’s shoulder holster from his pants and leaned over to hang holster and gun from the coat rack by the door. While he was in the middle of this process Danny put his arms around McGarrett’s neck and kissed him full on the mouth. Steve was so startled that for a minute he kissed him back.
Recalling himself, he pushed Danny gently away from him, having to catch him as he swayed. “Hey! Danny! I don’t know where you think you are, but it’s me, Steve!”
“Yes, it’s you, Steve,” Danny said, clutching McGarrett’s shoulder. “Always been you, Steve...I...I take girls out, I try, but I never...never feel anything...not like with you....”
He continued, “...always you, Steve, I don’t...I don’t know why...tried to ignore it....” Danny was leaning against McGarrett now, his head on his shoulder, supported by McGarrett’s left arm.
“Oh, Danny....” McGarrett said, his voice a mixture of pain and resignation. He closed his eyes and put a hand over his face for a minute. He took a deep breath. “Come on, let’s get you to bed,” he said, as briskly as he could manage.
“...bed...yes, Steve....” Danny said indistinctly against McGarrett’s jacket front.
McGarrett managed to steer him through the living room and into the bedroom. Danny’s apartment was furnished in warm browns and tans, with tall shelves of books, quite tidy for a bachelor apartment. He noticed the model sailing ship he’d given Danny for Christmas last year on prominent display in the living room. Once in the bedroom, he guided Danny to the bed, pulled back the covers, and sat him on the edge. “Wait here, I’m going to get you a glass of water,” McGarrett told him.
He filled a glass in the kitchen, somewhat surprised to see Danny still upright when he returned. He put the glass in Danny’s unresisting hand, steadying and guiding him while he drank from it. Setting the empty glass on the nightstand, McGarrett took another deep breath. “I’ve come this far, might as well finish the job,” he said to himself.
He knelt to remove Danny’s shoes and socks, then unbuttoned his shirt and slid it off, revealing Danny’s muscular shoulders and chest. I guess he actually uses those weights in the corner, Steve thought irrelevantly.
“OK, Danny, stand up,” McGarrett said, half lifting him from the bed. He unfastened Danny’s pants and pulled them down with one hand, leaving him wearing only a pair of tight, black briefs. Danny had his arms around McGarrett’s neck again, and when he overbalanced onto the bed, he pulled McGarrett down with him so that he found himself lying sprawled full-length on top of an unclothed Danny.
“Steve....” Danny said, smiling dreamily up at McGarrett. Then his eyelids fluttered closed and he went limp.
McGarrett gently removed Danny’s arms from around his neck and
pulled the bedcovers up to tuck him in. He sighed, patted Danny on the
shoulder, and went out, leaving Danny’s clothing neatly folded and his
keys and wallet on the kitchen counter with a note, “Your car is at Mama’s
Danny woke up the next morning in bed with a pounding headache. He mentally retraced the steps of the previous day. That girl...oh, God, that scream, but then...went to Mama’s Bar...wanted to do anything to forget that scream...Steve was there...took me home...Oh, God, Oh, GOD, what did I say, what did I do, I...No, no, no, no, no! Oh, please, let that be another dream, please don’t let me have told Steve how I feel, don’t let me have actually kissed him, oh, GOD! Danny’s thought processes caught up to the point where he had passed out in his bed. Under the combined weight of alcohol and memory, Danny staggered to the bathroom and threw up.
He spent the weekend in agony. Is there anything else I don’t
remember? What does Steve think? He didn’t say anything, but he must
be disgusted if he actually believes that I’m a...a....and in love with
him....Can he forget it, assume I was just drunk? Oh, God, what have I
On Monday morning McGarrett sat in his office going through the motions. He felt like he hadn’t slept all weekend, ever since Danny’s confession. Instead he had lain awake wrestling with his conscience, trying to come to the decision he knew he must. He finally buzzed his receptionist and said, “May, tell Danny I want to see him.”
Danny came in looking as though he were going to face a firing squad. He stood in front of McGarrett’s desk, looking down at his feet. “Steve, I’m really sorry. What I said...and...and did Friday night was inexcusable. I...I hope you can forget it happened.”
“I’m sorry, Danny, I can’t.”
“Steve....” Danny looked up pleadingly. McGarrett found he couldn’t meet that gaze, and looked down at his desk blotter.
“I’m afraid we can’t be partners any longer. I’m reassigning you as Five-O’s liaison to HPD. You’ll work with a new partner there and also stay on top of all their cases. Take today off, then report tomorrow to Chief Dann.”
“I’ll...go clean out my desk, then.” Danny was clearly making an effort to keep his voice steady, but wasn’t quite succeeding.
“You’re still part of Five-O. You’ll keep your office. Report to
Chin Ho on the major cases HPD is working.” Why did I tell him to keep
his office? The whole point was to arrange it so I wouldn’t have to see
him every day, Steve thought.
Tuesday morning. Chin Ho came into Steve’s office. Steve was sitting with his elbows propped on the desk and his face in his hands, looking over the tips of his fingers.
“Steve...did something happen with Danny yesterday?” Chin asked hesitantly.
“I’ve reassigned him as liaison to HPD. He’ll report to you on their cases.” McGarrett said tersely.
“Danny isn’t your partner anymore?”
“That’s what I said,” McGarrett snapped. “What about the lab report on the latest service station robbery?”
“Not ready, yet, Boss,” Chin said.
“Go tell Che Fong to put a move on it! Sooner or later those guys are going to shoot someone.”
“Steve...whatever Danny said or did, can’t you let it go? He’s a good cop.”
“Who said he wasn’t?” McGarrett stood up, leaning forward with his hands on his desk. “I am not discussing my personnel decisions. Now go get me that lab report!”
“Yes, Boss,” Chin said impassively, and turned and strode from the office.
Steve sat down and put a hand over his eyes. I had no choice. I’m
only human. But no one will understand and I can never explain it to
them. So, what’s new with this ‘stinking job’? That’s what Danny called
it. Danny...I’m sorry, Danny. No choice at all.
Kono came into McGarrett’s office holding a folder. “Here’s the lab report on the robbery, Boss. Is it true that you had a fight with Danny?”
“Give me that report,” McGarrett snapped.
Chin came in. “Anything new in the lab report?” he asked.
He was followed by May and Jenny. “Mr. McGarrett, I just had a request from HPD for Danny’s personnel files. They said you reassigned him there?” Jenny sounded confused.
“Is that why Danny looked so upset when he left yesterday?” May asked.
“Well, it looks like everyone’s here now....” McGarrett began.
“Except Danny,” Kono said under his breath.
“...so I might as well announce that I’ve reassigned Danny as liaison to HPD. He’ll report to Five-O on HPD’s investigations and ensure that we work together smoothly,” McGarrett said.
“Danny isn’t your partner anymore?” May asked. “Is that what this column means?” she said, holding out a folded newspaper.
McGarrett glanced at the line in Eddie Sherman’s gossip column, “Danny Williams no longer McGarrett’s fair-haired boy?” He flung the newspaper into the trash can beside his desk.
“I want to know what he did wrong that you kicked him out,” Kono said.
“Will Five-O be getting a new member to replace him?” Jenny inquired.
“It’s not going to be easy for Danny over at HPD,” Chin said. “I know there was a lot of resentment that you picked someone so junior as your second in command.”
“Danny’s a good cop!” Kono exclaimed indignantly. “Just because he got in an argument with you while he was drunk....you know how bad he felt about that girl!”
“He looked so broken up when he came out of your office,” May said. “I wanted to give him a hug.”
“Everyone, shut up!” McGarrett stood behind his desk facing the semicircle of his staff. “Danny has been temporarily reassigned. He has not been shot, he has not been exiled to Alaska, and I will not discuss this any further. Now,” he scanned the lab report quickly, “Let’s work this case! Danno, I want you to....” McGarrett stopped dead.
“Danny isn’t here,” Kono said quietly, with an edge of resentment.
McGarrett turned a steely blue gaze on Kono as Chin edged in front of him and made calming gestures.
“That’s right, he isn’t,” McGarrett said in a low, carefully controlled tone. “So you’re going to have to step up and do some detective work. The robbers must keep their getaway car parked nearby, or have a third man waiting in it. That station is in a business district. I want you to see if any of the shops were still open and if anyone saw anything. Chin, go over the lab reports from all three robberies and see if there’s anything we missed. Now, everyone, get out of my office and get to work!”
The telephone rang.
“Steve, my secretary talked to Jenny and she said you were reassigning Danny away from Five-O?”
“Yes, Governor, I’ve arranged for him to be our liaison to HPD.”
“Steve, Five-O’s personnel matters are your responsibility...”
“Thanks. I appreciate that,” McGarrett said drily.
“...but I’m concerned about who will take over as Five-O’s second in command now. Williams has shown he can handle the job. Are you sure this is best?”
“As you said, Governor, Five-O’s personnel matters are my responsibility,” McGarrett said between his teeth.
“Yes, of course, but I just wanted to express my concern....”
“Thank you for your input, Governor. Aloha.” He put the phone down.
Steve turned to lean against the lanai door behind his desk, looking across at Honolulu Hale. So far today I’ve become Captain Bligh, the Governor is second-guessing me, and I feel like I’ve cut off my right arm.
Steve turned, realizing that Chin hadn’t left with the others. He slumped into his chair, leaning back. “Don’t say it, Chin. Everyone’s fond of Danny, and I can’t expect you to just accept that he’s gone, but I can’t explain.”
“I know. I understand. I’m sorry, Steve, we’re not making this any easier on you.” Chin said.
“Let’s just try to get through the day,” McGarrett said, rubbing his eyes.
Chin left, and McGarrett got up and walked out onto the lanai. What did he mean, ‘I know’? He can’t, can he? Steve wondered briefly. He looked out at the trees tossing in the gentle breeze. I’m going to miss standing out here with Danny, discussing a case, or just life, drinking coffee in the light of dawn approached from the wrong side. Danno...I’m going to miss you.
Great, now I’m doing it, he thought in disgust. He’s not dead. I’ll
find another partner. Life goes on.
Danny took a left turn. He glanced over at his new partner, in the passenger seat of his car. It had been a week, and he still wasn’t used to seeing someone other than Steve beside him. A tall, thin haole with receding, sandy hair, Gerald Claybairn was probably ten years Danny’s senior but had only recently been promoted to detective. He had a markedly nervous air and a tendency to stammer.
As though reading Danny’s mind, Claybairn said, “So, I’ve been wanting to ask. What did you do to get assigned partner to the screw-up? The current theory going around is that you got drunk and punched Steve McGarrett, but I assume that’s an exaggeration.”
“Why do you call yourself a screw-up?” Danny asked mildly. So that’s what they’re saying, huh? I suppose it could be worse.
“My last partner refused to work with me any more after I tripped and accidentally shot him in the foot. The reason you have to drive is that I totaled two cars. One of them I put into the Ala Wai. Che Fong won’t let me into the lab after the time I knocked over some chemical bottles and they had to evacuate the whole floor. And the time I broke his favorite microscope. I’m not allowed to cook in the staff room because once I left my soup on the stove and went to a case and the fire department had to come and the whole kitchen was ruined by the water.”
“Well, try not to shoot me, and I’m sure we’ll get along fine,” Danny told him. “And no, I didn’t punch Steve. How did you make detective?”
“Well, I think they hadn’t fired me because I got the highest score on the proficiency exam, the written part, of course, and it would make their hiring practices look bad. I made detective because I found the evidence that cracked the First Hawaiian Bank robbery.”
“That was you?” Danny asked. “Nice work! We wouldn’t have been able to catch them if you hadn’t noticed those misplaced papers.”
“I’m sure if you just had more confidence in yourself, you wouldn’t make so many mistakes,” Danny encouraged him.
“It’s easy for you to say,” Claybairn said resentfully. “You’re the sort of person everyone likes. Charming, handsome, promoted to Five-O practically right out of the police academy. ‘Steve McGarrett’s fair-haired boy.’”
“Well, not any more,” Danny said grimly. “Don’t you read the paper? And no one at HPD seems to like me much, although I don’t know what I ever did to them.”
“They were envious, and now they see a chance to kick you when you’re down.”
Danny sighed. “Well, let’s go investigate this purse snatching.” At least Five-O isn’t likely to be there, too. I wonder how long I can go before I have to face Steve again? That day in his office he couldn’t even stand to look at me.
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