Chapter 1: Part One
In the office of the medical examiner at Queens Hospital, Steve McGarrett sat on a chair, motionless save for the gentle rise and fall of his shoulders with each deep, controlled breath. Eyes open, jaw clenched, he watched as Dr. Max Bergman, medical examiner and Five-O's personal physician, tugged a length of surgical silk through the gash in his calf, neatly knotting the final stitch and snipping the excess thread.
Flexing his leg experimentally, Steve nodded his approval at the doctor. “Feels fine, Doc,” he observed. “Good job, as usual. Thank you.” He began to rise, only to be pushed back down with surprising speed and strength by a scowling Bergman.
“And where do you think you're going?” growled the coroner. “Sit right back down, Steve! I'm not finished with you yet, not by a long shot!” As if to prove his point, Bergman continued to work around the wound on Steve's leg, thoroughly cleaning and drying the area surrounding the stitches, applying an antibiotic cream, and finally completing his work by taping it with a small, white bandage. “There. Now I'm finished. Does it still feel fine?” he challenged.
Steve glared at the doctor, but found his own irritation equally matched in Bergman's return stare. He was loath to admit it, but as the local anaesthetic that had been injected prior to the stitching wore off, his leg was becoming increasingly painful. The tense silence stretched for a time, until Steve finally broke eye contact and allowed Bergman his moment of victory. “All right, Doc, you've made your point,” he conceded. “Thank you, again. Now may I please be allowed to leave and get back to work? I've got half a dozen things to follow up after the raid this morning! Not to mention the other case files waiting on my desk for me.”
Max Bergman was already shaking his head. “No, Steve, I don't think so. Not today. Perhaps not even tomorrow.” He scribbled a quick note on the medical chart on his desk. “Tell me, Steve, how do you really feel? Not just your leg, but all around...”
“What do you mean?” Steve asked cautiously, aware that he was being set up but unable to figure out how. “My leg feels a bit tender, but I'll take it easy for a couple of days. I'll be fine, Doc. I've had worse scrapes from working on my boat!”
“That may be,” the doctor acknowledged. “But right now you've got five stitches in your leg from yet another high-stakes raid. And,” he tapped the chart in front of him. “When your vitals were taken in the ER before they brought you here to see me, your blood pressure and pulse rate were a bit high, even taking into account your circumstances. When was the last time you took some time away from work, Steve?”
“I can tell you when, Doc.” Both men looked up at the sound of a familiar voice in the doorway. “It was too long ago, probably almost a month,” Danny Williams continued, walking slowly into the room and fixing his concerned gaze on Steve. “He's been going almost non-stop for that whole time, between court appearances and that final big raid on the Pezzutto gang headquarters. And what's this about high blood pressure? Is it serious?” he asked.
“Well,” the doctor began, ignoring the thunderous glare that was once again being sent his way. “It's not too bad, at least not yet. But he needs to take a break, that's for sure.”
Danny nodded in agreement. “Okay, Doc, I understand.”
“I'm telling you, I'm FINE!” Steve fairly shouted in agitation, pushing himself to his feet and stalking across the office to face the two other men.
“More irritable, too, I see,” commented Bergman drily, drawing another nod and a faint grimace from Dan.
“At work, and at home as well.” The younger man defiantly held his ground against his boss and partner.
“Now listen here, gentlemen...” Visibly annoyed and trying to rein in his rising temper, Steve's demeanour abruptly changed as he got a good look at his second-in-command. “Forget about me for a moment! Danno, what happened? Are you all right?!” He reached out and gently cupped the left side of Danny's face.
Dan jerked his head away, flinching at even the gentlest of touches from Steve. “It's nothing,” he muttered self-consciously. “I just didn't duck fast enough when one of Pezzutto's thugs took a swing at me, that's all. I'll be fine, Doc,” he added, unaware that he was echoing Steve's earlier claim, word for word.
“Come over here and sit down, Danny.” Bergman drew the young man over to the chair where Steve had earlier been seated. “Let me have a look at that.” He tilted Dan's head slightly, studying the left side of his face where the cheekbone was already showing signs of bruising. “How bad is the headache?” he asked as he gently prodded the area.
Danny winced. “Not too bad. It's just a bruise, Doc, nothing broken. The doctor said...” Dan snapped his mouth shut, but the damage had already been done. Closing his eyes and sighing slightly, he waited for the inevitable explosion.
“Why didn't you tell me you were hurt?”
“You've already been checked out? By whom?”
Danny cracked an eye open to study the other men, allowing a small grin to escape in spite of the renewed throbbing in his cheekbone. It was hard to tell who sounded more affronted, Steve or Bergman, but it was to the coroner that he addressed his reply. “I came into the Emergency Department to look for Steve. When Dr. Stevens came to give me an answer, he took one look at me and hauled me into an examination room. But really, Doc, it's just a bruise. No serious damage.” He shrugged. “And it's my own fault for not getting out of the way fast enough.”
“Hmmm.” Bergman took a long look at Danny, then reached for the phone on his desk. Dialling a four-digit extension, he kept his level gaze on the young man as he waited for the call to be answered.
Dan slunk a bit lower in the chair, growing uncomfortable under Doc Bergman's scrutiny, and avoiding eye contact with Steve altogether. The Five-O chief was hovering, dividing his attention equally between Danny and the murmured conversation Bergman was having with the ER doctor.
The sound of the telephone handset being replaced drew both detectives' attention back to the coroner. They watched warily as Bergman settled in to his desk chair, grabbed a pen and a small pad of paper, and began to write. For several moments this continued, the tension nearly thick enough to slice with a knife, until finally the doctor set down his pen and regarded them unsmilingly. “Well, Danny, it seems that you're right about your injury; Dr. Stevens agrees that there's no serious damage. However,” he paused meaningfully, watching the fledgling victory grin fade from the young man's face as he continued to speak. “He was concerned about your overall condition. It seems that your vitals were a bit on the low side, and in his judgement you appear to be generally run down. So I'll ask you the same question I asked Steve: when was the last time you were away from the office, or had proper meals for a few days in a row?”
For a moment Danny looked like he wanted to protest, but eventually he shrugged his shoulders in defeat. “I can't deny it's been a particularly busy few weeks, Doc,” he admitted quietly. “Everyone's been working extra hard, even Jenny and the other secretaries!”
“But none working quite as hard as you two, I would suppose.” Bergman shook his head. “Well, this time it's caught up to both of you at the same time, gentlemen, and I'm going to do something about it.”
He picked up the pad of paper from the desk, read over the notes a final time, then tore off the top sheet with a flourish and held it up. “This, Steve, is my prescription for you and Danny. I would like it carried out to the letter, or I will exercise my authority and report to the Governor that his top law enforcement officers are no longer fit to carry out their duties.” He handed the paper to Steve. “Do I make myself clear, gentlemen?”
Steve reached out hesitantly and took the page from the coroner. As he scanned the lines of writing, his eyebrows rose first in disbelief, then open dismay. He passed the paper to his second-in-command. “Now Doc, I know you mean well but this ... this is not going to happen,” he stated firmly.
“I don't know, Steve, this doesn't look so bad.” Danny was still reading as he spoke. “A break from the office, a couple of home-cooked meals eaten by candlelight in our kitchen, and ... hey!” A broad grin spread over his face as he contemplated Bergman's final instruction. “I don't believe it. Really, Doc?”
Bergman nodded serenely. “Really, Danny. I trust I won't be getting any argument from you?”
“No way, Doc!” Danny was still grinning, in spite of the deepening scowl settling on his lover's face.
“Then it's settled,” Bergman said. “As of right now, you are both officially off duty, and will remain so until my prescription has been completed.” He swept his hand in the direction of the door. “Now, get out of my office! I have real work to do!” As a still-stunned Danny and Steve filed past him, the coroner began chuckling quietly. “Have fun, you two,” he murmured, watching them walk down the corridor. “I look forward to hearing all about it!”
To be continued...
Chapter 2: Part Two
Steve stared in stunned disbelief at the scene in front of him. Slowly opening the car's passenger door, he regarded the ocean of humanity crowding the parking area with a growing sense of dread. He turned to Danny, in a final desperate attempt to talk him out of following through with this part of Max Bergman's so-called prescription, but the younger man had already clambered out of the car and was fairly vibrating with impatience as he waited for his reluctant lover to join him.
“Come on, Steve.” Danny tried to hurry the process along, gently propelling them both away from his Mustang. “The entrance is over here, just in front of the fountains.”
Steve looked at Danny in frustration as they joined the back of the massed line. “I thought you said we were arriving early to avoid the crowd,” he said, wincing internally as he realized he was sounding like a petulant child. Giving himself a mental shake, the Five-O chief studied the slow-moving crowd with a small measure of almost professional curiosity. The tourists were easy to pick out: couples in matching muumuus and aloha shirts, young families laden down with strollers and diaper bags, the occasional pair of older adults, all wearing expressions combining nervous anticipation, stress, and delight on their faces. The locals were mostly calm by contrast, waiting patiently for their turn to pass through the gates and begin their day of adventure. Slowly but surely, the line-up moved forward, and at last the gate was in front of them.
“Well, here we are,” Dan announced unnecessarily, his wallet already out of his pocket, ready to pay the admission fee. Holding his hand out to receive the proof-of-payment ink stamp, he motioned for Steve to do the same, then drew him through the entrance gate and into the main thoroughfare. “Welcome to Ahi Mauna Park, Steve!” Danny's expression reflected both excitement and a small measure of apprehension; he had sensed Steve's reluctance to be here from the moment they had awoken earlier that morning. Determined to ensure that his lover would have a good day, he grinned and waved his hand in front of him in a broad sweeping gesture. “So what do you think? Where would you like to start?”
Steve took a deep breath, inhaling the combined aromas of popcorn, sunscreen, and a hint of chlorinated water from the fountains in front of him. Dominating his view was the focal point of the whole park, the looming height of Ahi Mauna, or Fire Mountain, which was an unlikely combination of sculpted artificial lava and a three-storey curtain of water falling from a gently curved ledge. The hiss of the waterfall created a background of white noise against which all the other sounds in the park rose and fell. The gleeful shouts of young children, the tinny blare of carnival music piped over the loudspeakers, the screams of the adventurous guests who had raced ahead and were already riding the park's many roller coasters: the din was almost more than Steve could bear.
Responding to Danny's question, he began, “I think I would like to start by heading back...” He stopped, abruptly. Catching sight of his lover's face, he noted the faint lines of stress and tiredness that were still visible around the younger man's eyes despite the hopeful grin he was wearing, and realized the angry-looking purple bruising which had spread across his cheekbone fully to his temple must be causing him some discomfort. Pushing aside his own misgivings, knowing Danny needed this outing more than he himself did, Steve stepped forward and slung an arm across his partner's shoulders. “I think we should start by consulting a map!” he declared firmly, setting their course for an information booth beside the fountain. “We wouldn't want to miss anything exciting, now, would we?”
The resulting release of tension in the young man's stature was more than enough to convince Steve he had made the right decision. And Danny's quietly uttered “Thanks, Steve” was almost his own undoing. Together they walked deeper into the Park, maps in hand, ready to begin this part of Dr. Bergman's prescription.
To be continued...
Chapter 3: Part Three
DOCTOR BERGMAN'S PRESCRIPTION
A 'Quality Time' Vignette
Blinking in the bright sunshine, Danny and Steve emerged from the cool darkness of the mountain tunnel and stood for a moment, waiting for their eyes to adjust. By a mutual, unspoken agreement they had gravitated to the mountain first, as a sort of neutral territory where each man could wrestle with his individual doubts and concerns about the day. The gentle, meandering climbing trail started at the base of the mountain, its path alternately winding inside the structure through a series of interactive displays and on the exterior traversing a series of ledges carved into the sculpted artificial lava flows. The high point of the trail emerged behind the top of the waterfall, allowing climbers to get a real sense of the power of the water, and a tremendous view of the Park and its surrounding countryside.
Standing on the ledge beneath the lip of the waterfall, feeling the cool spray drift around him, Danny had tried to settle his bubbling excitement into a more focussed, simmering steadiness. A thrill junkie at heart, he readily embraced opportunity to get his adrenaline flowing, whether by surfing the big waves, visiting Ahi Mauna to check out the newer, more extreme rides that were built each year, or even through mastering his skill with the weapons of his trade, becoming a sharpshooter renowned for his abilities both in competition and in real, dire circumstances. Today, however, would have to be different; he knew he would have to reign in his enthusiasm so as not to overwhelm Steve and push him into activities that would make him uncomfortable, yet at the same time force him to relax and let go of some of the stress that was beginning to threaten his health.
Steve had stood quietly on the ledge, staring at the pouring water while surreptitiously observing his younger partner. The relentless flow of the falls seemed to him like the pressure he felt every day as the head of Five-O: the constant push to get the worst kind of criminals off the street, the political hoops he sometimes had to jump through when the Governor or other federal agencies became involved, the overwhelming concern he had over the safety and health of his detectives, with one in particular at the forefront of his thoughts. As second-in-command, Danny shouldered almost as much of the workload as Steve himself did, and when the younger man's normally lightening-fast reflexes were slowed by fatigue and stress, it left him more vulnerable to the dangers of the job. Now, today, Steve vowed to let his lover relax and enjoy what the Park had to offer, even if it meant that he himself would have ease some of his own iron control.
Leaving the mountain's relative calm behind them, Steve and Danny made their way onto the Park's main thoroughfare. Pathways snaked off in all directions, leading to the children's area, a mock -up of a surfers' beach village, the Park's concert venue, and the main concession area. The crowd, although it had seemed huge at the entrance gate, had dispersed into the Park grounds and scattered, leaving the paths only moderately congested. The two detectives allowed themselves to be carried along with the flow, towards the section where most of the rides were located.
Steve felt his natural reticence rise as the sounds of the midway became louder. Following Danny as the younger man was inexorably drawn toward the thrill rides, his own footsteps dragged slightly and he had to force himself to keep up. As they approached the lineup for a tall wooden roller coaster with the ominous-sounding name of The Mighty Mine Buster, a small colourful sign caught Steve's eye and he slowed to read it. A small smile flickered on to his face, broadening into a grin as he contemplated what he had read. “Danno, wait a moment!” he called ahead to his partner. “There's something here I think you should see.”
Danny obediently stopped and turned back, looking a bit surprised at how far behind Steve had fallen. “What is it, Steve?” he asked, trotting back to where the other man had paused.
“We're going that way.” Steve announced, pointing to the smaller path indicated by the eye-catching sign.
“But the main rides are over there...” Danny trailed off as he swallowed the end of his protest, remembering his vow to himself on the mountain: don't push Steve. He cast a last hopeful look at the roller coaster before slowly starting down the trail Steve had indicated. “What's down here?” He tried to peer ahead, but a stand of trees was blocking his way.
Steve's grin grew as he watched his companion struggle to keep his disappointment from showing. He would let Danny have his fun on the big rides later, but first, there was some business to take care of. “You'll see in a moment,” he promised.
The path curved around the trees, opening up to reveal a group of more traditional fairground rides nestled in a semicircle. An old-fashioned carousel was slowly turning, the brightly painted horses rising and falling to the sound of piped-in calliope music. The tall column of the swing ride rose above the treeline, the collection of bucket seats whirling around high above the ground. At the centre of scene, a low-roofed compound hummed and crackled with the sound of electricity, interspersed with the occasional low thump coming from deep inside its fencing.
Danny's jaw dropped as he realized where it was that Steve was headed. “Bumper cars?” he finally managed to squeak in disbelief. “You want to ride the bumper cars?”
Steve managed a look that was both innocent and smug at the same time. “Sure, Danno; they're the best ride here, as far as I'm concerned! Of course, if you don't think you can keep up, I'll understand completely...” He trailed off, watching the play of emotions on Danny's face as the younger man's gaze flickered back and forth between the cars and himself.
Danny hesitated slightly, studying both the compound and his grinning lover suspiciously. Steve McGarrett was hell on wheels in his Mercury, tearing through the streets of Honolulu with sometimes reckless abandon in his pursuit of an investigation. One could only imagine what he'd be like behind the wheel of a carnival bumper car! Ignoring the trickle of apprehension that made itself felt across the back of his neck, Dan shook his head at Steve. “Oh no, I'll be fine,” he said firmly. “You won't have to worry about me at all.” He shouldered past him, resolutely heading for the compound entrance. “Coming?” he added, looking back provocatively and raising an eyebrow.
“Right behind you,” a determined Steve replied, following him inside.
Waving their ink-stamped hands at the ride attendant, the two men were directed out on to the compound floor where the bumper cars sat motionless, waiting to be boarded. A few other people were already seated, awaiting the start of the next cycle. Danny immediately vaulted into a shiny white car, quickly fastening the restraining strap and grabbing the steering wheel enthusiastically. Steve followed a bit more slowly, mindful of his still-tender leg as he chose and climbed into a bright red vehicle. The attendant recited the list of safety rules and regulations, but the pair of detectives, caught up in a challenging stare-down, barely noticed. With a sharp click the power was turned on, and the ride was underway.
At first all was civil, as the drivers became accustomed to the feel of their vehicles. About halfway through the ride, however, the tone abruptly changed as Danny pointed his car directly at Steve's and bumped him firmly from the side. The red car spun wildly as Steve reacted to the jolt by oversteering, eventually ending up against the wall. Even over the hum of the other vehicles he could hear Danny's gloating laughter as the white car raced by him across the compound. Shaking his head in frustration, Steve manoeuvred himself back out onto the floor and rejoined the fray, quickly accelerating and nudging his lover's vehicle into a slow curve that left Danny facing the wrong way and having most of the other drivers bump into him as they sped by. Smirking, he ignored the younger man's outraged shout and continued on his way.
The other riders, quickly sensing that a battle was brewing between the two detectives, decided to encourage it, alternately weaving around the course to block either Steve or Danny for the other to crash into. While the attendant initially tried to control the melee, in the end he just settled back and watched the impressive display of bumper car offensive and defensive driving, allowing the ride to continue uninterrupted for fully ten extra minutes beyond its normal time limit.
As the power finally clicked off and the bumper cars ground to a halt on the floor, there was a burst of cheering and applause from all the drivers, as well as the attendant and a few other people who were lined up waiting for their turn. Flushed and grinning, Danny clambered out of his white car and gave it an appreciative farewell pat. Steve emerged more slowly from his vehicle, stretching his long legs as he joined his lover in walking to the exit.
“Are you all right, Steve?” Danny asked in concern. “You didn't hurt your stitches with all that bumping and crashing, did you?”
“No, I'm fine.” Steve waved off his worry. “No problems at all. Except, of course for your driving technique. All that bumping and crashing indeed! Is that how you were taught to drive at the academy all those years ago?” Struggling to keep a straight face, he added, “I'm almost tempted to have your license pulled, Danno. No wonder Five-O's accident statistics are so high!”
“What?!” Danny spluttered indignantly. “My driving record is just as good as yours, Steve! I don't think...” he trailed off as he finally caught sight of his partner's face. “Oh, very funny,” he muttered, shaking his head in disgust. “Well, I tell you what, chuckles,” Danny said to the now openly-laughing Steve. “Since you picked this activity, I get to choose the next one. And I choose...” He paused dramatically.
Steve flinched, abruptly sobering at Danny's pronouncement. Forcing himself to relax, he remembered his vow to himself on the mountain: it's all about Danny. As they walked along the Park's main path again, towards the roller coasters, the Five-O chief braced himself to hear his lover's choice, fully expecting the worst.
Danny stole a glance at Steve, and had to bite his lip to keep from laughing; the resigned look on the man's face was truly amusing. For a moment he considered following through with his original plan of taking him to the biggest, fastest coaster the Park had to offer. However, he took pity on his companion and steered him off toward the far corner of the midway. “Here we are, Steve,” he said. “My choice is ... Whitewater Chasm!”
Twenty minutes later the two men emerged from the ride, shoes squelching slightly and clothing showing large damp splotches. The Chasm ride, which consisted of a trip down a twisting artificial stream filled with churning rapids, had not been kind to either man; their inflatable raft had spun and bounced wildly through the water, throwing spray everywhere and leaving them both wishing they had brought a towel.
“Now was that so bad?” Danny was grinning as he shook the water droplets from his curly hair.
Steve tried unsuccessfully to brush the water from his arms and face. “You knew that would happen,” he growled crossly, looking at his soggy shirtsleeves with dismay.
Danny nodded. “It's always a possibility on the water rides,” he said sagely. “Look at the bright side, Steve. It's a good way to stay cool on a hot sunny day!” He watched as a rueful grin finally began to appear on his lover's face. “Come on, let's get a shave ice and we can sit in the sun and dry off, okay?”
“You buying?” Steve was not quite ready to give up his slightly sour mood.
“Of course!” Danny replied instantly. “I'll even let you pick the flavour, as long as it's not grape, that is.”
Somewhat mollified, Steve allowed Danny to lead him to a nearby shave ice stand, where they were quickly served by the cheerful vendor. Moments later, the two detectives were seated atop a grassy knoll, shave ice cups in hand, watching the throngs of people on the paths around them. The warm sun quickly began to dry their damp clothing, and the cool, flavoured ice was a welcome late-morning treat. Comfortable silence reigned between them; a gentle grin had settled permanently onto Danny's face, easing the lines of tiredness, and Steve was feeling the tight coil of internal tension he carried begin to unwind slightly. The Park was clearly working its magic on both men.
It was Steve who finally broke the quiet, turning to his lover with a questioning look on his face. “So, Danno,” he said, waving a hand at the scene before them. “Where to next?”
To be continued...
Over the next several hours, the two men traversed the midway, riding a number of the attractions that the Park had to offer. Continuing the pattern they had set at the beginning of the day, the choice of ride alternated between them. The first big roller coaster ride (Danny's idea) was a white-knuckled romp on the Minebuster, which left Steve shaking his head in bemusement at the sheer delight his young lover took in the hugely steep drops and jarring tight loops of track. This was followed by a visit to the more traditional carnival swings (Steve's choice), a gentle spin that lifted them up to the height of the treeline without the intense adrenaline rush of the previous ride. Although Dan had initially rolled his eyes at Steve's suggestion, he had spent the time watching his lover's smile at the sensation of the whirling swings, and that made it that much more enjoyable for him.
As the afternoon wore on, Danny looked on with delight as Steve eased more fully into their activities. Together they rode almost all the thrill rides in the Park, with the older man only balking at the the gigantic Colossus, a monster roller coaster that spun through several tight corkscrews and boasted a tall drop that produced significant g-forces for the riders. Dan himself actually took this ride twice, unable to resist the excitement of the biggest new attraction in the Park. In the heat of the mid afternoon, he even managed to drag Steve onto the Whitewater Chasm water course again; the two men laughed at each other all the way down the river as the raft splashed through the rapids, almost completely soaking both of them. Eyeing his flushed, windblown, and now once again dripping companion, Danny thought he had never seen Steve looking so carefree and relaxed, so unburdened from the daily stress that was part and parcel of his position as head of Five-O.
For his part, Steve had faced a final moment of decision as he and Danny had enjoyed their shave ice break near the end of the morning. It was obvious the younger man was itching to delve into the Park's attractions; it was equally obvious that he was not going to do it alone. Pushing his reservations firmly into the back of his mind, Steve had allowed the afternoon to progress. Somewhere along the way, however, he found himself actually enjoying the rush and speed of the rides. Danny's enthusiasm was infectious; even through his second soaking of the day in the river of rapids he found himself chuckling right along with his lover. And to Steve's ever-watchful eye, his second-in-command looked like he didn't have a care in the world, keeping track only of which ride to head for next instead of pressing to complete the latest demanding investigation.
It was a revealing afternoon for both Steve and Danny, and it was with reluctance that they decided to call it a day and head for home. The crowds had swelled in the beautiful afternoon sunshine, making the line-ups at most of the rides just too long for them to want to remain on the midway. Their final activity was a spin on the Park's giant ferris wheel; Danny had noticed Steve eyeing the ride several times, and as they turned to make their way out, he had nudged his companion along the path which led to the colourful, towering ring. The line was quite short, the majority of people preferring the faster pace of the coasters. After a brief wait, they were ushered into a gently-rocking seat, buckled in, and the ride was underway. Sitting in the slowly turning wheel, looking out across the expanse of the Park, the two men allowed their hands to meet and then intertwine. A wave of nostalgia bubbled up in Steve, who remembered riding a much smaller wheel at a county fair as a young boy; a gratified Danny sat and listened to the still-too-rare sound of his lover's sharing of memories from long ago. The sun, the breeze, and the easy quietness of the ride combined to provide an ideal finish to their time at Ahi Mauna.
Finally ending up on the main thoroughfare, the detectives walked along beside the fountains towards the exit gate, each man pleasantly tired and comfortably drifting in his thoughts of the day. Distracted as such, they were both oblivious to the sound of their names being called until the shout was repeated almost right in front of them.
“Well, if it isn't Steve McGarrett! And Danny Williams too!” The jovial voice belonged to a solidly-built Hawaiian man dressed in the uniform of an HPD sergeant. Pekelo Keahi was a familiar face in the offices of Five-O, as he was frequently called upon when extra investigative manpower was required. Hand outstretched in greeting, he beamed at the startled pair. “This is not a place I'd be expecting to see you, Steve! What brings you here today? Or...” His voice dropped conspiratorially. “Are you here undercover, on a case or doing surveillance?”
Steve and Dan exchanged a quick glance. The younger man caught the fleeting look of panic that crossed Steve's face before the professional mask began to slide into place, and abruptly realized his companion was embarrassed at being seen in this unusual setting, in his present state of disarray. Frustration with Steve's inability to relax in public and the need to protect his boss's reputation clashed briefly within Danny, before he came to a quick decision. Sending his lover a steady, measured look that promised to raise this subject again later, he stepped forward and grasped Sergeant Keahi's hand firmly, returning his greeting.
“Pekelo, good to see you, bruddah!” Dany smoothly placed himself between the genial sergeant and Steve, giving the Five-O chief another moment or two to compose himself. “Yes, we've been here for a while, keeping tabs on someone. And as you can see,” he gestured to his still-damp clothing with a grin. “We've been led on a merry chase! Even right up around the waterfall, where the spray can get you real good!”
Keahi chuckled. “Been up there with my kids lots of times, Danny. I know all about getting wet! Too bad you and Steve were working, otherwise you could have had some fun on the rides! If I wasn't in uniform, I'd probably be heading for the coasters right now!”
Dan suddenly found the buttons on his aloha shirt needed some intense attention, while behind him there came a strangled cough from Steve. Taking a deep breath, he managed to steady himself enough to respond. “Yeah, too bad,” he agreed, studiously avoiding looking at his lover. “So, you're here in uniform. What's going on to have you here?”
“I'm pulling an extra shift,” came the reply. “Supervising the detail that's on duty for the concert here tonight. Crowd control...” The Hawaiian made a face. “Some band from overseas that has hordes of screaming teenage fans. The Park wanted lots of extra uniforms here to keep it all under control.” He pointed at a group of giggling girls, all of whom were wearing long tartan scarves and big hightop sneakers trimmed in the same pattern. “Auwe, look at that, they're arriving already!”
Steve and Danny looked where Sergeant Keahi was indicating, watching as the girls made their way deeper into the Park, high-spirited shrieks trailing behind them. Exchanging a relieved glance with his partner, Dan shook his head in bemusement. “It looks like we are leaving at just the right time,” he observed.
Steve nodded. “I think so,” he agreed, a faint smirk crossing his features. “It looks like you could have quite a busy time of it tonight, Pekelo!”
The affable Hawaiian shrugged. “I'm not too worried about this crowd, Steve. Teenage girls may make a lot of noise, but they're pretty well behaved, especially when the band comes on. Not like those head-bangers that were here last month, for sure! And there's a good group of men in the detachment tonight, so I'm not expecting too much trouble.”
“Well, we should let you get to it,” Steve said, watching another pair of tartan-clad girls walk past them along the wide path. “Your audience awaits...!”
“Have a good evening, Pekelo!” Danny added, clapping the sergeant on the shoulder. “Don't let all of those girls give you a hard time, bruddah!”
Keahi smiled as he began to move away. “No problem, Danny! It'll be a fine night for all.” He touched his fingertips to the brim of his cap in a quick salute. “Good evening, Steve. I'll see you soon, I'm sure.”
“Good-bye,” the Five-O chief echoed as he and Danny turned again toward the Park exit. Waiting a moment until the sergeant was well clear of them, Steve touched the younger man's arm. “Danno, I...” he began.
Danny shook his head briefly. “Let's just get to the car,” he said lightly. “I'd like to beat most of the rush hour traffic, if I can.”
To be continued...
Chapter 5: Part Five
The drive home was mostly quiet, with Danny concentrating on manoeuvring through the heavy late afternoon traffic and Steve enjoying the refreshing breeze as they travelled in the open convertible. When the car drew to a halt a brief time later, Steve looked up with a start, realizing they were parked in front of the beach house. Slightly chagrined at having lost track of where they were headed, Steve followed Danny out of the car and into the cool interior of the house.
Dan dropped his keys onto the table by the door. Sensing his partner' unease, he held up his hand to forestall any question or comment from Steve. “I just thought it might be nice to finish off our day at the beach,” he said by way of explanation. “A little peace and quiet after all the noise at Ahi Mauna. And a place for you to calm down after our run-in with Pekelo Keahi.” He turned and fixed his level gaze on Steve. “I know you're still stewing about him seeing us there.”
Steve took a deep breath of the fresh ocean air and exhaled slowly, not quite meeting his lover's eyes. “It was ... uncomfortable ... meeting him at the Park,” he acknowledged. “And I appreciate your covering story, Danno.”
“Your secret is safe with me, ipo. Nobody will ever know that you are a closet roller coaster junkie!” Danny couldn't completely keep his frustration from showing, even as he softened the effect of his words with a slight smile. “You are allowed to take a day off occasionally, Steve, and even go out and have some fun if you want too! People aren't going to think less of you for it. I wish you could see that.” He paused to take a deep breath, then continued. “But let's enjoy the rest of our evening here. Worrying can wait until tomorrow, okay?”
To his credit, Steve hesitated only briefly before replying. “Okay,” he agreed. Together he and Danny kept the beach house well stocked, both in food and in changes of clothing; it would only be necessary to return to their apartment to drop off the Mustang and pick up their individual Five-O vehicles before heading to the Palace. Giving himself a quick mental shake, Steve followed his partner through to the kitchen. “It's okay,” he repeated. “This was a great idea, Danno. I think...” Steve stopped abruptly, almost bumping into Danny as the younger man stood still, staring at the room in front of them. “What is it?” he questioned, peering over his lover's shoulder.
“We've had company,” Danny gestured to the table. “Take a look, Steve.”
The senior detective glanced around the kitchen, eyes widening at the sight. The table was draped in a white cloth, a small iron lantern containing a flickering candle sitting at its centre. There were two place settings carefully laid out, crystal glasses sparkling in the candlelight.
Danny crossed the room to where a note was taped to the refrigerator door. A grin lit his face as he skimmed it, then passed the small sheet of paper to his lover.
“Enjoy!” Steve repeated the single word, written on a page from the prescription pad of Dr. Max Bergman, in a bemused tone. Taken aback, he looked at a still-smiling Danny, who had opened the refrigerator and was examining its contents. “Doc sure isn't giving up on this,” he observed, the beginnings of a frown again showing on his face. “So, what did the interfering so-and-so leave for us? Something edible, I hope!”
“Actually, it's a platter of lomi-lomi salmon and summer rolls, and a big plate of fresh cut pineapple and mango,” Danny replied slowly. “Oh, and some crusty bread here on the counter.” He looked over at his partner, concerned at the irritation he was beginning to sense in him. Walking back across the kitchen and placing a hand on Steve's shoulder, he tried to soothe away his growing scowl. “Come on, Steve, he was just trying to help out. You've got to admit it's nice not to have to get anything ready ourselves.” He gently rubbed the older man's arm, watching the subtle play of emotions in his expression until, for the second time in the past few moments, he felt the tension gradually ease.
“I guess you're right,” Steve conceded, a bit reluctantly. “I think I will speak to him about breaking and entering, though...”
Danny grinned in relief at Steve's words. “I'll bring him in for questioning if you like,” he offered, and was rewarded with a flash of a smile that crinkled the corners of the dark blue eyes. Running his hand through his curly hair, he gave his partner a questioning look. “So what do you say, Steve, a quick swim to cool off before we eat sound good to you?”
Steve shook his head in mock dismay. “Haven't you gotten wet enough times already today?”
“Never! There's no such thing as too much water!” Danny stated assuredly. With the grin still firmly in place, he reached for his lover's hand. “Come on, let's go get changed.”
Steve's eyes darkened as he allowed the younger man to lead him toward the bedroom. When Danny released his hand to start to get undressed, he gently stilled the motion. “Allow me,” he murmured softly, reaching forward and unfastening first the top button of Danny's aloha shirt, then the rest in succession.
Danny's breath caught in his throat, and he closed his eyes as a shiver of anticipation made its way across the back of his neck. His lover's hands continued their work, first sliding the shirt from his shoulders, and then moving lower to begin anew on the fastener of his khaki trousers. Dan almost sighed with anticipation as a gentle nudge prompted him to step forward, leaving his clothing in an abandoned heap on the floor.
Opening his eyes again, Danny fixed his ocean blue gaze on the taller man in front of him. Face slightly reddened from the sun, the customary neat arrangement of dark hair long since banished by the breeze and water, Steve looked the absolute opposite of his usual public persona. Slightly humbled by the depth of trust in their relationship that allowed his lover to drop all his innate barriers, Danny paused; it was a rare moment, and he took some time to treasure it before moving on to the business at hand. “My turn,” he said at last, a faintly roguish grin appearing on his face as his hands began their own task of clothing removal.
Moments later the two lovers tumbled each other to the bed, arms and legs in a tangle, fingers alternately clasping and caressing, mouths fused and tongues engaged in an intricate, intimate dance.
Breathing hard, Steve broke the kiss, and gently cupped Danny's flushed, bruised face in his hands. “I enjoyed myself today,” he admitted quietly. “I didn't expect to, but I did. I hope you did too, aikane.”
“I did,” the younger man affirmed. “Especially the part where I out-drove everyone in the bumper cars, even you. Remember?” he asked, lazily reaching up a hand to further muss Steve's hair.
“I remember no such thing!” Steve eyed his partner with a hint of outrage. “You were just lucky...” he murmured, before taking the opportunity to reclaim the waiting mouth in a scorching kiss and allowing his hands to trail down to Danny's warm, smooth chest.
Twisting with pleasure under the relentless stroking of his lover, Danny moaned deep in his throat, his tongue meeting Steve's thrust for thrust. He lightly scored his fingertips down Steve's back, revelling in the feel of the older man's shudder in response to his touch. When at last he felt his lover's hands, and then mouth, move lower still, he was more than ready for what followed. The mild evening air soon filled with the muted sounds of their passion, and it was much, much later when Steve and Danny finally emerged into the darkness of the night for their swim in the ocean. Dr. Bergman's dinner, still waiting in the refrigerator, became a midnight snack that the two tired men enjoyed before they retired back to their bed for the remainder of the night.
O o O o O
Steve McGarrett strode up to the Iolani Palace, taking the steps two at a time as he made his way to the Five-O offices. Passing several senior HPD officers, he responded to their greetings with what he thought was little more than his customary terse nod; he remained oblivious, however, to the surprised expressions which followed in his wake. Finally arriving at his office door, he answered Jenny's enthusiastic hello with a cheerful smile of his own. Grasping a pile of messages and the morning's mail in his hand, the Five-O chief disappeared into his inner sanctum and closed the door.
Jenny stared after him for a moment, then exchanged a glance with a slightly bewildered Kono, who had emerged from his cubicle at the arrival of his boss. “Did you see that?” she asked delightedly. “Steve looked... I don't know, well rested! I don't think I've ever seen him look like that, not for a long time, anyway.”
Kono nodded in agreement. “Da boss looked great,” he observed, adding hopefully, “Maybe a good day off for him means a better day for us today!”
“Probably a nice quiet afternoon on his boat,” contributed Chin, standing in the doorway of his own cubicle. “Away from the crowds and noise of the city...”
“Well, whatever he did, he should do it more often,” Jenny stated firmly. “He's been working far too hard lately.”
It was into this conversation that Danny Williams made his entrance, strolling casually into the office looking relaxed and grinning slightly at the topic of discussion. “Hey, did anyone miss me? I was gone too, you know!” he quipped, waving at Chin and Kono as he made his way to his own cubicle closest to Steve's door.
Jenny stood and handed him his own stack of messages. “It's good to see you back, too, Danny,” she said warmly. “And it looks like your day off agreed with you as well. What did you do?” she enquired.
“I went...” Danny began, but his reply was interrupted by the Five-O chief's voice over the intercom, summoning them in for a briefing. Shrugging an apology at Jenny, he grabbed a stack of files off his desk and joined Kono and Chin as they entered the inner office. The secretary followed them in, carrying a cup of coffee which she placed by Steve's right hand; beaming at him with another cheerful smile, she withdrew and closed the door behind her.
The detectives found Steve seated at his desk, several files open, pad and pencil ready to take notes. “Gentlemen,” he intoned. “Let's begin with the Pezzutto file. Has the follow-up to the raid been dealt with, and is there anything I should know before we proceed...?”
O o O o O
In the office of the medical examiner at Queens Hospital, Steve McGarrett sat on a chair, motionless save for the gentle rise and fall of his shoulders with each deep, controlled breath. Eyes open, jaw clenched, he watched as Dr. Max Bergman, medical examiner and Five-O's personal physician, snipped a length of surgical silk in the nearly-healed wound in his calf, neatly pulling the final stitch out before cleaning the area and covering it with a simple bandage.
“Satisfied, Doc?” The Five-O chief pushed up and out of the chair, his gaze meeting that of the coroner in a challenging stare.
Dr. Bergman ignored him for a moment, instead waving Danny into the recently-vacated chair and gently examining the younger detective's faintly discoloured face. “Any tenderness still there, Danny?” he enquired, pressing lightly along the cheekbone.
“None,” Dan replied. “I'm hardly aware of the bruise anymore, Doc, everything's fine.”
“You let me be the judge of that, young man,” the doctor groused, but he was slowly nodding his head in agreement with Danny's words. He took a moment to scratch a few notes onto the medical charts in front of him, then looked up to face both men. “Gentlemen,” he began. “There seems to have been an improvement since you were both here last week. Your vitals and overall condition are better. Steve, the wound in your leg healed nicely; it's now just another scar to add to your collection. Danny, the bruise has faded away almost completely. That's good to see.”
Bergman paused to take a breath, before continuing, “But I'd like the two of you to be a little bit more aware of the long hours you keep, and the eventual consequences that burning the candle at both ends will have on your health. I recognize that you both have to work hard, and there will be times when it will be impossible to take a break! But you must schedule some down time for yourselves, or some day soon you might be customers of another kind in this office because your reflexes have slowed, or you miss an important detail in a crisis situation...” The coroner finally reached the end of his diatribe, pleased and a bit surprised that he hadn't been interrupted. “I trust I've made my point, gentlemen,” he added, a bit more gently.
Steve looked steadily at the doctor for a moment, then nodded tersely. “Point taken, Doc,” he said. “Although you didn't have to go to such extreme lengths to make it.”
“Didn't I?” Bergman countered. “If I had told you to take a day off, would you have done it?”
“No, he wouldn't have.” Danny held his lover's gaze in spite of the scowl being sent his way. He flashed an almost indistinguishable wink in Steve's direction, silently promising to make up for his statement later. “But don't worry, Doc, I approve of your approach, even if Steve doesn't.”
Max Bergman smiled. “Good,” he said. “Just remember, my prescription pad is always at the ready, and I have a very potent imagination... Now, speaking of your day off, how did it go? Did you enjoy yourselves at Ahi Mauna?” As Danny launched into a description of their activities at the Park, punctuated with an occasional, reluctant comment from Steve, the coroner settled back in his chair and allowed himself a moment of self-congratulation for the conclusion of an effective, and very successful, prescription.