August 2009; Southampton, England
Harry hated going to the docks. But this morning he especially hated it. The fog was thick and cold this morning leaving everything damp and partially hidden. It was mornings like this when he was still half asleep from a long days work the day before and a night spent with a squalling baby, that made getting up and going to the docks on a stake-out a bloody pain. No matter how tried and pissy he was this was his job and he took it seriously. He had spent almost four years tracking the arms dealers known as Victor and Anton Hesse. He had been tracking almost since he had finished Auror training, in fact.
The two were on her Majesty’s most wanted list for selling weapons to known terrorists, both magical and muggle. Because of the fact they were Wizards as well, Harry had been asked to track them down and capture them by any means necessary. The Queen herself had even advised that she would prefer them to be given the Kiss if they were captured alive. While the Queen did not approve of the use of Dementors as prison guards and did not normally approve of their Kiss being used as a means of execution, the two brothers had killed many of her Majesty’s best officers and they had no problem with killing innocent civilians as a means of distraction, either. Something that both Harry and the Queen found beyond the pale.
So that was why Harry was here on a day he would rather be sleeping in. He had had to use polyjuice for the last two months, so that his presence at the docks wasn’t going to be noticed by Hesse or his goons. He had gotten close before but had been spotted and the two arms dealers had managed to get away. Harry wasn’t going to let that happen again. He had spent too much time trying to catch these two and the man they were working for. He was tired of the chase and just wanted off the case so that he could have a normal case load and go home at night at a decent hour. If he could catch them he could get all the information he need from their minds or through the use of Veritaserum and then that information could be turned over to the Royal Task Force assigned to tracking and catching the man they worked for, a man that had been simply a ghost in the underworld until a year ago. Harry’s informant had died to bring Harry the name Wo Fat.
Letting out a grumbled curse of discontent at the fog, Harry, known at the docks as Mike McHughe, tugged at the collar of his wool coat and headed towards the bulletin board where the day’s jobs were posted. He should be listed to help load freight onto the ship that the Hesse brother’s were using to ship guns and explosives into the United States. If all worked as planned he would locate the cash of weapons, both muggle and magical, and be able to get his message out to the rest of the Task Force before Victor or Anton figured out they had been made.
“Morn’in, McHughe,” called another man stationed by the board, looking over the list of ships in port and the open jobs.
“Morn’in. Anything good left today?” Harry stepped up beside the man, scanning the board.
The older man, one Harry had seen at the docks every day so far, let out a loud bark of a laugh. “There ain’t never anything good open.”
“True ‘nuff.” Harry ran his finger over the damp paper, stopping over the name of The Albatross. The ship that Hesse was using to carry his weapons out of the UK and into the US. “This one don’ sound too bad.”
The other dock worker looked at the notice. “The Albatross? Cursed ship that one. You’d be betta off picking a different ship, lad.”
“Cursed,” asked Harry, trying to sound both skeptical and slightly frightened.
“Aye. It might leave wit a full crew but it neva comes back wit em. Half the crew is missin’ every time it returns ta port.”
“Could’a they just be getting off at the other end and join’n another crew?”
“Could be.” The older man took a deep drag on his cigarette, puffing out a ring of thick white smoke. “I’da not take the chance. There be somethan’ evil hovering about that ship.”
Harry and the older man both turned to look through the fog down to where the Albatross was moored. The Albatross was a monster of a tanker. It was a large, imposing, steal ship that looked as if it had sailed right out of a movie about the turn of the century. The fog around it certainly helped with the eerie aura that seemed to hang about the ship. Harry wasn’t fooled or scared by it though. He knew that it was nothing more than a spell meant to keep away Muggles and people the Captain didn’t want getting close. It would also make sure that any dock workers they had to let onboard would be so on edge that they wouldn’t notice the signs of all the illegal activity going on onboard. It was quite an impressive bit of spellwork.
Harry let his body shiver in response to the sight in case anyone working for Hesse was watching them. “May hap you’re right. She’s a spooky lady for sure.”
“Aye.” Harry watched the old man shiver and turn away from the ship, making the sign of the cross as he did so. Turning back to face the ship again Harry couldn’t help but shiver, only this time it was in anticipation. He was so close now. Victor and Anton were almost in his grasp. Another few hours and it would all be over, once and for all.
* * *
Harry had continued to play the spooked man, crossing himself whenever he was passing the ship and quickly looking away from it, as if the very sight of it was somehow sure to do him harm. He wasn’t sure if this would be the right approach in order to get chosen to help load the ship, but it was the best option. He was hardly the only dock worker crossing himself so.
Harry stopped what he was doing and turned to look at one of the men in charge of assigning work details. Harry didn’t like Connell Norris. He had suspicions that the man was dirty and turning a blind eye on any illegal dealings going on under his watch for a percentage of the profits.
Setting his load down he walked over to the other man who was watching him with an unimpressed look. Harry couldn’t care less and McHughe gave him the stink eye. Everyone at the pier knew how much the two seemed to dislike each other. Harry having gotten into one hell of a row with him only the week before, claiming that Norris was purposefully preventing him from getting any decent hours.
“What?” Harry crossed his arms over his chest and glared at the weasel-like little man.
“I gotta job for you.”
“Well, goodie. What is it?”
Norris glared and for a moment Harry thought he might try and hit him. Which would be rather amusing since in his current disguise, Harry was almost twice Norris’ size. “The Captain of the Albatross needs an extra hand loading the last of her cargo. Go see the first mate and get things loaded. That ship needs to be outta port on time. So don’t be lazzin’ about.”
Harry rolled his eyes, glared at the ship in question and made a motion as if he was going to make the sign of the cross but thought better of it. His persona wouldn’t want Norris to think him easily spooked off a job. That was after all why Norris would have assigned him to this ship today. “Fine.”
Turning and stalking off Harry fought to contain his glee. Everything was in motion now. Shoving his hands in his pockets as he trudged over to the ship, Harry keyed in his code on the magical coin that would notify the rest of the Royal Task Force that he was getting into position on the ship. Harry would still have to send out a final confirmation before they could raid the ship, but this way his backup would be primed to go.
The First Mate was an easy man to find, seeing as he had been standing around by the ship all day, yelling at the crew to keep working. After a short round of yelling on the First Mate’s part, Harry was assigned to help load the smaller cargo from the containers and into the special freezer compartment onboard. Harry didn’t expect it to be much more than the crew’s food and maybe some extra food being shipped overseas. Nothing that they would worry about him seeing. The “special” cargo would only be handled by the men of the crew that Hesse would trust or had threatened with death.
For another hour Harry worked quietly under the watchful eyes of the First Mate, before the man seemed convinced that Harry found the ship haunted enough not to wonder off. Eventually the man walked off, happy to go yell some more at his full time crew. Harry waited another twenty minutes before pulling out the small marble that he had charmed to create an illusion of his polyjuiced self working. It was a great bit of magic that Fred and George had come up with a few years ago to try and get out of babysitting duty. The marble monitored his movements and would replay them as an illusion for another hour before the spell cancelled out. It should give him more than enough time to explore the hold of the ship.
Ducking into a small closet, Harry waited for the last of the polyjuice to wear off before shifting into his animagus form. It wasn’t perfect for this, as clouded leopards weren’t native to the UK let alone the docks. He just hoped that if anyone saw him they might think him a rather large stray. The form of a normal house cat would have worked better but this would do well for now. His smaller size would allow him to use the air vents on the ship to sneak from room to room with as little notice as possible.
Taking a moment to rise his nose in the air, open his mouth and take a deep breath, Harry let himself relax into the new animal senses. His sense of smell wasn’t as good as a canines but his night vision was much better. Of course the soft pads on his feet helped as well, allowing him to move almost silently through the ship.
Harry had to pause on three different occasions as he heard someone approach where he was. He didn’t want to risk anyone hearing him and going for a closer look, as the vents were not large enough for him to change back into human form so that he could stun someone. As it was they were barely large enough for his animagus form. He always waited for a count of twenty before continuing on after one of these close calls, so it took a little longer than he’d hoped to find the cargo he was looking for, but he still had enough time to get back before his illusion ended.
Taking another longer breath to try and scent out any hidden dangers, Harry slowly stepped out of the grate, allowing his body to shift back into his normal human form. Glancing around the dimly lit room Harry pulled out a small flashlight and began to open some of the larger crates, taking care to note each item he could see, even if he didn’t recognize it. There had to be near forty large crates filled with semi-automatic rifles, handguns, and more that looked like they must be military issue. He had only opened the first crate that held anything magical, a crate filled with nearly a hundred Banshee Bombs, when he heard the sound of an amused voice coming from behind him.
“Well, now. I knew you couldn’t resist coming to see my pretties, Potter.”
Victor Hesse stepped out of the shadowed corner of the room and Harry silently cursed. He had no idea how longer Hesse had been in the room but it had obviously been long enough.
“They’re mighty pretty, don’t you think,” Hesse asked picking up one of the Banshee Bombs. It was quite pretty in fact, looking like nothing more than a glass ornament meant for a Christmas tree, but without the hook. Small runes were inlaid in gold along the center of the bomb, just where a finger could run over the runes activating the bomb in seconds.
“Hesse,” growled Harry. His wand slipped out of his holster up his sleeve, and Harry raised his hand up as quickly as possible. The polished purple wood of his new wand gleamed in the harsh light of the storage bay as he raised it, the tip sparking lightly with the surge of his emotions.
Victor arched a brow and smirked at Harry, seemingly unafraid of the wand pointed at him. “I must admit that I find it rather pleasing that of all the wizard’s sent to kill me the Queen chose The Master of Death.”
“I’m not here to kill you, Hesse. I’m here to take you into custody.” Harry narrowed his eyes, not liking how calm Victor was. He should be at least slightly worried to have a wand as dangerous as Harry’s pointed at him.
Victor started laughing, his smile growing wider by the minute. “Such a good little Auror, aren’t you?”
“Victor Hesse. You are under arrest for dealing in illegal arms, for consorting with known terrorists, breaking the statute of secrecy, for multiple acts of treason and-“
Victor stepped forward into Harry’s space, pressing the tip of Harry’s wand against his chest. “I am afraid not, little kitten.” Hesse smirked and leaned down until he could whisper into Harry’s ear.
Victor grinned manically as he whispered into Harry's ear, not worried about the wand digging into his chest. “Boom.”
Harry jerked back but not in time to stop the force of the blasting curse from sending him flying across the room, his body crumpling against the steel wall and heavy wood of the crates. He could feel something in his chest snap and he gasped, his fingers going momentarily limp. His wand dropped out of his hand, vanishing into the hidden holster.
The clack of Hesse’s boots against the metal floor brought Harry’s attention back to the dangerous man in the room with him. Gasping, Harry tried to stand only to collapse back to the ground as his legs gave out beneath him. Cursing his inattention Harry silently began to unweave the nonverbal spell Hesse must have cast almost on top of the blasting curse.
“I was expecting more from the famous Harry Potter. It’s a bit disappointing how easy this has been.” Hesse gave Harry a rather put upon look and dropped to his knees in front of Harry, picking up Harry wand, twirling it between his fingers. “I was hoping for so much more, but I suppose I shall have to find a new way to play with you, pretty kitty.”
Harry flinched as Hesse ran his fingers gently down the side of his cheek, cupping it in his palm. Their eyes locked and Harry was suddenly grateful that he had finally learned how to protect his mind. Hesse licked his lips and leaned in as if he was going to kiss him, only to stop a breath away from Harry’s own lips.
“Subsisto Cattus, ” he breathed the words against Harry’s lips, the pulse of the magic forcing the transformation before Harry could react.
Harry hissed as his body contorted and shrunk down into a body shape that felt similar to his animagus form. Towering over him, Hesse grinned wickedly down at Harry. Harry felt the hair on his back stand on end, his lips pulling back in a snarl as Hesse grabbed him by the scruff of the neck. Snarling, Harry swiped out a paw, aiming at Hesse’s eyes with his sharp claws. Hardly catching the fact that his paw was smaller than normal and was a nearly solid black rather than the tawny cream and gray.
“Aw…Is my pretty kitty angry?”
Harry twisted in Hesse’s hand, trying to get loose so that he could escape back to the safety of his team. If he didn’t get free Hesse would get away and this whole bloody operation would all be for nothing. Harry yowled and kicked his back legs up, claws digging into Hesse’s arms, drawing blood. The primal part of Harry crowed with glee at the sight and smell of his prey’s blood.
Hesse cursed and shook Harry, which only caused Harry to dig his claws in deeper. “Little monster.” Hesse smacked his wand against Harry’s temple, the pulse of the stunner flooding through Harry, making his fur stand on end even as his body went limp.
September 2010; Honolulu, Hawaii
Harry had been trapped in the body of a cat for almost a year now and every day he found a new reason to loath Victor Hesse. The Albatross had left England and Harry had been unable to stop it. Hesse had taken great joy in spelling on a collar to Harry that kept him trapped in his animal form, unable to talk, unable to use his magic. It left him vulnerable and unable to contact his team in England, or the contact he had in Hawaii to warn him of Hesse’s arrival. The ship had gone from place to place dropping off weapons and picking up more. Occasionally Hesse would leave the ship to go terrorize some poor innocents, killing and torturing his way around the world. Harry could see the excitement in his face when he left and the pleasure in its place on his return.
Trapped in the small cage in Hesse’s cabin when he was gone, Harry nearly starved on three separate occasions when the crew member assigned to feed him decided not to. Hesse had beaten the man after each occasion but that hadn’t deterred the crewman. He, like Hesse, was a sadist. He seemed to derive a great deal of sexual pleasure from watching Harry’s pain. In some occasions he had even put a bit of poison in the food to watch Harry’s body twist and shake, his fur fall off in clumps, and blood run out his nose as Harry tried to survive a bit longer. After a while he had simply just stopped eating when Hesse left. He didn’t trust the crew and he would rather starve than be poisoned again.
Now that they were docked in Honolulu, Harry was being extra careful. He needed to escape before Hesse arrived in another two days. He had to find a way to get to McGarrett and get him the information he needed about Hesse and WoFat. Too much was at stake and he had already been held captive too long. More people had died because he had been too cocky in his plan to get in, get the proof needed, and get his back-up onboard. He couldn’t risk Hesse getting here and taking out McGarrett. He was the only trustworthy contact Harry had on Oahu and WoFat spent a large amount of time here recently building stronger contacts with the local Yakuza.
So Harry waited. Hesse had been of the ship for twenty minutes already and Harry knew from long experience now, that the crewman who Victor assigned to feed him would be sneaking into Hesse little office where he stashed Harry. The man couldn’t stay away from him if Hesse wasn’t onboard. It was like the man was compelled to seek him out and torture him. Harry often wondered if the man was actually under a compulsion spell to do just that. Harry wouldn’t put it past Anton or Victor to curse one of the crewmen to torture Harry in their absence.
Harry paced his cage and waited. The man would come soon and this time Harry wouldn’t cower back against the wall. This time he would make sure the man bled beneath his claws and when the man was down Harry would escape this floating Hell. He would escape and get to John and find a way to convince the man of who he was and the danger he was in.
So he waited. And waited. And waited.
And then the creek of the metal door scraping against the metal floor echoed through the small room, making Harry’s sensitive ears throb and lay flat against his head. Harry hissed at the man, his nose wrinkling at the rancid odor coming off the man. As always he was unshaven and smelled as if he hadn’t washed in a week. His eyes were red rimmed and Harry knew that he would be able to smell the whisky on the man’s breath if he got close enough. Still despite how badly he wanted to cringe away from the man, he didn’t. He crouched in the corner pretending to be scared and waited for the man to reach inside for him. That was when the man would be the easiest to attack. But still he would need to wait, just long enough for the man to pull him out of the cage. Once outside his chance to escape before the man could damage him further increased.
“Hello, wee little puss.” The man leered through the bars of the cage at Harry, making Harry’s fur stand on end. Laughing he thrust out his hand, knocking it against the metal bars hard enough to shake the cage. Harry hissed and jumped making the man smiled even wider, showing off a mouth of yellowed teeth. “Ah, does my wee pussy not wan’ ta play? We canna be havin’ that now, puss.”
Harry hissed again and gave a quick swipe of his claws at the man before allowing his body to cower further into the corner of the cage.
“Now don’ be like that, mah sweet little puss.”
Thrusting his arm inside the small door, movements startlingly fast, he grabbed Harry by the front paw, barely snarling when Harry sunk his fangs into the flesh of his arm. Harry growled around the flesh, blood filing his mouth, that was as rancid as the smell of the man. The man screamed louder than Harry thought possible, dropping his hold on Harry’s paw and trying to jerk his hand out of the cage.
Harry cursed himself as he realized he may have just ruined any chance to escape. All he could do now was lock his jaws on the man’s tender flesh and try and wrap his paws around the mans arm, digging in his claws and hoping that the man would pull Harry out of the cage along with his arm.
“Bloody fuck,” screamed the man, trying to fling Harry off his now shredded arm. The man gave another violent shake of his arm, finally dislodging Harry, flinging Harry across the small room to crash against the wall.
Shaken, Harry lay on the floor, his heart pounding in his chest, blood dripping from his nose as he watched the man stumble towards the desk and the gun Hesse had stashed in it. Trying to catch his breath and calm his racing heart Harry took a moment, watching the man before pushing up onto unsteady feet. Darting his gaze around the room Harry noticed and rusted hole in one wall at ground level, hidden by the bed Hesse used when he was onboard. Looking back over at the man who was jerking the drawer with the gun open Harry decided that whatever was beyond that hole had to be better than waiting here for the unwashed arse to shoot him.
Running for the bed, he slipped under the bunk, his body immediately camouflaged by the dark shadows under the bed mixing with his black fur. His eerie green eyes flicked back briefly to look at his captor digging about in the desk, before Harry turned back towards the hole in the wall and squeezed through the sharp, rusted opening. Harry cursed as he felt the sharp edges of the metal leave cuts along his ribs as he squeezed through to the room beyond. Panting he silently thanked whatever deity was watching that he had been turned into a domestic cat. If he had been in his animagus form he never would have fit through the hole.
Taking a moment to look around the room, Harry hissed his displeasure as he realized it was almost identical to the room he had just escaped. Hearing the angry screams in Hesse’s room, Harry jumped up onto the desk and flung himself at the metal shelves welded to the wall. His paws and chest hit the edge of the shelf and his back legs scrambled to find purchase so that he could pull himself up. Finally one of his back feet found a chink in the metal he could use to push himself up onto the shelf. Laying across the dusty surface, Harry just panted. He couldn’t let himself rest long though because he could hear the other man in the room trying to yank the bed away from the wall to find where Harry had disappeared to. It wouldn’t take him long to spot the hole in the wall and realize where Harry had gone, and Harry needed to be out of this room by then.
Trying to ignore the way his legs were shaking with adrenalin, Harry looked up above him to the open vent shaft. The room really was a mirror to the one he had been kept in.
Thinking again of John waiting on the island, in danger because Harry was stuck like this, because Harry had failed to break free in time to warn him of the Hesse brother’s plot, Harry pushed himself forward promising himself that he would take a long nap after John was safe. Safe from Wo Fat’s plot to use the Hesse brothers against John. The Hesse brother’s were more than happy to work for Wo Fat on this mission even though there was a higher probability that one of them would die. They would get to kill Steve McGarrett, who like Harry, had been chasing them around the globe getting ever closer to catching them. Wo Fat would like it because he could kill off Steve McGarrett to hurt his father and then kill John. Or he could kill John off first and then let Anton kill John’s son. Either way Wo Fat had two major threats to his operation taken out with one smooth stroke.
Harry couldn’t allow that.
Jumping up Harry clawed and crawled up into the vent and to freedom. Smirking as best a cat could as he heard the angry shouting from the crewman as he barged into what was likely Anton’s room only to find Harry gone.
John McGarrett’s House; Oahu, Hawaii
Harry had escaped finally from The Albatross and the prison that Hesse had created for him only to know a brief taste of freedom. Three hours later and Harry was finally making it to John’s house after hitching a ride in the back of a truck filled with surfboards, only to find that Victor had beat him there. Harry charged the man and managed to slash his claws down over Victor’s face, hopefully blinding him in one eye, before Victor threw Harry off him.
Harry’s body crashed into a shelf covered in photos and old trophies. The cuts on his rib opening up again, red blood sluggishly spilling out of the wounds into matted dark fur.
Victor pressed his gun against John’s temple, glaring at Harry. “Try it again, Potter and I won’t wait to kill him until little Stevie can hear him die.”
Harry hissed at Victor, his backwards curled ears pressed flat to his skull, stubby tail and body fur standing on end, and tried not to let his enemy see how badly hurt he really was. His ribs were aching and Harry was starting to think he might have broken one of them in that last fall. He desperately wished he could take on his animagus form. It was large enough, and with much longer fangs, to be a real threat to Hesse, despite it being the smallest of the “big cats.”
“Potter,” asked John, confused as he looked up at Hesse and then over to where Harry was struggling to stand back up. “No…”
“Oh, yes.” Hesse smirked, pleased that his hostage was smart enough to catch on to the fact that magic was real. “Etienne, tie up Potter. I want him to watch this and know that he failed to stop me from killing one of his own. Again.”
John’s eyes widened fractionally, and Harry saw the realization come over him that he was going to die no matter what. That he was being used as a pawn against one of his own trusted contacts in his fight to avenge his wife’s death, and take down the ghost, Wo Fat. A man that John might have even considered a friend.
Harry snarled at Etienne, but allowed the man to bind him. Fighting back would only get him worse injuries, making Harry’s chance to help John become even less likely. Harry glared at the rope tying him to the table leg. There was no magic in it, but Etienne knew what he was doing. The rope was tied tight, digging into his fur and flesh. Harry jerked back feeling the rope go taunt. Slumping, he looked over at John, his eyes filled with grief. He was failing! He hadn’t made it here in time to warn John about Anton’s capture in Pohang, South Korea, being a trap orchestrated by Wo Fat as a way to kill off both McGarrett men. He hadn’t been able to warn him that Victor was on the island after him, and now John was going to be killed in front of him. John was going to die while his son listened before he too was killed because Harry had failed.
Only Harry didn’t want to let it happen. He only hoped that the trick he had set in motion might work. There was a chance it wouldn’t work, but he really hoped it did. Hesse hadn’t caught sight of the cell phone Harry had hidden under the side table when he had first slunk in. Which increased the likelihood it might work. Harry had struggled to hit the 9-1-1 on the keypad, but he had heard it connect to an operator just before Harry had launched himself at Hesse. He had to hope he could buy enough time for the police to arrive.
Drawing forth his Gryffindor courage, Harry lunged forward again with all his strength. The table jerked forward inch and Harry nearly tripped over his own feet as he felt his magic surge beneath his skin. Snarling, he lunged again, teeth barred and claws stretched out towards Hesse. Hesse actually took a step back as the table jerked forward again. But the fear flickering in his eyes, died quickly as Etienne lashed out, kicking Harry in the side and throwing him back into the table’s sturdy wooden legs.
Harry wheezed and coughed up a bit of blood. He tried to get up again, but his back legs trembled and gave out beneath him.
Victor smirked at the defeated look on Potter’s face. John McGarrett was bound to a chair in his own house, soon Anton would be free, and Steve McGarrett would be dead as well. Victor picked up John’s cell phone from the desk where Etienne had set up his laptop, and flicked through the contacts until he found the number he was looking for. Hitting the speed dial, Victor pressed the phone to Jack’s ear, his gun still pressed against John’s temple. VA silent order for him to talk. John was beaten badly, one eye already blackening and swelling up, his lip slip and a long bleeding gash stretching over his cheek. More blood was dripping down his neck from another gash along his temple just above his right ear. He knew, like Harry was starting to fear, that he wasn’t going to survive this encounter. Hesse would kill him. All John could do was try to buy some time for his son to escape or kill Anton Hesse. If he was lucky, Harry would stop letting his guilt and injuries hold him captive more securely than Hesse’s ropes.
John swallowed hard, tears pooling in the corners of his eyes. How long had it been since he had heard his son’s voice? Had Steve’s voice even broke yet? “Hey, Champ.”
“You all right,” Steve’s voice was stressed with emotion and John felt a little less angry at himself hearing the concern in his son’s voice.
Hesse pressed the tip of his gun harder into John’s temple, hard enough that John was sure there would be a bruise left behind.
“Who are these people, Steve?” He meant to ask who are they to you? Why do men like the Hesse brother’s know his son, hate his son enough to do this?
Victor pulled the cell away from John’s ear, his smirk growing wider as he looked over at Harry who had started to struggle against his bonds yet again. “Now I know where you get it from. You got a tough old man here. Steve…we both have something to lose here. So listen to me very carefully. I’m offering you a trade. Your father for my brother. All things considered, I’d say it’s more than generous. Wouldn’t you?”
“You’re smart enough to know that’ll never happen.”
Hesse laughed. “I appreciate the compliment. Are you smart enough?”
Hesse looked over to his companion who was sitting at the desk working on his laptop waving for Hesse to keep talking as he tried to pinpoint Steve’s location. Harry’s ears twitched on his head as something familiar began to hit the edge of his range of hearing.
“Come on, Victor. You know how this works. We don’t negotiate with terrorists.”
“Make an exception.”
Etienne lifted up a radio and quickly started to talk his a hushed whisper, while watching the screen of the laptop zero in on the prison transport. “Ghost to One. I’ve triangulated the cell signal. The convoy is ten miles west of your position.”
Harry hissed as he realized they must to co-coordinating an air strike on the convoy that had Anton and Steve in it. Seeing that tugging and twisting wildly was doing nothing to help free him, Harry instead decided to try chewing through the rope. One ear twisted back towards the sound he now realized were approaching sirens. Based on the fact neither Victor or Etienne were reacting to the approaching police, Harry was sure they were still just out of hearing range for a human. Either that or they weren’t at all worried about the cops showing up.
“I’m not gonna negotiate like this.”
“Oh, are we negotiating now,” teased Victor.
“You kill him, you get nothing.”
John looked away from Harry and back to Victor. “Give me the phone, please. I can get him to help you.” John took a deep gasping breath as his lungs burned and his ribs throbbed against his bindings. He had to tell Steve…to warn his son about the coming attack. About Wo Fat and the truth about his Mother’s car accident. “He’ll listen to me, he’s my son.”
Hesse looked him over for a long moment before putting the phone back to John’s ear with a look that clearly stated he didn’t believe that whatever John was going to say would sway his son. Victor probably knew Steve McGarrett as well, if not better than, John did. Still Harry prayed that John could buy them just a few minutes more. Hesse was distracted now but Harry could see Etienne beginning to tense as the sirens got louder and louder.
“Listen to me, Champ.”
“Dad,” Steve interrupted. “I’m gonna get you out of there, all right? Don’t worry about it.”
John felt tears gather at the corner of his eyes at the sound of his son’s voice. “I’m sorry that I lied to you.”
“What? Lied to me about what? What, Dad? What are you talking about,” Steve asked obviously confused.
John knew that Steve would understand one day, if he came home. If he understood John’s warning. If he found Harry. “I love you, son. I didn’t say it enough. Whatever these people want, Steve” John glanced out of the corner of his eyes as Etienne stood up waving to get Victor’s attention. “Don’t give it to them. Don’t you give it to them—“
Hesse cursed and yanked the phone away. Swinging his other hand around, Victor smashed the butt of his gun into John’s face, almost knocking him, and the chair he was tied to, over. The sirens were deafening now. Harry could hear the tires squealing on the pavement outside.
“Dad? Dad,” Steve panicked voice echoed out from the phone.
“No more games,” snarled Victor. “I’m taking my brother now.”
“I swear to God I will hunt you down and I will kill you.”
Harry dug his teeth deeper into the rope, feeling strands snapping beneath the pressure and sharp edges of his teeth even as his ears picked up the sounds of explosions and gunfire coming from over the phone line and the sound of feet running of the path to the house. Hesse listened with an evil smile to the sound of chaos, knowing that everything was going according to plan, not caring or even paying attention to Etienne who was shoving the laptop in a bag behind him. Anton was captured per Wo Fat’s plan to lure Steve away from Victor long enough for Victor to get smuggled onto Oahu so that he could meet with Wo Fat and assassinate John McGarrett, who had gotten too close to tying the two of them together and to the Yakuza there in Oahu. It would only moments now and everything would be over with. He could get the rest of his payment from Wo Fat and get back to his normal visit.
Suddenly the sound of chaos and fighting vanished and Harry realized the line must have disconnected. Victor grinned down at John who was spitting blood now, a new bruise already starting to appear where Victor had struck him with his gun. Behind him Etienne was running out through the sliding glass door leading to the private beach. Hesse didn’t notice though, his eyes alight with madness and revenge. Picking up the cell again, Victor dialed Steve’s cell again. Anton should have killed the younger McGarrett by this point and called back.
“What happened,” demanded Victor.
“Victor, listen,” came Steve’s voice from the phone. John smiled as he realized that Steve was alive, which meant that Anton must be dead. He could died now knowing that Steve had taken out Anton Hesse, that he would live another day and hopefully longer.
From the other room the sound of the front door being kicked in, echoed about the room. Harry yowled as loudly as possible and lunged forward, ignoring the snapping feeling in his side as the rope finally broke.
“Put Anton on the phone.” Victor paced in small circles at the long pause on the line. “My brother’s dead. Isn’t he?”
“Victor, listen,” tried Steve.
“Isn’t he?” Another long pause filled the room and Victor glared at John, who looked up at him with resignation and acceptance. “Then so’s your father.”
Hesse raised the gun and glaring down at the older man, his finger drew back on the trigger. Harry yowled again and leapt, even as two cops came running into the room. Victor pulled the trigger, the sound of the gun going off making Harry’s ears ring even as his teeth sank into Victor’s arm, the weight of his body throwing Victor towards the ground. Harry released his grip on Victor before his body hit the floor, twisting in the air to find John who had been knocked to the ground by the force of the close range gun shoot.
Screaming Victor threw the cell at the two confused cops, and lurched to his feet, running out the still open back door. One of the cops yelled and quickly gave chase, while the other rushed towards John and Harry.
Stumbling, as he landed on his feet, some of his own blood dripping from his bloodied nose and sides onto the ground near John. Mewling piteously, Harry limped over to his friend and nuzzled him, ignoring how John’s blood smeared across his face and stuck in the fur between his toes. The cop ignored him for the most part, pushing him away only to check for John’s pulse. The cop’s eyes widened and he quickly reached for his radio attached to his shoulder calling out for an ambulance.
Nuzzling John, Harry collapsed against the floor, his sides heaving as he tried to catch his breath past the blood filling his mouth. Mewling pitifully, Harry slipped away into darkness against John’s shoulder.
A Few Days Later; John McGarrett’s House
Harry was back at the McGarrett house, hiding in the trees at the back, carefully watching the house for any sign of Hesse or one of WoFat’s other men. He had escaped from the veterinary hospital late last night. His side were still bandaged up but thankfully nothing had been punctured ad his newly awakened magic already had the broken bones almost completely healed. He had only been out for three hours when animal control spotted him. After loosing them he had hidden at the perimeter of the property, watching the police and CSI’s coming and going from the house all morning long. For the first few hours the house had been mad with people coming and going, bagging and tagging anything that they could find, flashes of light from their cameras lighting up the evening sky well into dawn. Eventually they had all left, one by one, until the house was empty.
Harry had walked up to the glass doors and looked inside at the ruined remains of his friends home, at the blood staining the floor where he had fallen and over the walls behind where he had been sitting, tied to his own desk chair. He didn’t know how long he had sat there, but eventually he had gotten up and walked over to one of the trees in the yard and climbed it, curling up in the branches to watch and to nap. Eventually John’s son would come home and Harry hoped that he could finish what he started and help the man catch Victor Hesse. It had been with those thoughts, heavy on his mind, that Harry had drifted off to sleep.
A day later Harry woke and stretched into a large yawn, blinking down at the sight of a tall dark haired man slipping through the yard and under the Police tape. Blinking back a growl Harry carefully dropped out of the tree, silently following the man inside John’s house. There was something familiar about him, but being trapped as an animal for so long was making it harder and harder to remember everything about his human life. There were hours and sometime days when he would forget who he had been, only to wake up later and remember.
Inside the house was dark and the scent of John’s blood was still heavy in the air, settling like a noose around Harry’s neck. Hiding in the shadows of the entryway, he watched the man walk over to the large lights the police had left behind. With a click and a soft buzz, the lights went on, flooding the room in sharp white light, highlighting the blood sprayed across several trophies and family photos. He could hear the sharp sound of the man’s indrawn breath at the sight and suddenly Harry knew. He knows this man. Recognizes him from photos that John had shown him, from photos that the Royal Task Force had kept on file, and from countless surveillance photos of the man tracking the Hesse brothers across the globe. This was John’s boy. Steve. Lt. Commander Steven McGarrett.
Harry remained still and silent, watching Steve walk through the crime scene, taking note of the blood spatter, knocked over books, bloody footprints and even the bloody paw prints that Harry himself had left behind. Harry’s paw prints seemed to confuse Steve and Harry couldn’t blame him. It wasn’t something he was likely expecting to see. Still, Harry was impressed by how controlled John’s son was. He was careful in not damaging any evidence that might not have been processed yet, measuring the size of the bloody footprint (and pawprints) by placing his own booted foot side-by-side and snapping a series of quick photos with his iPhone.
Harry was even more impressed as Steve noted the spot that had been cleared on the desk for the laptop used to track him down. Steve was obviously smarter than Harry had given him credit for, not that Harry had thought John’s son was stupid. The man had been almost single handedly tracking Hesse and had almost caught him on two other occasions. If Harry could have gotten clearance for Steve to be brought into her Majesties Royal Task Force, he would have years ago. Then he realized how well Steve had profiled Victor Hesse and was even more upset that he couldn’t get the man on his team. Outside Harry, no one else had gotten close to catching one of the Hesse brothers other than Steve. It was an impressive feat since Steve had no magic to use to help him in his pursuit.
Harry waited until Steve had turned away from the room, his eyes grim and heavy with a sight no son sound have to see. Keeping a careful watch on where Steve was, and trying not to leave any new bloody paw prints, Harry followed him into the garage, narrowly making it into the room before the door closed behind him. Steve’s attention was almost immediately focused on the large covered shape of John’s Mercury Marquise. Harry had seen the car before, on one of his previous visits to Oahu. John had been proud of the work he had done on the car but had seemed sad when he told Harry that he couldn’t seem to get the nerve to start working on it again. It had been his and Steve’s bonding project. Their father-son time had been spent hiking together and working on this car. John had even confessed that he had planned to give it to Steve as a gift once they had finished it. But that had all been ruined by his wife’s murder and the panic that Noshimura would decide to target Steve and Mary as well.
“I can’t continue this investigation into the police department from the inside. I don’t trust the people I work with. So…I’m gonna have to do this on my own. It’s all about the key. I just don’t know what it’s for.”
The creek of the front door opening startled Harry and Steve, who both turned to look towards the entrance to the garage. Steve turned off the tape recorder, carefully putting it back in the stained toolbox. Harry felt the hair on his back stand on end as another man rushed into the room, gun draw and pointed at Steve. Harry hissed and readied himself to jump at the man if needed. He couldn’t protect John but he damn sure was going to protect his son.
“You, hands up, don’t move,” commanded the blond man.
Steve drew his own gun, his hands steady and sure as they pointed the weapon at the stocky, blond haired man in the dress shirt and tie. Harry barely managed to dodge the man’s feet as he rushed around the front of the car to face Steve. As the man moved past, Harry froze. The man’s scent was heavy in the air as he walked past and Harry felt his fur relaxing back into place. He knew this man, he was the cop assigned to John’s case. He had been here several times since the police first arrived to find John’s body and he was the only one who returned. Harry could pick up the scent of the man’s disgust at his fellow police officers every time he came into the house. It was as sharp as the scent of their disgust for him was, but Harry could better understand the blond cops disgust at his fellows officers of the law. They had come and processed at least a part of the scene and then just abandoned it. Only the blond cop returned to seek answers to what had happened here.
To seek justice for a brother in arms. It was obvious that this man wasn’t one of the dirty cops, that he thought they should have been out en masse to solve this case rather than leaving the house as empty as a ghost town.
“Who are you,” demanded Steve, his gun raised at the other man.
“Who are you? I am Detective Danny Williams-“
“Lieutenant Commander McGarrett. This is my father’s house,” Steve interrupted. His eyes were targeted on the blond man, their gaze cold and hard with his need for answers and vengeance.
“Put your weapon down now,” detective Williams calmly demanded.
“No, you put your weapon down. Show me your ID.” Steve stepped forward causing Detective Williams to step back against the shelves lining the wall, again nearly stepping on Harry, who had to scoot further back.
“Show me your ID right now,” he demanded, voice getting louder.
“I’m not putting my gun down.”
Detective Williams took a deep breath and Harry could see him visibly trying to calm himself down. “Neither am I.”
Harry rolled his eyes and lay down on the ground, his little stub of a tail twitching behind him in amusement as he watched the two men posturing before him. He had gotten used to seeing these Alpha Male pissing contests since joining the Auror Department and the Queen’s Royal Task Force. This was nothing new, although the underlying sexual tension he could feel in the air was. Smirking to himself Harry wondered if either man was aware that their initial attraction to the other was reciprocated.
“Use your free hand, take out your ID,” Steve demanded again.
“Please, after you,” snarked the Detective.
“At the same time?”
“At the same time,” asked Detective Williams, who managed to sound both amused and irritated by the request.
“The same time.”
“What, like on the count of three?”
Steve shrugged, his gun still trained on the shorter man. “Okay. Three is good.”
Detective Williams moved one hand off his gun, Steve paralleling the movement.
Carefully both men reached for their wallets.
As if they had been doing it for years, both men held up their ID’s at the same time.
With a shake of his head, Steve put his gun back in its holster and shoved his wallet back in his back pocket. Turning away from the blond Detective to look at the toolbox that his father had hinted at.
“Listen,” Detective Williams seemed to relax, a look of understanding in his eyes as he approached Steve. He moved slowly, carefully as if Steve was the wild animal Harry looked like. “I’m really sorry about your father, but you can’t be here right now. This is an active crime scene.”
“Doesn’t seem that active.”
Detective Williams waved his hand looking a bit irritated, although neither Steve nor Harry could tell if it was actually Steve the man is irritated by. “I can’t share any information with you.”
“Hesse wasn’t in here alone when with my father. Someone was sitting at the desk in the study. There was a space cleared for a 13-inch laptop and my father hated computers.”
Detective Williams looked like he was trying not to sigh out loud as he moved even closer to Steve and the tool box that Steve was clutching closely. “I’m gonna ask you again, you gotta leave.”
Steve grabbed the toolbox and moved to walk past Danny. Steve knew he couldn’t stay here any longer without causing problems he couldn’t waste time on and he just hoped that the Detective wouldn’t notice that Steve was leaving with something that might be evidence to why his father was murdered. “You got it.”
“And you can leave the box. That is evidence. You know that.”
Steve stopped and turned to look at Danny. “I came with this.”
“No, you didn’t come with it. I see the dust void it left here on the counter. What’s in the box?”
“How long have you been with Honolulu PD?”
Harry felt his eyebrow rise, or what passed for an eyebrow for a cat, at the sudden smell of anger and hurt acceptance. “None of your business. Who’re you Barbara Walters?”
“It is my business if you’re investigating my father’s death.”
“I am and I’d like to get back to that. The sooner you leave, the sooner I can.”
Steve turned to leave again, ignoring Detective Williams’ demands to leave the toolbox behind. “Anything you say.”
“Leave the box or get arrested. All right?”
Steve turned to face the shorter man again, his scent heavy with irritation. “Gonna call for backup?”
“An ambulance,” the Detective said, sounding very sure of himself. Although whither the ambulance would be for the detective or Steve, Harry didn’t know. Steve was a SEAL, trained to kill. But the detective was a police officer and had gone through training to take down enemies as well, and although sorter than Steve the detective was obviously well muscled and strong.
Steve nodded at the seriousness in Danny’s tone and set the toolbox down on top of the Marquise.
“Thank you,” remarked the detective.
“Don’t thank me yet.” Steve pulled out his cell phone and scrolled through until he found the number that the Governor gave him that morning before the funeral.
“What are you doing,” demanded Detective Williams.
Steve glared at Detective Williams and looked away, almost catching sight of where Harry was resting beneath the shelves.
“Yeah, Governor Jameson, please. Tell her its Steve McGarrett.”
“Oh please,” Detective Williams gave a look to Steve that said he plainly did not believe what was happening.
Steve took the phone from his ear and quickly flipped it to speaker phone mode. The crisp clear voice of a woman could be heard coming out of the phone in the otherwise silent garage, not that Detective Williams was all that convinced that the voice actually belonged to the Governor. “Commander. Governor Jameson here. What can I do for you?”
Steve flipped the phone back to normal mode as Detective Williams muttered and walked around the back of the car and then back towards the work bench the toolbox had originally be sitting on. He was rolling his eyes at Steve’s dramatics. The voice sounded vaguely like the Governor’s, but it was obvious that Detective Williams didn’t believe it.
“Governor, I’ll take the job…” Steve blinked and glanced back over his shoulder at the Detective carefully studying the workbench. “No, let’s just say I found something that changed my mind.” Steve’s gaze slid down the length of the detective’s back, lingering on the pert round globes hidden beneath tight fitting slacks. “No, immediately. I’ll transfer to the reserves and I’ll run your task force…Wait. What, right now?...okay.”
Steve glanced upwards at Danny’s face, blushed ever so slightly and turned his back to the other man. He didn’t like showing his back to an enemy but there was something about the other man that made him think he was clean. He couldn’t have been at the HPD long enough to be pulled into whatever dirty operation his father was worried about. The HPD was full of Hawaiians who wouldn’t be all that willing to trust a haole, especially after such a short amount of time since the man had arrived from the mainland.
“I, Steven J. McGarrett…do solemnly declare upon my honor and conscience that I will act at all times to the best of my ability and knowledge…I a manner befitting an officer of the law. Thank you, Governor.”
Steve ended the call and glared at Detective Williams again for good measure before grabbing the toolbox and turning to head out of the garage.
Detective Williams, leaned against the car, arms crossed over his chest watched Steve walk out of what had been his crime scene with a sour expression. He didn’t like anyone stealing his crime scene and he really didn’t like that it was the victim’s son. That was a huge conflict of interest and defense lawyers loved to use that in court. Detective Williams remained there for several minutes after Steve had left, glaring holes into the door. Finally and with a very loud and exaggerated sigh, he pulled out his cellphone and called his captain.
“Hey, Captain. I’m at McGarrett’s house. His son broke into the crime scene and stole evidence.” Danny paused, leaning forwards on the hood of the Marquise, resting on his elbows. “Yeah. I know Captain. I let him leave….No. He supposedly called the Governor who made him some kind of leader of some task force the Governor wanted?”
Danny stood back up and turned around, leaning against the car, his plush round bottom pressed again the same spot he had been leaning before. “Yeah, I think we need to look into this. I’ll call Meka, he should be out of his dentist appointment by now. He can tail McGarrett Jr if we get the black and whites to spot his truck.”
Danny grinned. A spark of mischief in his eyes. “Thank, Captain.”
Danny stood back up, hanging up his call, and moved to leave only to stumble to a halt at the sound of a loud feline yowl of pain and the sudden blossom of pain in his calf. Looking down he saw that trapped beneath his foot was the hind leg of a good sized black cat, which, in retaliation, had wrapped itself around his leg, claws digging into tender flesh through his slacks. Carefully reaching down, Detective Williams grabbed the cat by the scruff of the neck before lifting his foot off its leg. The cat hissed at him but settled down fairly quickly as he moved to look its leg over. It was actually a fairly cute cat. It a medium sized breed if he compared it to his sisters cats. It’s back legs were longer than the front, and it’s eyes were wide set, large and expressive, and a most unusual shade of green.
“Sorry about that, little guy. Didn’t see you hiding down there.” He ran his hands through the short, fluffy fur, surprised to note that it wasn’t solid black. The fur was actually lighter black with darker black spots.
Harry let out a little chuff as Danny ran his hand down the length of his spine and over the adorable bobtail. Harry had been too concerned about watching John’s place for Hesse’s return to worry about the bandages still around his ribs and the collar about his neck. It was the bandages that seemed to be bothering the man.
“Poor guy, looks like you had a bad day too. Why don’t we take you home? Get you some food. Yeah?”
Detective Williams lifted Harry’s chin. Scratching lightly until Harry couldn’t help but melt into the touch, chuffing and bumping his head against Danny’s hand.
“Poppet? That’s no name for a big guy like you,” Detective Williams said as he looked at the little tag hooked to the leather collar.
Harry sighed and decided that if Detective Williams kept petting him and scratching his chin like that he would be happy as a clam to go wherever the Detective wanted.