by Peg Keeley
"Mike," Justin called to his partner. "Go down the basement and take this stuff with you." He handed him the sacks of stolen goods and the duffel of money. "We'll be along in just a minute."
He nodded and headed to the steel door leading down to the mechanical room.
Justin pulled out the last ten boxes and stacked them up on the counter. "Sam."
He walked into the deeper vault area, still keeping one eye on Nancy. "Yeah?"
"How's the neck?" he asked quietly so the hostages would not hear.
"Hurts, man. That son of a bitch-"
"I'll let you do him, okay? Just use the silencer cause if they hear one more shot we'll have every cop in Hawaii in here. We get out quiet like through at drainpipe, understood? We take the blonde one with us."
"I won't need the silencer," Sam replied. "It'll be quiet."
Justin nodded. "No shots."
Sam crossed back into the doorway where he stood, arms crossed on his chest, gazing towards Nancy and Danny. The .357 was jammed into his belt giving him a remarkable appearance of a cowboy. He rubbed his bruised neck but said nothing considering his choices.
Nancy looked towards him, then commented to Danny. "Don't you carry some kind of secret weapon or something?"
"This isn't James Bond, you know," he remarked.
"Well," she said just as quietly, "if you've got no magic escape, it's my guess that man's gonna kill you any minute."
He glanced in Sam's direction but gave no answer.
Nancy glanced down at the floor. "Look, I'm not good at this interpersonal stuff but -- well I noticed the, um, picture of you and -- " She picked up the wallet that had fallen open to the picture of Danny and Lonnie. "--is he your son?"
His first reaction was irritation. Danny was a private person and fiercely protective of Lonnie, but that irritation melted away to the chilling realization of the possible consequences of this siege and their effect on Lonnie. His mind saw Lonnie being met at Day Care, being told Danny wasn't coming home again. My God, what have I done to him? Deprived of a mother and now to lose his father as well? What kind of game have I been playing? I have risked him because of this crazy job. It wasn't supposed to be much longer. I was going to present my dissertation in just three weeks. Three weeks. Three weeks too late. Oh, Lonnie, what have I done? "His name is Lonnie," he whispered.
"God knows, none of us may live through this, except it looks like I'm the one most likely to make it." She stopped, honestly wishing that she was not the plotted survivor. And her feelings stunned her. "Is there anything I can do?"
Sam was moving towards them.
"Tell him I loved him," Danny managed to utter. There has to be a way to stop this guy. I am going to find it. He will not do this is my kid.
"Over there," Sam snapped at Nancy and she moved over towards Kiko as instructed. Standing over Danny Sam looked powerful and imposing. "Well, cop," he said with a grin. "Moment of truth and all that. This is the way it's gonna be. Doc here is gonna want only one guest -- only one. And he prefers the pretty ones -- female." He rubbed his neck. "That ain't you. But, you know, you gave me an idea with your little stunt before." He squatted down in front of Danny, face to face. "Your turn to see what it feels like." With sudden ferocity, he grabbed Danny by the neck with both hands to strangle him.
"Dear God!" Kiko screamed out. "Do something! He's gonna kill him!"
"GO! GO! GO!" Steve yelled into his radio.
Danny groped desperately with his left arm, mouth wide, trying to gasp for air. Sam was cackling with sadistic laughter. Then Danny's hand found the gun in Sam's belt. Sam felt him pull it out and his expression changed to shock.
There was a massive gun blast and Sam pitched backwards.
There was a dull boom as the explosives blew out the wall of the drainpipe. At the same instant, the plate window shattered as Gary's team came through it. Alarms began to blast with an ear-shattering pitch.
Kirkwood appeared in the doorway, but before he could make a motion, was dropped by a head shot from a second explosive blast of the .357.
Mike staggered through the steel doorway escaping Felder's team on its way into the cellar, stumbling backward into the room, arms raised. Just as the .357 fired again killing Mike instantly, the first of Gary's SWAT team burst into the vault swinging his rifle towards the source of the sound.
"No! Don't shoot!" Nancy leapt forward. "Don't shoot! There's only us!"
"Drop the gun!" the officer screamed at Danny, adrenaline still pumping.
"Hold your fire! Hold your fire!" Gary ordered pushing through his team. Felder's group poured into the tiny room now and there were black uniforms and weapons everywhere. "Get those damned bells shut off!"
Danny had already let the gun fall and leaned back against the bars, breathing deeply, eyes closed, the piercing alarms stabbing through his head, but appreciating being alive.
The sudden cessation of the alarms caused everyone to take a breath of relief.
SWAT officers moved to each of the dead attackers to verify they were no longer a threat.
Gary knelt beside Duke. "Hey, bruddah" he said gently. There was no response. If he had not felt the weak pulse he'd have thought Duke already dead. "We need a medical team in here!" he yelled. It was unnecessary, EMTs were just entering and moved to Duke first.
Steve pushed his way through the crowd of officers that was already starting to thin out. He glanced over the scene quickly, missing nothing. It was heartbreaking to note the three dead hostages thrown so carelessly by the door. Then he saw Danny who'd just been released from the handcuffs, sitting on the floor, rubbing his right wrist. "Danno, you all right?" He examined the bloody graze wound.
"Never better," he remarked flatly. He started to shake his head, but the action hurt. "How should I feel? I just shot and killed three men."
Felder pushed through the thinning crowd of officers to their side. "Steve, that one had no gun," he murmured quietly, gesturing towards the sprawled form that had been Mike.
Steve scowled. "Look around here. He probably dropped it when he got hit."
Felder raised an eyebrow, but said nothing more.
"How's Duke?" Danny asked anxiously.
McGarrett glanced towards the huddle of medics. "He's alive, Danno, afraid I can't give you much else."
The sun was hot, but the breeze made the afternoon pleasant. Steve walked across the driveway up to the door of the daycare center listening to the fresh sound of children at play in the yard out back. He'd already spoken with the director and they knew he was coming. He showed the woman at the desk his driver's license and badge.
"Is Mr. Williams all right?" Miss Marsh asked.
"He will be," he assured her. This time.
She motioned him to follow her down the hall.
Steve could hear a child's voice singing in clear perfect pitch accompanied by simple melody on piano. "Bye low, Baby Jesus, happy Christmas time."
Miss Marsh commented to Steve. "Lonnie has a lovely voice for such a young child. He has a gift."
Or curse, Steve thought, but did not say.
She clapped her hands. "Very nice, Lonnie. We have a surprise for you! Look who is here!"
"Unca' Steve!" His face glowed with joy and he dashed into Steve's open arms. This was a special treat. Uncle Steve had never picked him up before. "Miss Marsh is going to let me sing at the Christmas show tomorrow night. You'll come, right?"
He smiled. "I wouldn't miss it."
Lonnie hesitated. "Where's Dad?"
"I'll take you to him. Would you like to spend the night at my new ranch tonight? You could feed the chickens."
Miss Marsh handed Steve Lonnie's backpack. "See you tomorrow, Lonnie!" she called.
But Lonnie did not answer her. His initial joy had mellowed into caution. Even the idea to visit Steve's newly purchase ranch had failed to sway him. "Is Dad okay?"
Steve felt a little uncomfortable that a three and half year old had so accurately come to the conclusion that something was wrong in spite of everyone's attempts to behave otherwise. He started the engine and turned on the air conditioner. "I'm taking you to see him."
Steve entered through the emergency room doors, Lonnie in hand, and walked purposefully back to the triage waiting area. He could feel Lonnie's fingers gripping him tighter and when he glanced down, the child looked up at him with large brown eyes brimming with tears.
"I told you it's going to be all right," Steve attempted to reassure him. He scooped him up into his arms and was about to open the door to a room when he heard his name called. He turned back.
"McGarrett, I am Dr. Djhad," the dark man said through a heavy accent. "Mr. Lukela is stabilized. He will go to surgery in just a minute."
"Is he conscious?"
"I'll be right there." He opened the door to the small triage room and entered. It closed softly behind them.
Danny lay on a hospital stretcher. The graze wound had been scrubbed and painted with orange betadine solution. He opened his eyes at the sound of the door.
"Daddy?" Lonnie whispered, fearfully.
Lonnie," he replied, in relief. "How are you doing, kiddo?" He sat up although it increased the headache.
"Daddy, you okay?" he asked.
"Just a scratch" he answered, trying to make light of it.
Lonnie critically gazed at the wound. "Can we go home now?" he asked.
"Not yet, Lonnie. Come up here so I can give you a hug."
Steve lifted Lonnie up onto the stretcher and, with his small son curled up in his arms, Danny finally looked at ease.
Danny sank back against the pillow, Lonnie nestled against him. "Man, when that adrenaline wears off, you sure are tired." He chose not to reveal that the pounding headache lessened when he lay down.
"Have you talked to the doctor?" Steve asked.
As if on cue, the door opened and an older man in a floral printed, open collared shirt entered. He was tall, even taller than Steve, and quite broad shouldered. His dark skin bore wrinkles consistent with a man who smiled frequently. Upon encountering the poignant father-son moment, he broke into a tender smile.
"I'm Dr. Ooskiwa," he introduced himself quietly, laying a file of papers about three inches thick on the bedside table. "I'm the ER doc around here."
Steve stepped forward to remove Lonnie and the boy began to whimper, wrapping his arms around his father's neck.
"No, please," Ooskiwa said quickly. "I only need a moment." He dimmed the lights, then came close to Danny and shone a pen light into his eyes. "Head hurt?"
"Just a little."
Ooskiwa gave a "Humf."
"Which means?" Danny murmured.
"You've got a concussion from the gun being fired so close to your head. I also need to stitch up that laceration."
"I'd like to keep you overnight for observation. Sorry about the headache, but with concussions we don't medicate. The stitches won't be a problem; don't think it'll scar. You're real lucky considering how everyone else made out. It could have been much worse," he added, trying to sound positive. He waited a moment. He placed a hand on the thick file. "You have quite a history in this hospital -- nearly all of it traumatic. It looks like a short chapter this time." He turned to go. "I'll be back."
As the door closed behind the doctor, Steve thumbed the edge of the file he'd left behind. How many close calls and nights of pain are contained here? I remember the first time. He was shot right here in the hospital. I remember thinking he was so young, it was such a waste, a freak thing. Then a few years later there was nothing accidental at all when he was shot by that sniper on the hillside and still managed to complete the mission. All the scrapes, bruises, lacerations of the years trying to do the thankless job of protecting the peace. And then there was the Chaney incident. The permanent reminder Danny made a game of with Lonnie referring to the circular scar in the center of his chest as his on-off button. On and off indeed. Is he remarkably lucky to survive all this, or should he get out while he's still alive? I've covered this ground before. Steve looked up to see Danny's steady gaze on him.
"The lucky one, huh," Danny remarked. "How's Duke?"
"On his way to surgery in a minute or two; I need to go see him."
"Go ahead. We're fine."
Steve headed for the door, glancing back once at the man and boy clinging to each other. They would be fine for now. What about next time?
As the door close between them, Steve heard: "Daddy, can we still go see Santa today?"
Steve was directed to the preop area where Duke was easy to spot. He had surgical people standing around him, carefully doing what they needed to do while permitting Mary's constant presence. "Duke?" Steve said as he approached.
Mary turned with a brave smile. "Hello, Steve."
Duke's eyes opened a crack. "We made it, huh?" he murmured.
"Yeah," Steve said trying to create a smile. "You'll feel better once they get those slugs out of you." He watched the nurse hang a second unit of blood. There were already three IVs dripping rapidly, pouring much needed fluid into his body.
"I'll be fine," Duke whispered bravely. "That little teller -- Kiko -- tell her thanks for me."
A doctor approached. "Mrs. Lukela, they are ready for your husband now. You'll need to wait here."
Mary kept her hand in that of her husband although she knew he could not feel her touch. "Duke, I love you," she whispered as they started to take the stretcher and at last her touch was broken. In spite of her attempted courage, a hand moved to her mouth to stifle her fear. "You'll see, Steve. He will be all right."
He placed a supportive arm around her. "I know he will." He directed her out to the waiting area where Gary and his wife, Mandy, already sat with Duke's three teenage children. They immediately enveloped her into their tight circle of support.
Steve walked back out into the hallway, his feelings for his people rising up. He wished for someone to offer him the support, but knew he had to be there for others.
"Are you McGarrett?"
He turned, half expecting a reporter who'd slipped through the net of security HPD had dropped around Queens Medical Center, but was faced with an emergency room nurse. "Yes," he responded.
"I thought I'd just let you know that Lukela's vital signs are stable, that chest wound is a real slow bleed. The bullet in his back is against the spine, applying pressure to the T5 nerve, but it looks like the nerve is intact. The neurosurgeon says there's a real good chance he will make a full recovery in time," the young man explained.
"In time?" Steve asked.
He shrugged. "Well, according to his wife, he was planning to retire the end of next year. I guess he just moved it up a bit. A safe bet would be he's walking in six months."
It was difficult to hear that Duke would be immobile at all, but compared to the initial report that he might be paralyzed the rest of his life, this was joyous news. Steve thanked the nurse and turned to go, but the man called him back. "One of the victims, a Kiko Yamaha, wanted to see you." He pointed to a curtained area.
Steve stepped over and gently moved the drape aside. "Ms. Yamaha?"
Kiko had been resting, her eyes closed. Both hands were completely wrapped in bandages resting in her chest giving the startling appearance of someone dead. At the sound, her eyes opened.
"I'm Steve McGarrett," he introduced himself. "I was told you wanted to see me."
"I wanted to thank you and the police," she said meekly. Her voice sounded small and far away. "Your men were very brave. Is Mr. Lukela all right?"
"The doctors believe he will be," he replied. "He told me to thank you for your help."
"It was nothing. Anyone would have done the same."
"How are you?" he asked.
"I'm fine," she said a little more slowly. "It will be a little while before I can count bills again, but I'll be just fine."
At least on the outside, Steve thought. He was aware of the haunted look to her eyes that attempted the smile. Could a civilian go through this kind of an experience, watching her co-workers killed, her own life threatened, and ever be the same? He left Kiko, headed back across the ER towards the triage room, knowing he needed to collect Lonnie soon, but he noticed Nancy Weathers sitting in a chair near the nurses' station, alone, her arms wrapped around herself.
"Ms. Weathers," he said approaching her. "How are you doing?"
She glanced away, hugging herself tighter. "Just fine."
He sat down beside her, staring across the room rather than at her. "Yes, everyone seems to think they are just fine. Kiko, Danny, Duke, they all say they are just fine."
She didn't say anything for a long time. "Was that Mr. Williams' son I saw you bring in?"
She shook her head, still looking away. "I had never stopped to know any of them."
She glanced at him, then away. "The people I rubbed shoulders with every day. I never knew them. I mean, I knew about them, but I did not know them, their families, nothing. Did you see Vince's wife? God, they had an awful marriage, but she just came apart when she learned he was dead. Her screaming....." she stopped for a moment. "It broke my heart. No one would have missed me like that. Maybe it should have been me."
"You were not responsible for the deaths of your co-workers. Kirkwood just wanted to make you think that," Steve offered.
"Perhaps," she murmured. "In a way I feel like I am seeing things for the first time. Kiko didn't even hesitate to place herself at risk for Lukela. She didn't even know him. Why?
He raised an eyebrow. "You'd need to ask her that question." He looked her in the eye. "Ms. Weathers, don't be so hard on yourself. You were pretty heroic yourself today."
"Three people died because of me!"
"No. It was Kirkwood's plan, not yours." He hesitated to let it sink in. Then he added: "One of my officers tells me that when they launched their assault, it was you who jumped between them and Williams to give him a chance to get the gun down."
"That was nothing."
"Maybe, maybe not. They'd heard shots and were coming in looking for a shooter. He was the shooter. Whether they would have fired or not isn't the point. You also put your life on the line in that moment for a near stranger."
She sat for a moment searching within herself for the answer. She recalled the instant when she thought Sam was going to kill Danny. There'd been time to know it was coming. "I don't know. I guess there are things we do that we can't explain, we just do them." She sighed. "Well, Mr. Yates is on his way back. I guess I can kiss my job good-bye."
Steve rose to go. "Maybe your boss has a broader view than you think. You handle yourself pretty well in stressful situations. That would seem like a pretty good trait for an employee to have."
Lonnie was crying out, "Daddy! Daddy! Where are you! I can't see you!" He could hear the sobs. "Help me, Daddy! Find me!"
There was a thick gray mist swirling around Danny. He could see nothing but fog. He reached out and there was a thick wall all around. "Lonnie! I'm trying to find you!"
"Daddy! Daddy! I'm lost! I want to be with you! Why did you leave me alone?"
He scraped his knuckles along the concrete wall. He couldn't see anything. He was afraid. Something terrible was here; something dangerous, but he did not know what it was. "Lonnie!" Silence answered him. "Lonnie!"
"Danny!" called a new voice, that of Mali. "Danny! Save Lonnie!"
"Mali?" He was confused. "Where are you?" How can she be here? Where am I?
He could hear Lonnie crying again. "Daddy! I need you! Daddy, why are you dead?"...
......Danny jumped as something touched him. His eyes flew open and he was looking into Steve's face. He blinked once.
"Sorry, Danno, I didn't mean to waken you," Steve was whispering. "I was going to take Lonnie home."
"It's okay," he murmured back. More than okay. God what a nightmare. He was soaked in sweat.
Steve could tell Danny had been badly startled. "You all right?"
"Must have been really sleeping," he muttered.
Steve scooped the slumbering child up into his arms.
"Steve, I've got a lot of thinking to do. I thought this would be okay, but it can't. Maybe if Lonnie's care wasn't all up to me it might be different. I thought it would work. I can't do this to him. I just can't."
Steve stood there the sleeping Lonnie draped over his shoulder. Somehow I knew this was coming, just not when. And didn't I think that same thing just a few hours ago? "You've got your dissertation in three weeks. You need some time to plan. Take some time off. You've earned it. We can discuss this later."
Danny did not respond. Does he know what I mean? Why does everything have to be so hard? Why can't things just be normal like other guys who go to work and come home every day? Because that is not what Five-0 is about. And that is the problem. "There won't be a later, Steve, Lonnie has to come first. I'm sorry. I know it's been a hell of a day. Maybe it's not the right time to make a decisions like this, but -- I'm making it anyway."
Steve sighed and chose his words with care. "A few years ago, standing in another room in this very hospital, I tried to make a decision for you. That is not a lesson I am likely to unlearn. Danno, I knew this was coming, just not in this way." Yes, I knew, but I'd hoped it wouldn't. "Did you expect after earning a Ph.D. to just sit around in Five-0 chasing crooks? I'd like you and Lonnie to spend the Christmas holiday out at the ranch with me. Stay there as long as you like. Finish preparing for that dissertation and when you present it, and you become Dr. Dan Williams, and the University offers you a teaching position, which of course they will," he paused to catch his breath, "remember your friends in Five-0 and come by on consult once in a while. Okay?" He placed a protective hand on Lonnie's back. "After all, I'll always be a godfather." He stepped back into the hallway, a lump in his throat. I feel as though my department is coming down around me. I've lost my two best men on the same day.
Steve was lost in thought as he headed for the exit and almost missed noticing the two men in navy blue suits, white shirts and basic ties who approached him. As they stopped before him, he suddenly recognized them.
"Smith and Farrell," one said, showing a badge. "IAD."
Steve repressed the urge to punch the man. "What is it, Smith?" Whenever Internal Affairs shows up there is serious trouble for an officer somewhere.
"The report on the hostage situation as Bank of Hawaii. During the assault, Officer Williams shot and killed an unarmed suspect."
Lonnie whimpered in his sleep and Steve shifted him to the other shoulder. "I was told the pistol was found."
"Yeah, in the mechanical room," Farrell remarked. "Canfield died in the vault."
"We're not going to discuss this today," Steve said hotly.
Smith shrugged. "It's not you that I want to talk to. You've got no control in this." He started past.
Steve took hold of his arm. "Williams isn't talking today either."
Farrell poked Smith. "Come on, we'll come back."
Smith gave a smirk. "Don't worry, McGarrett, we're all one team trying to maintain the law, right?" He gestured towards Lonnie. "Cute kid."
"Well, team mate," Steve remarked hotly, "remember him before you crucify his father. Besides, I think he just resigned " Steve marched away, through the ER door and out to his car.
Farrell gave a low whistle. "Ever come up against Five-0 before?" he asked Smith.
His partner shrugged. "All the same. I've never bagged a Five-0 guy -- it'll make a nice feather, don't you think?"
Farrell gave no answer. He turned to leave and nearly collided with the slightly disheveled, nevertheless strikingly beautiful, blonde-haired woman.
"Excuse me," Nancy Weathers said, "but I couldn't help overhearing your conversation."
Smith seemed uncomfortably embarrassed. "I don't believe this matter-"
"--involves me?" she finished for him. "Well, you see, Mister, there you are wrong."
"Just who are you?" he asked curtly.
"Nancy Weathers." She extended her hand. "If you have read the complete report on the bank siege, then you know who I am."
"Frank Smith." He took her hand and gave a light handshake. "I am deeply sorry about your ordeal today."
"Yes." She brushed the remark aside. "If you are really looking for answers about what happened, why don't you start with me?"
"Look, Ms. Weathers, this is a police internal matter involving police policy and protocol. It is not a criminal investigation of the incident."
"Mr. Smith, you are conducting an investigation into the events of the assault during our hostage situation. All three of the robbers were armed."
He stopped and eyed her closely. "What?"
"They were armed and dangerous -- our lives were in imminent danger."
Now his attention was on her. "One had no weapon."
"I say he did."
Smith twisted his face. "Are you playing some kind of a word game here?"
Nancy's voice rose slightly in anger. "He and his accomplices had attacked us physically and psychologically. The one you're so damned concerned about shot and killed the bank guard and attempted a sexual assault on my employee."
"Ms. Weathers," Smith said more quietly, noting they were getting attention from others, "the issue is not the social and moral qualities of Michael Canfield. The question is: Did Officer Williams shoot and kill an unarmed suspect who was attempting to surrender?"
Nancy looked him in the eye without hesitation. ""So you think Williams should have stopped and played twenty questions with the guy?"
Smith scowled down at the floor. "I have the testimony of a swat team member -- the first guy in the room -- who says he saw Canfield, hands over his head, get shot just as they entered."
"Was he? I say he was going to grab at one of us. I know what I know."
Smith and Farrell exchanged looks. "Ms. Weathers, you know Canfield was surrendering."
She never blinked. "Canfield was dangerous. You can get sixteen SWAT people saying whatever they wish, but I was there. And I will stand by my word."
Smith and Nancy stared eye to eye, then it was Smith who looked away. "Come on, Ross," he murmured to Farrell. "Let's get out of here." They strolled out through the sliding ER doors.
Nancy watched them go and took a deep breath. She felt oddly rewarded. She had no one to go home to, no one coming to meet her, so she decided she would wait for Kiko's doctor to release her. Kiko would need someone to help her get home, make a meal or two for her. It would be the kind thing to do. And we may all owe ours lives to her resourcefulness. There was a small atrium park near the gift shop of the hospital and she walked out into it and felt the warm sun on her shoulders. Nancy turned her face to catch the fleeting fragrance of the blooms on the breeze.
Return to List