?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Hawaii Five-O: Implosion (1/3?)

Title: Implosion (1/3?)
Series: Hawaii Five-O
Pairing: None
Rating: PG-13
Notes: Beta'd by the fabulous frauleinfrog, who for some reason continues to stick by me as I descend into tinier and tinier fandoms.

Summary: Danny's apparent death leaves Five-O struggling to solve the murder without falling to pieces. Because every fandom needs a crazy stalker fic.

Prologue


For Steve, the evening seems to slide by in a grey, featureless blur – the only vividness comes from the thoughts inside his head, and they are bright primary colours, so primitive as to be blinding. He knows time must be passing, but when he glances at his watch the tiny hands impart no meaning to him, and any mention of the hour skims right over him.

It’s only when he’s sitting alone in his office, listening to the distant tower clocks striking eleven, that he finally kicks back entirely into the here and now. Listening to the peals, he isn’t sure whether to be surprised that it’s so early, or that it’s so late. It’s the most immaterial question he’s conceived of all evening, but it’s the first one he’s been able to focus his full attention on. Probably because it has nothing to do with arson, or motive, or Danny – Steve stands abruptly, derailing the host of emotions threatening to crush him. He paces, using the distraction of movement to keep his thoughts from veering off the narrow path of the investigation.

Facts he doesn’t remember being told are pinned together neatly in his memory, carefully recorded for all that they went unnoticed at the time they were received, and he pulls them out now to review. No trace so far of wiring into the ignition or door handle. Accelerant definitely used, but nothing professional. No history of car bombing in any of Five-O’s open cases or those going back 3 months. No witnesses. No immediate clues.

The car is in forensics now, was towed there under Che’s direction as soon as it was cool enough to move. The blackened, charred form was still curled behind the wheel, jerking as the car bumped – Steve fists his hands in his hair and twists, eyes closed so tight he sees stars. It’s not enough to wipe out the memory, to erase his thoughts, and he hears a choked cry escape from his throat.

Storming to his sideboard, Steve yanks the doors open and grabs the bottle of whisky from the bottom shelf. The first swallow he takes straight from the bottle, throat tight and burning. He pours the second into a glass so hastily he spills some of the amber liquid down the side. Gritting his teeth, he shoves the bottle back into the sideboard, slams the door shut behind it, and goes to turn out the light.

It won’t dull his thoughts, but at least he won’t have to stare at a room laced with memories. It might just be enough to let him do what he has to without looking reality in the face.

----------------------------------------------------

It’s been dusk for a long time. He’s been lying here at least that long, as long as a piece of string, as long as the itch in his side has gone unscratched. When he moves, a chime in the distance jingles lightly. He rolls over slowly once, twice, with his head twisted backwards to hear it better, but somehow now he can’t move further. He moans and tries to get to his feet, but he’s trapped, all knotted against himself in a tangle he can’t unravel.

Daylight appears out of nowhere, blinding him as it pours down on him from above so that he flinches away from it. Someone’s speaking, low and tender, the sound buzzing like a fly in his ears.

“Aw, Danny, what’re you doing? Here, c’mon.” The chime rings again as hands on his shoulder roll him out like dough, sun rising and dipping sickeningly in the sky above. “There you go. You just lie still now, and don’t fret yourself. There ain’t nothing to worry about. You’re safe now. I’m gonna look after you.”

Danny blinks up at the blur leaning over him, eclipsing the light. “Wha?” The inside of his mouth is dry and gummy, like the back of a stamp. He licks at it, and then at his lips, all hard and peeling.

“I got you away from him,” says the voice, a river of words that have barely any meaning. “You don’t have to worry about him anymore. I took care of everything. You just close your eyes and rest.”

A hot hand presses him down, down, down into the soft embrace of the mattress. Some petulant thought in the back of his mind complains at there being a mattress outside, but the dregs of Danny’s consciousness are already slipping away.

----------------------------------------------------

Every cop knows there are nights that define a Force. Nights that will become part of its living memory, become one of the stories that are told years and even decades later over drinks. Some of them are nights everyone wants to be on duty because they can sense history unfolding, scent the excitement in the air. And some are nights when everyone has to be on duty, because what unites them isn’t excitement but something much darker that smoulders like lava beneath their skin, and they can’t rest until they’ve locked it away.

Ben is new to Five-O, but he’s an old cop. He’s known Danny for a year, but he’s known about him for much longer, just like everyone on the Force knows about him. Young, honest and fearless; the only cop on in the state who can keep up with McGarrett – and who McGarrett lets keep up with him.

Even without McGarrett’s good opinion, Danny would have been popular. With it, he’s a hero. And there’s not a cop on this rock who will let a hero die without bringing his killer to justice.

Like every other man on the Force, Ben knows this is a night that will define HPD. The night so many off-duty cops came in that the stations were standing room only; the night the mobsters shut down all the brothels and the gambling joints and pulled their men off the street to get the hell out of the line of fire; the night Steve McGarrett personally got on the wire and told the entirety of HPD not to do anything stupid in so many words before cutting curtly out, and then proceeded to flatly ignore three calls from the Governor.

Ben, along with the rest of Five-O, gets called in by McGarrett around one in the morning and told to go home. And, like the rest of Five-O, he promptly returns to his desk and takes up where he left off. He’s been there ever since

One day, this will be a night everyone talks about. But right now, with the smell of smoke in his clothes and ash on his hands, all that matters is finding the son of a bitch who set that bomb and showing him just how much heat he’s turned on himself. Enough to burn a man alive.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

Danny stares at the ceiling for a long time without any ability to recognize it for what it is. When his brain suddenly does start, it’s not for any apparent reason. He just blinks, and knows the beige blur above him is a ceiling.

His memory is all smeared and melted together, impressions and facts and hallucinations running together in a sticky mess, so that he can’t make much sense of it. He remembers being outside, remembers the sun glaring down at him, but he’s not sure whether that actually happened or not. He’s been on enough heavy pain meds to know the feeling.

If he was ever outside, Danny isn’t now. He’s lying in his shirtsleeves on a futon on the floor of a small room, and although his vision’s still fuzzy at the edges he estimates it’s not more than six yards across. It’s a cheap, undecorated room with one window covered on the inside with some sort of yellowed opaque plastic that prevents him seeing what’s outside and reduces the light flooding in to dim candlelight levels. There’s a round ceiling light above, but it’s off. On the wall to his left there’s a closed door, while straight across from him is a partially open one with a linoleum floor and the corner of a sink visible. And that’s it. Except for the chain.

Danny’s woken up in places he doesn’t remember getting to before, and he’s woken up drugged to the gills. It’s not until he tries to sit up and his wrists catch sharply that fear really cuts into his chest.

In the wall over his head, a heavy metal bolt has been screwed into the wall. From it hangs a chain, the kind used to harness junk yard dogs to their kennels. A small section of it is coiled like a silver snake on the futon beside his head; the other end runs out, over his stomach and loops around the chain of the handcuffs.

Handcuffs. Danny stares down at them, while his mind scrambles to come up with some reason, any reason, that things wouldn’t be just what they seem. That add up to an explanation other than kidnapped, drugged, hostage. But there’s no way to make that math work. Breathing hard now, his vision blurring, Danny twists his wrists against the metal. He jerks at the cuffs as sharply as he can bear, trying in vain to find a weakness in them. They clatter relentlessly, louder and louder as he fights with increasing franticness –

On the other side of the room something creaks. Danny stops and looks up, breathing hard. His head is spinning, but the sharp pressure against his wrists helps to keep him focused. The door eases open, revealing a slice of brilliant white light. It’s too bright – his eyes water, and he’s forced to look away. He hears someone hurry over – heavy, ungainly footsteps – and he shies away.

“Hey, Danny, it’s alright. Don’t worry, man, I’m here to help you.” It’s a young man’s voice, trying to be soothing but with an unmistakable undercurrent of nervousness. “I’ve got something here that’ll help you.” His silhouette, as it approaches in the bright shaft of light, is large but ungainly. Overlarge clothes and a stooped gangling appearance, reminiscent of a duckling. But the thin tube in his hand is much less innocuous – even with blurred vision, Danny can recognize it for what it is. He scrambles away across the futon, moving awkwardly with his hands trapped together in front of him, until the chain catches him up.

“Look – let’s talk about this,” Danny tries to keep his tone clear and reasonable, to make eye contact with the shadowy figure. “I don’t know who you are, but I’m sure we can work this all out.”

“You’re right, Danny. We can – and we will. That’s why I brought you here – to help you. But you’re not ready, yet. You’re still under his control. You’ve got to break away from him.”

“Him?” Danny’s eyes are adjusting now, and he can see the man now kneeling in front of him. Mid-twenties, with a plain, earnest face overshadowed by a badly cut mop of brown hair. He’s got more weight than Danny credited him for at first, but his clothes are definitely a few sizes too big. He frowns at Danny’s interjection.

“We don’t need to talk about him. All you have to do is forget him. I’ll help you to – promise. I know you’re a good guy. I know you are.”

Danny doesn’t find his face familiar, but his conviction suggests that he, at least, knows Danny. Or thinks he does.

“Thanks, uh …?”

“Hank. It’s okay you don’t remember – I know how much he puts you down. He puts everybody down – doesn’t listen to what people tell him, doesn’t listen at all.” Hank is almost muttering, and Danny tries to judge the distance to his hand and the syringe in his grasp. “But I knew you were different,” he says, and looks up. “You tried to help Mattie. You listened. You believed in him – you didn’t spread those lies like him.”

Danny wracks his memory for a Mattie, and finds nothing. He can’t think properly, can’t organize his thoughts into coherent categories. Everything keeps blurring, lines bleeding into each other like rivers into the ocean, and he comes up blank.

“That’s right, Hank. You’re right. McGarrett –” he sees the flinch, and corrects himself – “he does put people down. Tells us how to think, what to do. You don’t have to tell me; I’ve been working for him for five years. Everyone knows about him, we just do our best to work around it. I appreciate you bringing me here, looking out for me – I do. But you don’t have to; I’m already convinced, man.” He smiles, forces himself to relax his stiff muscles. Hank thinks about it, and then slowly shakes his head.

“Uh uh. That’s him talking. I can hear him, he’s in your head. It’s not your fault, I know you don’t want to do it.” He moves forward, raising the syringe. Danny backs away, and hits the wall.

“Hank, stop, this isn’t the way, this isn’t going to help me –” he makes a grab for Hank’s arm, and Hank moves to kneel on the chain connecting the handcuffs. It drives Danny down into the mattress, pinning him there so tight that he can feel the first stabs of pain through the haze of drugs. Then there’s a prick in his arm, and everything gets a lot hazier.

----------------------------------------------------------

Steve is forcing himself to drink coffee when the lab report comes in. He doesn’t want to drink it – doesn’t want to drink or eat or do any of the things that remind him he’s a man before a cop – but he can’t function without it, and stepping down is not acceptable.

He skims through the report before calling in Chin and Ben, standing to relieve some of the antsy pain at the bottom of his spine.

“Che’s report on the car is in,” Steve tells them, as they close the door and gather at the bulletin board. There’s a plan of the parking lot with the car marked on it, some crime scene photos, and a list of Five-O’s recent cases. No victim picture or profile. “Bomb was set under the driver’s seat; probably very simple. Remote controlled detonation, and ethanol used as the accelerant; Che says the quantity wasn’t enough to require a bulk order. Not much to go on.” He turns to Chin. “Follow up with Che about the remote detonation system. There may be something there we can narrow down.”

Chin nods curtly. “Right, Boss.”

Steve turns to Ben, who has a folder under his arm. “Ben?”

“Nothing like this in any of our cases going back six months: no pyros, no bombers.”

“What about Merryweather?” asks Steve, naming Five-O’s most recent bombing suspect

“He’s on the mainland, doing time in Oregon for assault. I had HPD’s Major Crimes run down the profiles of anyone in the system with a history of car bombing – they’re reviewing the files now.”

“That’s gonna take some time,” says Chin, with a sceptical frown.

“They’ve got a lot of help,” replies Ben, grimly. “Ain’t no one taking this lying down.”

It’s Steve’s turn to frown. “Keep an eye on them. You think anyone’s getting too hot, you tell them to cool their jets, Ben. Kick ‘em off the case if you have to. This whole place is a gunpowder factory right now – we don’t need any matches.” He speaks sharply, barking the words out like a sergeant-major, and ignores the looks Ben and Chin give him. “Well?” he prompts, when they don’t move immediately; they nod and hurry out.

Steve crosses to the coat rack and picks up his suit jacket. He slips it on as he leaves his office, just in time to see Ben and Chin heading out of the main office door. “I’ll be gone for an hour, Jenny,” he tells her as he passes; her eyes are red, although with tears or tiredness, he can’t tell. “If it’s urgent, you can get me at the Williams’.”

Jenny gives him a small, sympathetic nod. “Yes, sir.”

----------------------------------------------------

Steve hasn’t seen Danny’s parents in nearly a year. He should have been the one to deliver the news last night, not some HPD uniform, but the wound was far too raw then to take the clawing. It’s still too raw now, he knows, but he can’t put it off any longer. Not as Danny’s friend and superior, and not as the man in charge of investigating his murder.

Danny’s parents live in Eastern Honolulu out towards Hanauma Bay, in a small house backing directly onto a steep rock face with a front yard the approximate size of a closet. Danny’s mother Irene, Steve knows, is an avid gardener and has made full and inventive use of the cramped space. Tall trellises have been attached to the house, covered in bougainvillea, clematises, and honeysuckle. Rather than wasting precious space on grass, the yard has been divided by scalloped rock walls into different sections featuring different miniature themes: a desert with cacti and succulents, an English garden with pansies and poppies, a lush Hawaiian jungle of plumeria and orchids. A careful stone pathway has been woven between these miniature ecosystems; it was Danny who did most of the heavy labour involved some years ago, Steve remembers. He had come to work complaining of back problems for a week.

Steve’s heart thrums uncomfortably as he follows the path now, sweat gathering under his collar in the hot morning sun. He feels slightly ill, and tries to calculate how much water he’s drunk in the past twelve hours, whether he might be suffering from dehydration. Anything to prolong having to prepare for the conversation waiting for him on the other side of the door. But the path is a short one, and even taking small steps his long legs cover it all too quickly.

Steve reaches up to press the doorbell, and hears the knob turn before he touches it. It leaves him with no time to think before it opens, revealing Danny’s father in the dark space beyond.

Rob Williams was most likely never a very tall man, judging by his son’s stature. But osteoporosis has worn him down, like a stone in a sander, so that he now stands no taller than 5’5 with a permanently stooping back. Originally an auto mechanic, Rob was drafted and trained to run sonar in submarines in the War. After he was demobbed, he went right back to working on cars and never mentioned his service record – Danny didn’t even know he’d served until he was in his twenties. But as Steve looks down at the withered man in the doorway, the soldier in him is unmistakable. He stands at stiff attention, and stares back at Steve with rage, and sorrow, and an immeasurable burden of guilt in his eyes.

“Come in, Steve,” he says after a few seconds, gruffly, and shuffles back from the door. Steve does, shutting it behind him and slowing his strides to follow Rob into the tiny living room.

Irene, much younger and more vivacious in appearance than her husband, rises from a hard-backed chair to meet him. The grief is painted much more clearly on her face – she hasn’t bothered with make-up, and her eyes are red and bloodshot. But she comes over with a very shaky smile to press Steve’s hands. Steve’s impression of her has always been of a quiet woman smelling of verbena, invariably polite and attentive but never revealing very much of her thoughts. She lives up to it now.

“Steve,” she says in a low tone, releasing his hands from her soft grip. “Thank you for coming. Please, sit.” She indicates the sofa across from the chair she was seated in; he crosses to it as she retakes her seat and Rob slouches into a high well-stuffed easy chair.

“I can’t say,” he begins slowly, finding himself suddenly unable to speak the rote phrases he’s used so often, but equally unable to conceive of anything that could describe the crushing feeling in his chest, “how much I …” His throat closes traitorously; he clears it and changes tacks to finish weakly, “how sorry I am for your loss.”

“In this home you’re Danny’s friend, Steve, not his boss,” says Irene, shifting with a whisper of well-starched cotton. “I hope you can believe that?”

He nods, and takes a breath. The extra oxygen helps his focus, and he continues with considerably more composure. “Thank you. As Danny’s friend, I’m here to tell you he will be missed – deeply. By myself, and by the rest of Five-O.” He sees a small, sad smile flicker across Irene’s face and sees Rob’s hands twitch, and pauses before continuing in a lower voice. “But as his boss, I have to ask you a few questions.”

Irene nods gently; Rob remains sitting stiffly.

“We are looking through all Danny’s cases, looking at anyone he might have met through work who could be targeting him. But was there anyone in his personal life who had a grudge? It’s more likely to be someone recent, but it could be someone who’s just come to Hawaii. Anyone important he mentioned who was angry with him.”

It feels ridiculous to be asking these questions of Danny. Like some sort of sick joke, or a bizarre parody of real life. But thinking like that – treating this like an exercise, like a senseless completion of routine – makes it much easier. Makes it doable.

Irene shakes her head. “We don’t see Danny very often, Steve. Not more than monthly, really, if that. I’m sure he would tell you more about his personal life than us. Passing flames, short acquaintances, we never hear about. And there hasn’t been anyone serious in months, as far as we know.”

Steve nods – it agrees with his own personal knowledge. “Did he mention being worried about anything from work? Something he might not tell us? Someone he didn’t want to gossip about at work, maybe, or something he didn’t want us to think he was concerned about?”

Irene begins to answer, but Rob shifts and she falls silent and turns to watch him. “That boy grew up too kind,” he says, in a creaking voice without recrimination; just a kind of disbelieving regret. He turns to stare at Steve with hard eyes blue as the Pacific – blue as Danny’s were.

“You think he’d tell his folks anything that’d trouble them? Not him. The day he shot that boy – the one that was in all the papers, with all those fool reporters saying he was trigger-happy – was the day he stopped talking about his work. D’you think he ever stopped to think about who he was trying to look after – a pair who lived through the Depression, and Pearl, and the War? Not him. He got it into his head that his world was too distressing for us old folks, and clammed up. He’d talk about office-work, and his pals, and that was it.” Rob shakes his head; on his knees, his hands fist tight.

“And I let him. God help me. Shooting at criminals with guns, who fired on him? In the War we sank dozens of merchant ships – hundreds of lives – and they never even saw us coming. We used to keep tallies on the walls, try to estimate crew sizes, and try to top each other’s scores in port. You think I ever told him that? No – I let him live alone with his pain, to spare myself.” The old soldier’s shoulders are shaking, his voice breaking, and he turns away. Irene stands and moves to stand beside him, one hand over her mouth, the other reaching out to him. He bats her hand away with his, but she catches it all the same and holds it. Steve looks away and rises to go, throat burning as if coated in raw alcohol. He can’t play this game anymore. Can’t pretend this is anything but what it is. Can’t lock out the fact that the loss that’s drowning this couple is pulling him down too, salt thick and choking in his throat.

“Steve,” says Irene, with a steel that makes him turn and try to focus. “Can someone else run this case?”

Steve blinks, blindsided. “You’re concerned I won’t close it?” he asks, more confused than surprised.

The older woman gives a small, sad shake of her head. “Oh, no. I’m sure you will. I’m sure you’ll pour everything into it. But by all accounts, you do that in the ordinary course of things, and I’m sure you can’t treat this as an ordinary case.” Irene’s eyes soften as he tenses, but she continues in the same matter-of-fact voice.

“You can’t give more than you have, Steve, although from the looks of you you’ve been trying. I’m afraid to see what will happen if you keep trying.”

Steve is suddenly conscious of his wrinkled shirt, his uncombed hair, and the exhaustion that must be showing on his face.

Irene pulls Rob’s hand to rest against her hip, and gives him an earnest look from eyes just as haunted as her husband’s. “Steve, we’ve already lost our son. We don’t want to lose you as well.”

“I understand,” he says, moving towards the door. The room feels stifling, air close and stuffy, and he needs to get out. “But this is my responsibility – my job, and my duty as a commander and a friend.”

“And is it what Danny would want?” she asks, as he puts his hand on the doorknob.

He shakes his head in voiceless protest of the question, and leaves without answering.

-------------------------------------------------------------

Danny spends a lot of time listening to a low humming, like the police chopper circling overhead. Sometimes it switches gears, rising higher or lower, but it is always there on the edge of his consciousness. It’s not until awareness bleeds back in that he identifies it as a voice rather than an engine, a man’s voice speaking to him from somewhere nearby. And it’s not until a cold rush of adrenaline slices a path through his disorientation for rational thought that he knows it’s Hank, sitting beside him on the futon droning on in a one-sided conversation.

“…All the time, I watched him, and he never saw me. I went everywhere, watched him boss you around in his office, on the streets, in his car. He never listened – never listened to anything anyone said – not me, not you. But he didn’t ever see me. I was always the best watcher; Mattie always said so. I watched out for him – just like for you. I never let anyone in here when he was high. So don’t you worry, I won’t let them find you, either. Won’t let them tell lies about you, like he did. He lied about everything – didn’t even listen, not to anything. It wasn’t Mattie’s fault, he made that all up. But I know you know that. I know you tried to tell him. That’s why I’m gonna look after you, now that Mattie’s gone.”

Danny rolls over heavily onto his back, chain digging into his hip. “Thanks, Hank,” he slurs, trying to focus properly on Hank’s face and finding it impossible. “Told you before; I appreciate it. You must be a real good watcher.”

“That’s right,” says Hank, proudly. “No one ever sees me. Not even him.”

“Makes me feel better – like I can trust you.”

“You can – I’m doing this for you, Danny!”

“Because I helped Mattie,” says Danny in soft agreement, like it’s a fact rather than a wild guess. Hank pauses, but nods slowly; Danny takes a deep breath and forces himself not to push for more information.

“Then d’you think you could trust me? Just a little. There’s a bathroom over there, but I can’t make it that far.” He rattles the chain; it might be two yards long, if that.

Hank glances at the bathroom, then stands and leaves the room. He’s gone for less than a minute; when he returns he’s got another length of chain in his hands, a much longer one. He wraps it around the bolt, padlocks it on, and then attaches the other end to the handcuffs. Only when that’s done does he unlock the shorter chain and pull it away.

It takes Danny a couple of tries to get to his feet, and once he’s there he sways dizzyingly before finding a semblance of balance. His nerves still feel slightly deadened by the drugs, and his sense of where his limbs are is off enough that he trips over his feet a couple of times. But he makes it without any major mishaps. The door, he finds, is jammed into a permanently open position by a screw in the floor. He tries to ignore it.

When he trudges back into the room, Hank is standing near the bed, watching him. He’s holding a glass of water in his hand, and offers it to Danny. “Here. Thought you’d be thirsty.”

Danny hasn’t had anything to eat or drink since yesterday, and at the sight of the water he’s made suddenly very aware of the dryness in his throat. He takes the glass cautiously and sips at it. It’s warm, but otherwise delicious, and before he can think of stopping he’s gulped down every drop of water. Finished, he looks up to give the empty glass back to Hank, and sees the syringe in his hand. But by then, Hank has caught hold of his wrist.

“Sorry, Danny. But you’re still not ready. I can see him – he’s still there, looking out of your eyes.”

Then the prick, followed by rationality gradually slipping away.

Profile

Oysters
what_we_dream
What We Dream

Latest Month

December 2017
S M T W T F S
     12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31      

Tags

Powered by LiveJournal.com