MONDAY, JUNE 24TH - HAWAII (LATE EVENING - EARLY MORNING HOURS)
The fight was ugly and dirty as soon as it started and it was difficult to tell who initiated it first though the why was apparent. Pent up angry energy sent Brian McNamara to the gym to work off steam after a long, harrowing day where Alistair Landon seemed to crucify him for the most minor of contrived sins. Thirty minutes of pummeling the bag with a vengeance only served as a warm up, and soon Mac was looking for a worthy sparring partner. He needed a little one on one time, but he didn't know any of the other gym members and only a very few were as hardcore as he.
He left the gym in disgust with other plans in mind to clear his head, yet wound up at a local bar. Sitting alone, he was deep in thought and still stewing about managing his dual roles with Landon's new obvious suspicious nature when he was flanked by two large men. Mac kept his head down knowing it was a setup as each tried to casually slide in next to him and order liquor they likely would never drink.
His complexion labeled him an outsider but his muscular frame seemed to entice trouble almost immediately and it rekindled the anger he had managed to briefly pacify.
"Not in the mood, boys?" Mac's eyes were bright though behind the scotch glass he held cocked to his lips. The truth was that part of him welcomed the pending trouble as much as another part warned him about the diligent manner he needed to present himself in the next morning. He knew it would be inevitable as the man to his right laughed heartily and slapped him on the shoulder as if he were his best friend. Yet the slap was more of hit and a definite challenge. Mac accepted by placing his glass carefully down on the cheap square paper coaster and turning completely to face this first man. His response effectively insulted the second man who was forced to get up from the bar stool to stand mockingly behind his big partner. Again, Mac utterly ignored him.
Still seated, he placed his hand on his new adversary's shoulder and drilled his fingers deeply into the man's thick trapezius muscle leaving marks that he knew would bruise the next day. "Oh please. If you're sure, I'd be more than happy to resolve this outside?"
The man was well-built and Mac grinned his approval even though he outweighed him by a good thirty or so pounds. Mac was primed and ready to go from his unsatisfying workout at the gym but his lack of fear and outward aggression startled his new neighbors. He narrowed his eyes at the man's sudden stiffening and then chuckled in disgust.
The way he softly cupped and then patted the instigator's cheek turned the tide as Mac finalized the last taunt. As the man reddened in anger and viciously slapped his hand away, Mac only lengthened his chuckle to a deeper laugh. It was only then he even acknowledged the second man blandly and utterly disinterested in his mere existence.
With a dismissive wave of his hand, Mac turned back to take up what remained of his scotch. The glass missed briefly from his puffed short chuckle but he didn't actually drink this time. "Go home, fellas. Don't waste my time." His very bored tone only added to his obvious disdain.
Thirty minutes later, McNamara was humming a pleasant tune as he drove to the closest emergency room. He was slightly annoyed by the blood dripping from the reopened cheek wound he had sustained on Samoa. His knuckles were swollen and purpling but his contentment surpassed the physical aches. But Brian 'The Ape' McNamara felt good and he was vibrating with excitement.
Two men were currently sitting in an alley a short block from the bar. One was holding up the other or by now, explaining themselves to the police or even waiting for an ambulance. Their fight had drawn an interested group of locals that had dispersed when the short, stocky Haole toyed with and destroyed their local hero. No other person wanted any piece of the tough, crazy Haole ... though he had asked nicely for any other takers ... he asked right before police sirens were heard approaching.
He had laughed happily when no one dared to step forward only to wave a light good-bye. In the end, in fright, someone had actually called the cops. His only disgust now was that he needed stitches to cover the one tear in his cheek. He was due in court the next morning and needed to minimize what he could for Alistair Landon's sake.
The closest hospital was Tripler. With a wad of white napkins anchored to his cheek, Mac drove himself to the front door and parked his car. For the most part, he told the truth about a tussle with some locals in an alley by a local bar. However, he couldn't remember the name of the place let alone the address downtown. He was sure the guys that had come after him were long gone and he had no way to identify them.
Then he had to wait. He waited for the kid with the broken arm. The lady with food poisoning and then three other more urgent cases as he went through wad after wad of napkins that became paper towels and then finally gauze pads from a kind nurse. Mac's mood was almost foul again by the time a doctor could see him and the had to answer a thousand questions. No, he didn't wish to file a report. No, he didn't get a good look at any of his attackers. That same doctor he gave his brief statement to tsked over the ten tight stitches and apologized for any scarring even though McNamara refused to see a plastic surgeon.
He applied a slightly larger flesh-toned bandage over Mac's cheek, gave him a prescription for antibiotics and pain medication and then promptly sent him on his way. It was almost two o'clock in the morning and he was desperate for at least a cup of coffee before attempting to drive back to his apartment so he found his way to the TAMC cafeteria.
MONDAY, JUNE 24TH - HAWAII (LATE EVENING - EARLY MORNING HOURS)
It was well after midnight and Steve was still at TAMC. He couldn't think of a valid reason to leave after Danny had virtually talked himself out and into sleep. Illness and emotional strain pushed him even deeper, but a few hours later his fever had spiked and so, Steve had stayed as bandages were changed and new fluids were dispensed. At one point, a nurse had come in to wipe down his face and arms with tepid water. When she left for other rounds, Steve had rinsed the cloth and laid it across Danny's face as the heat continued to rise from his body. He remained sleeping despite the activity taking place around him, though at times he seemed restless or agitated.
Nearing two o'clock, Steve woke from his own uncomfortable cat nap. He stretched big and long before getting to his feet and standing over the bed in the dim light to make sure things hadn't changed in the last few hours. Danny's face was lined with discomfort and dotted with sweat, but he was still sleeping which he desperately needed in order to heal. If awake, he knew that Danny would be insisting he go home but he couldn't bring himself to entirely walk away. There certainly was no reason to bother by that time either.
Moving past the two HPD officers, Steve went down to the cafeteria to take a break and rustle up a light snack. Only a few people were there and he ignored them as he went about his business. In the corner by the coffee machine was one lone man wearing a black muscle t-shirt. He noticed almost distractedly, the roughed up condition and the few cuts and bruises on the man's arms. His eyes blandly took note of his height, stocky build and general age. He caught a side view of a bandage on his cheek and the smattering of bruises along his jaw line. Nothing reached his over-tired brain until he turned towards the tall two door refrigerator and selected a large bottle of orange juice. When he closed the glass door, the man's reflection blinked darkly back at him and then Steve whirled around.
He watched as McNamara moved from the coffee carafe to another barely stocked food station. Before he could even think to stop himself, Steve was striding over to confront the dangerous lawyer. He stopped behind him with his right hand balled into a fist and his left strangling the cold bottle. Dumbfounded by the man's impossible appearance, Steve was forcing himself not to overreact with too many things riding on apprehending McNamara flawlessly so that the prosecution team, the trial and Danny's safety remained perfectly intact.
Steve forced his hands to relax though the rest of his body was ready for trouble should McNamara respond badly to his presence. He firmly reminded himself that they had only met one time; just prior to Steve being subpoenaed and that he needed to stay calm. If he continued to believe what Pete Channing swore to, they had become separated and lost touch with each other in the mud slide. He had truly appeared to be stunned to see the news clip featuring Mac in a suit near the courthouse.
If he were to believe Channing, then each had assumed the other had perished. Steve should expect Mac to not know about Channing or Madison's demise; and he certainly should be unaware about Danny's rescue as Steve watched him idly deciding on choosing a donut from the display case. Steeling his emotions, he saw the fit ex-boxer with his heavy muscular build and strong hands. Under new and older bruises, cuts and scratches, McNamara moved with a fluid strength even as he did the most mundane task.
Standing just a few short feet behind the man, Steve finally addressed him. "McNamara, isn't it?"
It was obvious the lawyer had no idea of his pending fate because when he turned, he recognized Steve and then ... smiled. Steve stood there and then said the only thing that came to his nearly numb mind after the man had the gall to offer some over-friendly niceties.
"Mr. McNamara. What are you doing here?"
Mac was tired and deep in thought as he used the dispenser to fill the largest insulated coffee cup that he could find on the self-serve line. There were very few people there at that hour and most were doctor's, nurses and a handful of military personnel. He sighed and then winced as the motion pulled on the bandage before deciding on one of the three remaining stale donuts in the display case. Not his favorite snack but his options were woefully limited.
"McNamara, isn't it?"
The lawyer heaved another barely tolerant sigh for the benefit of the person who had wandered up behind him. The only people who could possibly know him were the media or those that actively followed the trial and he'd even been asked for an autograph at one point. Turning around and expecting to hear yet another personal opinion about Allen Darien, he found himself face to face with the head of Five-0. He looked bleary-eyed and a bit disheveled, but McGarrett towered largely over him. His expression was decidedly unreadable though an odd tension raced through his body.
"Commander. I certainly never expected to see you here; I understand that you'll be meeting with Alistair tomorrow to walk through the method of questioning again?" Mac smiled but was equally surprised to see Steve. Of that, there was no doubt at all. The two were immediately playing a game as they watched each other too closely and kept a particular wary distance from the other.
The lawyer took up an arrogant relaxed pose against the metal counter top where his donut now sat in a bag next to his coffee cup. Before crossing his arms, he checked his watch and then laughed. "Well, it's actually today based on this god-awful hour. I guess it's a late night for both of us. I hope there's nothing wrong to bring you to the hospital?"
"Mr. McNamara." The acknowledgment was just shy of being cold and very calculated. The implied tone gave pause to McNamara's forced familiarity and the next question put him completely on guard. The Commander was examining the bandage on his cheek and then dusting of bruises on his chin from a few well-taken blows from the local he had met at the bar. Mac was being weighed and measured in no less a way than he would another boxing opponent.
The air around them was suddenly dangerous and tightly ominous. The cashier had been reading a paperback book and she stopped when she felt the animosity grow. The two men were near the coffee machine but it was even obvious to her that something was decidedly wrong. With an effort, McNamara fidgeted briefly with the lid to his coffee cup when the sharp eyes dropped to the obviously fresh bruises on his knuckles.
"What are you doing here?"
McGarrett's own question wasn't entirely appropriate and Mac's jaw clenched in displeasure at the barely disguised challenge before he managed to take a deep breath. Perhaps he was reading into his own guilt, but his mind was racing through a variety of scenarios. There was no way anyone in Five-0 could link him to Williams' abduction. He had covered his own plus everyone else's tracks skillfully and the Detective had been moved so much, even if there had been one, any trail was long cold to Samoa. Yet, he felt the faint stirrings of an unaccustomed unease.
Mac paused in his mental conjecture and then criticized himself for the odd, neurotic thoughts. Anyone involved directly in the trial knew that the Five-0 Detective had been abducted. Every member of the prosecution team had been coached on the dire situation. The man was rightfully upset and on edge because his friend was missing and would likely wind up dead.
The strong military man maintained that he would do the right thing and so, Mac and Madison had originally been prepared to provide him with one more grim lesson to encourage his silence. None of that would happen now. But he wondered if the Commander felt any fear or experienced any doubt about his coming testimony; hope always reigned supreme one might say. Mac tried to read his face while he hunted for just the right words to offer a subtle type of condolence or at least show a proper concern for the missing officer.
Considering the best way to ask, he answered Steve's question slowly while casually pulling his wallet out to pay the one very unsettled cashier. "I had a bit of an issue tonight with a few locals after working out at the gym."
"They're long gone and I never got a good look." He tapped his cheek near the bandage with a lop-sided shrug. "I needed a few stitches and now a cup of coffee to get myself home. Can I buy you one or that juice there? Treats on me."
The negative shake of McGarrett's head was barely perceptible. He seemed to stop breathing when Mac changed the subject to Danny. "By the way, we're very sorry about what's happened to your partner. Has there been anything of late to help you find him?"
Squaring his shoulders, McGarrett froze in place as his face turned to stone. This time, he didn't bother to hide or stop the reflexive fist that his fingers automatically curled into. His teeth were gritted when he finally found his voice to say one simple word. "No."
Steve's training kicked in to keep himself in absolute control. McNamara was arrogant and much too calm. The unexpected question about Danny's welfare had been lobbed with an incredible amount of sympathy and Steve loathed the need to wait. He couldn't help seeing the thick mulish neck and physical damage from years of boxing. One ear didn't quite match the other and the cocked, flattened bridge of his nose was testament to past breaks and injuries. His hands were thick and his wrists led to massive forearms and even bigger biceps.
Mac sighed remorsefully and Steve nearly came unglued at the completely fabricated concern. The strain was more than evident as the Commander loomed closer to the lawyer. "Hmm. I am sorry."
There was something new in McGarrett that brought back that unease and McNamara almost frowned. This time it was much stronger and Mac began to wonder why the Five-0 officer was really at TAMC. He hadn't actually answered his question. Mac found himself dwelling on and replaying the fine-tuned steps of Williams' abduction once more.
With a start, he realized that Alistair Landon's dubious expression and bulldog-like behavior might have indicated something else the prior day. A sixth sense chimed more loudly as McGarrett's posture became even more aggressive and yet, the man remained decidedly silent.
What if something had been discovered? Mac had been assuming that his counterparts and the Detective had simply died in Samoa. The mud slide had overwhelmed them all in seconds of the ground moving and the freight train-like noise bearing down upon them. He had escaped the worst of it by sheer luck. When he turned around to see if Channing or Madison had followed, the small half concrete shed was near to being demolished as it was taken along in the horrifying and other-worldly event. It disappeared in a rush of mud, water and debris as if it never had existed taking the trapped Detective and his two accomplices along with it.
He had accepted that likely outcome and moved on since it made his entire world cleaner. His obscure message to Allen Darien had been met with pleasure and no other instructions had been received. But standing now in front of the clearly aggressive Lieutenant Commander, McNamara's sixth sense was kicking in with an alarming alacrity. For the first time in a long time, Brian McNamara found that he was doubting himself and the perfection of his existence.
"Well, it's late." Mac suddenly felt an urge to leave especially when Steve didn't respond to his explanation or his offer to pick up the tab. Nothing. Not even a half-sympathetic inquiry about the affair. Nothing now to break what had started to feel like a stalemate.
There was zero interest in his described altercation with the locals. No obligatory pleasantries about how he was feeling, The issue was that he was there in the first place; he wasn't welcome and the lawyer read that message loud and clear. He narrowed his eyes while trying to decide how best to conduct himself. Their silence increased and was only interrupted by a woman's voice which finally allowed Mac to saunter over to the cashier who was still closely watching their exchange.
"Commander? I'm sorry to interrupt. May I see you please?"
As Mac shoved the wad of cash at the young cashier, he followed Steve's eye to the nurse that was beckoning to him from the cafeteria's entrance. An HPD officer was standing nearby which was more than slightly strange within the military facility.
Wordlessly, Steve abruptly stalked away to hustle the nurse and officer from the area. Mac saw the nurse's face and the confusion that crossed her features as her mouth dropped open. McGarrett had her by the elbow and was walking so quickly that she stumbled over her own feet to keep up. Then they were gone.
While it only added to Brian McNamara's growing sense of internal alarm, he took the time to wonder about its significance. Because there was a significance and regardless of who or how, he was hardly stupid. He knew now that his game had changed and unease was becoming a stronger apprehension.
His much too long and nearly disastrous day with Alistair Landon held new meaning and Mac briskly walked to the parking lot with new options running through his head. At the top of the list was a startling thought to leave Hawaii ... now. Immediately.