A/N: I realize that Jerry doesn't appear until Season 4 when Grace is a bit older, but the scene didn't work otherwise.
"For the record, I'm just going say, I told you so." Smirking, Steve folded his arms and nodded as Kono recounted her unsuccessful attempt to rid the world of George the previous night. "Chin and I both said how tricky he was, didn't we, Chin?"
Her cousin nodded, a twinkle in his eyes. "Can't say we didn't warn you, cuz. And I think you owe us an apology."
"For making us out to be idiots."
Kono rolled her eyes. "Fine. I'm sorry. I did not expect it to be this hard to kill a little cockroach."
"Apology accepted," Steve said graciously. "So what now?"
"I think you should try again, boss. After all, you have more experience than the rest of us at this sort of thing."
Steve raised an eyebrow at that comment, but let it slide when Chin nodded in agreement. "She has a point, Steve: you've had plenty of hand-to-hand, close-quarters combat training. Kono and I don't quite have your skill set."
"Dispatching terrorists and killing a cockroach are two different things," Steve pointed out. "Those aren't equivalent skill sets."
"They're at least related."
"Really? So in your expert opinion, Officer Kalekaua, what am I supposed to do differently this time?"
"I don't know, but you better think of something. Grace is counting on you." Kono patted him lightly on the arm as she left his office. "Just give the signal and I'll distract Danny for you."
Steve was given no choice but to relent as Danny entered, bringing the conversation to an abrupt end. This time, he vowed, he would be successful. Failure was not an option.
"Operation Hibiscus." Jerry felt a thrill of excitement as he hurried downstairs to his office in the basement of the Five-0 building. Real field work didn't come his way very often, which made this a rare and special occasion. When Commander McGarrett first approached him about the assignment, Jerry thought it was a joke.
"You're kidding, right? I mean, I know I don't exactly fit in with you guys, but…"
"It's not a joke, Jerry," McGarrett assured him. "This is a very serious mission. Kono, Chin, and I have all tried and failed. We were hoping you might be up to the task."
Of course Jerry was up to the task.
"Jerry Ortega Saves Five-0," he murmured the prospective newspaper headline to himself. "No, no, Special Consultant Ortega Saves Five-0." He unlocked his office. "Too cheesy?" he asked the clipping of Robert Kennedy on the wall. "Yeah," he nodded. "Special Consultant Ortega Defends Five-0 Against Deadly Cockroach," he amended as he rummaged through his filing cabinet for supplies.
Commander McGarrett hadn't actually explained what was particularly difficult or deadly about this particular cockroach; he'd been rather tight-lipped about the details, which meant it must be classified, but Jerry had come up with a few ideas. It was no secret that Oahu boasted more military bases per square mile than any other state, and military personnel made up a large portion of the population. Most of what happened on base was pretty straightforward, with Pacific defense heading the top of the list, but Jerry had files about other things. Darker things. Secret experiments in the depths of supposedly-abandoned bunkers. Genetic testing. Mutations.
Jerry pulled out a thin manila folder and laid it carefully on his desk. It had been a while since he'd thought about the hidden laboratories and chemical testing that occurred under the very soil where he lived. But he could re-read the file later. First, though, the mission.
"It's simple," the intimidating ex-SEAL had told him. "All you have to do is find and kill a cockroach. And you have to do it without Danny catching you."
Jerry looked around nervously. Danny was standing right outside McGarrett's office with Chin and Kono, discussing the latest developments in their serial-killer case. "Shouldn't we close the blinds?"
McGarrett gave him a strange look.
"Oh… right," Jerry realized, "that would make him suspicious. Act casual. Got it."
Of course, acting casual came more naturally to some people than to others. Steve had been leaning against his desk, arms folded, but gesturing once in a while as he explained what he wanted Jerry to do. To the outside observer, he might have been talking about weather.
Jerry didn't have a desk to lean against. He tried to lean on the couch instead, slipped, and ended up sitting on the floor. "Sorry," he muttered, brushing himself off. He sat on the couch. "So… you want me to kill a cockroach?" he recovered smoothly.
"Yes. And it's a big one."
More evidence of illicit genetic experiments. Jerry tried to hide his excitement. "What color is it?"
McGarrett threw him a quizzical expression. "Brown. You aren't bothered by cockroaches, are you?"
A bit, Jerry thought, but he couldn't say that to a toughened Navy SEAL. "No," he said instead.
"It's hiding in the glovebox of Danny's 'new' car," Steve explained. "Chin's the only one who's gotten close so far. You'll probably need bug spray and a good fly swatter."
Luckily, Jerry had both. Cockroaches had been a common resident in his mother's basement, and they had also infiltrated his office at Five-0. He'd used traps to kill or drive off most of them, but it didn't stop a new roach from showing up every other week or so.
"Think you can do that?" Steve asked, now frowning as though he were re-thinking his decision.
"Oh yes. Yes sir, absolutely," Jerry said with an awkward salute. "Just one more question: Can I keep the corpse?"
"The cockroach, when it's dead- can I keep it?"
The commander made a face. "Knock yourself out."
Jerry dug a small glass vial out of his desk. "Too small?" he pondered, rotating it in his hand. He imagined how big the roach might be if it were an escaped genetic experiment. He grabbed a larger jar. Then, whistling the Indiana Jones theme music, he took the other supplies and hurried upstairs.
"Hi, Jerry. What, ah…" Danny looked carefully around the larger man to be sure that he was seeing what he thought he saw. "What are you doing?"
The larger man jolted unpleasantly and tried to hide the trash bag behind him. Tried, because there was no way to surreptitiously hide a large bag stuffed full of garbage. "Detective Williams, hello." His feet shifted unnecessarily on the hot asphalt as a red blush that had nothing to do with the heat crept slowly up his cheeks. "I, um… I'm… cleaning," he stammered evasively.
"Yeah." A lucky piece of paper tumbled across the asphalt toward them, and Jerry trapped it with his foot. "Cleaning," he repeated.
Jerry's eyes widened slightly in panic. "I'm cleaning the… the, um…" As his voice faltered, the wind caught the paper under his shoe, tugging gently, and he bent over to snatch it before it could fly away. "The parking lot. I'm cleaning the parking lot."
Even as he spoke, he sensed that Danny knew he was lying. Jerry cringed. Danny wasn't supposed to be here. Steve had been very clear on that account: Make sure that Danny leaves first. Don't let him see you. Danny was supposed to be with Max, looking at the latest body. Why was Danny here?
Flustered, Jerry crumpled the paper in his hand and quickly stuffed it into the plastic bag. "It looked dirty."
Danny looked around the relatively pristine lot. As usual, the bins were mostly empty and not a piece of trash was in sight. "Don't we have maintenance workers who clean this area?" As if to prove his point, a man in city-uniform overalls with a "Parks Department" lapel pushed a wheel barrow around the corner and began to place a new bag in the trash can by the front steps.
Jerry blinked. "Oh. Yeah."
Danny suddenly lifted his nose and sniffed gingerly.
"I don't smell anything," Jerry said automatically. He ignored the and noted the harsh, acrid odor coating the air around them.
"I didn't ask," replied the detective. He pointed at the bag of trash. "Where'd all that come from, anyway?"
"Um… around here," Jerry shrugged with a weak gesture at the parking lot.
"Are you sure it didn't come from… somewhere else?" Danny looked pointedly at the battered, blue car behind Jerry.
"Oh, I'm sure. I'm very sure."
"Mmm," Danny grunted. Stepping around the larger man, he pulled out his keys and carefully unlocked the front door. "Jerry, have you ever met my friend George?"
"No. Nope, never met him."
"Would you like to?"
Smelling a trap, Jerry took a few steps toward the Palace. "I'm kind of short on time today. Rain check?"
"Sure, sure," Danny agreed easily. He slid into the seat, almost started the engine, but then stopped. "Jerry?" he called through the open window.
"George isn't missing, is he?"
Jerry gave a curt, curly-haired shake.
"Yeah." Of that Jerry was quite certain.
"Good. Because George is my friend and I would hate for anything to happen to him." Danny fixed Jerry with a hard stare reminiscent of his partner. "And I certainly hope that no one would ever think to put you up to that task."
Danny held his gaze for several uncomfortable moments. Then he thrust a hand out the window and waved. "Well, see you around, Jerry." Throwing the car into reverse, Danny pulled out of the lot.
Jerry remained rooted to the pavement. He let out a slow breath. Close call. Hefting the bag of trash over one shoulder, he returned slowly to the Palace.
"What the heck are you doing?"
Startled, Steve jumped up, smacking his head on the ceiling of the car. "Ow," he muttered, rubbing the sore spot where the metal frame had collided with his skull.
Sleeves rolled up against the persistent evening heat, Danny narrowed his eyes and crossed his arms impatiently. "I know you're up to something Steven. First Jerry, now you. Why are you in my car?"
Steve backed quickly away from the blue vehicle, wincing as his bare left foot landed on a sharp rock on the rough pavement. Danny followed him with a suspicious glare, peering into the back seat where Steve had emerged. Finding nothing apparently out of place, he turned his attention to his partner, who was shuffling awkwardly and definitely up to no good.
"What were you doing back there?" the blond detective demanded.
Steve blinked rapidly, unable to come up with a logical reply. He rubbed his head again. "I, um…" So much for that career in Navy Intelligence, he chided himself. He hadn't intended to get caught- Kono should have warned him that Danny was coming. Still, he should be able to concoct some sort of decent explanation for being in the backseat of his partner's car… but Danny interrupted before he could finish formulating his response.
"And why are you barefoot?"
Technically, only on foot was shoeless, but this was inconsequential considering the circumstances. Steve started guiltily and his gaze jumped from the car to Danny's narrowed eyes to the shoe in his right hand. "I, ah…"
"How did you get in my car, anyway? I know you don't have keys."
Steve shifted his weight to his right foot and avoided looking at his cargo pocket where his lockpicking tools were stashed. "It, uh…"
"And did you put Jerry up to breaking into my car earlier? That's a criminal offense, in case you haven't noticed."
Steve grimaced. "He didn't…"
"Actually, you know what?" Danny waved off any explanation with a flap of his hand and stepped around Steve to close the door. "Never mind. I don't want to know."
That was a relief. Still struggling for a logical explanation in case Danny changed his mind, Steve stood stupidly in the parking lot as his friend stashed his coffee canister and lunch bag in the rear seat.
"I don't care what you were doing," Danny continued, closing the door. "It's the end of the day, I've clocked out, and I'm going home." Pushing his partner gently away from the vehicle, Danny slid into the driver's seat, started the car and backed out of the space. "Good night, Steven. See you tomorrow!"
Steve remaining standing where he was on his right leg, his bare foot hovering over the warm pavement as his partner drove away. He waved half-heartedly in return, then hobbled toward the lobby doors.
"Well?" Kono asked as soon as he stepped inside. "Is it dead?"
Steve shook his head.
A/N: I might edit this chapter and repost... I want Steve and Danny to have a longer scene in the parking lot, but I'm pretty close to being brain dead at this point. Headed out to go camping and clear my head. 1 chapter and an epilogue left!