by Maudlin Mush

standard disclaimer: I receive no monetary compensation; the characters belong to CBS and its affiliates. I'm just continuing to tossing my two-bits into the fray. Follows "Mama" and is set in the second season.

Chin Ho Kelly sighed. It seemed his Haole friend had finally come to the end of his normally limited patience. He was rather surprised it had lasted nearly three weeks.

They were on scene at an adult abduction. A visiting Minister from England was attending a meeting on world health. He had brought his family and had been down on the beach with his young son near his hotel when he disappeared. Chin had watched as first McGarrett and then Weston took a turn. The 8-year-old boy was terrified of Steve and Lori.

When Danny went to speak with the child both McGarrett and Weston jumped all over him saying that the child knew nothing of the kidnapping. Each time Williams started to speak they cut him off. Finally, finally the Jersey detective snapped.

"Ok, I get it, I really get it," he snarled, face twisted in anger and pain. "I am crap. I can not profile. I can not effectively question a suspect or witness. I got it. And after this case I will return to HPD and you two, oh perfect people, can get on solving the big crimes in this pineapple infested hell-hole. BUT UNTIL I ACTUALLY AM NO LONGER PART OF THIS ELITE PIECE OF BULLSHIT I WILL DO THE JOB I WAS CHARGED WITH!" He turned and moved off to the boy sitting dejectedly on a bench.

Steve was absolutely shocked. Lori looked stunned as well. Chin shook his head.

"He's right, you know," Kelly said to the two team mates. "Since Weston was assigned to 5-0 you've both gone out of your way to point out just how wrong all his profilings and work have been. Every single time. And in the past three weeks he was only off-track once and only because not all the information had come in."

As a pair the two shell-shocked investigators turned.

"We, we do that?" Steve asked. The serious look on Chin's face confirmed it.

"For whatever reason you two have teamed up to take Danny out of the picture," he said. "And now it looks like you've succeeded. Hope you like your team now. I'm thinking I'll go on back to HPD after this case as well. Much rather work with the Haole than two egotistic jerks." Then he turned and walked over to the small group of HPD on the sidelines.

The two 'egotistic jerks' looked at one another, faces painted in shame. With out a word they turned to see what Williams was doing.

"Hey, James?" Danny said quietly as he moved up to the bench. "I'm Danny Williams." The tear-washed eyes of the child looked him over but said nothing.

"I bet McGarrett and Weston were a little frightening," he continued and saw the agreement in his eyes. "Well, McGarrett is a Navy Seal; he is really strong and tough. And Weston, she used to be part of Homeland Security, did a lot of work with capturing terrorists and she's pretty tough, too." "What are you?" James ventured in a small voice.

"Me? Well most importantly I'm a dad. Have a great 9 year old daughter, Grace," he smiled at the thought of his child. "And I'm a detective with 5-0 which is a task force in Hawaii. A special cop." The boy carefully thought this over.

"A father?" he asked, voice slightly trembling. Danny very carefully sat down next to him.

"One of the most important job in the whole entire world," he said. "Other one's being a mother." The boy continued to think on this. He moved a little closer to the detective.

"My father was taken by bad men," he said quietly.

"Can you tell me what you saw?" Danny asked gently. A little nod. "You want me to hold you? Gracie does when she's scared." He had a lapful of James immediately. Tears fell as he took comfort from the father and detective.

Weston and McGarrett watched as the child clung to the Jersey Haole. After a few minutes Williams stood up, James perched on his hip, just like he'd carried his daughter, and walked over to them.

"Three men, with ear pieces, approached them on the beach," he reported succinctly. "They threatened to hurt James if Mr. Graceton did not go with them. They pushed him into the back of a grey delivery van, looked like a UPS truck to James. Partial plate 2N4."

Weston immediately was on the phone putting out a bolo on the van. Steve tried to asked the boy a clarifying question but all he did was hide his face in William's neck and chest.

"It's ok, James, Cmdr McGarrett wants to help find your father," he comforted. Turning slightly the child gave short, shaky answers. When the Seal was finished Williams turned away and carried him to his mother that had just arrived with his older sister.

Although they were jumping on information right away both Steve and Lori watched the detective as he spoke with the rest of the family. He waved a police officer over and continued to discuss some point of concern. Finally he transferred the child to his mother and motioned for them to go with the cop.

Williams paused, running his hand through his hair. He had not wanted to blow up in public, but enough was enough. It was damned apparent than neither the new profiler or the boss thought he was competent. He could not work under such pressure and did not like being the whipping boy of the team.

He walked past the two and headed for Kelly. He wasn't a partner to McGarrett, certainly not to Weston, either. The cousin was the only one that listened to him.

"Bolo out?" he asked.

"Yeah," Chin replied. "Good job, talking with the kid."

"Right," he said in disgust. "I'll ride with you," and he walked over to the Traverse and climbed in on the passenger side. If Weston was so much better than him McGarrett could partner with her. They preferred it that way. Of course once he was gone they'd have to use a different car. The camaro was his.

Steve was stunned. His partner was not in his rightful spot. His backup. He went over to the Traverse and opened the door.

"Danny?" he asked, voice uncertain. Williams looked up at him.

"Yes, McGarrett," not Steve, not crazy neanderthal Seal, just McGarrett.

"Uhm, why aren't you in the Camaro?" he asked in a small voice. Danny looked up at him, eyes devoid of emotion.

"Weston's your partner," he said. "She's the best. So get on to your partner," and he slammed the door and locked it. Stunned McGarrett could only stare as Chin drove away.

"Commander?" a nearby cop called out. "Hit on the bolo." So McGarrett had to shove his problems aside and run to the car. Weston, uncomfortable, took the passenger seat and they were off, lights flashing. The alert had also hit Chin's radio and the Traverse was off like a rabbit speeding down streets.

The two cars actually converged near the docks. In tandem they pulled up by the van. The back was opened but as they hadn't passed any other vehicles they determined the men had gone into the nearby warehouse.

Danny was out first, and sprinted to the side next to a dirty window. He glanced in and saw their quarry. He held up four fingers to indicate another person had joined the three, then one to show that Graceton was still there as well.

Chin easily moved to his side, leaving Steve and Lori to figure out where they were going to. Moving along the wall Williams came to a door. McGarrett moved in on the other side so Danny slipped back and began to climb a metal stair to another door above. Chin simply followed him leaving Weston to back McGarrett.

Damn it! He wanted his partner! Not Weston. No matter how good the woman was it was Danny who would unfailingly have his back. He felt exposed.

But they had a person to rescue and once more he pushed his needs aside and nodded at Lori. They burst in the door as Chin and Danny broke down the other.

A hail of bullets greeted the duo. Both had gone in 'high' which left them not as well protected as they could have been. A bullet caught Steve in his flak jacket and spun him around into the door jamb. Slightly panicking, Lori dove to the other side away from her partner.

Before they could be shot again they heard Williams yelling out orders to drop weapons as several more shots rang out.

"Stop! Stop!" one of the kidnappers yelled as he threw his gun as far away from him as he could. Two others had already been dropped by William's shots. The final man made an abortive grab for the victim but Chin's follow-up bullet stopped him short.

By the time Steve and Lori had gotten up and moved towards the kidnappers hand cuffs had been snapped on the unharmed man and the less wounded of the other three. Williams had a knife out and was slicing through duct-taped wrists supporting the Minister.

"My family?" he asked, clearly shook up.

"They're fine, sir," Danny said. "We have them in protective custody back at the hotel. We'll reunite you once the doctor checks you out and we talk a bit about what happened."

"I'm calling the officer in charge to let them know you're safe," Chin added.

"You have a great son," Williams chimed in. "He gave us descriptions of the van and a partial license plate number. It's why we found you so fast."

As HPD pulled up as well as paramedics McGarrett approached his friend.

"Danny..." he tried, and once more received the cold, dead eyes of a partner wronged.

"Commander, I want to take Mr. Graceton to the ER to be checked over," he said very carefully. "Unless Officer Weston would be a your choice to handle that part of the operation."

"No, no, you've the best choice to go in with him," McGarrett replied, still shaky. By now his Danny would have pulled his vest off and checked out the bruise forming on his chest. This was not his Danny.

"You better go in yourself and be sure you are uninjured as well," and the Haole turned taking Graceton by the elbow and guiding him to the Camaro. He pulled out his set of keys, nodded towards Chin and drove off.

"Guess you're with me, Steve," he said in nearly as flat a tone as Danny's. They supervised the removal of the suspects and left CSI to process the scene. The three team mates climbed into the car.

"Chin, what happened?" Steve asked, lost.

"You and Lori have been double-teaming Danny for weeks now," he said through clenched teeth. "Nothing he said was right. Do you remember when he believed the wife of the Seal that was murdered? From team 6?"

"I told him he was wrong," Weston admitted.

"I told him he was projecting his own divorce," Steve added.

"And when you found out about the supposed boy friend?" Kelly continued.

"I, I made sure he knew he was wrong," Steve's voice became even smaller. "He kept me from hurting the man more than I did."

"And when you two found out you'd been wrong? That there was another reason why he was dead? Did you apologize or at least recognize he'd been right after all?" killing point. The silence spoke loudly.

"You two have continued from that point to let him know he was not up to par either in profiling or investigating," he drove home. "Every time he offered an opinion. I'm just surprised he didn't snap before."

"Shit," McGarrett said, rubbing his face.

"I never meant to usurp him," Weston offered. "I looked up his record, he's got a conviction rate that anyone would be jealous of and he has profiled for some of the top agencies in the government." Chin did not reply. He was tired of this crap. Kono was still out waiting for trial and his team mate was going next. The good that 5-0 did was not enough to stay on the team. If Danny left there would be no one to follow procedures. The Governor would be certain to disband the unit in disgrace.

Arriving at the hospital Steve delegated each team member to a suspect for interview. None of the gunshot wounds were life-threatening so it would be easy to get statements.

Williams first made sure that the Minister was ok. Then he drove him back to the hotel. Along the way he gently questioned him trying to determine why he'd been kidnapped.

"I... I am not sure," Graceton said. "They hadn't started to question me. They were arguing about ransom, though. I can only guess they hoped to get money out of my family or the English government."

"I'm sure my team mates will find out more when they question your captors," Danny said. "We'll want to speak with you again about the incident. How long did you plan to be in Hawaii?"

"Two weeks," he answered. "I came early to spend some time with my family. The conference is Thursday through Sunday and then I planned to stay an additional week. We have reservations on Maui next."

"Great," Williams smiled. "You'll be available. We'll have a police escort for you and your family for the time being until we ascertain that you're safe."

"Thank you Detective Williams," Graceton said with a grateful smile. "My family and I will be just fine with your protection."

Williams allowed himself to feel proud of his work. He pushed off the coming reactions from Steve and Lori. He was sure he did something wrong. Probably everything. He walked Graceton up to his hotel suite and watched the joyful reunion. Hugged James. Then went back to the Palace to file his report.

By the time Steve and Lori returned from interviewing the one uninjured suspect it was well past six. Chin was in his office. Danny was not. Going into the cousin's space Steve asked after his partner.

"Finished. Went home. Said his resignation would hit your desk in the morning," Kelly related. "Mine will, too. I'm sure the HPD will take us back. I hope to team with Williams." He shuffled papers into a pile, stood and pushed his chair in.

"Excuse me, commander," and he pushed past McGarrett leaving the offices.

Steve, shell shocked, wandered back to his office. Was he really as bad as Chin had reported? As bad as Danny had acted? He looked through the glass towards Weston's office, her head bent over the keyboard. There was a tension between them, a need to exert control. The two of them had been in a pissing contest ever since she was assigned to his team.

Why did he let the tension escalate? He was the team leader. He was the alpha. Well, Danny challenged him all the time. But after all was said and done the Haole would follow him into hell itself. He accepted him as an equal. But Weston, she was not an equal no matter what her background might be, yet he allowed her to usurp his authority and then wrest it away from her.

And then they both took out their anger on Danny.


For the first time in a long time Steve was at a loss. He was losing his best friend, the only person to have his back in all things work and personal.

He had a lot of apologies to make.

Being a man of action he immediately left and drove his truck over to Danny's apartment. The Camaro was in the carport. He sat and breathed deeply trying to decide what to do. What to say. The man was his best friend. The only person who knew him. That pushed him. His conscious.

So it was a very timid Seal that tapped at the apartment door. Williams opened and looked with a cold, impersonal stare.

"Yes, Commander?" he asked. Nothing more.

Steve squirmed.

"Uh, um, I need to talk with you," he finally eked out. Williams took a long time to consider his request and finally moved to let the Seal inside. Steve retreated to the couch, sitting down and clasping his hands together.

Danny moved to the lounge chair leaning back with crossed legs. Crossed arms. Extremely defensive. Steve took this all in and with a trembling hand pushed his fingers through his hair then over his face.

"First, first, I want to apologize for being such a crappy bastard and friend," McGarrett finally began. Williams just continued to watch him carefully.

"You were right, I was taking my frustration of being assigned Weston out on you," he clasped his hands together. "And then I did the unthinkable, I let Weston do the same. As team leader I should have stopped that and I should never have treated you as a whipping boy."

"Yeah, well, I'm feeling pretty well whipped," Danny's voice was soft. "All the crap with Wo Fat, getting you released, loosing Rachel..."

Now Steve felt 10 times worse. In a time that his best friend would need support he'd let him down. Sure, he'd been incarcerated and accused of murder, but that didn't mean the team had it any easier. He let himself think over all the decisions each one had made, then about things no one had control over. Then added Danny's heart being shattered once more by Rachel. He shifted closer to his friend and placed a comforting hand on his knee.

"You've lost everything," he said, finally accepting that Williams actually had it worse. "I am sorry I've been such a shitty friend. I don't want you to resign. I need you, you always have my back no matter what stupid maneuver I pull."

"You've pulled some doozies," a small smile broke out on his face. He finally laid his own hand over Steve's.

"Stay?" McGarrett begged. After a long moment Danny nodded.

"Yeah, ok," he relented. "I better call Chin so he doesn't waste his time writing out his resignation." Before he could actually get out his phone it began ringing.

"Detective Williams," he answered.


"Yes, sir, now?" he looked a bit confused.


"45 minutes, I'll be there," Danny confirmed. "Does the Lt Cmdr need to be there as well?"


"Yes, he's here, we've been discussing personnel issues," diplomatic to the core.


"Ok, I'll be there and Lt Cmdr McGarrett will be available." He hung up.

"The Governor Denning wants to speak with me, then with you," he said. "I need to shave and shower." He stood and walked back to the bathroom.

Steve glanced down at himself. He had a clean shirt in the truck that'd do and he figured he should run a razor over his own jaw. He popped into the bathroom listening to his partner sluicing water over his body.

"Can I use the razor?" he called out. Received an affirmative and went to work.

"You have a change of clothes in the bedroom," Danny said above the water. "In the middle left drawer." McGarrett recalled clothing here in the past and decided a quick rinse off would be good as well.

He stopped as he was undressing. He nearly lost this. Easy friendship, someone who cared about him. He scootched closer to the sink as Williams snagged a towel and left the bathroom.

Within 20 minutes both men were ready to go. Steve jumped into the driver's side of the camaro letting the feeling of security wash over him. Danny belted himself in.

"So, drive already," he grumbled with a flip of his hand. "What? What is that big goofy grin for you insane Seal?" Steve gunned the engine then took off.

"Just enjoying the moment," he answered with a shrug.

"You mook, you missed me!" Williams own smile spread over his face.

"Yeah, a little," Steve agreed. "Going into that warehouse really was an eye-opener. Good as Weston is, she is not my partner."

Which was quite a display of affection coming from the Seal.

"Missed you, too," Danny said softly. They rode in comfortable silence to the Palace.

Steve noted there weren't many new magazines to read and the ones that were certainly didn't interest him. They hadn't even had time to sit when the secretary was escorting Danny into the governor's office.

Williams shook Denning's hand and sat down in the chair indicated. He watched as the man sat, not behind his desk, but at angle beside him. It was an intimate arrangement and not what he'd expected.

"I heard through channels you were instrumental in saving Sir Graceton's life today," came the opening gambit.

"Just doing my job, sir," Williams replied.

"More than a job, I believe," Denning returned. "You add a professional dimension to 5-0. I must admit I'd hoped Officer Weston would also benefit the team but so far I've been disappointed."

"It takes time for a team to settle with a new team mate," always diplomatic. "Given that Det. Kalaukua is still on leave we've needed to regroup."

"I know that it's difficult being down one member, especially with the charges pending," the Governor said. "I am more concerned about the pissing match between McGarrett and Weston."

"Pissing match?" Williams affected surprise.

"Danny, it has not been exactly hidden how much those two have been pushing each other and then turning their anger on you," Denning stated firmly. "From reports you've been doing a fine job yet have been constantly called on the carpet."

Danny sighed and leaned forward. He hated politics. Absolutely hated it. And here was the governor using him to get ammunition against his friend and colleagues.

"Sir, with all respect, there has been tension between them," he allowed. "The Lt Cmdr came over to my apartment to discuss some personnel issues and I am satisfied that I will not experience any more of that behavior."

"So, the tension between those two will continue?" he pressed.

"There is an ambiguity on the leadership of 5-0," Williams stated. "As far as I know, McGarrett is the head of the task force. But I do not know how Weston fits in the hierarchy." The Governor smiled.

"Ah, I thought that might be the case," he pushed himself up out of the chair.

"The blame for that rests entirely on me," Denning stated as he pulled up a file folder. "Lt Cmdr McGarrett is the head of 5-0, I just did not explain that fully to either him or Officer Weston." He shuffled through the file and extracted a single sheet and handed it to Danny.

"Detective Williams, I want you to be the official second in command of 5-0," he said. Weston and Kelly are under the two of you and Kalaukau if she is reinstated."

"When she is reinstated," Danny refused to acknowledge she might not return. The Governor shrugged slightly.

"You have in the past taken the lead when McGarrett is unavailable and your record speaks for itself," he continued. "I was going to make the announcement when I addressed the state assembly but I received troubling news that you were going to resign along with Det. Kelly."

"As I said, Lt Cmdr McGarrett and I have discussed these issues and contacted Det. Kelly," Williams stated.

"Good, I will proceed with announcing 5-0's hierarchy Wednesday in the assembly," he said as he moved behind his desk. Williams handed him the paper. Pressing the intercom he requested McGarrett's presence.

Steve shuffled through the door with a slight nod of thanks to the secretary. Denning looked as serious as ever, his face revealing nothing to him. Danny had a poker face on as well, leaning back in his chair. He settled next to his partner and turned all his attention on the man behind the desk.

"You wanted to see me, Governor?" he asked in a firm voice.

"Yes, commander," came the terse reply. "There has been some ambiguity in the placement of people on your team." Steve met the concerned gaze of the head of Hawaii.

"I am not aware of placement problems," he said carefully.

"I am aware of them," Denning determined. "And as I am the one who created the problems in the first place I felt I should be the one to solve them." He handed the paper to McGarrett that Williams had read.

"Effective immediately Daniel Williams is the second of command of 5-0," the Governor stated. "As you can see he has the same rights and privileges as you although you will have final say in any case. With these new responsibilities comes a pay increase. I expect you to utilize his expertise at all times. Det Kelly and Officer Weston report to both of you."

Steve stared at the paper, seeing the four-man team. Kono was missing, but he was positive she'd be back after being acquitted. He felt a huge weight pulled off his shoulders he hadn't known was there.

"Yes, sir," he agreed.

"Any questions, Commander?" Denning pushed. McGarrett lifted his eyes and a slight smile graced his lips.

"No, sir, everything is quite clear," he responded.

"Then I bid you good night," the Governor replied as both Danny and Steve stood up. Leaving the paper on the desk the partners walked out of the office.