McGarrett liked to pace slowly when he dictated his case summations to Sally, his secretary. He had to think a little longer—just a beat—before speaking because he was concentrating on where he was walking at the same time he was concentrating about what he was saying. Keeping his mind working on two things at the same time gave him the chance to really think about what he was saying, and that afforded him the chance to be very precise and accurate with the words he chose. He didn’t like to have to edit these reports before they went into the files. This case was by far the most---McGarrett struggled to think of the right word here—the most unique situation he’d ever encountered in his life. He wasn’t going to let the Governor know that though. He wouldn’t let anyone know that. Ever. Danny’s life depended on it.
The day had started in a normal enough fashion. The drive to the office, Sally getting him his coffee—black, no sugar—then a quick read through the important memos and case reports from the day before. Then the phone rang.
McGarrett was at the hospital and jumping out of his car before the last squeal from the siren completely died away. Danny was just regaining consciousness when Steve turned away from the doctor, who had given him a very unsatisfying diagnosis. They had no idea how Danny had hurt his head, how he’d gotten the bullet graze on his hip, or why he’d been found in the dump truck load of sand in the first place.
“Danno! You’re awake. What happened to you?”
Danny blinked, then shrugged. “I don’t know, Steve. I can’t remember a thing.”
Steve scowled and leaned over the bed rail to search Danny’s face. Danny’s eyes held Steve’s for a moment, then they narrowed in concentration.
“I know it sounds unbelievable, Steve, but I really have no idea what happened to me. The last thing I remember before I woke up here was getting into my car and driving off. I don’t even remember where I was going.”
“You were wearing sneakers and it was your day off. Does that ring any bells?”
Danno thought a moment before slowly shaking his head again. “Nothing.”
Soon, the pieces to the puzzle started to emerge. They’d found Danny’s car at a local stable. Apparently Danny had rented a horse to take a ride. The horse never returned. Neither had Danny. When McGarrett urged Danno to try to retrace his steps, small flashes of something came back to him; a cave like place, riding fast—no—running, shots or explosions, then…then...nothing.
“Steve, if this was helping, I should know the whole story by now, we’ve been over it so many times. I just can’t remember!”
Steve looked at Chin and Duke and motioned his head to the side. They both left the room without so much as a glance back.
“Can’t or don’t want to?”
“What? You think I’m trying to purposely forget?”
Danny was mad. He stomped to the door, meaning to go out and cool off for a minute. McGarrett was suddenly between his hand and the doorknob, pushing him back, his voice hard and concerned, all at the same time. “I know you’re trying, Danno, but I think you’re holding something back. What is it?”
Danny looked to his left, then his right before speaking. “Okay, Steve. You won’t believe me though. You’ll probably have me locked up in an asylum if you hear the God’s honest truth, and I don’t want that. I also don’t want to lose my job, or cause a scandal for Five-O. We have to keep this between you and me. If you tell me to leave, I will, and I’ll never bother you again. But if you want me to stay here, well, you’ll just have to have an open mind. And never ever tell anyone.”
“Danno, anything—anything you say will be between you and me. Nobody outside this office will ever know. I’ll make sure of it. And I’d never ask you to leave. Ever. Sit down and tell me whatever it is that you’re holding out on me.”
Danno seemed to lose steam then, and he sagged into the black leather couch, his head in both hands, as if he were in pain.
“I do remember more of parts of the day than I let on, you’re right Steve. But it has nothing to do with anything going on. It’s all about me, personally.”
McGarrett relaxed, prepared to listen as Danny’s friend instead of a police officer and his boss.
“It all started when I turned 21. Kind of a coming of age in my family, you could say. Now it happens regularly, or maybe more precisely, I make it happen regularly, so it doesn’t get out of control.”
He glance up at Steve, still concerned, but Steve just nodded encouragingly.
“Okay. I was out riding. I know that, I remember it. I guess more to the point, I know I rented that horse and we hit the trail. Except Steve, I wasn’t really riding. I was….trotting beside that mare.”
“What do you mean? Trotting?”
“Steve, you know those old myths and legends that the old people tell kids to scare them? The myths about centaurs and satyrs and gods and heroes? They aren’t just legends.”
Danny took a deep breath and stared at Steve. “I’m a centaur. I mean, I can become one. That’s what I was doing that day. I went and rented the horse, then rode off away from where anyone could see me. I—I got out to where I was alone, then I dismounted and stuffed my clothes into this bag that I keep for the occasion. As soon as I was ready, I transformed. The mare and I ran then. All over those hills. It’s so…well, it’s freedom, Steve. And relaxing too.”
Steve was trying to pretend that Danno hadn’t said what he’d just said. A centaur? A half-man, half-horse? Danny? McGarrett shook his head the smallest bit as he settled into the chair directly across from Danny. He leaned in close, showing his second in command that he wasn’t disgusted. And that he believed him.
“Anyway, I was running next to the mare and we happened to stumble upon some guys unloading a truck into a tunnel looking place. I’m sure the crates they were carrying said ‘explosives’ on them. And there was a boat parked in that tunnel. I was behind the mare, oh, her name was Sunny, by the way. I was behind her, so I’m sure I looked like I was riding her and I called out to them, ordered them to stop, identified myself—well, said I was Five-O and to freeze. That’s when they started shooting.”
“Wait a minute, Danno. You identified yourself as Five-O when you were still in…in cent…non-human form?”
It still amazed McGarrett that after all these years, Danny could still blush. He did it now, and hung his head. “Yeah, kind of in the heat of the moment, you know? They thought I was riding anyway. And we both took off running, looking for cover.”
Danny glanced up at his boss again, and upon seeing belief—or at least no ridicule—he started again. “Sunny got hit and couldn’t go any further. As I was bending over to check her breathing, a bullet grazed my right flank—that’s the mark on my hip—so I took off out of there. I can really outrun an enemy if I have to, you know. I got to the edge of that cliff overlooking the highway and since the men shooting at me earlier weren’t there yet, I changed back and pulled on my clothes—that’s another thing I’m pretty fast with—then they showed up, and I didn’t care to get shot again, so I saw the sand truck, and I jumped. I really did get knocked unconscious from the fall, I guess. Maybe hit my head on the side of the truck. So then I ended up in the hospital.”
Steve tipped his head to the side to look at Danny. “You know, Danny, they found a dark hair in your wound. We assumed it was horse hair. But it wasn’t, was it? It was yours. A centaur hair.”
Danny raised an eyebrow, then scowled. “Yeah, I guess it was. Lucky you didn’t have it analyzed.”
“Maybe I will someday, just to satisfy my own curiosity, I mean. Now, shall we leave the living legends stories alone for the day? We have a case to solve.”
Danny snorted a short laugh and stood up. “What, you’re not going to ask if I give rides?”
McGarrett gave the younger man a sly smirk. “Maybe later.”
They walked out of Steve’s office, ready to catch the criminals that had shot at Danno. They were obviously planning something big.
A day or so later, after Danno had booked the retired soldier for attempting to assassinate the Chinese official, McGarrett was adding the last note to his own private record of the case.
He was alone in his office, all was dark except for the one desk lamp. Sally didn’t take dictation for these notes. Steve closed the file, locked it in the combination safe built into the floor under his chair and stood.
He smiled as he walked out of the building. “Might be time to ask about that ride, Danno,” he said quietly, to himself. “Of course, I might have to explain that the little legend about certain winged horses is not one hundred percent myth either.”
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