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McGarrett stood on his office lanai, looking over the city. Saturday afternoon. He had caught up on his correspondence and paperwork in the morning, and now the afternoon stretched on without appeal. It had been a rough two weeks. He hadn’t found a replacement for Danny yet, hadn’t even looked, if he were honest with himself, so they were all overworked. Kono was still angry, May was frostily correct, the gas station robberies were still unsolved, and McGarrett’s temper was constantly frayed. It didn’t help that Chin had talked to his friends at HPD and reported that the detectives there were giving Danny a bad time, that they figured he’d messed up somehow and so it was safe for them to get some of their own back for his quick promotion. No one wanted to work with him, so he’d been assigned to a detective who had actually shot his last partner. Steve had wanted to go over and yell at someone, but Chin convinced him that it would only make things worse for Danny.
Steve sighed. Danny offered me affection, and in return I sent him away. If it had been a female detective, would I have done the same? Maybe not, but I’m only human. I had no choice. Yeah, keep telling yourself that. He went back into the office. It seemed emptier than usual.
The telephone rang.
“Mr. McGarrett, it’s Lieutenant Kealoha, HPD. I’m at Castle Memorial Hospital. Detective Williams has been shot, and there’s a hostage situation.”
“I’ll be right there.” He flung the phone receiver into its cradle
and bolted from the room.
Steve drove to the hospital with his siren screaming and his foot to the floor. If Danny dies....
He arrived on the third floor in record time. Kealoha met him in front of the elevator.
“Is Danny still alive?” Steve demanded.
“I don’t know.” Kealoha told him.
“Where are they?”
“Around the corner.”
Danny lay on the floor, clutching his bleeding side. How on earth did things end up this bad so quickly? he thought. One minute he and Claybairn had stopped to watch practice for the kids’ baseball team Five- O sponsored, the next this big marine guy helping out, John Auston, had been accidentally knocked unconscious with a bat and they’d brought him here to the hospital. When he woke up, he’d freaked out, grabbed Claybairn’s gun, shot him and Danny, and was now holding the room against a legion of imaginary Viet Cong.
I hope Claybairn is OK. I think he was hit in the leg. I’m glad the
doctor got him out of there, but I wish someone would get me out, too. I
wonder if Steve will come? Surely someone will call Five-O. Steve....
Steve looked down the hall at Auston’s barricade in the large mirror HPD had set up. “Danny? Danno? Are you alright?” he called.
There was no answer. “Danno! Danno, can you hear me? Danno, answer me!” Steve implored.
“Steve...Steve?” came Danny’s voice, weak but recognizable.
“At least he’s still alive,” said Kealoha.
“Yeah, for how long?” asked Steve. Why haven’t you gone down there and get him?” he demanded.
“In the face of that gun, it would just be suicide!” Kealoha protested.
Steve stood up, stripping off his jacket and tie. “Cover me.”
“Steve, you just can’t go in there!”
Grabbing Kealoha by the collar, Steve shoved him aside. “Out of the way,” he growled, seizing one of the metal riot shields waiting in the hall entrance and advancing behind its dubious protection.
Auston opened fire down the hall.
Kealoha grabbed Steve’s arm and dragged him back to safety.
Steve angrily shoved him off. “Leave me alone!” Danny, hang
on, I’m coming, just hang on....
Steve strode furiously down the hall, returning from being paged to talk to Dr. Cutter, the doctor in the room when the shooting started, and Detective Claybairn, lying in a hospital bed recovering from his leg wound.
So, this doctor was actually in the room when Danny got shot, but he can’t tell me anything about how bad he’s hurt. All he knows is that he was hit in the abdomen. He thinks. He wants a medal for getting that idiot partner of Danny’s out of there when if it weren’t for him the marine wouldn’t have gotten the weapon in the first place, and Kealoha feels I should be just be glad that one man was saved. Even Chin’s telling me to calm down, as though we should all just forget about Danny and be glad the situation isn’t somehow worse!
Steve knew he wasn’t being entirely fair, but he was past being fair to anyone. Danny, Danny, I should never have sent you away. This is my fault. My fault, and if...if you don’t make it...I’ll never even get a chance to explain....I’m going down there to get you before you bleed to death, whether anyone else likes it or not.
However, when he again tried to mount a rescue, he was stopped by both Kealoha and the hospital’s chief of staff.
“There are patients in critical condition in those rooms! Any shock could kill them! Don’t you care about their lives?” Dr. Hanson demanded.
Why does everyone but me seem to think that Danny’s life is the least important one here? Steve screamed in his head, but he agreed, no frontal assault, no tear gas. He demanded to know the specifics on the precious patients.
“Take it easy, Steve,” Kealoha said, putting a hand on his shoulder.
How can I take it easy when Danny is lying in there, in pain,
bleeding to death, and the last thing I told him was that I didn’t want him
as my partner anymore?
McGarrett did his best to work the problem, talking to a
psychiatrist about what might have made Auston flip out and making
arrangements to get a crane to reach the windows of the patients’ rooms.
The marines were demanding that they not shoot Auston. Great, another
person whose life is apparently more important than Danny’s.
Danny lay on the floor of the examining room. I don’t know how much more blood I can stand to lose. Everything’s getting kind of fuzzy. It was good to hear Steve’s voice a little while ago, even if it made Auston grab me again. It hurts like hell to move...I never really realized how much it hurts to be shot....
He heard a woman’s hysterical shrieking in the hall, and, with a supreme effort, pulled himself up on the overturned stretcher. To his horror, he saw that Auston was shooting at this girl and Steve, who was dragging her back into a patient’s room. Danny grabbed Auston’s arm to stop him, before slumping to the floor again after the effort.
God, that hurts...can’t get up any more...Steve...please be safe....
Steve sat in the small surgery waiting room. It was all over now, at least as far as the hostage situation went. They’d been ready to go straight in, but after talking to a buddy of Auston’s McGarrett had been lowered in the window from a chopper in the uniform of a corpsman, and it had worked, after some tense moments in that room.
Now it was up to the doctors performing surgery to remove the bullet from Danny and stop the bleeding. He looked so still lying there on the floor. I was afraid he really was dead, as I told Auston...Danny, you can’t die now...not before I have a chance to talk to you....
Steve paced the room. If Chin had picked him up that night. If I hadn’t reassigned him. If the accident had never happened. If his partner had been more careful with his gun. If I had gotten him out of there sooner. A chain of ‘ifs’, and Danny’s life hangs on the end. All day balancing Danny’s life against my duty to everyone else. Claybairn, the patients, Auston...have to be responsible for everyone, no matter what I want. No matter that, to me, Danny’s life is most important. He’s a member of Five-O. And...he’s Danny. Whether we can be partners or not, it doesn’t matter. He’ll always be most important. I wish I knew the right thing to do....
“Steve, Danny will be OK,” Chin tried to reassure him.
“If he isn’t, it’s my fault,” Steve said grimly.
“It was an accident. No one’s fault.”
“I wish I knew what to do,” Steve said, looking into the dark mirror of the window. “I tried to do the right thing, and I ended up making Danny miserable and then getting him shot. Now I don’t know what the right thing is, any more....”
“Steve...I know you always try to do what’s best for Five-O, but sometimes, maybe what’s right for Five-O doesn’t have to be what makes everyone unhappy. Danny’s a fine young cop. It would be a shame for Five-O to lose him.”
“Chin....” Steve looked piercingly at him.
“Steve,” Chin said, patting him on the shoulder. “I understand why you reassigned Danny.”
“Danny doesn’t understand,” Steve said grimly. Does Chin really know? Could he have guessed? he wondered.
“Maybe you should explain to him,” Chin told him.
Steve was back to pacing. Chin had gone to call his wife and kids.
Gerald Claybairn came into the waiting room, awkward on crutches. “They told me you were here. Is Danny out of surgery yet?” he asked anxiously.
“No,” Steve said flatly.
“I’m so sorry about what happened. It’s my fault. If I hadn’t let Auston get my gun, none of this would have happened. Danny saved my life. If he hadn’t shoved me out of the way, it would have been me lying on that floor instead of him. He’s the best partner I’ve ever had, the only one who’s ever been nice to me, who’s ever treated me with respect. I’ll never forgive myself if he isn’t OK.” Claybairn was leaning on the crutches, nervously clasping his hands.
I’ll never forgive either of us, Steve thought savagely. “If he’s so important to you, you should have been more careful with your weapon,” he snapped.
“Well, if he’s so important to you, you shouldn’t have let him go as your partner in the first place!” Claybairn said with nervous defiance. “He wouldn’t tell me why it happened, he didn’t complain, but I know he was upset about it. While we were on cases, all he talked about was you, what a great cop you are, all the things you taught him, and you sent him off to be partners with the screw-up! Well, maybe you didn’t deserve him as your partner!”
Steve turned on him furiously, then took a deep breath. “Maybe I didn’t, at that....” he said quietly, turning away.
“M...Mr. McGarrett, I...I’m sorry, I know it’s none of my business,” stammered Claybairn, looking horrified at his outburst.
“Go back to your room and rest your leg. I’ll see that they call you when Danny comes out of surgery,” Steve told him.
“Th-thank you,” Claybairn said, limping off.
Kono came in carrying a shopping bag. “Any word yet, Boss?”
Steve shook his head.
“Here, I brought coffee and sandwiches from my mom,” Kono said, handing paper cups to Steve and Chin Ho and filling them from a thermos.
“Thanks, Kono,” Steve said.
Another half hour passed. Steve had drunk two cups of coffee and abstractedly eaten a sandwich whose filling he couldn’t have named. How long can surgery take? Is there some complication? he wondered.
The surgeon came into the room, looking around. “Are you...?” he began.
“The family,” Kono said firmly, making Steve smile.
“Well. We were able to remove the bullet and stop the bleeding. It was a bit tricky, since he’d already lost a lot of blood, but he’s stable, and, as long as there’s no peritonitis, he should make a full recovery. We’ve started him on antibiotics.”
“When can we see him?” Kono asked.
“We’re transferring him to the ICU. You can see him there when he wakes up, but it won’t be for a while, and we have to limit things to one visitor.”
“I’ll stay with him,” Steve said. “You two go home and get some rest. I’ll call you if there’s any change.”
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