AFTER Full Fathom Five





RATED A for anguish!  

September 1968

"Don't you like hiking?"

McGarrett took his eyes off the road long enough to spare his colleague a quick glance, then it was back to visual attention of the stop and go traffic of Ala Moana Boulevard. While analyzing the surprise at the invitation to go backpacking with his young detective, Steve was searching for something deeper. A clue amidst the surface -- unprecedented -- invitation to spend a day off with his newest officer in Five-0.

Maybe the kid was feeling a little insecure, Steve decided. A little arrogantly he thought maybe Danno should. Last week their big blow up over Joyce's undercover assignment had been their first real confrontation. {episode -- FULL FATHOM FIVE} Steve had laid down the law -- defining in no uncertain terms who the boss of the office was going to be at all times. Irritated at the rebellion, McGarrett didn't mind a little healthy debate, but Danno was the last person he expected to cross him.

No, that was unfair. Williams was a conscientious kid and probably had a little too much heart and vulnerability to make a perfect Five-0 detective. He was a really prime cop, though, and Steve appreciated that he did not get a doormat of an officer when he signed Williams onto the team. What the younger man needed was a crash course in crisis living -- the normal state of affairs at Five-0.

What was really bugging him about Dan's pressuring him to take a day off together? Steve was unhappy with Dan's opposition to the undercover assignment when Steve himself was feeling the same emotions. But Steve chose the dictates of duty rather than the personal considerations of the officer. Joyce volunteered to be an undercover mark for the con-man/murderer. Steve didn't ALLOW himself the luxury of bleeding his heart out every time he sent an officer into danger. Maybe he resented that Danny could, and did, reveal such soft emotions. There was no room in Five-0 for such overt compassion and he had to find a way to pound that weakness out of his newest officer.

"Well, what do you think? It's a great climb." Tapping fingers on the car door, Dan was unable to outwait his boss. "Look, Steve, after last week I just thought it would do us good to go do something outside the office. You know, natural wonders and all that. Enjoy our Island paradise. And -- and maybe we can talk things out." His voice dropped. "I think we have some things to smooth out after this undercover assignment."

Slow to forgive sometimes, Steve admitted with chagrin that the kid was only trying to make peace. Danno was absolutely right. They worked closely almost every day of the week and it was vital for the team that McGarrett function smoothly with the officers. Conflict with his former second-in-command, Nohea, had caused all kinds of friction within Five-0.  With the bright, enthusiastic, energetic -- and yes -- deferential -- kid Steve had vowed things would be different.  Now, after their first real debate he knew he was no longer on the pedestal Williams had put him on when Steve chose him to join the unit.  Well, he knew that was going to crack.  Idols always had feet of clay.  Now, the question was were they going to be able to smoothly work together as Steve had hoped all along. 

Was he making too big a deal out of this conflict?  Danno thought it was a problem and Steve admitted he had not really forgiven the kid for arguing with him.  Standing up to the boss was one thing, but Dan had to learn when to back down.

This rugged, back to nature stuff was not his bag, necessarily, but he could handle it. In fact, with his background of Navy survival training he could probably show a few things to Danno. And it would give them a chance to nail out this clash about who was going to be boss no matter what. He liked Danno a lot. There were a great many solid skills within the young man. But the vulnerability, the softness, had to be refined, reforged.  Hopefully before a true test under fire.

"Okay," he agreed with a crooked grin. "Let's see how tough this mountain is, Danno." Let's see how tough YOU can be, friend, was his final thought.



Set back into the hills of the windward coast of Oahu, Kahana Falls was a favorite hiking spot for locals -- especially students from the Mormon university at Laie and occasional tourists who wanted a taste of the untouched, wild splendor of the Islands. The trail that snaked along the mountainside in a steady incline, sometimes narrowing to single-file width, was considered a moderate trek.

As was common with most autumn days in Hawaii, the weather was magnificent, temperate and sunny with dappled-dark clouds drifting in to hug the mountains as the day advanced. Dan set a steady pace as they made good time up the trail.

In very good shape himself, Steve wanted to stretch his colleague and see what Danno was really made of. Mentally, McGarrett considered this something far beyond the bonding experience Williams was looking for. Steve wanted this hike to be a lesson in endurance and Five-0 philosophy. The youngest member of Five-0 needed to get some callused skin to withstand the heat inherent with the job.

Still slightly irked at his officer over the incident with Joyce's undercover stint, Steve wanted to use this time to pound out some of Danno's uncertainties and sensitivities. There were times, as a cop, when you had to stop feeling so much and do your job with a hard heart.

With a stab of conscience Steve fleetingly condemned himself as a hypocrite. While Dan had been arguing with him about the dangers to the policewoman -- a mother -- Steve had been skulking around keeping a covert eye on Joyce and making sure she was safe. Never willing to admit it to himself, let alone to his young officer, Steve had problems with compassion. Just like Danno, he had too much of it for a cop. Yeah, they were supposed to be understanding and sympathetic to victims, but inside McGarrett's heart could bleed and he had to change that for Danno.

Williams was so untested with the severe side of life -- in Steve's opinion. He felt responsible for toughening him up before Dan experienced some real heartbreak on the job. This was for his own good. And the good of the team. He couldn't have a member of the unit fall apart in a crisis. Not that he expected that out of Williams, but he told himself he would firm up Dan's sensitivity level.

The path widened and McGarrett picked up his pace, his longer legs easily striding past Williams. He slapped Danno on the back.

"Come on, Danno, let's get a work out from this."

Easily catching the challenge in the tone, Williams made the effort to keep up with his boss. "Great."

The walk was brisk and by the time they made it to the falls both were breathing heavy, but both worked hard to hide that fact. The falls were magnificent, nestled in a grotto of ferns and trees. The water, thick from rains, obviously pouring down farther up the mountain.

Strolling around the area, they viewed the waterfall from several angles. Dan pointed out a spot just above the falls where they could have a comfortable lunch. Almost a vertical climb, they made their way up to a flat spot past the ledge of the falls. Both sat on the ground drinking water from their canteens.

"So what made you think of hiking? If we have differences, we could always duke it out in a boxing ring."

"Kind of hard to talk when my boss is beating me to a pulp." The depreciative smile coaxed a grin off of the boss. "I was hoping to just -- talk."

For an instant McGarrett lost his competitive edge. "Talk about what?"

Williams pulled the backpack over and dug inside for sandwiches. He tossed one to McGarrett. "Well, I didn't want to let you think I was starting off my  job as a combatant."

Relaxed, but still a little on the defensive, Steve decided this was the right time to try pushing the limits of his newest officer. He liked Danno a lot. The beginning of their employment was the best time to work out all the kinks. The kid was a hard worker and always, until this last case, strove earnestly to obey McGarrett's every dictate. Steve wanted to assure complete loyalty.

Steve's voice held no sympathy. "What did you intend then? You really disagreed with my choice of Joyce as the undercover operative. Was it because she was a friend? A girlfriend? A mother?"

Dan chomped into his sandwich. "She's not a girlfriend. I knew her on HPD. And yeah, she's a mom. If something had happened to her she'd leave an orphan behind!"

Pausing in mid-chew on the mouthful of sandwich, Steve continued eating with thoughtful consideration of the very telling comment. Danno was an orphan. So that possibility really unnerved him about other kids. Understandable, even compassionate, but a susceptibility in a cop.

"It happens." He closed off the memory of his own father's death. Not in the line of duty -- in an accident. More harshly than he expected, he snapped out, "It's unavoidable sometimes. Wrong place at the wrong time." He stared into the blur of trees, the rushing water, anywhere but inside. "You've got to learn to live with that."

At the extended silence, McGarrett glanced at the subdued detective. Williams' jaw was grinding. The kid didn't like the raw ultimatum, but Steve wouldn't back down now. This was the time to clear all these gray areas out of their working alliance. Be tough now and he wouldn't regret it later.

"I still don't like it." The defiance from last week was gone, replaced with the weary acceptance of what had to be. "But you're right," Danny agreed.

Good. That showed maturity and a willingness to learn some tough lessons. Best of all, Danno still respected the absolute of Steve's authority.

The realization seemed to deflate Williams and he started gathering his things. "Next time we come I'll take you up the advanced trail." Dan pointed up beyond the falls.

Now that his new recruit was so flexible, Steve did not want to give up and call it a day. He wanted to press a little more, squeeze a bit more true mettle out of the younger man before this opportunity was over. They may not get another moment like this -- except under fire -- for a long time. This was a better place to understand the make up of his officer rather than when bullets were flying their way.

"What's wrong with today?" The challenge was unmistakable.

Dan smiled, studying the thick, dark clouds barely discernable through the compressed overgrowth of trees. High up in the mountains it was still raining. The heavy rush of water through the stream feeding the falls was proof the storm was increasing in volume and strength.

"This can be a dangerous trail when it rains. It's probably pretty muddy and unstable in places up there."

"We'll dry off." McGarrett was still pushing. "I'm game if you are."

For a moment the new detective studied his boss. Dan wasn't about to back down, how could he? He had to prove to Steve that he was no sissy. Dan's opposition of Joyce's undercover assignment had caused friction with he and Steve. Even if the boss never admitted it, the debate -- argument -- had bruised Steve's ego, had caused him to fractionally question Williams' loyalty and commitment to the team. Dan had thought it was only a personality conflict. During this hike, however, he recognized Steve's effort to test him and push him. On the team only a few months, Steve had impulsively recruited him in lieu of several other older, more experienced candidates. The hue and cry over that had still not settled. Maybe Steve was having regrets about Dan's ability and performance as a cop? Maybe because Steve didn't think he had what it took to be in Five-0 anymore? The thought was like a knife stabbing him in the heart. He would do anything to keep his job at Five-0 -- and beyond. Anything to earn back the trust and whatever respect he had garnered since meeting McGarrett.

Opposing Steve about Joyce had not been interpreted as a conflict of opinions apparently by Steve. It had been a show of weakness on Dan's part. Well, he would never make that mistake again. Most of his life he'd had to fight against people's opinion of him based on his physical appearance. Short and youthful looking had a lot of disadvantages for a kid -- later for a young cop. He'd had to prove himself all the time. Now he felt he was in the most crucial test of his lifetime.

With a last glance up the mountain Dan weighed his options. Play it safe and end the hike because of the possibility of danger up the trail? Back down and lose Steve's respect -- whatever was left of it? Or show Steve that he could -- and would -- go through any hoops and trials to earn Steve's trust and be a team player. That was the bottom line he realized. Never in his life had he met someone as incredible and dynamic as McGarrett. That Steve even noticed his skill and potential was unbelievable. That McGarrett accepted him as a colleague, a protégé -- even a friend -- was the most unimaginable marvel. Dan would go to any lengths not to lose any more ground than what he already had.

"Well, you ready for a real work out?" Steve's voice took on an impatient dare.

"You bet."

Securing their backpacks, Dan gave a sketch of the trail they would follow. Not much could be seen behind the matting of thick trees, but McGarrett got the idea. It would be a vertical climb in many places, a rugged, narrow path on others. The trail would lead up a crevice and back around to the falls in about two hours. Dan set the pace as they crossed the wide stream and started to ascend.

When the trail widened, Steve again slipped past his associate. "Come on, Danno, you can do better than that."

The shorter man had the advantage of stamina and familiarity with hiking. The taller McGarrett was in great physical shape, but jogging and boxing did not tone the same muscles as climbing, and soon the older detective was struggling to keep the rugged pace.

The trail snaked along rugged rocks on the hillside. Again the hike turned into a competitive race, both men unwilling to show any weakness to the other. Some areas of the path were clear of vegetation, and as they hurried through, Dan noted the clouds were moving closer. Almost immediately the rain hit them. He considered calling a halt to the hike and retracing their steps, but they were almost half way through the course and Dan was not going to be accused of giving up.

They leveled off for a short distance on a sticky-mud path. A few times both of them slipped, but neither said a word, just slogged along, determined to complete the endurance course in better time and condition than the other. Dan had kept pace with the taller, stronger McGarrett and Steve just kept pushing harder and faster, choosing the more difficult trail when presented with a choice, rushing to finish without pause.

Across the trail ahead was a moderate stream. Hurrying to be within arm's length of McGarrett, Dan tapped him on the shoulder.

"This is tricky for the next little bit. It's level, but really slippery when it rains." It came out a little more timid and worried than Dan wanted, but he knew the dangers inherent to this trail and would not let their competition overshadow safety. This was his idea and his turf and that made him responsible for Steve's safety. "Watch your step."

"Sure." Steve's pace didn't falter. "Need a rest?"


Sloshing through the stream, Dan had little time to realize the recent rains had washed away part of the footpath ahead. Mud and rocks would be loosened and this crossing dangerous. He rushed to get alongside McGarrett so he could check out the road ahead.

"Steve, you better let me lead, this trail is unstable."

McGarrett's smile was confidence itself. "I've hiked a few trails in my time, Danno."

Before the stream was crossed they had to climb over some rocks to get to the track on the other side. McGarrett started the short ascent and suddenly the rock under his hand jolted, breaking. Stumbling back, he fell into Dan. The momentum nearly knocked them both off the trail and into the stream. From there it would have been a wet and nasty crash over the ledge. Instinctively Williams grabbed Steve and pushed them into the mountain. Both lost their footing and slid back into the stream, their legs dangling over the edge.

For a moment they were still, gauging the stability of the mud under their bodies and the structure of the rocks over their heads.

"You okay, Danno?"

"Yeah. You?"

"Yeah." McGarrett steadied his breathing, then finally sighed. "Yeah." He patted Dan's shoulder. He carefully came to his feet, grabbing onto Dan's hand to help him up. "You ready to hit the trail?"

"Sure. Might as well since we're about half way through anyway." His grin was lopsided and a little nervous. "Just watch it, Steve, this -- watch it!"

A chunk of the mountain just over Steve's shoulder was breaking off, aligned to hit Steve on its way downhill. Dan grabbed McGarrett and pushed him into the farthest corner of the pathway. Williams felt something heavy hit his back and knock the air out of him. It was enough to jolt him loose of his grip on his friend and the impetus of the rocks pushed him, tumbling, over the edge.

When Steve hit the mountain the force of Dan's push wedged him into a corner. Instantly he felt -- and heard -- the thump of something hit Danno, jolting them both. Then the pressure on his back was gone and the sound of crashing foliage receded down the mountain.


Anxiously Steve searched for his friend, who obviously had tumbled down the hill. The mud beneath him slipped and McGarrett instinctively grabbed for any purchase to stay his descent. The trail broke and Steve slid and tumbled downstream, protecting his face the best he could as he thrashed through the underbrush and bounced off of rocks. Coming to a stop against a tree, he gasped for breath, struggling to bring his mud-encrusted body out of the muck, out of the worst of the landslide. Tentatively he checked his injuries. Everything moved without problem, but everything hurt. He'd have some incredible bruises tomorrow, but nothing was broken thankfully.

Hunched over, breathing hard, he glanced around, trying to find his friend. Unable to call out yet, he held onto the tree and studied the terrain. There, still in the rushing stream, McGarrett could see a backpack. His heart stopped. Under the backpack, in the mud and water, had to be Danno.


McGarrett raced forward, slipping more than running, stumbling to reach the downed officer. Dropping into the stream, he roughly grabbed Williams, who was not face down, he saw, thankfully, but almost, his face covered in mud. Pulling Dan to a fern covered spot on the mountain, Steve laid him back to check for injuries. That's when he realized Dan was not breathing.

"Danno!" Turning the younger man on his side, Steve cleared out his mouth and pumped him on the back to clear the lungs. "Danno! Come on! Breathe!"

Williams coughed. Mud and water spewed out of his mouth. Eyes squeezed shut, gasping for breath, he continued coughing until Steve thought he would choke. Finally the hacking eased, replaced by a labored wheeze. Holding on, Steve straightened, for the first time noting the blood dribbling from the right side of Dan's head.

Trembling and panting, McGarrett held onto Williams, barely able to clear himself of the panic rippling through his system. Internal injuries? There might be some head injuries, too. Maybe some broken bones? The list of possible horrors was escalating along with Steve's fears and he fought to calm his rampant dread.

"Danno, I'm going to lean you back. Feel like anything's broken?"

Eyes still shut against the pain, Dan shook his head, not wasting energy or precious breath or words. McGarrett carefully eased Dan against the trunk of a fallen tree, reclining the injured cop without laying him down. Quickly checking arms and legs, everything seemed to be okay. Steve was pressing on Dan's ankle when Williams leaned his head back, holding his head in both hands.

"Head hurts?"

"Yeah. An unbelievable headache. Like a bad wipeout. And my left ankle."

Carefully tilting Dan up, McGarrett winced as more blood dripped from Dan's head. Shifting his friend into a better position against a rock, Dan grimaced in pain as Steve checked by the right ear. Very carefully Steve touched gentle fingers along the hairline.

"Bad?" Dan gritted his teeth as McGarrett touched a tender spot.

"A nasty gash. How's your vision?"

Williams shrugged, admitting it seemed all right.

First things first. Ripping off a piece of his shirt, McGarrett wrapped a wad of material and a headband around Dan's injury to stay the bleeding. That seemed to do the trick for the moment. He reminded himself head wounds bled a lot and otherwise Williams seemed fine except for the ankle.

Steve recommended they start a slow walk down the hill. He could support Dan, compensating for the weak ankle. The theory proved much more difficult to place into practical application. Just getting Dan up on his feet was tough on the wet ground. The ankle was hurting so much that no weight could be placed on it. Steve wouldn't remove the hiking boot -- if the bone were broken that would only make things worse. Best to just stay off it as best as possible.  Williams swayed, light-headed, probably a result of the painful injury, though McGarrett hoped it was not a sign of a concussion. Dan's eyes seemed all right, but the bleeding head wound worried the older detective.

Completely supporting Williams' weight on the left side, Steve did not realize there was a balance problem until after one of their frequent falls. Danno tried to hop over toward McGarrett, but swayed and fell when he let go of a supporting rock.

"Trouble walking?"

"Just a little dizzy."

More than that, Steve surmised. Dan hadn't even been close to grabbing onto the rock. Perception problems, too? Concussion symptoms. In the low light of the forest Steve must not have checked the eyes correctly, but he was guessing a mild concussion.

"Having trouble seeing straight?"


"Okay, you've got a little concussion I think. Keep your eye closed." Assessing the wounded officer he saw Dan's right eye was now nearly swollen closed from the bang to the head.

"With one eye closed your vision will improve. Close the right eye, that should work." Obligingly, McGarrett pulled a part of the headband over the eye as a kind of patch.

"Great, first I can't walk. Now I can't see."

Sarcasm was not unknown in the younger officer, particularly after their recent disagreement over Joyce's undercover assignment. The stupid debate that had started this whole idea about working things out on a hike! Now the acerbic comment seemed out of character to McGarrett. The situation was to blame, of course, but in the back of his mind Steve felt a trickle of dread. Without knowing why, his sixth sense was telling him to expect more problems.

Rain increased in intensity, making every step a slippery, uncontrolled slide. Several times McGarrett lost his purchase on his friend and both went sliding in different angles. Precious time was lost scrambling back to common ground. With each fall Williams grew visibly weaker, his ankle more and more damaged. They were losing light, however, with the combination of the increasingly heavy storm and the sun fading behind the mountain. The time pressure increased McGarrett's anxiety to get them down quickly and he continued to urge a relentless pace.

With a huff of fatigue, Williams sank to the ground and slowly wiped rain out of his eyes. "I'm going as fast as I can!" He pointed his face to the sky and opened his mouth to catch the falling water. "I'm so thirsty."

"It's almost dark," McGarrett needlessly reminded. "Let's get down a little farther. Next time we rest I'll get the canteen out of my pack."

Irritated, Williams pulled away, struggling painfully to his feet, swaying into a close tree trunk. "And whose fault is it that we're stuck here anyway? I wanted to go slow, watch the trail, but you had to be a hero and prove how tough you are!"

The abrupt and unprovoked outburst shocked Steve. There was no way to argue with the correct assessment of blame, but for an instant anger flashed within, quickly dying when McGarrett valiantly ground his teeth together to insure silence. Danno was hurting, frustrated and upset. McGarrett could control his temper enough to not sink to the level of fighting with someone who was down -- who was also achingly right.

Steve reached for Dan's arm. "We need to get -- "

"Let go!" Williams pulled away, stumbling into the tree again. "I can handle myself! I've hiked up to these falls a dozen times!" Weaving a crooked, blundering path, Williams lurched away, limping, tripping over several small rocks, slipping in the mud. "I can get down better than you!"

The behavior was all wrong, McGarrett knew as he chased after the detective. The belligerence was not Danno. What else was wrong? Besides the experienced hiker going in the wrong direction -- cutting a path across the mountain and not down! Something beyond impulsiveness from anger or pride was motivating this deviation. Danno was crashing into trees, tripping over things, holding his hands out in front of him. Like a man who could no longer see!


Before the injured man reached the rushing stream, McGarrett raced over and stopped the officer from blundering into the dangerous water. Catching Williams in his arms, he pulled them away from the crumbling edge of the racing river and they slid down to a tangled web of broken tree trunks.

"What are you doing?"

"Home. I'm going home."

McGarrett grabbed his friend's face and looked into the uncovered eye. The pupil was enlarged. He felt the pulse -- thready, skin pale and cool. Shock, disorientation, lethargy. Not good. Again there was an alert going off in his brain and he couldn't define the alarm. There was a lurking danger here and he couldn't quite grasp it.

"Can you see me?"


With his right hand he pointed at about a 35-degree angle away from McGarrett, then slowly corrected his estimate and touched McGarrett's shoulder.

Swallowing the lump of anguish knotting his throat, Steve tried to keep his voice steady. The head wound. Pressure to the brain was getting worse. "We need to get you back down the mountain, Danno. Let's try it again."

Williams pushed away, staggering back. "Leave me alone. I just want to rest." He crawled, using only his right arm and knee. "Let me rest," he pleaded miserably, sinking his head into the mud.

Heavy, incessant, merciless rain pelting them like tiny rockets.  McGarrett lifted his friend out of the mud and dragged him to the relative protection of a nearby umbrella tree. Danno's condition was deteriorating and there was no fast or easy solution. Getting to a hospital was imperative. The situation had turned from serious to grave -- hopefully not tragic considering they had to find a way down the mountain in a manner that would keep Danno alive and not cause him more injury or kill him. Steve was convinced there seemed to be a brain injury of some kind. He didn't want to guess at how serious it might be.

"Come on, let's go, Danno. I'll help you."

Struggling up, Williams fighting against him, Steve got them both on their feet and headed in the right direction this time. Slowly, each step a guarded progress, they slid down. They had lost track of the trail completely and were relying only on vague landmarks that Steve remembered running parallel to the path. They would lose time hiking across rough terrain to get to the trail so they continued on a steady track down slope. Keeping away from the ever rising stream, they were doing well once they got past the silty, cleared dirt. Most of the time trees and rocks were positioned close enough to be used as hand holds.

There was no warning when a wall of mud swept into them. One minute McGarrett was on his feet, the next instant slushy muck; rocks, branches, and bushes washed into him and he rolled into the mire, tumbling and slipping without control. The breath was knocked out of him when his back hit a tree and he was pushed to the side of the river of mud.

Coughing and spitting the gunk out of his mouth, he heaved for breath, struggling to come to his feet. Except for an incredible ache along his shoulder blades he was okay. Nothing broken, only bruised. Scrambling through the mud, McGarrett searched for his friend.

An unconscious Danno was close to the stream, his legs slipping into the fast moving water. McGarrett ran as fast as he could over to the prone figure and pulled him out of the rushing torrent. The last slide had taken Williams' backpack. That left only McGarrett's supplies. No problem. They were getting off this mountain tonight, he vowed to himself.

"Drink." His uncovered eye closed, Williams was obviously conscious again. Shivering from the cold conditions, Williams opened his mouth to catch the rain. "Thirsty."

"Hold on, Danno, I'll get my canteen."

Carefully shifting the man leaning against him, Steve pulled his backpack off and rummaged inside for the canteen. He gave it to Williams, who fumbled with the container, using only one hand and still keeping his eye closed.

A wave of cold fear coursed along Steve's spine. "Danno, can't you move your left arm?"


Holding Dan tightly against him, Steve closed his eyes and tried to think things through. It was hard when his own trembling seemed more agitated than his injured friend's. Steve had acted like such an idiot, escalating a simple hike into a marathon. Instead of listening to his associate -- an expert hiker on this trail -- Steve had plunged ahead in his usual imperious style and landed them in a life threatening mess.

This was not the time for self-analysis, but the condemning thoughts were impossible to ignore. Always pushing, always trying to prove he was the best, look what he had done. It hadn't started out that way, he had really only been trying to teach Williams a valuable lesson. Maybe next time he wanted to be mister high-and-mighty-know-it-all he better stop and listen to someone who had something valuable to say. Danno knew the danger and warned him. Now Danno was paying the price for Steve's arrogance. He promised himself he would never, ever let this happen again.

In a rush of memory the appalling dread that had been lurking at the back of his mind came forward in a sudden dash of anguished realization. Something about this injury was familiar and now Steve knew what it meant. Quickly he checked under the makeshift head bandage and poured some water along the hairline to wash away the worst of the mud. Yes, right there by the ear was a swollen bruise.

Back in Korea a similar injury occurred to the pilot Lt. Magnum. {fanfiction --SOME WARS NEVER END crossover section} The head injury, the slow deterioration to disorientation, memory trouble, paralysis. By the time they had reached a medical unit Magnum died of a brain hemorrhage. Steve remembered the field surgeon pointing out the bruise on Magnum's head. Battle's Sign -- a bruise that appeared behind the ear on the injured side of the head.

Why hadn't he realized before? It wouldn't have changed anything, but somehow that didn't make him feel any better. Right now survival first, apologies later. Scanning the terrain, Steve could see no sign of a trail nearby. Going back up to find the path would be impossible with Dan's injuries. Alternatives? Only one - down. Hopefully not the hard way.

Constantly aware of the crisis; Dan's breathing pumped against Steve's chest, the cold body shivering under his arm, Steve ached at the damning crisis. Glancing at his friend's dirty face leaning on his shoulder, Steve's urgency to get Danno to a hospital intensified. Almost any method down would hurt Williams, but there were few choices. Leaving him alone up here was out of the question. It was still raining -- the hillside was too unstable to leave a badly injured man on his own. If necessary, Steve would carry him down, but one way or another they would get off this mountain as soon as humanly possible.

Steve brushed drying mud off Dan's face. "Danno, we've got to get you out of here. Can you walk?"

Williams nodded and opened his eyes. Standing, Steve secured his footing before lifting Dan up. Protectively tucking Williams under his arm and holding onto him, Steve navigated out of the bushes, telling Dan where to step. Williams, eyes closed when the dizziness was too intense, gasped or moaned as they walked over the rough terrain. Trying to curb his impatience, Steve kept a steady and careful gait, supporting Dan.

Every few minutes they would have to stop and let Dan rest, catch his breath. After their third pause, Steve was anxious to move on, but curbed his impatience. Dan kept up a grueling pace, sarcastically accepting the arduous trek, but Steve knew it was hurting him every step down the mountain. Leaning heavily against McGarrett, Dan stifled a groan.

"Bet this -- is the last -- time you go hiking -- with me."

Steve found no humor in the forced joke. "This isn't your fault. I was pushing you. I crossed the line, forced the risk, not you."

Casting a worried look at his friend, Dan shook his head, closing his eyes, regretting the abrupt movement. "I was pushing -- too -- had to prove -- I could handle -- " A dizzy spell scrunched his face and he bent over. McGarrett stopped his fall.

The frequent spells frightened McGarrett. He had to get them down. "Danno, do you recognize any of this? Is there a short cut around here?"

Williams shrugged. "Never went -- off path -- before."

Lifting him, almost carrying him, Steve got them going again. They were making decent progress, staying near the stream but not too close, when they hit a patch of soft mud. Despite his best efforts Steve slipped, almost in slow motion feeling the mud move from under his feet. Desperately keeping a hold on Williams, Steve twisted to slam into the dirt, providing a cushion for his friend. Landing faster than expected, McGarrett hit the mud with his right shoulder, Dan sliding off of Steve's hip and slapping the ground flat on his back.

The momentum sent them both sliding down hill, the mud acting as a slick sheet, propelling them swiftly alongside the stream. McGarrett could not control the tumble until he was able to grab onto a log and was yanked to a stop by violently jarring his shoulder. Groaning, he scrambled up, holding his arm, quickly spotting Danno a number of yards down the mountain. For a frozen moment, Williams' form held, then the force of the stream pushed him over, sliding him to the right where the stream plunged down an eroded embankment. McGarrett stumbled into a flying tackle, grabbing Williams' arm as Dan fell over the edge and Steve with him.



Cold. It was so cold McGarrett could not sleep. Blinking open his eyes, scratching at the dry itchiness on his face, he oriented himself to his unusual surroundings. Lying in the mud, rain splattering him, he saw nothing but darkness. Blinking, he slowly raised himself to his elbows, relieved that the dimness was due to night, not blindness. Faint outlines of the trees could be seen above him. Shivering he sat up, hugging his chest with his arms, patting warmth back into his limbs. How long had he been unconscious?

Delayed reaction reminded him to check for injuries. Again, he seemed okay, but unbelievably sore. Better than Danno. The panic leaped into his throat the instant he remembered his friend.

"Danno!" As quickly as he could he scrambled to his feet. "Danno!" Digging in his backpack he found a flashlight and was amazed it was still working. Shuffling through the mud he scanned the area. An unnatural lump stretched across the water's path just downstream. As the thin beam washed over the body Steve gasped. Williams wasn't moving.

Running and sliding, Steve barely avoided smashing into his friend and came to a stop at the same bush that had snagged his officer -- his not breathing officer! Pushing him up, Steve felt weak relief when he saw Dan was alive, was breathing, but fighting for every bit of shallow air.

Silently gasping for breath, Dan struggled to sit up. Quickly regaining his balance, McGarrett pushed Danno up, holding the trembling body as blood dripped down the sodden headband. Drained of strength, Dan fell back against the solid support of his boss.

Frustration and remorse coursed through McGarrett with agonizing pulses. At this rate, he was going to kill his detective before they could get back to the car. He'd survived Korea, captivity, a Chinese spy, and dangerous criminals. How could he turn a hike into a disaster? This was so unlike him. McGarrett was used to handling things his way. Was this what it meant to work with someone -- with a partner? Being head of Five-0 -- or the team -- meant being their leader, not working with them so much as giving them orders. If this was his version of tandem, he needed a lot more practice.

Knowing Dan was hurting worse than before, McGarrett's whispered curses didn't satisfy his anger. He'd have liked to have smashed his fist into a tree or kicked a convenient criminal, but there was no place to loose his tight rage at the helplessness and uselessness of this blunder. His friend could die up here and the boss cop of Five-0, the big shot Navy intelligence officer, could not save him.

Scant consolation that Danno didn't realize how serious the situation was. Unconscious now, disoriented before, the pain and ultimate seriousness of the injuries -- possibly mortal wounds -- were not known to the younger man.

'Wasn't this a perfect place to offer some teaching principles?' he acidly thought to himself as he held the comatose man in his arms. 'Isn't this where I tell my young protégé to be tough? To deal with reality -- with danger -- with risk? Isn't this where I tell him a cop's life is dangerous? What did he expect when he signed on to Five-0? He didn't expect to die taking his boss hiking!'

Gently moving Danno into a better position, he lifted his friend and carried him to a broad-branched Banyon tree. Resting against the trunk, they were sheltered from the rain and well away from the rushing stream. Williams' whole body trembled, suffering from shock and trauma. His head rested in the crook of Steve's arm.

There was nothing he could do now but wait. In the darkness, he could do more harm than good for both of them. Wandering unknown, treacherous paths without light could be fatal. Staring at the still face close to him McGarrett prayed that waiting would not be the death of his friend. Enduring his most hated torture -- helplessness -- he waited with strained, nearly non-existent patience, for daylight.


A movement woke him and for a moment, McGarrett was startled, jumping in surprise. The jolt rocked his companion and Williams yelped in a moan of pain as he fell back against a mud bank.


"Ooohhh." Williams' eyes were closed from the pain.

"Are you all right?"

"My head. Everything's twisting. Can't see straight."

"We've got a way out now, Danno. Don't worry."

The sky was tinged with the soft golden glow of diffused dawn. There was enough light to make out the surrounding terrain. During the night, the rain had washed around them, creating a huge gully just below their small ledge. They had been very lucky. Even better -- they could follow the now shrunken stream walls all the way to the sea probably -- the major brush and debris cleared from last night's storm. In a muttered explanation McGarrett explained his plan.

With a light touch Danny patted Steve's arm. "Good -- cut time -- half -- you -- always -- trail -- blazer."

Steve cursed, gritting his teeth in boiling rage. He couldn't handle the humor, the forgiveness. Dan should not have to die here. And for a rare moment of fault finding, McGarrett blamed himself. Why didn't Danno? He wiped away some of the dirt from the pale, cool, clammy skin.

"Joke," Williams offered with a faltering twitch of a grin.

With a shake of his head, McGarrett nearly growled. "I'm not finding this very funny, Danno. I could have killed you! I'm having a hard time even getting you off this mountain! How can you joke?"

Managing a half shrug, Dan's distracted eyes seemed confused. "Accident -- happens."

Now Steve was the one too choked to talk or hardly breathe. He had been the one coming up here to prove his points, teach his young officer how to be cool in a crisis. How to accept what you cannot change. How to endure the unbearable when something happens to someone close to you.

It wasn't laughable, it was tragic, to see whom had been the one to learn the lessons today. Determined that it would not be a fatal education, Steve concentrated on how to get his friend out of this alive.

"I'm getting you down, Danno. I promise you." Sighing, he shook his head. "This is my fault."

Dan smiled, his half-lidded eyes opening wide. "Can't -- believe -- you -- said." His smile broadened. "Apology."

The anger sizzled into a flash of irritation. "You mean you didn't think I could ever apologize?"

"Never --." Dan winced at the outburst and held his head. McGarrett held onto him as he swayed. " -- thought -- to -- me -- kid." The disorientation made it almost impossible for him to speak.

The briefly bruised ego melted the anger. What right did he have to feel slighted or insulted? He had caused this! As he held onto his friend and felt the wet blood on his hand, he agonized on a way out. It seemed the only possible choice was carrying Dan down. Then that's what he would do. Anything to get Williams down the mountain alive.

"I'm taking you down now, Danno." He stared into the blue eyes, certain he had contact and comprehension. "It's not going to be pleasant." He wanted to apologize for that, too. "Just hang tough and I'll get you out of this."

Dan nodded, then closed his eyes regretting the movement.

Carefully Steve crouched down and hefted his friend onto his back. Dan's groan, through clenched teeth, was right at his ear and Steve flinched, but knew this was the only way. Holding onto Dan's legs, he gritted his own teeth and started slowly downhill.

McGarrett barked with anxiety. "Hang on, Danno. Promise me you'll hang on."

With his chin against Steve's back, Dan gave a nod. Circumspectly Steve chose his footing but did not waste time as he made his way down the mountain. Two more tumbles, though not serious ones punctuated the descent, but when Steve landed on the relatively stable, almost arid dirt of a main trail, he wanted to shout with joy.

"Almost there, Danno!"

Within minutes he was at the Mercury. Carefully he eased Williams into the passenger seat, checking the breathing and groaning when he saw the breathing was shallow, and his friend unconscious. Racing the car out of the dirt pull-out area used for parking, he was on the radio as he sped south toward the nearest hospital.



McGarrett stood at the doorway of the hospital room, watching his officer. Teetering on a rare instance of indecision, he wondered if he should wake Williams or let the younger man rest and recover. Anxiety urged Steve to step in and talk with his friend. Guilt insulated him with reluctance and stayed his feet from moving.

The trip on the mountain had been one of the worst -- most educational -- experiences of his life. Like being in a war, he had learned things about himself he never wanted to know. Compassion and patience came out of Steve.  Both of them had seen a side of McGarrett that neither thought was buried under the tough exterior. It had shown a competitive, driven part of him that was unpleasant. He wondered if it would permanently damage the relationship between him and his young officer. Would Williams want to be part of the team after this? And if he stayed, would the respect -- adulation even -- be vanished?


Starting, McGarrett refocused his unseeing eyes to take in the battered officer sitting up on the bed. No way out now, he had to finish this. As much as he didn't want to face his friend, he needed to get this over with. Looking at Danny now, it hardly seemed he had nearly lost his life. Fortunately the hematoma had reabsorbed naturally and the only evidence of their ordeal were various cuts, bruises, abrasions and a small bandage on the right side of the head.

"Hey, Danno." He slowly approached and pulled up a chair, but did not sit down. "How are you doing?"

"Sore." Gently he touched his head. "Better."

McGarrett nodded. Almost anything was better than near death.

"Mahalo, Steve."

"For what?"

"Saving my life."

Looking away, Steve studied his fisted hands, shaking his head. "You mean after endangering you in the first place?"


"Pig headed," McGarrett corrected, looking back, forcing himself to stare down the leniency in the steady blue eyes. "I wanted to teach you a lesson, Danno. About teamwork -- no -- about doing things my way."

Williams almost smiled. "I wanted to prove I was still good enough for the team." The eyes sparked with humor. "Maybe next time we should just go to lunch and talk."

Laughing despite his ill humor, McGarrett shook his head in amazement. "Yeah, maybe. After the way -- well, after everything, I hope you can work with me on this teamwork business and -- and -- I hope you stay with Five-0."

Williams was amazed. "You mean after all -- everything I said and -- you still want me?"

With a snort of incredulity, McGarrett gave a low whistle. "I think we have a communications problem."

"We do?"

Steve nodded grimly. "I'd say we normally might be pretty good detectives, but we sure blew this didn't we, bruddah? We messed up on the mountain -- mostly me -- and after -- and in trying to second-judge each other."

The amount of generosity in Williams was pretty remarkable, not to mention his resiliency after such an ordeal. He didn't want this valuable commodity to be in any doubt about his talents. Or about how much Steve wanted to keep him on the team.

"Your next assignment, Officer Williams, is to get better wikiwiki and get back to work! And yes, that's exactly where I want you, Danno. With Five-0."

Nodding, Dan grinned. "There's nothing I'd like better."