Epilogue to: The Clock Struck Twelve

 

Countdown . . .  to DEATH

 

By BH and GM

 

 

 

December 1972

 

 

As the bomb truck, escorted by two marked police cars and half a dozen HPD motorcycles, slowly pulled away from a side entrance of the Honolulu Judiciary Building, Dan Williams took in a slow, deep draw of the sweet, tropical air, flexed his fists and rubbed the back of his neck. It had been a long, tense night for the second-in-command of Hawaii-Five-0, the states elite police investigative unit. The governor had ordered that Five-0 attempt to penetrate the security system that it had set up for the arraignment of a group of criminal suspects who called themselves the Seven, vigilantes who committed arson and other violent crimes in the name of saving the islands from the drug culture. A small, fanatical faction of supporters threatened to destroy the old courthouse if the group was not released.

 

Though Steve McGarrett, the head of Five-0, initially objected to the exercise as being dangerous to his men, he finally relented with the governors argument that it was better for Five-0 to find the weaknesses in the system than the zealots who threatened the building. In the course of sneaking into the building in the dark of night, Dan had discovered a bomb in the basement. While McGarrett, Ben, and Chin worked feverishly to find the perpetrators, Dan worked through the night to disarm the bomb. When a second bomb was discovered, an exhausted Dan was able to disarm it as well.

 

From his vantage point in the HPD helicopter, McGarrett had observed as Dan and a uniformed officer had cautiously loaded the two bombs into the truck. Dan threw a look up at the copter after he stepped back onto the cement. The two men exchanged the common Hawaiian hang-loose gesture, and with that the head of Five-0 nudged the pilot and motioned for him to return to the helipad.

 

Dispatch, this is McGarrett. Can you give me a patch through to Chin Ho Kelly? He should be in his car.

 

McGarrett Dispatch. Stand by. Normally impatient, McGarrett used the forty five seconds it took to open a channel to his detective to gather his thoughts about the fortuitous events that lead to the discovery of the bombs. If Danno hadnt intended to plant his pseudo-bomb in a strategically good position, they wouldnt have known about the explosives until it was too late.

 

Startled from his reverie, the radio crackled, Chin here, Steve. Im back at Maneas house collecting evidence from Abrahams workshop, and I think we have a problem.

 

McGarrett felt his jaw tighten, as he spoke, Give, Chin!

 

They were using calendar alarm clocks as timers on the bombs, right?

 

McGarrett frowned and nodded, Yeah, thats right. Both bombs used them.

 

The Oriental detectives voice cut in and out a bit as he said the words that made an involuntary chill run down McGarretts spine. Steve I found three alarm clock boxes. If Danny defused two bombs, then

 

The realization hit the lead detective like a blast of icy air. Then theres still one bomb left!! My God! Without the formality of a goodbye to Chin, McGarrett barked into the radio handset, Dispatch this is McGarrett. Patch me through to Dan Williams! He should still be at the Judiciary Building. This time, the Irish cops legendary impatience came through as he thumped the side of the helicopter several times in frustration.

 

Williams here. Whats up, Steve? McGarrett could hear the tiredness in the drained detectives voice. He wished he had time to congratulate his protg on the amazing job hed done with the other bombs, but there was no time.

 

Danno, bad news we probably have another bomb somewhere in the building!

 

 

 

 

What?!? Not actually expecting his boss to repeat the news, Williams immediately shot a look of horror at Che Fong, whom he had just joined in the makeshift command center. Steve, are you sure?

 

Weve got two calendar clocks and three calendar clock boxes! Its seven ten that only gives us fifty minutes. Get everyone out of there now!

 

Im on it, the younger detective replied. He steadied himself against the wall for a moment. Thered been no sleep for the young detective or any of his Five-0 associates since the night before last. And the last seven hours, Dan had spent cramped into odd positions, his hands delicately probing and deactivating the hare-trigger bombs. The effort had required intense concentration and very tight muscular control for many hours. The brief relief at having successfully removed two bombs was now replaced with a sinking dread that a third bomb would succeed in its mission. He snapped his attention back to the task at hand as he called into the walkie talkie, Williams to Lukela!! Duke!!

 

Im here, Danny.

 

Dan quickly explained the situation to the HPD sergeant, and instructed him to commence with the evacuation of the building. Duke, I want all non-essential personnel out of this building that means anybody whos not looking for the bomb. Listen to me carefully. At seven forty-five everyone and I mean everyone is to stop whatever theyre doing and get out!

 

Right, Danny! Dukes reply was instant.

 

At that point, Dan turned back to Che, who had unrolled the blue prints of the building and spread them out onto the table. Dan ran his hand through his trademark sandy curls, which were still damp with sweat from the long night that had just passed. Okay, Che, time to think like a guy who wants to bring this building down around our ears. Lets see we found one bomb here, he said softly, pointing to a spot on the schematic, and he continued, and we found the other one

 

Right here, Danny, Che touched a spot on the diagram as he finished Dans sentence.

 

Hmmm. Bomb one, here. Bomb two, here, Dan thought out loud. His hand hovered over the paper almost as if he were trying to divine the location of the third bomb. He let his hand drop onto the blueprint.

 

Che, if they wanted to maximize the damage to the building, theyd have to have another device somewhere in here around these central supports. Am I wrong? Dan didnt take his eyes from his hand as he asked the question.

 

Che studied the blueprint for a few seconds, and then spoke slowly, I agree. If we had time, we could get an engineer in to concur.

 

But we dont.  As a matter of fact, I dont know whether well have time to deactivate it even if we find it.

 

He eyed the detective critically. Danny, youre exhausted. Why dont you let HPD bomb squad handle this?

 

Closing his eyes, Williams took a moment to shake his head in silent refusal, although the offer was more than tempting. Beyond fatigue and weariness, he would give just about anything to go flop onto the first horizontal surface and sleep all day. His nerves were stiff with tension, his eyes burning from the effort of squinting in the dark and peering at the small wires of the first two bombs. How could he go on?

 

Che, I know this guy, he responded distractedly as he scanned the blueprints. Not to be funny, but I know how he ticks, he rubbed his scratchy beard with a hand that trembled slightly. By the time HPD guys got here and I briefed them that is IF we find the bomb!  Then it would eat up too much valuable time.

 

Fatigue leads to mistakes, Danny, Che wisely countered regretfully shaking his head. Youre right, we dont have time, he sighed.

 

Dan replied calmly, but breathed a silent entreaty, Please, God, let me be right. His gaze met Ches, and he snapped, Lets go.

 

 

 

 

The black sedan screeched around the corner and slid to a halt at the Judiciary building. The head of Five-0 leapt from the car and ran up the steps into the building, glancing at his watch. Seven eighteen. Damn.

 

Steve!

 

McGarrett turned to see Ben Kokua, his newest detective, trotting towards him. The tall, attractive Samoan was few years older than Dan, but with a couple years less experience as he had started his law enforcement career later than the average officer.  The years spent in the Army as an MP, though, had given the native of Honolulu some practical skill in dealing with bad guys.

 

No luck yet, Steve! Ben updated his boss, who responded with a question.

 

 Wheres Danno?

 

He and Che are searching an area in the basement.

 

McGarrett drew in a sharp breath of anxiety at the thought of his exhausted second-in-command, and Five-0s fatigued lab chief, still on a dangerous mission.  Already poised to take off in search of his men, he faced the yelling cop.

 

Danny and Che found it! The excited voice of the uniformed officer echoed through the hall just as the men entered the building, causing the two Five-0 detectives to turn towards the nearest stairwell.

 

 

 

 

Damn, its tight in here, Dans voice echoed in the utility tunnel in which he lie.

 

McGarrett overheard the remark as he stepped into the small room and exchanged concerned looks with Che, who responded, The third times the charm. McGarrett nodded and took a rare swipe at his ruffled shock of hair.  Lets hope so.

 

The Five-0 chief accepted the flashlight from Ben and pointed it into the tunnel, which was no more than thirty inches in diameter. A dozen metal conduits ran along the top of the tunnel and turned ninety degrees upward as they spilled from it. About three feet in, he could see his second-in-commands head and shoulders.

 

Danno, he spoke softly, not wishing to risk startling him.

 

Steve! Get out of here. Everybody should be out of here! I dont think Im gonna make it in time.

 

Prepared for his friends reaction, McGarrett replied with a voice more calm than his nerves, Relax. Everybody else is out of the building, and weve got thirty nine minutes.

 

Steve, it took me three and a half hours to snuff the first one, and a little over two hours to do the second one. Get out!

 

McGarrett instilled confidence into his tone. The man best suited for the job was handling it. First-hand, he knew the skill level of Dan Williams. Evident in todays harrowing task: the pre-dawn security raid successful. Disarming TWO bombs successful. The pressure was on with only minutes left to bring this off, but he knew his man. From my seat, after two, you should be able to knock this one out in no time.

 

With seconds to spare, huh? Look, uh, Im cutting every corner in the book, but please, Steve if Im gonna set a new world speed record, please get out and take everyone with you. I need to know that youre safe. There was no time, in Dans mind, to beat around the bush about the reason for his discomfort.

 

Steve jumped every ever so slightly when Che gently grabbed his arm and whispered, Lets go. We can listen from a unit outside. The much slighter man hesitated and then added, Danny needs to concentrate.

 

Although he knew it was true, the implication that he Steve McGarrett could cause Danno to lose focus annoyed him, but before he could retort with anything more than a glare, Ben stepped close in behind Che and said, Steve, Ches right. Were not helping Danny by distracting him.

 

Ben! Get him out of here! Ill be okay, Steve, Dan tried to sound reassuring, but he was too tired to pull it off.

 

Recognizing that his officers overriding concern was for his safety, Steve felt a wave of emotion wash over him.  He swallowed and said one last thing before the trio left, Danno, you can do it I have complete faith that you can do this.

 

Mahalo, Dan sighed, his voice ringing with a measure of relief apparently at his bosss decision to relent and get out of harms way...

 

 

 

 

As he trotted back down the corridor, stubbornly McGarrett resisted the urge to hold his ground. He was touched by Dannos concern for him, but it clashed with his own instincts to support his men Danno. And all that he had felt on this stressful day. He had his own side of the picture with which he had been dealing all night and morning. Security for hundreds of innocent lives was in his hands. The well-being of dozens of cops and emergency personnel, pressure from the governor and DA for stopping a blood bath, not to mention destruction of a historic building.

 

Underlying the usual tension of the situation had been a subliminal strain of fear which hovered as a companion to every thought, every action, every inch forward in the case. Painfully, vividly, he was aware that no matter what he was doing to bring the bombers to justice, Danno was back here, huddled in the dark, tired, stressed, trying to disarm the bombs. More than aware of the danger, Steve lived all day with the hidden dread of knowing that any minute something could go wrong and Danno could go up with the building.

 

When he had gone to the house and discovered one of the accomplices a young man one who tried to stop his brother from killing Steve had been out of control. Threatening the family with harsh recrimination, pushing, over the edge his reserves were gone knowing these people could help -- could give him information that would end the danger for Danno he had been obsessed with anything that would help his friend. Now here they were, back at square one again.

 

At the exit of the old courthouse, McGarrett paused and glanced back into the cavernous dark where his friend battled alone to complete this grueling task. Knowing it was right, feeling it was tougher than he thought possible, he trotted after the others to settle into the communications van and listen to Dannos play-by-play description of his progress.

 

The tone was slow, distracted and tired. Seldom had McGarrett heard his friends voice so deep and somber. He had not been here for the narration with the other two bombs, but it seemed Che found nothing unusual in Williams voice, so McGarrett didnt comment. Chafing at the enforced inactivity, he snapped his fingers, sometimes tapped his foot, occasionally drummed his nails on the counter top with nervous energy. Even with the door open and only Che and him in the van, he felt trapped. No place to pace ... worse than trapped... Dannos comments were drawing further and further apart... he was tired... McGarrett knew it was a mistake to leave...

 

Okay, Williams sighed heavily. I just got through to the main wi --- The halt was abrupt.

 

McGarrett grabbed onto his headphones with both hands. Danno?

 

Well, heres the good news. The bombers saved some money on material expenses.

 

McGarrett exchanged a glance of rising fear with his lab chief before he responded. What do you mean, Danno?

 

Uh the main wire to the dynamite is frayed.

 

Before he could respond, he felt/saw Che react.

 

Danny, its too dangerous!  Get out of there!

 

Frayed wire. Unstable! The word screamed in his mind. Danno, dont try it!  Get out!

 

As if he hadnt heard, Williams shaky voice muttered, I cant figure out how theres no way I can do this

 

Danno! When the summons to respond yielded nothing, McGarrett called again, Danno, do you read me?  Suddenly, a CRACK echoed in his ears, and he yanked the headphone away, shaking his head in an effort to clear the ringing. Danno!  Get out now! he shouted into the mic.  A deep rumble rolled from the building, shaking the van. Static sizzled from the speakers. Steves breath caught in his throat. No. No he looked over to the wide service entrance of the courthouse and saw billows of dust sweeping out. Danno!

 

In the next heartbeat, he flew out of the van, running toward the entrance. Others joined him from the side, racing into the blinding and the fine dust that clouded the enclosed area with silty residue. Coughing violently, he could not resist when others yanked him by the arms back to the fresh, clear air of the tropical morning. Gasping, he leaned on his knees and drew in heavy lungs-full of air, eyes watering to wash out the gritty filth spewed out of the building.

 

His mind shied from analyzing what had happened, but he knew there was only one possibility. Danno had been talking through his actions no he had said the wires were frayed and it was too unstable no the bomb exploded -- NO! What he had feared for hours just when they thought the danger was over NO!  Danno!

 

There was no doubt about what had just happened. The fire department, donned in masks and heavy jackets, were lined up near the entrance, but not advancing. They would not approach too closely or too aggressively an area where a bomb had exploded and collapsed part of a building as old as this. They would let the dust settle before they dared enter the unstable structure.

 

Retreating to the van, McGarrett fell against the side and leaned there, his shoulders shaking as he fought to contain the grief edging at the perimeter of his heart. Danno had been too tired. Stressed, awake and filled with adrenalin for too long, disarming two previous bombs.  McGarrett knew he should have pulled the younger officer out. Danno should have come out with them and let a new team give it a try. He felt the tears drifting down his cheeks and wiped away the grit and moisture with a trembling fist. This was his fault!  He should have never considered allowing Danno to stay there!

 

Vacantly, he watched the rescue squads gather, discuss, assess the situation. A few men took a tentative excursion into the cavernous entry. The Fire Chief consulted with Lukela. Che and Ben Kokua were both at his side, they both made comments, but he didnt hear. He stared at the cloudy dust that slowly settled out from the air, drifting down to the ground.

 

This was not supposed to happen. He had opposed the security test didnt like that idea at all but Danno had found it a challenge to secretly test their own security set up, covertly sneak around behind the backs of their colleagues.

 

I dont know who to root for, he had joked.

 

Then the astounding shock of finding the bomb. Danno had spotted it just where he would have planted one. He was on site. He had the skill. He took command of the situation and set himself up to defuse the threat. Up all day planning, all night breaking in and then disarming. Dawn brought another bomb and more stress. He had been too tired. The wires were frayed. No!  Dannos life could not end like this!  He should have stopped it!

 

I was rooting for you, Danno, he brokenly whispered, closing his eyes to the mass of activity around him. He had no chance to even say goodbye. He couldnt even remember what he had last said to his friend. Dannos final words, though, still echoed in his mind:

 

I cant figure out how theres no way I can do this

 

Then the click. Flinching from the thought, nonetheless, his investigative instincts supplied the gap before he willed it. What was the click? Not the detonator or bomb no the click, then the explosion several seconds later. Certain, he concentrated anyway, firm in his belief it had been a sound made after Dannos comment and before the blast.

 

I cant figure out how theres no way I can do this

 

Dannos voice had been filled with knowledgeable resolve. He had not been overcome with fatigue. Professional, skilled, he KNEW what he was doing!  In his last statement, he admitted defeat!  He knew he could not defuse the bomb. What would his next action be? He wasnt going to stick around a second longer!  He would have run for his life!  The click the click he would have dropped the headphones!  And that would have seemed unusually loud to Che and he in the van!  He would have made a run for it!  The bomb did not go off in his face he was on his way out!

 

A sob, a cry of joy, both catching in his throat, McGarrett pushed himself away from the van and rushed over to the fire captain. The craggy, sunburned blond man with broad shoulders and a scratchy voice nearly stomped on his feet as he turned into McGarrett.

 

Youll have to stand back

 

Captain, youve got to go in there!  One of my men is trapped!

 

The captain glanced at Lukela, who was immediately at the detectives side. Duke says your man was disarming the bomb when it went off.

 

I believe he escaped, McGarrett challenged, noting with fleeting irritation that everyone within earshot turned to him with varying degrees of pity or sorrow in their expressions.  He knew the bomb was faulty, he defended. And he made a run for it.

 

Steve, Duke quietly commented, taking a hold of his arm.

 

McGarrett whipped loose from the hold. He got clear, but mustve been caught by some debris. Youve GOT to go in there!

 

The flushed-faced fireman shook his head and scoffed. I cant risk my men in an old building like that for no reason.

 

McGarrett immediately bristled. No REASON

 

Your guy was with the bomb in his lap when it blew. He had no chance

 

I tell you he got away!  I was talking with him!

 

The chief stared at the head of Five-0 for a moment, glancing back at the entrance, then back at him. How much time did he have before the blast?

 

McGarrett gulped. Not much, but he could have gotten clear. Hes probably just trapped a short distance inside, he argued, not elaborating that there was considerable corridor and duct passage between the exit and the strut where the bomb was hidden.

 

The man huffed. Do you know how old this place is? Before I can send any search teams in, I need to know its stable in there. Thats going to take time

 

McGarrett stood toe-to-toe with the man. Hes trapped!  Hell need air! Hes probably injured!

 

The skepticism was apparent in the mans eyes, but he gave a grudging nod. Okay... Well be going in just as soon as Im sure its relatively safe for my men. Just keep your distance.

                               

Pacing, McGarrett remained behind the barricades set up by the squad. Men cautiously entered the building, only to emerge soon afterwards, their yellow protective gear gray from dust. The damage was far inside and he could not see any evidence of rubble, but he heard echoes of the firemen calling for Danno. Straining, he could detect no reply. Faintly, he could hear the teeth-grating chunk of concrete slabs smashing against each other. Slowly sorting through the heavy debris was tedious and time consuming. The work could take hours!  No telling how deep Danno had been snagged on his way out of the building. It was slow and wrenching, and more than once he approached the nearest fireman, each time repulsed from any more conversation with the chief, or approaching the site for closer involvement.

 

 

 

 

Lukela hovered close to McGarrett, Kokua and Kelly. Organizing HPD assistance of the rescue operation was one facet of his duties, but he felt a stronger commitment to supporting his friends. Through this whole messy ordeal of the threat, McGarrett had been wound tighter than the bomb springs. Security arranged by Five-0 had been compromised. Lives that Five-0 McGarrett was responsible for were in jeopardy. Bombers were holding the city hostage. Political powder kegs on every side. The varied elements in this case were maximum stress. Topping the list, though, had been the factor of Danny Williams being the first on the scene and the volunteer to defuse the bomb. Bombs.

 

Through the rest of the investigation, Steve had lived with the tension that back here at the courthouse Danny was playing with explosives that at any time could blow up in his face. He had watched the Five-0 leaders nerves stretch with each passing hour. Just when they thought it was all over that third bomb had been discovered. Duke didnt think he was going to be able to get Steve out of that courthouse. The danger was obvious spoken and unspoken with Dans task.

 

Hovering near the detectives, within quick reach of McGarrett, Lukela felt he might need to intervene between the respective chiefs of departments here. Graves was a hard-as-nails, by-the-book fireman who had come up through the ranks in this city to the top field position. A hero and decorated veteran of the Army and the Fire Department, he was a local legend -- famous for going in where angels and lesser men feared to tread. Steve well Steve was Steve. Two perfectly matched individuals were equally matched, casual acquaintances, but on this field, they could well become combatants on opposite sides. Both willing to go to the wall for their men, this nasty occasion could pit them against each other.

 

Normally, the emergency civil service agencies of Honolulu had no problem meshing together. Sure, there were the usual rivalries for the Molokai Channel Canoe Race, and the annual softball games, and the Christmas bake-off challenge, but they were all in good fun. When it came to serious business; HPD, Fire, Medical and Search and Rescue, there were no rifts. Good HPD men had lost their lives helping the Firemen, and good Rescue guys and Firemen had lost lives helping out cops. Today, he didnt expect to see a rumble or anything, but few outside of doctors, HPD and Five-0 ever saw this side of McGarrett. The desperate, nearly-insane obsession to take care of his men Danny. He counted on Chin and Ben to act as mediators keeping Steve from doing something regrettable to the Fire guys. He would hang close just in case he was needed to intervene with a strong arm and calm voice of reason. Sometimes, when Danny was in trouble, he was one of the few who could reach through to Steve.

 

Strolling around the edges of the action, Duke happened to glance over at the communications truck. He did a double-take of the man sitting in the open doorway. Che Fong. Was he injured? Face in hands, his shoulders were noticeably shaking. Approaching, the sergeant was shocked to realize the slightly built, intelligent dynamo of criminal science breakthroughs, was weeping! 

 

Taking a moment to come to terms with such an uncharacteristic scene for the highly rational and calm lab chief, Duke came up beside him, placing a hand on his shoulder before sitting down next to him. There was no point in asking if he was all right he clearly wasnt. No reason to inquire what was wrong obvious. Why was he surprised at the reaction? Che Fong came out to the field to gather post-criminal evidence. He had never been involved with a case so intimately as this bombing situation. He had never seen one of his colleagues killed, and been witness to the emotional ordeal not only for himself, and his colleagues, but Steves violent reaction to the crisis.

 

Silence served them both as Che wiped his face with a handkerchief and took a few moments to settle down. Steve blames me, were his first words. They were calm and rational words, couched in an emotional sigh and a dismal shake of the head.

 

He doesnt, Duke refuted.

 

Hell never forgive me, he continued, distraught, as if never hearing the response. Hell never forgive me. Ill never forgive myself.

 

No, he doesnt blame you, Duke reiterated firmly. He never would. Steve blamed himself a confession he would never make to anyone, but he didnt have to say it aloud. Anyone who knew him knew that was part of the suffering going on here today the castigation, the regret, the pain, the preparing for the ultimate hurt of finding the body.

 

Its my fault, Che whispered. Danny was too tired. The second bomb was tough, he was starting to get a little sloppy and he was so weary.

 

Che had been talking to Danny all night, not so much coaching him, but listening, documenting, keeping the communication line open with the struggling young detective who had the lonely, miserable job of dealing with the bomb first hand.

 

Then the third bomb. He shouldnt have tried it.

 

Did you try to talk Danny out of it?

 

The reasonable question brought Ches head up and they made eye contact. The pain started to clear as memory inserted itself. Yes.

 

Did he listen?

 

No, Che admitted quietly, sadly. He shook his head, too intimidated or honorable to blame the dead for a gross error in judgment. Hes too much like Steve to do that

 

Yeah, Lukela nodded, poignantly aware of the traits that Danny had adopted from his mentor.

 

Dannys dead. He couldnt have survived.

 

It was then that Duke realized he believed Danny was dead.  It had been a conclusion wrapped around his mind since the old walls went down in the blast.  A certainty he had not voiced nor even thought about.  It was too obvious.  And hurtful. Steve was wasting his time and energy for a lost cause, but could not be expected to act in any other way. Until they had a body, Steve would believe the impossible to stave off the hurt that would be unbearable.  Knowing he had a vital duty to perform in the hours ahead, Duke pushed away grief at the loss he felt on a professional and personal level.  There would be an entire future ahead for his family and him to cope with Dannys death.  Now the demand was for him to keep McGarrett together.

 

Theres still hope, Che. Steve believes Danny is still alive. They both turned to watch the head of Five-0 pacing barely beyond the parameter enforced on him by the fire chief.

 

Steve will always believe that, Fong observed of their boss, his tone reflecting the tragic overtones only spectators could see, while the main focus of their pity remained oblivious to his appearance. He cant believe otherwise.

 

Che, youre a brilliant scientist, but also a wise man. He patted the slighter man on the back. Why dont you go home and get some sleep. Theres nothing you can do here.

 

I want to help

 

Its up to the Fire Department now. Steve will be needing you tomorrow when when this is all over.

 

With a subdued nod and a thanks, Che Fong gathered a few things out of the van and left. Lukela gravitated over to Kelly and Kokua, both tense with restraint, ready to leap in and herd Steve away from any conflicts. He reported that he had sent Fong home, seeing no need for him to stay. The detectives agreed, but there was no question that they would remain here. 

 

The safety area was extended, to McGarretts dismay, but he grudgingly pulled back, as did his men. Aloof, agonizing, focused on harassing the rescue teams to hurry, the boss was given plenty of space by his men.  There was a tight intensity coiled within the Five-0 leader.  Despite the ragged, exhausted appearance the boss had been up all night along with his officers there was a rigid passion surging at the barely controlled surface of McGarretts taut body and expression of unyielding commitment.  Fire burned behind the cold, blue irises that swept every action with razor-sharp scrutiny.  Respectfully afraid of the contained hurricane, everyone kept their distance from the secondary explosion that seemed imminent from the Five-0 chief.

 

How long do you think it will take to recover -- Bens voice broke.

 

Could be till tomorrow, Duke responded gravely.

 

Ben wiped at his face. Steve wont leave.

 

We gonna be here a long time, bruddah.

 

Ill call Mai to bring over some food, Chin pondered aloud. Maybe we can get Steve to eat something. He wont later.

 

That would be when they brought the body out, Lukela figured. When this would be over and all their lives -- Steves life would be altered forever. So Chin and Ben agreed with his fears without saying in so many words that Danny was dead.

 

It hurt him every time a cop went down friend or acquaintance it always hit every other cop right in the gut. When it was someone close, that you worked with every day, it made the pain linger for a long time. Losing a friend it had been a long time since Duke had lost someone really intimate within the circle of ohana. A good, solid, honest guy like Danny well, none of them would ever forget him. There would always be an empty space in their hearts for him. And Steve he wouldnt be able to lose this pain for a long, long time. He would remember it, feel it, for all of them.

 

 

 

 

Spurning food or drink presented to him by someone, the Five-0 chief paced near the surveillance van it was where hed last heard his friends voice. The irrational sense that if he could not enter the building he should stay near the radio hovered in his gut. City engineers and other officials finally arrived, donning hard hats and jackets and entering the restricted area. McGarrett continued to pace, willing his emotions to remain behind their own barrier of defiant resistance. Since the epiphany of realizing Danno had skipped out on the defusing, he stubbornly insisted to himself that Danno was alive. There could be no other option. He would accept nothing less and would mentally stray to no other conclusion. The grief that had lived briefly evaporated into the tough wall of determination that his man had somehow survived the blast and was now trapped but alive.

 

When Steve realized the VIPs were leaving, he stopped his pacing, nerves heightened. Finally some action!  At last!  Already convinced the procedural officials would be unable to stop him from joining the first wave of the rescue squad to penetrate the deep of the ruined building, he watched in confusion that turned to dismay. Then following were the firemen and then the fire chief. Rushing over, McGarrett asked what they were doing! 

 

The engineers want to get some support equipment in there before we continue.

 

You cant!  My man is trapped

 

Hes dead! the chief refuted. Your own men say he was too far in to make it out, even if he didnt eat that bomb!  Now Im not risking my men rushing through unstable rubble.

 

The chief turned away. McGarrett moved the wooden barrier and sprinted toward the entrance of the courthouse. Three firemen were on him at the orders of their chief, and a knot of HPD personnel were shoving and pushing, McGarrett in the center, being dragged away by the firemen.

 

Irate, the chief barked at his law enforcement counterpart. Listen, we called for Williams no response. We moved some rubble, and after trying all methods available to us at the time, we had to conclude there was no hope. His voice grew louder over McGarretts protests. I have no choice but to suspend operations until its safer!  Then well get some dogs in there to sniff around and continue the excavation process!

 

Shrugging free of the firemen, who anxiously waited at his elbows for more resistance, McGarrett took a few paces back to show he was not a physical threat. Despair made him weak, accentuating the long hours of wakeful tension, the fearful specters haunting every thought playing behind his eyelids.

 

You cant give up! he accused tightly, suddenly so drained that even his voice could not offer a suitable resistance. Only panic sustained him as the dread seeped down to his bones. Hes alive!  Weve got to get to him!

 

The chief, having won his battle through weight of numbers and reason, sighed with compassion. Well get him back, he vowed quietly. We never leave anyone for long.

 

He and his men walked away. McGarrett realized Duke and Ben were at his shoulders and one of them guided him back toward the van. Throat too tight to speak, he clenched his teeth to restrain the cry that struggled to surface, to articulate the anguish within.

 

 

 

 

Coughing, hacking up dust and chunks of bitter grit, Williams fought for air, choking on the dry silt settled on his tongue, his throat, and inside his nostrils. Ears and head ringing, every muscle, bone, piece of skin and strand of hair aching, he concentrated on breathing. Just as if he had been knocked down, ten feet below the surface, struck off his surfboard by a giant wave. He had to control his panic at the natural fear of lack of oxygen. Then he worked at accepting the wretched air, no matter how nasty. Blinking his eyes open, he panicked anew when he could see nothing no wait he denied the terror of blindness there was a faint glow of light somewhere ahead. He could distinguish not the light itself, but recognized it as a reflection.

 

Through the muzzy ache, he remembered the bomb, trying to get away. No telling how long he had been out, but he had been out cold enough to know he was waking from unconsciousness that had been extended. How could he know that? Time... ticking... clock... countdown... bomb...

 

Catching his falling head before it hit a slab, he sucked in a breath, again nearly passing out again from the hacking. Lying on his left side, he was buried in rubble. He did not make it far out of the danger area, and everything was too tight so he couldnt see where he was or what was above or below him except bocks of concrete and torn tubes of piping.

 

Shifting slightly, he heard/felt debris around him also shift, rumbling ominously, creaking as pebbles and dust cascading. Instantly he froze, but the renewed activity brought more dust and it rained down on him into his nose and mouth and he started coughing again. Painfully, soreness deep inside his chest left a throbbing hurt. Like damaged ribs and clogged lungs. Taking shallow breaths now, he meticulously assessed his situation without moving much. Fingers, toes, legs, arms, back; testing the latitude available, he learned there was little he could do to extricate himself. Besides being sandwiched between immovable rubble, there was his spinning head that kept drifting into gray a combination of the lack of clean air, the gritty filth in his lungs, and the pulsating blood pounding from the inside of his head. Rescue would have to come from outside. In this desperate moment, he found comfort in the certainty that he would be rescued. Steve was out there and he would come after him.  There was no doubt.

 

 

 

 

While McGarrett hovered at the perimeter of the conclave of engineering experts, urging them to hurry with their safety issues so he could get on with finding his officer, HPD erected barricades around the entire courthouse block. Emergency personnel crowded the street, along with an ambulance, numerous squad cars and the usual throng of spectators attracted to the scene out of morbid curiosity. When he noted the media had also arrived like a plague of locusts, he gave orders they were not to be admitted anywhere close to the site. He overheard one of the reports broadcasting a news alert that Williams had been the only person believed killed in the blast. As much as he wanted to refute the allegation, he could not. He would not waste his time arguing with a reporter, certainly, but even he could not deny the possibility the obvious conclusion that everyone erroneously believed that Danno was already dead.

 

Instead, the lead detective tried to focus on the cluster of engineers and city officials who suddenly gathered around the fire chief what was the mans name? Graves? McGarrett knew him in passing as a result of occasional interactions with the fire department on cases. He was older than Steve, perhaps as old as sixty, but in good shape, no doubt a result of his profession. As the men quietly conspired, McGarrett finally decided that he would invite himself to this conference after all, nobody in that meeting had as much to lose as he did over the outcome.

 

Graves did a double take and rolled his eyes as he caught sight of Hawaiis top cop quickly dipping under the barrier hed been warned not to cross and marching towards them. The other hard-hatted men glanced about uncertainly as the fireman took a step towards the advancing detective. Look, McGarrett, before you say anything, let me tell you that the decision was not mine alone.

 

Steves eyes grew larger and more intense with the dread-filling warning. Decision WHICH decision?

 

Graves panned the area desperately as if looking for someone anyone who could assist him in reasoning with the bristling, difficult detective. With some relief, he noted that the other Five-0 detectives and an HPD sergeant were now jogging towards them. He continued his explanation in a measured, even tone. Given the unlikelihood that anyone could have survived that blast, we all agree that we need to take the time to get the additional support equipment in here before we proceed any further

 

McGarrett ignored Kokua, Kelly, and Lukela as they all physically touched him in preparation for what was shaping up to become yet another physical confrontation. He inhaled and continued stepping towards the fire chief as he opened his mouth to speak. Graves held up his hand. I cant risk the lives of my men to recover a dead body!

 

The other officials, following the fire chiefs lead, quickly backed away with expressions of pity pelting the head of Five-0 as Ben and Chin firmly latched onto their boss to prevent him from traveling after them. Other fire department personnel gathered stepped closer in the event further intercession was necessary. McGarrett, with dejected desperation, realized that his hes-not-dead supposition was not working. How could they leave his friend a friend whod become his closest ohana how could they? Almost faint from hyperventilating, another tack struck him.

 

With his detectives still holding him back, he shouted viciously at the receding group. Do you KNOW who that is in there? May the souls of fallen fire fighters forgive you as you abandon Jim Williams boy!

 

The invocation of the name stopped Graves in his tracks, and caused a small stir to rustle through the group of nearby firemen. McGarretts heart flooded with hope as he watched the fire chief slowly turn. With eyes suspiciously narrowed, he demanded an answer. Whatre you talking about, McGarrett?

 

Knowing that he AND Danno had only this one last chance he could not keep the waver from his voice as he franticly explained. You know who Jim Williams was and how he died?

 

The question was more of a statement most firemen and certainly any fireman Graves age would know the name of Dans uncle the one who raised him after his parents were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Jim Williams was an HPD sergeant who died in the line of duty when his only nephew was fourteen years old. The elder Williams saved the lives of several citizens and three firemen whod become trapped in a blazing apartment complex fire before fatally burning the lining out of his own lungs. The officer was posthumously awarded the Order of the Firemens Cross, the most prestigious award a firefighter could receive. The medal was presented a few years later to Danny Williams, by then a senior in high school.  

 

The chief responded with mild interest, Your man, Williams, is THE Jim Williams boy?

 

Steve nodded. His only surviving relationJim Williams sacrificed his own life to save the lives of your firefighting brothers. Danno completed his childhood an orphan believing KNOWING that his pop had died saving men who would risk it all for their fellow man! Now, youre LEAVING him without being absolutely certain of his status!

 

Graves eyes flashed at the accusation, but he did not react immediately. Instead, he turned to exchange silent opinions with the nearby group of firemen. A brief, quiet conversation ensued before the unofficial spokesman for the men offered a slight nod to the fire chief, who returned the confirmation. Quickly spinning back to face the still-restrained police officer, Graves spoke in a marginally conciliatory tone. Okay, McGarrett Ive got some volunteers who are willing to go and see if they can ascertain Williams status.

 

The Five-0 chief barely nodded as the relief spread to his vital organs.

 

Graves stepped closer as Chin and Ben released their hold on the boss. In a quiet voice, he explained, Heres the deal. If we dont have some evidence of life in the next few hours, we call it off and wait for the support equipment to arrive from Hilo.

 

McGarrett concurred reluctantly. Youll have your evidence, chief.

 

 

 

 

The engineers, still expressing objections over the turn of events, finally relented as they saw that the firemen were now ignoring them and moving ahead with a delicate excavation effort. McGarrett was allowed to don a hard hat and join the first team inside with the K-9 unit. Progress was slow; men scooping out the largest obstructions, clearing a path, setting up support scaffolds as a precaution to keep the ceiling from falling in on them. Until the whole building was thoroughly checked, it could not be considered safe. The consensus was that the damage was contained in the secondary utility entrance, the nearby stairwell, and immediate environs, meaning that much of the old structure should be intact.

 

After the area was cleared for about a dozen feet, the dogs scanned the area, with no reaction. Fire Chief Graves cornered McGarrett. Williams mustve been farther from the entrance than you thought.

 

Im not sure how far he got, the detective reluctantly admitted.

 

Maintaining a level gaze at McGarrett, Graves just nodded as he spoke barely above a whisper. Well still keep looking, but you realize, the farther we get in, the closer to the blast perimeter, the less likely his chances.

 

Hes alive, the head of Five-0 maintained evenly, firmly.

 

A faint smile flickered across the firemans lips. McGarrett, youre a man of stubborn determination, or incredible faith. He allowed his tone to elicit neither compliment nor accusation.

 

The head of Five-0 just accepted it as a statement of fact. Youre right, he agreed. Lets keep digging. Without waiting for any further rejoinder from the fireman, he turned back to the task at hand and began pulling at what debris he could reach. Pushing into the cloying, dusty darkness, he cried out, Danno! Then, he strained for a moment to listen. When he heard no response he pushed away the disappointment and kept digging, calling as he worked. Danno!

 

 

 

 

It was difficult to keep his eyes open. The thick, visibly gritty atmosphere made his eyes ache if they were open for long. The lack of air clean or otherwise -- robbed him of oxygen and promoted drowsiness. Making the exhaustion all the more miserable was his inability to shift into a more comfortable position. A painful tingling was slowly growing in every appendage as adequate blood flow was being impeded. His left shoulder, which had been aching from the unrelieved weight it had been bearing, was now without any feeling. He was grateful for that and for the sleep, however restless and uncomfortable. It had been such a long day. The bombs so straining nerve-racking. The frayed wires did him in though. Upon seeing them, every ounce of adrenalin he had pumped into his system, enabling him to make it as far as he had however far that had been. He couldnt remember, and there was certainly no way to tell at the moment. Yes -- everything had been great hed disarmed two bombs!  Steve did Steve get out?? Yeah he remembered they were talking on the radio. Steve was safe.

 

A soft sound echoed in one ear. Steve? Was Steve calling his name? Was it a memory? Was he dreaming? Had to be a dream. Steve was safe. Steve got out. Was Steve mad at him? He had not saved the building.

 

But we proved our security was tight, Steve, he reminded his friend silently. The bombers didnt get in after us. They were there first. Tricky. He coughed suddenly, then sneezed, then coughed more. Did you get all of them? Dan wondered as he drifted off again, straining to hear. Steve? He rasped. It was almost as if his friend was there, next to him, repeating his name. Im here, Steve, he promised. Im waiting. Please hurry

 

 

 

 

The physical labor was good for him. Not used to such arduous tasks as lifting, moving and carrying heavy objects McGarrett now found it a valued catharsis. Under stressful pressure he usually paced, snapped his fingers, barked orders all physical manifestations of his inner strain. Now, being an integral, tangible part of the rescue efforts made him feel like he was doing all he could to find Danno. It also offered a necessary distraction. In most situations he was the one in charge, directing, ordering, investigating. There was no use in any of those talents now, so he became part of the most essential operation getting to Danno.

 

It gave his mind too much time to think. His muscles labored, his skin drenched in sweat, his mouth and nostrils were coated with bitter concrete powder. He had plenty of time to second guess his actions in the last few days. It had been with great misgivings he had entered into the test of his own security.

 

You want Five-0 to penetrate the building, he had flung back to the governor. It had worried him right off the bat. The police there have been authorized to prevent I mean prevent any unauthorized entry into the building. You want to prove Five-0 is fallible. It had the immediate potential to not only make his organization look bad, but cause injury to his own staff.

 

Heading back to the Palace from the meeting with the governor, he KNEW who would volunteer for the task of breaching their own security whom he would appoint to find the flaws in their own security.

 

Tricky, had been Williams initial reaction when McGarrett revealed the plan to his men. With a smirk, the second-in-command assessed, It wont be easy. So what lucky sucker gets to give it a try?

 

The question had been rhetorical Danno knew he would be the one to crack their own defenses. He and Ben Kokua were the most athletic and physically skilled on the team. If anyone could do it, the two younger detectives would be the ones to pull it off.

 

That sucker would be you and Ben, he had smiled.

 

In the limited time available, they had gone over the blueprints and the contrived plan meticulously. He didnt want anyone getting hurt. What a tragedy if one of his own men if Danno were injured on a double-edged sword job like this. It had turned out so unexpectedly tragic anyway!  Danno had found the real bombs! -- and this was the result that he was the only casualty!

 

If his friend was not alive when they broke through no he couldnt think like that! Others might believe it, but he could not. Danno! he shouted, moving ahead of a few younger, more muscled men, determined to prove he believed in his friend still being alive. Danno! Not even the dogs were scenting anyone in the rubble, but he had to believe, had to keep going against any odds.  Danno had beat the odds all night with disarming the bombs.  Steve could do no less than give everything he had to rescue his friend now.

 

 

 

 

In his dream, he could hear the echo of Steve's voice arguing. It made him laugh, which drew in a deep breath of powdery silt, which made him cough, which awakened all the aches and throbs on the outside of his damaged body and the deepest hurts on the inside. Groaning, he fought to control the cascade effect of cough-shifting debris pressing on him; dust in his lungs, more coughing Finally, he opened his eyes and held his breath. It was a shallow reservoir of air within trapped lungs crushed against sharp edges of concrete, but he held it with a surfers discipline until he could gain a modicum of control over his body. With his right hand, he reached forward. He could feel the plaster, wiring, and concrete inches from his face not a comforting sensation to be sure, but it did serve to break him out of his hazy dream and snap him to stark reality. This was not the comforting zone of weird, misty sights and sounds where he could talk with McGarrett and be temporarily removed from this nightmarish imprisonment. This was horrible, painful, claustrophobic reality

 

and keep them going to the right!

 

Steve?  Was that Steve?  Why was he hearing Steves voice?

 

The dogs are going to go where the scent takes them, McGarrett!

 

Im telling you which direction he was coming from!

 

Arguing. Not a typical dream, but understandable. McGarrett frequently debated with others of lesser personalities, of lower standards than his exacting perfectionism. Why not dream about it? Their odd conversations during his dreams talking about a sniper shooting while they were walking on a rainbow in the surf at Waikiki while aerial bombs exploded into rain overhead couldnt be stranger than Steve arguing about dogs. Search dogs.

 

Steve. Search dogs? The foggy, dreamy perceptions cleared. The voice echoed his name fervently, cracking with emotion, reverberating in eerie nearness. Steve was here!

 

He gasped, and the action brought a sharp intake-full of grit into his mouth, tongue and lungs. That brought on another fit of hacking. Not only did that rob him of air, but he realized even HE could not hear the noise!  His throat was so clogged and dry no sound emerged from his mute coughs. Steve!  He was close and would never hear him!  Steve! Heedless of the risk of causing further cave-ins on himself, he struggled to un-wedge one of his legs to roll one direction or the other ANYTHING to take action. His voice was less than useless his vocal chords now clogged with dust -- were his enemy. Suddenly, a chunk of something hard and heavy dropped onto his legs. His cry of pain was mute, and he stopped struggling as he focused on the agonizing ache traversing up his right leg Steve help me

 

 

 

 

McGarrett stood perfectly still and looked around. He could swear he heard Danno calling to him. Shouting to the others, he commanded them to stop and listen. With the long-suffering expressions of men who thought they knew better, the rescue squad halted their progress and waited. They had been through this before, to no avail. Even the dogs paused, looking expectantly at him, sensing his urgency his increasing desperation to find his friend. They whined in expectation and he had them taken a few feet to the rear so he could hear.

 

Everyone became motionless, and listened for any sound coming from the debris field. Steve cocked his head one way, and when that did not yield the desired result, he tilted his head the other way. Still nothing He realized that he so wanted to hear his friends voice that the onset of each sound an echo from somewhere outside the building a chunk of debris spontaneously freeing itself from overhead connective tissue pushed hope-filled adrenalin into his system. Now, he caught sight of Chief Graves standing back with Ben and Chin, both men wearing hard hats and observing him silently. The pain in their expressions told the Five-0 chief that Graves had called them in to tell him the jig was up. They were giving up

 

No He whispered as he turned away from them and studied the blocked passageway. A sign Give me a sign, aikane

 

Inhaling deeply, he shouted with everything he had. DANNO!! Listen to me youve got to make a noise! Help me! DANNO! HELP ME! HELP ME! DANNO! HELP ME! Help me aikane His voice grew hoarser with each passing word, a single sob punctuating his call.

 

 

 

Danno, help me help me

 

Dan willed his physical agony to the back of his thoughts for the umpteenth time in so many hours Steves voice Was he dreaming? If he was, did it matter? He knew Steve well enough to know that his boss would be demanding that he not give up that he do something proactive to get himself out of this impossible situation. Steve would not hear of him giving up

 

Danno

 

Suddenly panicked that he might be left behind that his friend and the rescue team could be within a few feet of him and he would silently choke on his own dirty air, Williams scratched his fingers and hands through the debris pressing around him. With his right hand he grasped a piece of steel rebar sticking from a lump of precariously-loose concrete over him. Knowing sensing that a tug of any magnitude would probably bring his already-shaky roof down on him, he decided at that moment that it was better to die trying to live up to McGarretts never-give-up principle than to live a short while longer passively waiting to be engulfed by death. Clenching his teeth, he tensed himself for what was to come, and yanked the steel rod with all his might.

 

As expected, the action dislodged more garbage around him and it shifted to crush into his back and side. The alteration drove out more air, pushed against his lungs so he had almost no capacity to breathe, but he continued to fight to blindly toss anything he could grab to make noise, to get the attention of McGarrett, who was probably maddeningly close!

 

Steve! he screamed, over and over again, although he could not even hear himself yelling when his arid vocal chords vibrated with desperation. Steve!

 

 

 

 

Steve its time to get out of here. Bens call to him was not particularly quiet, but the surrounding rubble dampened the words, which pierced his heart no less harshly than a bullet.

 

He wiped his eyes with the back of his dusty sleeve, but made no move to step away from his project. If he was leaving, it would not be without a fight, he decided without the necessity of forming a cogent thought about it. Danno would never give up, and he would not give up either  

 

Before the issue could come to a fight, first one, and then the other, of the two dogs barked. Dog One buffed then Dog Two  Buff buff... bark, BARK! They trod onto the debris, unconcerned for their safety. They sniffed, veering and barking toward the right. Had they picked up a scent? Heard something human ears could not? The non-canine group watched intently as the animals zeroed in on a pile five feet into the disrupted area. Knowing their job well, they focused their noses on their target and began to bark-howl steadily. The fireman who was their handler announced, I dont think theyve scented thats not their scent bark, but they definitely heard something!

 

Steve quickly pushed aside his joy at the reprieve as he struggled across the drywall and cement to join his new canine friends. Two firemen whod been working nearby joined him in his effort to roll back a large piece of concrete preventing the dogs from moving ahead. As the chunk tumbled backward, a small, dark opening was revealed.

 

A large flashlight appeared in McGarretts hand before he could ask, and he kneeled onto the sharp crags of blocks and directed its beam inside the musty reaches of the narrow tunnel littered with clutter. There! Five feet from his reachIt was hard to spot because it was the same color as everything else the light struck. A hand! He jumped in delight!

 

Danno!  Hes there!

                                                                                                                        

His voice raw and dry from calling through the clogging film of grit and dust barely scraped above the volume of the hounds now barking. Their deep, loud bays filled the small cavern. Pushing the German Shepherds away, he clawed at the wreckage. Other hands were there to help to make the hole big enough for another human to crawl in.

 

Danno! he called hoarsely, as he found himself being dragged backwards out of the way of the more appropriately clothed and prepared firemen. Hang on, Danno! Were almost there!

 

Realizing that his presence would now only hinder rescue efforts, he stood back, supported by Ben and Chin as the rescue squad moved in and started removing huge chunks of cement from the top. Tensely waiting for word, he tried to focus on calming his own ragged breathing. Minutes ticked by with agonizing slowness, but finally a grimy fireman poked his head from the hole and called out, Hes alive! I need an O2 tank, a back board, and a stokes!

 

The moisture was welcome into McGarretts grit-filled eyes as he murmured, Thank God thank God Danno was alive! He weakly issued a command to Chin to have Bergman standing by outside as he maintained watch over the proceedings as closely as he could without being in the way.  It took another thirty minutes before the rescuers inside the collapsed area called for the stokes basket, which now rested within the Five-0 chiefs reach. Energetically lifting it, Steve pushed it into the hole, which was now large enough to more easily accommodate the comings and goings of firemen as they cleared the path for the rescue effort.

 

Afraid to ask as to his friends condition, he waited he would see for himself. His heart sank for a moment as he saw that the figure in the basket was covered with a blanket from head to toe. Surely they werent rescuing a dead victim No! Of course not McGarretts rationality slapped back the fear. Danno was covered to prevent more debris from dropping onto him during the extrication effort.

 

Nobody stopped him from racing forward as soon as it was physically practical and gingerly lifting the blanket from his friends face and torso. Unsurprised to find Danno unresponsive and eyes closed, he tensely examined the newly-freed detective as the four men carrying the basket continued to make their way towards the door and waiting ambulance. There was not actually much surface area of Williams available for inspection, since, beneath the top blanket, there was yet another sheet which was secured by the straps on the back board. The patients neck was wrapped in a brace, and an oxygen mask covered his nose and mouth. Nothing though could hide the tremendous wheezing as Dan tried to take in air through his distressed lungs and throat. Amid the dirt and dried blood, there was little hope of a diagnosis, but at least there were no huge bloodstains visible. Of course, McGarrett knew that didnt mean much. Having been crushed under the weight of the buildings wreckage, Williams could have serious internal injuries. The emotional weight of that trepidation pressed against his own heart as heavy as the dust in his own lungs.

 

Clutching his friends fingers as they made the quick trip to the ambulance, McGarrett found himself comforted by the physical contact despite the cool, clamminess of Williams skin -- there was no doubt in his mind that Danno was in shock no surprise after being buried alive for hours.

                                                                                                        

As they emerged from the building into the warm, morning sunlight, McGarrett shielded the patient from the prying eyes of the small throng of people standing just beyond the police barrier. As the crowd broke into cheers and shouts, Steve gave a nod of reassurance to the other Five-0 detectives, who had magically appeared (or had they been there all along?) to escort the group on their way.

 

To the Five-0 chiefs relief, Doctor Bergman, pulling his stethoscope from his pocket, appeared from the back of the transport vehicle, and moved to intercept the team. Ignoring everyone else, the physician immediately began checking his patients vital signs. McGarrett watched the medical man for indications about Williams condition, but found himself studying a neutral mask. Willing himself to not read too much into Bergmans demeanor, he waited until the gurney was lifted into the ambulance before he climbed in after it, and sank back onto the bench near the patients feet.

 

Consciously taking in a slow breath of clean air, Steve knew that his battle was over hed done everything he could do. He only hoped as he stared listlessly at Williams battered form that the worst was over for his friend as well.

 

 

 

 

A gentle nudge of his arm bolted the head of Five-0 instantly to his feet. Quickly surveying his surroundings, he recalled that hed been stuffed into the waiting room as soon as they reached the hospital. The short ambulance ride had left him full of foreboding about Dannos condition. Bergman, with clinical coolness, had reported weak vitals, labored breathing, likely internal injuries, and a plethora of possible broken bones. Now, the physician sat on the naughahyde sofa where the Five-0 detective had drifted off into a tenuous, but much-needed sleep.

 

As his flight-or-fight response quelled, he looked at his watch, noting in passing dismay that hed cracked the crystal at some point in recent hours. Williams had been trapped for almost twenty four hours, and now it was noon of the day of his rescue (McGarrett quickly checked the window to confirm that it was not midnight!).

 

Coffee? Bergman held up a steaming cup to the man standing nearby.

 

McGarrett accepted the cup, and slowly re-took his seat as he asked the question at the forefront of his thoughts. How is he, Doc?

 

The physician leaned back as he responded. Bone breaks fifteen twelve in the rib cage, a broken arm closed break of the left radius and two fingers on his left hand.

 

The head of Five-0 grimaced, but did not flinch otherwise as the medical man continued to rattle off a laundry list of injuries.

 

Lungs, trachea, nasal passages, mouth, esophagus, eyes, and ears all contaminated with dust and debris to varying degrees. Of particular concern are of course the lungs. Ive cleaned out what I could and put him on albuterol to keep his airway from swelling shut. Im amazed to find no overt evidence of internal injuries, but well be monitoring him for symptoms.  Bergman rubbed the back of his neck as he finished. Other than some monstrous bruising over sixty percent of his body, Danny fared miraculously well.

 

Now impatient for the bottom line, McGarrett leaned toward the physician. So hes gonna be okay.

 

Bergman held up his hand. All of Dannys injuries are survivable WITH proper treatment and rest, but make no mistake, Steve if he gets an infection in his lungs, or some compression injury rears its ugly head, we could be in an entirely different situation.

 

The detective blew out a loud sigh of relief and nodded firmly. I hear you, Doc proper treatment and rest... McGarrett could not bear to deal with any negative possibilities at that moment. Positive thinking and not giving up that was what it was all about. Hell have it. Is he awake now?

 

No and dont expect him to be awake for awhile your boys been through a rough time, the medical examiner warned, and then frowned as he more closely inspected the bedraggled, grimy man seated next to him. And speaking of rough times, you look like you could use a shower and some rest yourself, Steve.

 

For the first time since he wasnt sure when, he looked down at himself to see the sight he presented suit pants torn in two places, his white shirt completely gray and smudged with blood from somewhere. He could feel the shaggy appearance of his hair, and knew the usual bouffant had been unable to sustain a kempt position during the ordeal. His lips twitched in mild disgust. Yeah, I guess I could stand a shower and change of clothes.

 

Then go home, Bergman commanded. Ill look after him, and let you know if his condition changes.

 

McGarrett nodded, and the two men rose from the sofa together. The detective gently touched the doctors arm. Do you think I could look in on him before I leave?

 

Bergman sighed and took the un-touched coffee cup back from the detectives hands. Okay, but only for a minute.

 

 

 

 

Seeing it as a good sign that Williams had been moved out of the ICU to a room adjacent to the ICU, Steve offered a pleased nod to a nurse, who glared at him as if hed just stuck his tongue out at her. Medical people if youre surly, theyre surly. If youre friendly, theyre surly. Shaking his head, he smiled nothing would defeat his upbeat mood today. Hed heard that Dan was showing dramatic signs of improvement on this his second day of hospitalization. McGarrett was hopeful that he would find his friend at least awake, and possibly even able to speak.

 

Hed paid a visit to the ICU the previous day. Danno had been in an un-rousable sleep. The scratched, bruised face and labored breathing even with the oxygen mask terrified McGarrett. His demands for the hospital staff to do something (he had no clue what!) were met with patronizing reassurances that he did not find comforting in the least. Finally, someone (probably that wicked witch of a head nurse) ratted him out to Bergman, who showed up and made him leave.

 

Later that evening (after the shift change), he returned, better prepared for the distressing sight. This time, however, his friend was conscious, but seemed confused and disoriented an effect of his pain medication, McGarrett had been told. Unable to speak, disturbingly, Williams wanted something from him, but did not have the clarity of thought to find a way to articulate it. He finally closed his eyes and nodded off.

 

 

 

Early the next afternoon, after the shift change, he returned. The nurses station was decorated with Christmas tinsel and red and green ornaments.  A pathetic, small tree leaned against the back counter awaiting a break in duties of the busy personnel.  As usual, the incongruous scenes of frosty landscapes and cut out snow flakes did not mesh with the tropical weather outside or the inescapable shirt-clinging-to-skin humidity.  Christmas.  He felt a little sentimental about it as he considered the enormous miracle given him as the most precious gift possible this season.  More than one prayer of gratitude had been whispered over the last few days.  This year the season of joy would have extra meaning for him.

 

No dominating nurses interfered with his progress some were going about their busy duties while a few others found themselves distracted by the TV. At the nurses station, the TV was playing commentary and specials on Pearl Harbor Day. The memorable date was impossible to escape on Oahu, and for the head of Five-0 there was a lot to do today, but the most important duty was what he was doing right now, visiting his friend. For both their sakes.

 

When he opened the door this time he was shocked into immobility. Dannos bed was empty!  Scanning the room, he thought at first maybe Danno was just sitting up no. Out for a walk no the IV stand The IV stand was there next to the bed, the needle hanging loose!  Dashing across the small room, he checked yes, the IV line was intact, including tape to secure to the skin but the patient was gone!

 

Stunned at the unexpected and nasty surprise McGarrett was in action before he could think through the next steps. Charging from the room, he stopped the first nurse he saw and asked more of a command than a question if Williams was scheduled for tests or for any other reason was taken out of his room.   The inquiry astounded her and disbelieving his quick assurance that the patient was absent, she checked herself. His own panic must have telegraphed to her, because her response was immediate. She paged the doctor on call for their floor, as well as Bergman. Over her shoulder, he ordered her to call security with a blanket search to find Williams.

 

Not waiting for results from her summons, he started searching the rooms on the floor, with no luck. The abandoned IV stand was the clue that kept flashing in his brain like a revolving blue siren. That was the key; Danno had left without his medication. No without the bulky IV stand.

 

Using the phone in Williams room, he called the office, just on the outside chance Danno had checked in and, for some reason, fled with one of his staff. No one in the office would dare be an accomplice in his escape they would talk some reason into Danno first. Still, they would never do anything to jeopardize his health, and if he really begged them, they would check with Steve first. They would never cull his wrath over something like this.

 

While security searched other floors, McGarrett checked the outside lanais and the chapel, knowing his friend would gravitate to the fresh air and slight view first. After such a harrowing experience as being buried alive, however, it could give the younger detective enough pause to spend some time with his Maker. Neither of the locations yielded any signs of the errant officer. Now alarm escalating to fear, McGarrett jogged from area to area in his search, ending up again next to the ICU, where he met up with Bergman.

 

This is the kind of behavior Id expect from you, Steve, The ME accused sharply, but even if Danny DIDNT know better, he had no reason to escape!  Besides, he was barely mobile!  Where could he go? Why? With the medication he was on he should barely be able to stand!

 

Shaking his head, McGarrett stood in the open doorway of the empty room and stared at the IV stand. Why? If they knew the why, they would know the where and the how. Danno was not in good shape. His leaving had to be powerfully motivated. What would push him into such a rash, dangerous action? Slowly pivoting out of the room, his eye caught the TV screen at the nurses station. Another recap of the days commemoration events at Pearl. There was the gleaming white memorial where he himself had been this morning... December Seventh. Glancing at the bed, then the TV, he pinched his lip... Seventh... parents killed... almost dying

 

Instantly, the why, where and how materialized in his mind. It shouldnt have been such a surprise. Despite his friends injury and drug-obscured state, Dannos quiet and private annual tribute was still in his thoughts.

 

Jogging to the elevator, he paced as the car dropped him to the street level. He ran to the front curb where two cabs were parked. The first one was no help, but the second cabbie had no problem remembering the beat-up young man with curly hair and a cast on his arm. Looked like he shouldnt be out of the hospital yet. Not so funny, his destination. Not today. The docks with the view of Pearl Harbor.

 

McGarrett raced the distance between the hospital and the waterfront in record time. The later afternoon traffic was mostly dissipated and he sailed through to the empty warehouses with hardly a pause. There, sitting against one of the buildings, was a solitary figure, staring out across the harbor. Screeching to a stop, McGarrett leaped out while the sedan was still rocking, jogging toward his friend, but then he slowed, coming to a measured walk.

 

While his heart was racing as fast as his car had been on the trip over here, he had to ease the excitement and strain. Danno looked as solemn and alone as he must have been those many years ago when he watched through the eyes of a small, scared child -- the bombers fly in and decimate Pearl Harbor. Many times since then, Danno had come here alone, in his personal pilgrimage, to pay a silent tribute to the parents he barely remembered. It was not something he ever discussed. McGarrett never even knew about it until a few years ago.

 

Strolling easily over, curbing his anxiety, he sat down next to his friend. Danno was pale and weary, his head leaning on the building behind them. Dressed in a robe and pajamas, the recovering officer seemed a little dazed and cold, his cast-free right arm wrapped around his chest, as if warding off a chill. Freezing during his entrapment in the concrete pocket of the rubble; body temperature, and blood pressure low from trauma, it might be a while before he warmed up, even in the tropical Hawaiian sun. Other than the obvious fatigue and chill, Danno seemed to be shaking slightly, in pain or discomfort or both. Concerned, eager to get his friend back to the hospital, he knew this could not be rushed. Danno had expended a lot of effort and pain to get here, for a good reason.

 

Clouds stretched across the sky, their multi-hued pastels a mottled banner over Pearl Harbor. It was warm against the stucco of the wall, but cold sitting on the cement. Now that he was here, he wasnt concerned about what to say. Words were not important. He understood. Maybe better than Danno did in his not-quite-coherent-state. Danno was here for the same reasons HE had come in search of his friend. There were some things more important than personal comfort or attention to health. Connections transcending logic or normalcy.

 

Although Danno didnt remember his parents well, this was his form of respect and remembrance to them. While there was nothing he could contribute to this moment, Steve was here because Danno was here.

 

Todays the Seventh, Williams whispered after a time, his voice still strained and scraping.

 

Yeah. He winced when his friend spoke feeling how painful it must be to talk after Dannos swollen and abraded throat had suffered from the concrete dust, and sore from the coughing he had to do to clear his lungs. Breathing had to be aching, with no deep breaths because of the broken ribs (back and front).   You felt you had to be here, he solemnly supplied, hoping to do the talking for his friend if he could.

 

Williams nodded.

 

I was out there today, The Five-0 chief murmured. It was always a somber occasion going out to the Arizona Memorial under any condition. On the Seventh though, it was a particularly emotional and heart-tugging event. Personal stories of survivors recalling the horrors of that infamous day made the observance poignant. Today, he found more knotting sentiment sitting here, observing the gleaming white structure, sitting next to his closest friend. Knowing the tragedy Danno had lived through made it almost impossible for him to continue. It was a good ceremony, he finished unevenly.

 

Nodding, Danno touched his arm, acknowledging the messages, vocal and otherwise.

 

He wanted to say; You know, Danno, I know it wouldnt be the same, but you can honor their memory somewhere besides this dock. At least this year.  He didnt. Danno knew that already, and it didnt change how he felt. Just like a few days ago, when Steve had to haunt the courthouse to oversee rescue operations. He didnt need to do that, except on a fundamental, emotional level.

 

The sun slid lower, lacing through the clouds, dipping close to the horizon. The palette of hues changed, shifting like the tropical breeze. Williams shivered.

 

This was the first time his friend had been awake, and while he wasnt sure Danno was fully coherent, he wanted to talk to say things that had been festering on his conscience all night and day. This was not the right time, though. From Williams twitching lip he knew there was a level of pain surfacing. Dannos breathing grew more ragged by the minute. Later, when Danno was better, he had a lot to say to his friend.

 

Instead of issuing an ultimatum, or bodily removing his friend, he opted for firm suggestion. Anytime youre ready Ill take you back. He glanced at his friend to get a visual response so Williams would not have to speak.

 

With a nod, Dan gestured with his thumb that he was ready to go. Mahalo, he mouthed.

 

McGarrett solemnly acknowledged the thanks with a nod. Standing, he helped his friend get unsteadily to his feet, and then removed his jacket to drape around Williams. The walk to the car was slow, and he slipped his arm under Dans to support him. On the drive back, Dan leaned his head back against the seat and closed his eyes. McGarrett called ahead to alert Bergman that Williams was fine and returning, no need to panic. He cut off the call before Docs reprimand elevated to a pitch loud enough to wake the resting detective beside him.

 

 

 

 

It had been like running a gauntlet to get to Dannos room this time. Bergman had read him the riot act yesterday when he returned with Williams. Labeled an accomplice after the fact, he had been irritated, but shouldered the blame for his friend. Danno was not in shape to receive the wrath of the medical staff, so he was happy to take a certain amount of heat. Today, with the glares leveled his way, he knew his shaky relationship with the medical profession at this hospital had tilted from bad to black list. They knew better than to try and restrict him, but their looks made it apparent that was exactly what they would love to do bar him at the sidewalk. Everyone knew that was not about to happen, so they grudgingly endured him darkening their halls until Williams was released.

 

On this morning, Steve hoped that his second would be more up to a visitor, especially one bearing gifts, he mused as he glanced at the wrapped box in his hand. Slipping it into his coat pocket, tapping lightly on the door, the detective entered without waiting for a verbal invitation. The curtains had already been pulled back to allow the brightness in, and a breakfast tray with tea, apple juice, and a broth of some sort set on a bed table had been pushed to the foot of the bed. To McGarretts delight, the patient, a nasal candula secured to his face directing oxygen into his nose, was sitting, pillows propping his casted left arm and hand. Dans eyes were closed and his face honestly looked worse today than it had the day before. Latent bruises had surfaced across the younger detectives face and neck, leaving his skin mottled with splashes of purple and red.

 

It was only with effort that Steve did not flinch as his friend slowly turned to look in his direction. Offering a genuinely happy grin, McGarrett joked, I hope you feel better than you look, Danno.

 

A crooked smile slipped lethargically onto Williams face as he hoarsely whispered, Cant say no mirror.

 

The head of Five-0 chuckled as he pulled up a chair and sat. Youll have to trust me then. Dan nodded gingerly as his boss leaned forward and gently laid his hand on his right forearm. You had me worried for a few hours, aikane.

 

Williams offered a gentle smile, obviously touched at the sentiment, but did not speak.

 

This is going to sound a little selfish given you were the one trapped under a ton of rubble with little air, he started quietly, looking at the IV line attached to his friends hand, still touching the cool arm above the bandage. There is no way for me to express how horrible it felt from where I was standing, he confessed quietly. I shouldnt have let you go in there after that last bomb. If you didnt come out, it would have been my fault.

 

Tapping his hand, Williams bid for attention. Looking up at his friend, he frowned that Danno was shaking his head with adamant denial. He pointed to his chest and non-verbally insisted, My decision.

 

Knowing they would never agree on this point, McGarrett was not going to argue while Danno had no voice. Some other time and place they could revisit this, but now, it was enough that his friend knew how he felt.  When youre armed with the ability to make some noise, maybe well cover this again, he conceded.  

 

A knock on the door preceded its opening. McGarrett turned to see the tentative, but hopeful expressions of Chin and Ben as they entered, making some joking comments about the patients battered face.  The friendly barbs elicited a crooked smile from Williams.  Ben slipped a paper bag from under his suit jacket. Homemade poi from Sarah.

 

Mai is fixing something for tomorrow, Chin winked.

 

Sounds like youll be well fed during your stay, Danno.

 

Williams took the bag with a nod of thanks.

 

None of the wives want him to go hungry, Chin explained.

 

The detectives made themselves comfortable by leaning on the wall. They gave a general summary of business, and offered a few last minute reports for their boss, including interagency status.  The Fire Department sent over a form on their operation. An engineer and a fireman delivered it. They measured the space you were in. Nobody can believe that they pulled a live body from there! Ben announced dramatically.

 

McGarrett grimaced, remembering the ghastly hole from which they had extracted the detective. There didnt seem to be enough room for Danno to survive, no. The whole incident was fraught with impossible odds and miracles, and he was arguing with none of them.

 

Another knock at the door sounded, and McGarrett turned, expecting to see Bergman, prepared to defend the crowd. Surprised at the ruddy countenance of Chief Graves peeking around the door, he came to his feet when the tall man, in casual Aloha shirt and slacks, entered the room.

 

A little startled at finding McGarrett and the detectives, he awkwardly moved a wrapped package from hand to hand. Nodding tentative greetings to the Five-0 men, he focused his attention on the patient.  Officer Williams, you probably dont remember me, but I wanted to come by and see how you were doing.

 

McGarrett stepped to the foot of the bed. Danno, this is Chief Graves. Hes the one responsible for saving your life.

 

The others around the bed seemed amazed at the pronouncement, none more so than the Chief. With a wry glance at McGarrett, Graves turned again to Williams, placing the gift on the nearby table.

 

Mahalo, Dan strained to whisper. For not giving up on me.

 

Graves held up his hand. Dont try to talk. I know how it feels to have your throat so clogged with dust and smoke. It hurts to even breathe, so dont try to say anything. Seeming a little nervous, he shoved his hands in his pockets. In fact, thats why Im here. Because I know what youre going through. I said you wouldnt remember me, but weve met before.  At Williams scrunched brow of confusion, Graves nodded. Glancing at McGarrett for a significant moment, he continued. My men dug you out. The rescue dogs sniffed you out. But you need to thank your boss here for pestering me to keep the search effort going. He gave a nod to his counterpart. If your boss had not invoked your Uncle Jim's name, common sense would have forced me to abandon the operation.

 

Dan shrugged, perplexed.

 

We HAVE met before. You dont remember. No reason why you would. It was a bad time for you. But for me well it was a bad time, too, but a day I will never, ever forget. Nineteen fifty-three. I was one of the firemen whom Jim Williams dragged from the burning apartment complex.

 

Instead of watching Graves, McGarrett had his eyes on Williams, who now paled at the announcement.

 

When your uncle was posthumously awarded the Order of the Fireman's Cross, you accepted it in his behalf. Graves cleared his throat, obviously uncomfortable with the revelations, but determined to continue. I felt horrible guilty -- for days about leaving you an orphan. There was no way I could ever repay the debt to the HPD sergeant who lost his life to save me.  Because of me his ward was left alone in the world.

 

Chin gravely remembered the incident, clearly saddened at the memory. Jim Williams had become a legend in both police and fire departments. The newspapers carried on for days about Danny being orphaned again after losing his parents in the Pearl Harbor attack.

 

Nodding in agreement, incongruously, Graves smiled, then gently chuckled. I was plenty upset about a man losing his life so I could continue with mine. The only thing that helped was when you came up there to the stand and accepted your uncles award.

 

Dan shook his head almost imperceptibly, either not remembering or not willing to contribute to the conversation.

 

I remember you were a shy, uncomfortable kid suddenly thrown into the spotlight where you didnt want to be. I was a young man. So guilty I didnt want to even shake your hand. His voice turned gruff and course with emotion. Then I noticed you were with a big Hawaiian family. They were supportive and caring and hugged you and even the kids were watching out for you. The older woman gave you a pinch and told you to throw out your gum before you came up to accept the award. And the older man straightened your tie. It seemed like you were taken care of, and I hoped -- I prayed -- that you would turn out all right.

 

Tears were swelling in Dannos eyes, and McGarrett could hardly make them out for the moisture in his own. He reached over and gripped Dans ankle with a supportive squeeze.

 

I didnt know, of course, until a few days ago. I didnt connect Danny Williams the cop, with Danny Williams, Jim Williams nephew, until McGarrett here gave me the low-down. He smiled, but his lip wavered from sentiment. I know you turned out just fine, Officer Williams. Not just from your own heroics either. He gave a nod to McGarrett. Ive never seen anyone engender such passionate loyalty as your boss showed to you. He was willing to go to the mat with me to get you out of there. When you had no hope of being alive, he needed you to survive. So thanks for staying alive down there, Detective. He turned to the head of Five-0 and offered his hand. McGarrett, thank you for pushing me so I could give this young man a second chance, just like his uncle gave me.

 

McGarrett took the firm handshake and returned it with a measure of emotional warmth. Beyond the crisis now, he could view Graves as not an adversarial colleague, but an equal. A man dedicated to doing his duty to those he swore to protect, as well as the men who served within that allegiance.  Youre a good man, Graves, he quietly complimented. I cant thank you enough for what you did.

 

Smiling at the patient, he returned, Seeing him in one piece is thanks enough. With a salute to Williams, a nod to the other men, he crossed to the door and gave a final look to the head of Five-0. I wouldnt mind working with you again some day, McGarrett. On the same side next time.

 

We were on the same side this time, Chief. It just took you a little while to come around to my point of view and see things that way.

 

With a hearty laugh, the big man who took up most of the doorway gave a nod and slipped away. Chin and Ben gathered to say their own farewells. When the boss looked over to see if Danno had anything to say, he was glad to see Williams eyes were already closed. This had been a little too much of a party for his friend.

 

Sitting by the bedside, allowing the scratchy breathing as the only sound, McGarrett held a light touch on his friends wrist. It had been a close call, but they had come out of it all right. In the reflecting, somber reverie, Graves words rang in his ears. Ive never seen anyone engender such passionate loyalty as your boss showed to you... When you had no hope of being alive, he needed you to survive. So thanks for staying alive down there.

 

So right, he whispered, gently patting his friend. I needed you to survive and you did. Thank you, my friend.

 

McGarrett turned on the light over the bed to read the paper aloud to his friend, a habit he had dropped into when too much thinking plunged him into a morose frame of mind. It was dark outside now, and he had sat in the single chair in the hospital room for a long time since Graves and his men had left. It had been a thought-provoking few days, and he knew he would be meditating on these events for some time to come. The culmination of actions and words over years had the domino effect of saving Dannos life. Coincidence? Fate? Divine intervention? Karma? The outcome of circumstances had certainly begun with the actions taken by a good man, Jim Williams, and those acts of heroism all came back to help his nephew decades later. Graves thought he was the catalyst, and maybe he was, but this time it felt like he was a cog in a bigger wheel.

 

The nurse came to take Williams vital signs and check the IV. The routine awakened the patient. He stared at McGarrett, a quirky smile on his lips. Dont you have a home? he mouthed.

 

Here, for now, came the wry reply.

 

Wish I would have seen the voice dropped out completely. He motioned his eyes, pointing at himself, as he soundlessly tried to pantomime, --seen you and Graves going at it. Sorry I missed it.

 

Same old thing youve seen a hundred times before, Steve shrugged.  Me trying to convince everyone else that Im right.

 

Williams smiled, his eyes sparkling, giving a nod of assent. Growing more serious, he stared at his friend for a moment, until the nurse left. Then, he whispered, I knew you would come for me.

 

McGarrett moved closer, leaving the chair, he had been slouched in, to stand close to the head of the bed. Dont strain your voice. You know you dont have to thank me. I would never let you down.

 

Dan nodded in acknowledgement.

 

Hoping to veer away from the raw emotional moment, McGarrett pulled a small, neatly wrapped gift box out of his jacket pocket. Happy Birthday.

 

Fumbling clumsily with the heavy cast, not too focused from the pain medication, Dan tore at the wrapping. He laughed when he pulled out two toys; a dog whistle and a beat-cops police whistle.

 

Till you get your voice back, he tapped the latter, And in case you need a rescue dog, he tapped the former.

 

Dan laughed so hard he cried, holding onto his aching ribs. Wincing that he had inadvertently caused some pain, Steve was nonetheless glad he brought some levity to the patient.

 

Wiping his face dry, Dan was still smiling, but there was deep sentiment in the blue eyes, along with the merriment. Mahalo, he soundlessly spoke. For everything.  With a combination of motions and mouthing, he conveyed, I knew you would never give up.

 

Never, he whispered back.

 

Mahalo, ------.

 

Sorry, Danno, I didnt get that last word.

 

Smirking, he mutely explained. Hawaiian.  Grabbing the paper sack which Ben had used to smuggle in the homemade poi, Williams motioned for the pen in Steves pocket, then scribbled out the message; mahalo, Kaikua'ana -- big brother.

 

Nodding, mute himself from the lump in his throat, McGarrett patted his friends arm and nodded. The past few days had certainly emphasized the brotherhood between them that was more important than either man could express. Now was the time to celebrate it.

 

PAU