|The Heaven Dragon
Author: jenthetrulysly PM
The night-time streets of Chinatown hide many dangers for the Five-O detectives as the Year of the Rat arrives unforgettably with a bang.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Hurt/Comfort - Steve M. & Danny W. - Words: 12,491 - Reviews: 2 - Published: 09-16-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8531696
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The Heaven Dragon
Kai Fook Tung stomped hard on the brakes to the red Mustang convertible, bringing the car to an abrupt stop before he threw the door open and grabbed the briefcase of money sitting on the passenger seat next to him. He had ended up in some part of Honolulu's Chinatown and almost jumped out of his skin at the sounds of gunshots that immediately rang out into the night air. Scanning his surroundings, the Chinese man soon realized that they were the sound of firecrackers. He pushed and shoved his way through the evening crowd, who were following a Chinese New Year lion dance procession as it meandered down the street. A thick haze of smoke and little pieces of red charred paper floated in the air from the firecrackers which were continuously going off. The clashing of the cymbals and rhythmic drumming as the procession wandered down the street were deafeningly loud as the red and black lion jumped and kowtowed in front of a Chinese restaurant. It was preparing to jump up and 'eat' the cabbage hanging on top of the doorway, a small red envelope filled with money attached at the front.
The excitement was palpable as the lion blinked and took a few steps back before suddenly lunging forward and up onto it hind legs to tear into the cabbage, extracting the small red envelope. In the distance Kai could spot his uncle's gambling den and increased the pace of his shoving. As soon as he got there he would lay low for a few days before making plans to get off the Islands and back to Hong Kong. The crowd cheered as the lion began to kowtow but soon the drumming stopped and tension settled over them all as two black Mercury sedans pulled to a stop behind Tung's red convertible. Reaching the edge of the crowd, the Chinese man eased himself into the shadows before sprinting down the block as fast as he could.
Unbeknownst to him, an old man watched his quick escape from the edge of the crowd as he rubbed his shoulder at the spot where Kai had roughly pushed past him in his haste.
Kai's thoughts were only focused on reaching his uncle. His footsteps echoed loudly in his ears as he ran down the block and around the corner before disappearing into the alleyway. Ignoring the stench of rubbish that assaulted his senses and the way his expensive leather shoes squelched underneath, he ran to the end of the alley and knocked eight times on the wooden door. To the right hand side of the door, a red piece of paper with the words 'Safety and Wellbeing' written in Chinese characters adorned the wall.
After a few moments the door silently swung open and he was enveloped in safety.
Spotting Tung's Mustang with its door flung open on the side of the road, Steve McGarrett guided the powerful car to the curb where it came to a rocking stop. He got out of the car just as Danny slammed the passenger door shut and walked over to the obviously hastily abandoned vehicle. McGarrett watched as his Second-In-Command approached the car and extracted a clean handkerchief from his pocket before beginning to carefully search the interior for anything of use. Footsteps behind him heralded the arrival of Chin and Kono and Steve turned around to issue directives at his men.
"Chin, start asking all the people here if they saw anyone acting suspiciously." The lead detective directed as he scanned the fearful faces in the crowd, who had now edged closer to him. Williams had re-appeared by his side and he turned to face the shorter detective. "What have you got, Danno?"
Chin nodded and went off to begin questioning the observers as Danny began to relay his findings. "The car's clean. Tung left nothing in there but the lab boys should come down here to comb over it anyway. There is one thing though." Danny paused to tuck his handkerchief back into his pocket, "He couldn't have gone far - the seat was still warm."
"Good, Danno. Good." McGarrett replied. Directing his cobalt blue gaze onto his Hawaiian detective, the lead detective continued. "Kono, I want you to get Che out here and run a full job on the car. Then go and help Chin question people. No one is to leave the immediate area!"
"On it boss," Kalakaua acknowledged before he walked over to one of the black cars parked along the curb and snatched the radio mic off the holder.
Taking a few moments to observe the Hawaiian speaking rapidly into the mic, Steve stepped forward and began to question the people in the immediate vicinity. If they were lucky, they might just get a break.
Closing the door behind him softly, Yan led the anxious young man up the winding staircase to see his master. Out of all of his master's nephews he disliked Kai the most – the man had a face that couldn't be trusted. Kai never came to visit his uncle unless he was in trouble and judging by the briefcase of money Tung was carrying on his person, the man was planning to lie low before fleeing. This in itself was hardly surprising since Kai had never been able to hold down a steady job – the latest foray into the stock market had obviously failed given the hasty retreat.
His footsteps were loud on the staircase, and the aged wood sagged and groaned slightly under his feet. "Master will be ever so pleased to see you again, Kai. Why did you not call beforehand? We could have made you some dinner-"
"Please Yan." Tung cut across, "I don't have time. I need to see Uncle straight away." His nervousness was tempered by impatience and the younger man quickened his pace, coming close to shoving past the aged man but he stopped.
Yan silently decided that Kai was definitely in trouble. Fortunately they had reached the upper landing and a few more steps took them to the door of his master's private office. Turning around to look at the young man, he was please to see Kai was attempting to flatten his hair and smooth down his shirt.
When Kai looked acceptable, he knocked twice on the door before calling out. "Master, Kai Fook Tung is here to see you."
"Send him in!" A deep, regal sounding voice boomed from behind the dark wood. Opening the door, Yan stepped aside to allow the master's nephew to cross the threshold and enter the office. Following Kai in, Yan closed the door behind him softly and went to stand by his master's side. With an imperceptible nod, the manservant began to clear the tray of tea from the large desk. Balancing the tray on his nimble hands, Yan slowly walked over to the door, opened it and exited the room.
Kai turned around and looked at his uncle. In his early 50s, Tien Long Chan was impeccably dressed in a traditional dark navy blue changshan, a string of black Buddhist prayer beads tied around his left hand along with a gold Rolex watch. His once black hair was now streaked with grey and a pair of thick gold spectacles sat perched on top of the bridge of his nose. Tien Long had the countenance of an elderly grandfather but behind the gentle façade hid the heart of a ruthless megalomaniac. Whilst East Ocean Shipping was a respectable business in itself, his uncle also controlled a significant amount of the gambling rackets and organised crime in Chinatown. Growing up he had heard stories and rumors of the Heaven Dragon who slayed all his foes to remain at the top of the sky – it had been a parable told to all of the children but Kai had been able to deduce that it was his father's warning to be careful of their seemingly benevolent uncle. He properly kowtowed his uncle before moving to sit down in one of the chairs lined with red silk cushions angled in front of his uncle's desk. Except for the soft sounds of tricking water from the fountain in the corner, there was complete silence in the room.
Finally, after what seemed like an interminable pause, the elder man spoke. "Kai Fook, you have not just come to visit me. I have heard about what you have done – it was wrong and I refuse to help you." Seizing the pipe resting on the table, Tien Long began to chew and suck on the end pensively as he waited for his nephew's response.
Overcoming his momentary shock, Tung slowly responded in a neutral, polite manner. "I have come to request your assistance on a very personal and important matter that can't be delayed, Uncle," he began to explain as he averted his gaze. "I would not trouble you unless it was absolutely necessary. I respect and honor you and do not wish to intrude on your generosity for too long. I would be humbled if you could help me in this time of need." It grated on the younger man's nerves to have to resort to pleading but in these circumstances he had no choice – if there was anyone who would be able to keep the hounds of Five-0 away from him it would be his uncle. He made sure that his voice was properly humbled.
Without warning the elderly man stood up and grabbed onto the cane resting on the side of the desk before heading over to the window on the other side of the room. Tien Long rested his free hand on the back of the silk sofa before using the head of the cane to push the curtains apart and survey the streets below. He could see the famous detectives from Five-0 questioning one of the people under the lion costume. From his vantage point he could see that the people were shaking their heads profusely, no doubt denying knowing anything about his troubled nephew. Grinning privately to himself, he made a mental note to reward the family of the Lee brothers later for their loyalty. Turning around, he motioned for the younger man to come over and look at the scene-taking place on the street below.
"Uncle, if you are talking about the lion dancing below I have seen-" Kai stopped dead in his tracks when he saw just how close Five-0 was to him at the moment. As soon as he set eyes on the Irish detective below he backed away, pressing himself against the wall. Fighting the urge to panic, he scrunched his eyes shut and took several deep breaths in an attempt to calm down. He was up here and they were down there…
His uncle's mocking laughter caused his eyes to snap open. Irritation rose at the easy and relaxed manner of the other man as he regarded him with something warm flashing in his brown eyes. With shaking hands he pulled out a cigarette and a lighter from his pocket and lit up. Taking a few steadying breaths of the tobacco smoke, he scanned the scene in front of him – Kelly was talking to several old men animatedly. Despite himself, Kai snapped. "This is hardly anything to laugh about!" Finishing the cigarette, he reached past his uncle to stub it out on the ashtray lying at the edge of the desk.
Laying a bony hand on his nephew's shoulder, Tien Long squeezed the trembling shoulder reassuringly as he fixed Tung with a heavy, meaningful stare. "Calm down, Kai. Go sit down, I will tell Yan to bring you a pot of Jasmine tea to calm your nerves. After that Yan will take you to lie down and rest."
Kai merely nodded as he allowed himself to be steered to the door. As soon as it was opened Yan appeared and moved to take the briefcase of money from him but he refused. "No, only I am carrying this." He paused and listened as his uncle rattled off a set of instructions in the Teochew dialect of Cantonese. For all he was aware his uncle could have been speaking that dratted Pidgin English the native Hawaiians seemed to prefer – he could not understand a single syllable.
However, the manservant seemed to understand perfectly and turned to look meaningfully at him. "Yes, sir. Please follow me."
With a final glance at his uncle, he kowtowed deeply in gratitude. "Thank you, Uncle. I leave everything in your very capable and apt hands." Kai turned on his heel and followed Yan back down the stairs.
Tien Long moved to the edge of the stairs and watched the duo descend the winding staircase. He had instructed Yan to take Kai to the emergency shelter and hide him there until further notice. Once the echoing footsteps completely dissipated the elderly man turned around and headed back into his office to begin making arrangements – firstly, he was going to have to ensure his nephew's safe passage to Hong Kong. That wouldn't be much of a problem since he could procure some false documents for the wayward young man and Madam Mao would be able to create a disguise for him. No, the problem would be how to stop the tenacious McGarrett and his men from getting their hands on Kai before he was off the Islands.
As he settled back down onto his high back leather chair, he almost jumped out of his skin a loud crash sounded out from the street below. At that moment perfect inspiration struck him. Glancing at the clock, it was just shy of 10pm. In another 2 hours the year of the rat was going to be kicked off with a bang. Steely resolve settled in him as he reached out and pulled the phone closer to him, before seizing the handset up to make a few well-placed calls. Tien Long only had a short window of time to pull this off correctly, and he was determined to make it work.
There was also an enormous boon in all of this – get rid of McGarrett and all of the problems he had been having with the maritime workers' unions would resolve themselves. No one would dare to cross the man who tore down Five-0.
"Tien Long punish! No good, no want!" The borderline hysterical woman had replied before backing a few paces away from the Hawaiian detective before continuing her rant in Cantonese.
Rubbing a large hand over his tired face, Kono tried very hard to stop himself from sighing out loud in exasperation. Over the past twenty minutes he had interviewed what seemed like half of the people sequestered around them on the street yet he was no closer to gaining any useful information from them – he had encountered similar reactions. He wished he had a translator or at the very least a functional understanding of Chinese. At times, the Hawaiian detective felt like he was speaking more at them rather than with them. Casting a quick glance over to his Oriental colleague, Kono saw that Chin would be unable to act as translator since the Chinese detective was busy himself interrogating most of the passersby. From Kelly's tone the Hawaiian detective could tell that he was getting tired – even though Chin's face was schooled into a neutral expression, Kono could detect a hint of frustration from the way his lips were pressed into a prim line as he jotted down some details into his small leather bound notepad,
The woman that Kono had been talking to seemed relieved when he smiled at her and thanked her for all her help. Walking over to Chin's side, he watched as the old man his friend had been talking to ducked his head in reverence before turning around and beginning to hobble away.
"Any luck?" Kono asked as he and Chin began to walk back to Kono's black sedan. It was a short distance and they stood in front of the passenger door and surveyed the scene, searching for signs of Danny and Steve. Sure enough, the haole detectives were each questioning the last remaining people – the lion dancers themselves. Danny seemed very engaged with the man who had been holding the lion's head, the red sequins on his pants sparkling in the dull light from inside the restaurant as Steve glared at the second lion dancer who was shaking his head profusely. Most of the crowd had dissipated and out of the corner of his eye Kono could see the rest of the procession stowing the drums and cymbals in the back of a white van. Turning to face Chin, he asked. "Who or what is Tien Long?"
"Tien Long is Cantonese for Heaven Dragon," Chin replied simply as he leaned on the car door. "Did his name pop up a lot?"
"You betcha!" The Hawaiian detective sighed. "It also doesn't help dat I don't speak da language, Chin. Half da time it was like dey were speaking in another language!"
Chin chuckled softly. "They were, bruddah!" The laughter died before he continued. "So I bet you didn't get very far with them either. They kept saying that they didn't want to get punished for helping us find Tung. Most wouldn't even acknowledge that they knew of Tung, when he's been in the Chinese Newspaper for the past week or so."
"Yeah, but maybe you got further 'den I did," Kono quipped hopefully.
"I might have gotten a lead," Chin replied as he rapidly flipped the pages of his small black notebook in his hands. "A man said he saw someone fitting Tung's general description pass through the crowd and round the corner up there," the Oriental detective paused to point to the intersection of Maunakea and North Beretania as Kono nodded. "Said he shoved past him real hard, almost sent him crashing to the ground."
"Dat's no good," Kono emphasized as he kicked the small pile of charred remnants from the firecrackers on the ground. "He could be anywhere by now. He's got a heck of a head start and at dis stage it'll be like trying to find a needle in a haystack!"
Chin sighed as he agreed with Kono's astute observation. "But word on the street is that the Heaven Dragon is Tung's uncle." The two detectives were rejoined by their younger colleague who looked anything but happy.
"Heaven Dragon." Danny stated simply, "Everyone here says that Tung's uncle is the Heaven Dragon and that all who cross him will face divine retribution. Who is the Heaven Dragon?"
"He's meant to be a nasty piece of work, bruddah." Kono replied as he looked at Danny straight in the eye. "Everyone here's real scared of him, won't say two words about da guy."
"They're real scared of him," Chin emphasized as he popped his notebook back into his pocket. "I heard that he runs all the rackets in this part of Chinatown – gambling, prostitution, drugs – you name it and he controls them."
"Right," Danny answered as he processed this information. "Okay, do we know who Heaven Dragon actually is?" He eyed each of his companions individually before directing his clear blue gaze back to Steve, who seemed to have made a breakthrough. The person with whom he had been speaking seemed to relax and was speaking rapidly to McGarrett, who quickly looked over and summoned Chin.
Kono and Danny watched as the barrel-chested detective walked over to join his boss and Danny automatically began to gravitate towards them before he felt a large, warm hand clap him on the shoulder. Looking back, he saw Kono shake his head. "We got other things to do. Goin' over there is not going to help."
"Yeah," Danny replied as he turned back and went over to the driver's side of the car before he opened the door. Climbing in, he snatched the up the radio mic before requesting a complete report on anyone with the name of Heaven Dragon or Tien Long. Once that was complete, he motioned for Kono to join him inside the car. "Okay who's the biggest fish here in Chinatown – legitimately," he quickly added at Kono's confused expression.
"Hmmm," the Hawaiian detective murmured as he seriously considered Danny's question. Immediately he thought of the closest thing Hawaii had to a shipping magnate. "Dere's dat Albert Chan. He runs the East Ocean Shipping Company. Recently opened a small night club and restaurant near here, uh," Kono trailed off as he searched his memory for the name of the club but Danny beat him to it.
"You mean the Azure Phoenix?" Danny chipped in. "Yeah, real up-market kind of place. Took a girl out there for dinner last Sunday. The waiters there get tipped more than I make in a whole week!"
Feeling his lip turn upward at the personal anecdote, Kono turned to face his friend. "But hopefully she was worth it, bruddah," he replied before focusing his thoughts back to the problem at hand. "Dere's Wing Chun who owns dat fancy hotel… den Man Tai Yap da Fishing Baron. 'Dose are da three main players in Chinatown."
"Good, Kono. Let's see what Steve and Chin can come up with," the Second-In-Command decided as he sat back in the driver's seat. He knew that they had bits and pieces of information in front of them and just had to slowly piece them together to complete the logical puzzle – he had no doubt that they would be able to do it.
Hanging up the phone, Tien Long reclined further in his chair as he steepled his fingers together and mentally thanked the Gods watching over him for this stroke of good luck and fortune. He turned to face the eight young men standing before him, pleased at their dedication and loyalty. Standing up, he went around to stand in front of them, leaning against his desk and he eyes each and every one of them critically. There was no room for fear here.
"I want to personally thank and commend each and every one of you for your loyalty to the organization. Your families will be handsomely rewarded for your loyalty – your children will inherit the fruits of your labors." Chan paused in his diction to allow the full weight of what the men had agreed to undertake sink in. When there was not so much as a single flinch or flutter, he knew he had found the right men for the job. "I do not ask much of you, only that you do what is needed to be done when the time is right. You will know when that time comes."
Taking a few steps forward, he stood uncomfortably close to the nearest young man on the end of the line. Recognizing him as Jim Luu, son to the owner of the pawnbroker over on King Street, Tien Long allowed a small grin to grace his features as he studied the man in front of him before letting his gaze sweep down the length of Jim's body to linger on the golden wedding band glinting duly on his left hand. "Can you do what needs to be done when the time comes?" He asked in a voice barely above a whisper.
"Yes, sir." Came the reply, oozing with steely determination.
"I have every faith in you, son." Chan confirmed before he raised his hand. From the shadows a manservant emerged and handed him a semi-automatic rifle which the older man then handed to Jim. He repeated this ritual another seven times before taking a step back and surveying the eight armed men in front of him. Each of the men were determined to carry out this assignment and collect the bounty waiting for them at the end, something that Tien Long had no intention of honouring..
Slowly the men dispersed, going to settle into the positions that Yan had explained to them individually earlier. When the last of the men left, the manservant stepped out of the shadows and waited to be dismissed. With a nod of his head, the younger man bowed deeply before exiting the room as well. Left alone, the Chinese man allowed his thoughts to roam over the plan.
If he was right, then Five-0 would be on the cusp of linking him to his troubled nephew and there was no doubt that they will be coming around here to try and sniff out Kai. He was well prepared to meet them and had decided to move Tung down to the hidden second basement in these premises. To move him now to any other location would be too risky – any sighting of him by another person would be too dangerous. No, the best place for Kai was here where he would be able to protect him. The eight men before him were adequate protection and with a little bit of luck his men on the streets would be whispering loudly enough for Five-0 to pick up on it, drawing them here like flies to honey.
He couldn't wait for that to happen and now there was nothing more for him to do but sit back and wait.
"Thank you. You've been a big help," McGarrett grinned at the man in front of him before he watched the man turn away and walk back towards the van where the rest of the lion dancing procession were waiting. He watched as the door slammed shut before the driver started the engine and the vehicle shot off at what looked like a speed much higher than what was legal. The tension and unease had been palpable while he and Chin had questioned the young man. One look and Steve knew that with just the right amount of pushing the young man – Harry, his name was – would break and he was justly rewarded for his efforts. Turning to face his detective, the Head of Five-0 asked. "So where does that leave us, Chin?"
"We know that the Heaven Dragon is definitely Tung's uncle." Chin quickly recited, "And we know that he must be loaded to be able to hide his nephew like this. Most people wouldn't dare help a fugitive like Tung."
"Yeah," was the monosyllabic reply as Steve began to snap his fingers in tune to his thoughts as he began to walk. "We're looking for someone with the means and the power to hide Tung until the search is called off. We are looking for someone who would have connections all over the Islands and a way to sneak Tung off the Islands so that we'd be none the wiser." Before he knew it he had reached the car where Danny and Kono were in. Leaning down, he caught the last snippet of their conversation.
"…But it's more likely to be Chan than Yap. It would be hard to hide a fully grown adult on a fishing boat but a shipping container is a whole 'nother game." The passion in his Second-In-Command's voice caused a small smile to break out over his face – when Danno got going there was simply no stopping him.
"I hate to break up the party," Steve interrupted as the two seated men turned to look at him. "But where are the lab boys? They should have been here by now."
"We just got a radio report saying dat da lab boys are stuck in traffic over on Pauahi – seems like da cars dere have stopped to watch the New Years Lion Dancing display." Kono answered with a shrug of his shoulders.
Accepting the Hawaiian detective's explanation, he directed his cobalt blue gaze onto Dan, who was watching him intently. "What's that you were saying about Chan and Yap?"
Bringing a hand to rub at the tight sandy curls on top of his head, Danny started haltingly. "Obviously Tung's going to be looking for a way off the Islands… we think that his uncle, this Heaven Dragon person, will be someone very rich armed with the resources to sneak him away."
"And you think that it's this Chan person," Steve said as he contemplated Danno's words. It made sense and only a few moments earlier did he admit the very same thing to Chin. His eyes widened when he realized exactly which Chan Danny was talking about. "You mean Albert Chan?"
"Yeah, the very same." Danny confirmed. "How hard would it be to smuggle someone away in a shipping container? He's definitely got the means to hide Tung until it would be safe to get him out."
"We can go and ask him whether he's seen Tung – his restaurant is just up ahead just two blocks up from here." Chin added.
"Let's go," McGarrett ordered as he stepped back to let Kono and Danny exit the car. Once assembled, the men began to make their way down Maunakea towards The Azure Phoenix. Before they could get very far the sounds of high heels clacking on concrete and a feminine voice caused them to halt. Turning around, they saw a young girl no older than eighteen running towards them.
"Mr McGarrett!" The girl called out as she moved to close the gap between them. Of Asian descent, the girl's hair was arranged in two identical bao tied together with red and gold ribbon, a matching cheongsam dress fluttering in the wind as she ran towards them. Pausing several feet away from them, she took a few moments to catch her breath and push the errant strands of hair out of her eyes. Taking a few steps closer, she stopped in front of the lead detective. "Are you Mr McGarrett?" she asked timidly, fear evident in her eyes.
"I am," Steve replied as he eyed her critically. "What can I do for you, little Miss?"
Seizing the edge of the gown in her hands, she began to twist the fabric into sweat soaked wrinkled messes and she contemplated how to start. "I think I have seen the man you are looking for. I… I think I know where he is right now."
"Why didn't you come forward earlier?" Danny asked as he moved to stand side-by-side with Steve. "Where were you when we were questioning everyone on the street?"
"My family and I were in that restaurant over there," she paused to point at the Chinese restaurant opposite. "Celebrating the New Year. We were sitting on the table next to the window and could see everything happening outside. We weren't on the street, sir."
Danny looked over to the restaurant at the table she indicated. From here, the girl would be able to see everything that was happening but something nagged at the back of his mind. Something wasn't right.
"What's your name?" Chin asked as he pulled his notebook out. The loud interruption caused the young detective to snap his gaze back to the girl in front of them.
"Irene Yan Ling Chun," the girl replied as she moved a little closer. "We would have come out earlier but, well, my parents don't want any trouble-"
"Why are you here then, Irene?" Steve asked softly.
There was a pause before Irene carefully answered. "Because I want to help you. I saw the man who you were looking for. My uncle was one of the people you questioned and he said that you were looking for the man who has been in the newspaper over the past week or so – the one who embezzled all that money."
"Which way did he go?" McGarrett questioned as he stepped closer to the girl. "Do you know where he went?"
"I do, my uncle told me, he knows everything that happens in Chinatown…" Irene stated before her face blanched, losing all of its color. Apparently losing her nerve, she gasped before slowly starting to back away. "I'm sorry! I can't do this! I just can't! Oh I shouldn't have come out here, I shouldn't have talked to you – oh no!"
"Please," Steve began as he moved to brace a hand around her shoulder. "We appreciate all the help we can get from people like you, Irene. There is nothing for you to fear. Now why don't you tell us what you know?"
Hot tears trickled down her face as she struggled to blink them away. Bringing a hand to rub at the wetness collecting there, she gasped before shaking her head vehemently. "I just can't, the Heaven Dragon will know about it and my family… I'm sorry Mr McGarrett but I can't risk my family's safety to help you."
"Your family will be safe, I give you my word." Steve promised as he braced and hand on either shoulder and moved to look her fully in the eye. "If you cooperate with us, Five-0 will ensure their safety. Nothing will happen to them." He could sense that they were on the cusp of a large break and that Irene had some very valuable information. With the right assurance, he was sure that she was going to help them – her coming out here was a sure sign that she was not completely sold off the idea.
She eyed him critically for a few moments, considering Steve's generous offer. Wiping the tears away as she sniffed, her voice was not wavering as she confirmed in a voice barely above a whisper. "You will ensure their safety, Mr McGarrett – whatever it takes?"
"Whatever it takes," Steve assured her.
Nodding, Irene moved to put a little distance between them before she cleared her throat. Kono fished inside his pocket before stepping forward and gently handing the clean handkerchief to her. With a small smile of gratitude, she used the cloth to dab at the corners of her eyes. "Okay. The man you are looking for, his uncle is the Heaven Dragon. He is hiding in the Heaven Dragon's den."
"Where is the dragon's den?" Danny asked as he stepped closer to her. "And who is the Heaven Dragon?"
Irene walked over to him, stopping an intimate distance in front of him before she leaned in close to him and braced a delicate hand on his shoulder before angling her head against the side of his face, letting her lips brush seductively against the shell of his ear. "His name is Tien Long Chan and his den is The Azure Phoenix. I believe you've been there before, Mr Williams." Stepping back, she directed her gaze towards Steve. "I've told Mr Williams everything you need to know. I will be-"
"You need to come to our offices to make a statement right now." McGarrett stated before he moved closer to her. He didn't consider her a flight risk but his gut was telling him to get her statement on the record as soon as possible. "Kono will take you there and get down your statement."
"Sure, but before that may I call home to let my parents know where I am? I sort of snuck out," Irene admitted sheepishly.
"Okay, Kono, escort the young lady to the phone booth and then take her to the office then get her statement. After that, go home, you look like a train wreck." The words might have sounded harsh but the affection lacing them tempered down the severity.
Kono grinned. "On it, boss." Turning to face the young girl, he extended a large arm out to her. "Okay little lady, if you please."
"Thank you, you've been a great help," Steve said.
"Not a problem." Taking Kono's arm in hers, she allowed herself to be led around the corner to the payphone before she entered the booth and closed the door behind her. Fumbling with her small purse, she finally extracted enough change for a local call and seized the handset up before placing it against her ear as she began to dial. After two rings the call was answered.
"Yes?" An elderly man's arrogant voice crackled across the line.
"I have told them what you have asked me to and they have bought it," Irene confirmed in Cantonese as she looked over her shoulder to see the Hawaiian detective staring intently at her. "They are no doubt going to come around to the club asking for you soon."
"Excellent," Tien Long's pleasure was evident in his tone. "Very well done, my dear. Are you being taken to their offices to lodge an official report?"
"Remember what you must do when you get there," the man reminded her, just a hint of dark threat lingering in his voice. "Once you are done come back here immediately."
"Yes, sir." Before she could add anything else Tien Long hung up. Slowly replacing the handset back on the cradle, she looked in her small purse, making sure that the necessary items were still in her bag. Once satisfied that they were, Irene closed the bag and pulled the door open before walking side by side with Kono over to one of the large Mercury sedans parked along the road.
Watching as Kono opened the passenger door for the girl as she daintily stepped in, Danny's growing concern worsened. There was just something too convenient about the timing of her information. He had expressed his concern with Chin, who had merely laughed it off and said that there was nothing wrong with an easy case every once in a while. As Kono steered the large sedan into traffic and back to the Palace, he turned to look at Steve before deciding to broach his concern. "Steve, something's not sitting right here."
The dark haired detective directed his focus onto his Second-In-Command. "You sense it too, Danno?"
Feeling a fleeting sense of triumph fill him, Dan allowed a small smile to appear. "I do, I just think that Irene's appearance was too convenient. Not that we would not have found this out anyway but if Chan's as big as he seems to be of course he's going to have a few stoolie pigeons in the eaves waiting to be used."
"Even if Irene is one of his informants," Chin interrupted pensively. "The information she gave is still useful – we have a lead on where Tung is. We can take measures to smoke him out."
"But why does he want to be found?" Danny rebuffed. "The best thing for him to do is hide yet Chan is basically telling us where he is! It doesn't make sense."
"We still have to go and check out the lead. It's not far from here," Steve interjected, as he looked down the street in the general direction of the club. "Either way we are going to pay him a visit and ask a few questions. It would make sense that he would be hiding there. Besides, how harmful can it be?"
A few moments of silence passed between them as Dan considered how to approach his viewpoint. "I think we're heading into a trap," Danny stated confidently as he fell into step with his boss. "Tung is probably under heavy wraps right now and no amount of smoking is going to get him to come out."
"We will have to wait and see," Steve's replied as he quickened his pace.
"Maybe we should call for back-up first," Danny suggested as they approached the corner.
"Let's just ask them a few questions first." Chin suggested calmly. The Second-In-Command fell silent as he continued the walk towards the club, passing the closed pawnbrokers and fashion stores that lined either sides of the street. The sense of unease grew stronger until it was like an itch that could no longer be ignored.
As he past the lavish red and gold lanterns hanging in the shop window of Madam Mao's clothing store, it occurred to him that the break could have been due to the luck of the New Year. Irene's actions could have also been explained by the good tidings and spirit of helping others popular at this time of year.
Still, he had always been wary of cases or breaks that were simply too easy and chose to put his reservations aside and just concentrate on finding Tung before the fugitive jumped countries.
The front of The Azure Dragon was a study in opulence. Red lanterns swayed gently in the evening breeze as intricate dark woodcarvings lined the walls, helping to support the various trays of lucky bamboo that lined the entrance. Built to resemble the Pagoda at Chinese Temples, Danny had the strange feeling that he was stepping into Hong Kong and was no longer in Hawaii. However, the main thing that caught his attention was how the restaurant was closed. Thick red velvet curtains had been pulled in the windows and there were no lights on either at the ground level or in the two storeys on top.
Raising an eyebrow, he turned to look at Chin, who was studying the dark building in front of them with a critical eye as a frown appeared on his face. "Kind of strange to be closed on the most important night of the year, right Bruddah?" Danny quipped.
"Yeah," Chin confirmed. "This the biggest night of the year for us!"
"Something's not right." Steve expressed as he ascended the staircase. Standing in front of the glass doors, he rested his hand on the cool glass to peer inside. "They obviously closed shop in a hurry," the lead detective mused as he indicated to the 'OPEN' sign, which had not been switched over to 'CLOSED.' Turning around, he quickly climbed down the front steps and stood in front of his men. "They were obviously in a hurry to close up. Chin, go back and radio for back-up. I want a silent approach – no bells and no whistles. As soon as the back-up arrives split the team in half and take half of them to storm the front. Tell the other half to go around the corner - we will be waiting there. Do not let a single person escape the premises, I want everyone rounded up and taken down to the local station for questioning."
"Okay, Steve." Chin nodded before he spun on his heel and walked briskly down the block back to the cars. As soon as he disappeared from sight, Steve turned to look at Danny.
"Right. Danno, we are going to go around the back and wait for Chin and the back-up to get here." McGarrett paused as he removed his service pistol from its holder and unlocked the safety. "As soon as Chin storms the front we are going to round up everyone who tries to flee through the back."
"Yes, Steve." Dan replied as he followed Steve, quickly walking away from the front of the restaurant. There was a sense of anticipation in the air and he had no doubt that something big was going to happen. The niggling sense of unease was stronger than ever but he recognized it as the nerves that appeared before a large bust – essentially, that was what this was.
From his vantage point on the second floor, Jim Luu cocked the large rifle on the small and narrow alleyway below. If Chan's plan was to eventuate the Five-0 detectives were going to organize to storm the building and block both exits, encircling everyone in the building within a large net. He fixed the scope onto the dark and dank walkway underneath – there was no chance of an ambush at this stage. The building only had two exits and either way the detectives were going to fall prey to Chan's plans.
The soft sounds of footsteps below caused him to push the velvet curtain a bit further apart to peer into the darkness. A feral grin crossed his features when he saw a head of rich, dark head of hair appeared, shortly followed by a shorter man with sandy colored curly hair. Anticipation burned in his veins when he realized that it was indeed Williams and McGarrett below. Jim's heart began to race with excitement as he licked his lips and cocked the gun a little higher, aiming it straight at McGarrett. His orders were to take down as many Five-0 detectives as he could but he was happy that luck was on his side tonight – by taking down the Head and the Second-In-Command – he was going to be handsomely rewarded for his marksmanship.
Positioning his finger on the trigger, he waited for the crosshairs to align perfectly. As soon as McGarrett stopped moving he was going to deliver the killing shot to the detective and then shoot down Williams. His finger gently depressed the trigger, not enough to discharge the weapon but enough such that a small tightening of his finger would be enough to shoot.
The alley was deserted and shrouded in darkness. Eclipsed between two tall rows of buildings, the detectives could only rely on the light filtering in from the streetlights behind them – there was no moon in the sky tonight. McGarrett and Williams proceeded with extreme caution, their guns held out in front of them. With his back pressed against the grimy wall, Dan covered for Steve as the two men slowly inched forward, keeping his eyes and ears open for any sight or sound of movement. So far there had been none, except for the quiet squelching of their shoes in the murky puddles of water below. Ahead they could see a lone spotlight shining brightly enough to illuminate a battered looking wooden door and a red piece of rectangular paper stuck to the right hand side with four Chinese characters written on them.
Danny peered up into the second story of the building. The red curtains were drawn tightly across the windows, except for the one window to the far right hand side where the corner of the curtain was lifted upward. It was a few moments before Danny realized what was going to happen. Horror struck as he watched Steve take another step closer towards the door at the end of the alley.
"STEVE!" Dan yelled as he reached out to grab the sleeve of McGarrett's suit jacket but it was too late. He could only watch in horror as a single shot cracked through the still night before the dark haired detective was flung back from the impact, colliding with Dan before the two men crumpled to the ground. A sudden sharp pain flared in his left shoulder and he became alarmed when sticky warmth spread out along his chest. The Second-In-Command managed to flip Steve over and his breath hitched when he saw the dark stain slowly spreading roughly where McGarrett's heart would be.
Dan moved to apply pressure to the wound but moaned softly at the sharper pain that exploded all along his arm, especially on his left shoulder as he pulled out his handkerchief and tried to stem the bleeding. Panic clawed forward when he could hear Steve gasp and wheeze, obviously in pain.
A second shot rang out as Danny tried to pull Steve away from the sniper's direct line of fire – for the most part he was successful but the sudden blossoming of a white hot flare of pain along his right arm told him that the bullet had narrowly missed its mark. He managed to pull the both of them against the alley wall onto a relatively dry patch before moving to prop Steve up against the wall – he wasn't certain but given the way the dark haired detective was wheezing and the location of the entry wound the bullet must have punctured his left lung. Once Dan was certain that they were ensconced in relative darkness he jabbed the hand not covered in blood against Steve's jugular, searching for a pulse. Relief flooded him when he found one but it was a little too sluggish for his liking. Steve had to get to a hospital right away but he was stuck in the middle of this alleyway and he had no idea where Chin was. All he could do was pray that Chin and the back-up would get here as soon as possible – there was no way that he was going to leave Steve alone right now.
"Danno?" Steve moaned, his eyes closed. "Danno…"
"I'm here, Steve." Dan replied, his relief strengthening at the confirmation that his friend was still alive.
"…Hurts. Can't breathe," Steve wheezed between breaths. "Danno…"
Blinking back the suspicious stinging in the back of his eyes he tried not to note how still Steve became when the lead detective's eyes finally fluttered closed as his head lolled to the side. Dan frantically increased the pressure on the gunshot wound waiting and praying for help to arrive. As the seconds slowly trickled by, his friend began to shiver. Pulling the injured detective closer, he ignored the screaming from his arm as he arranged them so that Steve's side was pressed flush against his. It wasn't a cold night by far but being shot did funny things to one's body. Turning to look at his friend, Danny began to address the older man. "Steve," he said, almost as a prayer. "Hang in there." Fear made his voice heavy as his chest constricted - he refused to even consider the possibility of Steve exhaling his last breath here and now. "Don't give up now!"
However, the longer he sat there waiting doubt slowly festered, poking large and un-ignorable holes into his resolve. It seemed like an interminable length of time had passed and he lost track. Where were Chin and the rest of the HPD? What was taking them so long? Every few moments Danny would raise his injured arm and level it in front of Steve's mouth, checking for breath. He was glad that it was still there but it seemed as if it was slowly getting weaker. Steve's hands were also getting colder to the touch. If help didn't get here soon there was a very real chance that Steve was not going to pull through. Dan tried to ignore the blood dripping down onto his hands and soaking into his jacket and shirt from Steve's wound – the handkerchief he had used as a makeshift bandage was soaked through with blood.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity Danny could hear the sounds of rapidly approaching footsteps before light began to bounce along the dark alleyway from torches held by HPD officers. Horror began to creep into Dan's consciousness as he realized he was caught between a rock and a hard place – either alert the HPD back up that there was a sniper in the building and deny Steve the help he needed or call out to try and get aid for his dying friend as soon as possible. Either way, the first men on the scene to help Steve were going to get mown down relentlessly unless he said something.
As the footsteps increased in volume and the clipped murmur of chatter became audible, Danny made the decision. "Stay clear! There is a sniper in the building!" He yelled down the length of the dark alleyway. It tore his heart into shreds that he was effectively condemning Steve to death – he was literally pushing help away. More shots rang out into the night air in an attempt to subdue him as he press himself and Steve more closely against the wall and prayed as the HPD back up began to return fire.
Turning his attention back to his friend, Danny's eyes widened at how icy cold Steve's hands were to the touch. He seized the lead detective's limp wrist in his hand, trying to find a pulse. Panic erupted in his mind when he had to search for a few moments before he was able to locate it – McGarrett's pulse had definitely slowed and if his friend didn't get the medical attention he needed, there was a very real chance he was going to die right here and now. "Come on, Steve." The Second-In-Command whispered in fear as he bit back the tears that threatened to cascade down his face. Now was not the time for this, there would never be a time for this. His ears rang from the loudness of the gunshots and he increased the pressure on Steve's bullet wound. It was still bleeding. It seemed that all the warmth of the dark haired man's body had pooled in his chest, ready to slowly flow down as his life slipped away gradually. Dan hated being helpless – he hated the fact that help was so close, yet so far and that there was nothing else to be done but wait. He abhorred waiting with a passion.
Beneath the cacophony of gunfire he heard a series of footsteps get louder. Breaking his attention away from McGarrett, Danny scanned his surroundings to try and identify who the footsteps belonged to – if they belonged to the sniper then the detectives were sitting ducks. In the earlier fracas with the sniper he had dropped his service weapon and a quick search revealed that the lead detective no longer had his. The footsteps seemed to be coming from the entrance to the alleyway and in the darkness the sandy haired detective could make out the bulky silhouettes of two men armed with rifles in bulletproof vests slowly approaching, pressed against the wall. Dan could tell the exact moment that they saw him – the two men froze. Cocking their weapons to shoot, the two HPD sharpshooters edged forward but as soon as they were close enough to see that the two people huddled on the ground were Five-0 detectives they lowered their weapons before one of them moved forward to crouch down beside the two injured detectives.
"Didn't expect there to be anyone here," the crouched HPD officer stated as he moved to do a general inspection of Steve. Placing his gloved hand against the dark haired man's good shoulder, he manoeuvred Steve just enough to see that the entire front of his shirt and most of the suit jacket were soaked in blood. Dan held a sodden makeshift bandage over Steve's heart. "He needs help straight away."
As the second sharpshooter crouched down next to his colleague, the first HPD officer shook his head. "No, we can't progress any further, not when we have a man down. Jones, we've got to go back and radio for help."
The three men's heads cocked towards the building when a loud boom and the smashing of glass filled the air. "Looks like the raid's finally getting started," Jones murmured as his eyes widened in horror. "The back's not secured yet! We need more time – if they are coming out they are going to be coming out shooting. Sterling, these two need to be brought out of the line of fire."
"There's not enough time!" Sterling hissed anxiously as his eyes darted around the darkness anxiously. "The rest of SWAT should be here any second and the entrance to the alley has been blocked. The only thing we can do now-"
Before either man could react the back door burst open and a row of surly Asian men scampered out into the darkened hallway, filling the alleyway with angry shouts. Dan tried to move forward, using his body to block his injured friend. The movement pressed McGarrett further against the wall, eliciting a soft moan from the gravely injured detective. Dan couldn't tell if this was from pain or relief but the one definite thing was the surge of relief and gladness that welled up inside him – his boss and closest friend was still conscious.
"Freeze-" Sterling shouted.
A terrified scream of "NO!" rent the night air before one of the gunmen opened fire. It was obvious he didn't care who got hit – friend or foe, the men around Dan and Steve crumpled like cardboard cut-outs.
After a deadly full minute Jones was able to aim a disabling shot at the gunman's right arm, causing the Asian man to drop his weapon as he sank to the ground, clutching his arm as he muttered a litany of Chinese curses. As the silence stretched Dan could hear the tentative steps of more HPD officers as they began to swarm the alley. The Second-In-Command didn't dare take his eyes off the gunman until Jones stood up, moving over to the sniper's side to kick his weapon away. Once the danger was removed, Jones walked around the alleyway before crouching down over whom Dan recognized as Sterling.
Soon the lights were switched on from the inside, bathing the alley in a warm yellowish glow. This allowed the Second-In-Command to see the bloodshed that he and Steve had just escaped from with their lives. He counted no less than seven bodies lying in the immediate vicinity. Directly in front of him lay the body of one of the gunman inside the building – if the man had not been standing at that particular place at that particular moment in front of Dan then he would have taken one of the bullets fired from the still smoking rifle. From behind the curtains Danny could see the silhouettes of people moving around from room to room before emerging out the back. One of the first officers out the back door was none other than Chin Ho Kelly.
"Chin!" Danny called out as he moved to give Steve some space. The Oriental detective settled beside his injured colleagues, crouching down to kneel by Steve's side. Normally an inscrutable mask, Dan realized things must have been extremely bad if he could read the shock running across Chin's features. "Get an ambulance right away – for everyone here!"
"Right." The barrel-chested man stood up and went back through the building to get help.
HPD personnel were swarming the narrow alleyway and some officers approached the two detectives but Dan shook his head and the attempts to lift him off the ground. McGarrett was badly injured and any more movement might exacerbate his gunshot wound. Flicking his clear blue his eyes to his boss, Dan was alarmed to see how ashen Steve's face had become. He fought against the urge to roughly seize his injured friend by the shoulders and shake him, make him open his eyes .
The Second-In-Command tried not to get his fears get away from him, shaking his head in an attempt to clear the morbid thoughts from his mind. More so, he found guilt tugging at his heartstrings. If he had pushed said a little more, pushed a little harder the lead detective would not be in a critical condition like this. He could have told McGarrett to wait for back up before approaching from the back, he could have been more vehement in his belief that they were walking into a trap. His words, how they haunted him! In this situation he would have given anything, anything to be wrong. Danny sighed as he closed his eyes but the smell of gun smoke, the air, even the dampness slowly soaking into the fabric of his suit – they all served as reminders of the tragic event that had just taken place. In his mind's eye he recalled the exact moment the gunshot went off in the darkness before feeling his friend being thrown back from the impact as the wind got knocked out of his lungs. In the distance he could hear the sounds of an ambulance steadily get louder and louder, before being cut off as tries squealed. The sound of shouting and doors slamming caused the detective to open his eyes just in time to see two EMTs extract a gurney from the back of the ambulance. Relief welled up so fiercely inside of his that he felt his heart could have exploded with gladness – Steve was getting the help he needed.
The two white uniformed men crossed the distance between the vehicle and the injured officers before they lowered the gurney beside Steve and crouched down to check his vitals.
"Not good," the blonde haired attendant assessed as he felt along McGarrett's neck for a pulse. The EMT then gently pushed the detective's jacket and his soaked shirt to the side to look at the gaping bullet wound. Shaking his head, he opened his bag and extracted some bandages before beginning to administer some first line first aid. "We got to get him to the nearest hospital straight away."
His red-haired companion nodded before directing his attention to Dan. "How are you feeling? Any pain, dizziness, nausea?" The EMT asked as he checked Dan's pulse.
"I'm fine," Dannny dismissed him with a wave of his hands, "It just some grazes and I think my ankle's sprained. Steve needs you attention more than I do."
"But Sir..." the young EMT tried again.
"I'll manage," Dan replied.
The red haired man sighed realizing that any arguemnet would fall on deaf ears before he moved over to assist his colleague in applying a compression bandage to the gunshot wound.
Out of the corner of his eye, Danny saw Chin quickly approaching with Duke and a few more HPD officers.
"Danny!" the HPD Sergeant called out as he got closer.
"Doc's waiting at Queen's, ready to go as soon as Steve and Dan get there," the Oriental detective stated as he directed his focus to the EMT bandaging Steve's bullet wound. Even though the bandage had been on only for a few minutes Dan was horrified to see a red dot slowly expanding on the sterile white dressing.
The HPD officers helped to lift Steve gingerly onto the gurney as the EMT's ensured that there were no sudden jarring movements and Danny stood up, wincing as he almost collapsed after trying to put weight onto his right foot. Thankfully, he managed to grab the wall before he slammed into the ground again. With the help of Chin and Duke he slowly limped forward, following the EMTs back out of the alleyway and into the back of the waiting ambulance.
"If anything happens, let us know straight away." Chin reminded as the door to the wagon slammed shut. All Danny could do was give him a thumbs up as the engine started and the ambulance started to roll away, taking them both towards the Hospital.
When his Chinese colleague disappeared from sight Dan rested his head against the wall before slowly closing his eyes as he heaved a sigh of relief.
"He's going to drown in his own blood unless we can stop this bleeding!"
"Can you see where the bleeder is?"
"No, there is too much blood, I need more suction..."
"We're losing him, BP is dropping, pulse 140 and thready. He's throwing PVC's-"
"Damn it McGarrett, don't you dare do this to me!" Bergman growled under his breath at the man lying motionless on the operating table before he glanced up at the heart monitor and the irregular green blips that flickered too fast across the screen. "Don't you dare give up on me!"
"BP still dropping - 80/60...65/50."
"Start another bag of blood!"
"We've lost him...Full cardiac arrest!"
"Damn it, Steve!" Bergman growled as the sound of the cardiac alarm echoed through the room. Grabbing the cardiac paddles he held them just above his patient's chest as he ordered, "360 watts." He paused a brief second as the paddles charged before calling clear and placing them down on the Five-O detective's chest. Pressing the small button on the right hand paddle, he unconsciously held his breath as McGarrett's body arched slightly off the bed as the electricity passed through before he quickly glanced up at the monitor above and watched the small green blip flicker once or twice before falling back into a continuous flat line across the screen as he whispered, "Come on Steve, fight, damn it, fight!"
Danny awoke to the very familiar sight of a room at Queen's Hospital. He blinked the sleep out of his eyes before a familiar voice sounded out.
"Glad you could join us back here, Dan." Bergman stated as a smile appeared on his face. "Before you so much as attempt to get of bed, that's possibly the worst thing you could do for your sprained ankle. It needs rest."
Danny became aware of the icy coldness of his right ankle and it was a few more moments before he recognized that there was an ice pack wrapped securely around it. Taking stock of himself, he realized that there was a tight bandage wrapped around his right arm and that his left arm was wrapped in a sling. Except for feeling a little groggy, Dan for the most part felt fine. "How bad is the damage this time, Doc?"
"Let's see," the Medical Examiner began as he ticked the various injuries off his fingers. "You sustained a sprained right ankle, a bullet graze to your right arm that's going to need antibiotics and a shattered clavicle and some torn tendons in your left shoulder. Those are going to need a little long-term physiotherapy to get right as rain again."
"How long have I been here?" the injured detective asked as he moved to sidle up the bed a little further. "And where is Steve? How is he?"
Bergman sighed. "You've been here for six hours and as for Steve…" he trailed off, trying to decide how to break the news to Danny. The truth was, he didn't quite know himself.
"What about Steve?" The curly haired detective inquired anxiously, feeling his eyes widen.
"I'm sorry Danny, but we don't know. He's had massive bleeding into his left lung from the bullet wound. We managed to stop the bleeding but not before he gave us a few good scares. The rest is up to him."
"Did I hear you right?" Danny asked, almost choking on his own words. "Okay, what do you think his chances are? Please Doc, don't sugar coat it."
Bergman didn't want to admit that Steve's chances of waking up were diminishing. He glanced at the clock hanging above the doorway - as the minutes on the clock slowly ticked over the likelihood that McGarrett was going to regain consciousness became even more unlikely. The odds were now firmly against the lead detective. "Steve's been put on a ventilator to help with his breathing and his condition is still critical. We have a nurse with him at all times but the fact that he is still breathing is a good sign."
Recognizing the evasive answer for what it was, Danny chose to latch onto the concrete facts. "So he's still holding his own, then? Just not conscious?"
"Yes, Dan. He's still breathing and his heart is still beating." The physician confirmed, before he sighed again and ran a tired hand through his grey hair. "The chances of him waking up are slim but they are still there." Not feeling up to divesting more medical information and worrying this particular patient any further, Bergman added dismissively. "That's quite enough for one night. You just concentrate on getting some rest."
"Can I see Steve?" Dan asked timidly, "Please, I need to see him. Right now if possible."
"You can see him in the morning." Bergman responded as he moved towards the door. "You are in no shape to be up and about – don't make me shackle you to the bed!" His tone might have been joking, but there was an undercurrent of threat to it, such that Dan knew to stay put.
Recognizing the small victory, Bergman spun on his heel. "Goodnight, Danny."
As soon as he woke up Steve became aware of how each slow breath was agonizingly painful. He was almost tempted to stop breathing but then he would die. In the end self-sufficiency won the battle and he tried to ignore the steady thrum of pain that course through his body as he pulled in breath after breath of life giving air. He blinked rapidly as his eyes adjusted to the harsh lighting. When the initial phase of disorientation passed he realized that he was lying in a private room at Queen's Hospital. Confusion settled as to how he ended up here before half formed images and sensory memories of being flung back and pain erupting in his chest filtered across his mind, until his recollection of the memory was full.
"Welcome back to the realm of the living, Steve." Bergman greeted as he fumbled with the monitor sitting to the side of the injured man's bed. Sensing the detective's discomfort with the oxygen mask, he nodded sadly. "That is going to stay there for a while as your left lung heals."
"Where's Danno?" McGarrett rasped. "Is he alright?" The lead detective was surprised when the Medical Examiner grinned. He had been expecting exasperation and an edict on the terrible ways Five-0 detectives kept getting grievously injured, but not a little grin that was rapidly morphing into a full-blown smile.
"I should not be surprised, he is learning from the best after all." Bergman chuckled as he stepped to the side to allow Steve to see Danny, mostly whole, sitting in a wheelchair with a light blanket draped over his knees. The younger detective had nodded off, falling asleep with his head tilted to the side. The sight of his injured friend by his bedside like this stirred funny feelings in his heart that McGarrett was going to have to shelve and consider later. It was a warm and wholly comfortable feeling. "Excuse his excitement to see you, he's been waiting by your bedside all night for you to wake up. He just wouldn't stay put!"
"How is he, Doc?" Steve asked anxiously, attempting to clear the scratchiness from his throat. He felt exhausted staying awake was a struggle.
"He'll pull through," Bergman responded as he folded down the thin sheet covering Steve's body to inspect the bandages on his left shoulder before glancing down at the bottle connected to the chest tube that had been inserted into the left side of Steve's chest. The antibiotics were holding up, stopping the potential infection and the chest tube was draining well. Hopefully in another twenty–four hours it could be removed. Pleased at the rate of healing, the physician added. "Get some rest, Steve. You both need it. We'll talk more when you're feeling a little better." Leaving the room, Bergman left the two recuperating detective alone in the room, closing the door softly behind him.
There was pinpoint silence in the room except for the barely audible whistle of Danny's breath as he slept. McGarrett took the opportunity to observe his Second-In-Command's peaceful face as he slept. The dark haired detective longed to place a hand on his friend's shoulder, longed to rouse the tired detective and see for himself that Danny was indeed alive and kicking. After being shot, he remembered hearing a second gunshot ring out but wasn't able to see if it had hit its mark.
Eyeing the bandages poking out on top of Danny's hospital gown near his shoulder, a sense of gladness overcame him, mixing with the warm feelings coursing through him that made his chest feel too tight. Danny had survived this ordeal and was going to be alright.
Slowly, Dan opened his eyes and peered at Steve. As the fuzziness of sleep faded, his face cracked out into an all-out grin. Seeing Steve finally awake after two long days – albeit a little pale and too bed-ridden for his liking – went a long way in settling down his nerves and reassuring him that Steve was going to be alright.
"You got shot." Steve stated flatly as he stared at Dan's left shoulder.
Their eyes locked onto each other as clear blue fixed onto cobalt blue. A torrent of emotions passed between them. The maelstrom reached a crescendo before tapering off as Danny murmured. "I'll live. How are you feeling Steve?" The relief was evident in his voice, which threatened to crack with emotion.
"Rotten," came the reply. "How did the bust go?" he stifled the urge to yawn, and sank a little further back into the pillows as he settled down to hear Dan's tale.
"In short – good. We got to Tung and were able to get Chan on a battery of charges, everything from conspiracy to commit murder to illegal possession of narcotics. It's pau, Steve."
The Year of the Rat was off to a good start, and he had no doubt that things could only get better, now that the Heaven Dragon and his criminal empire had been dismantled. Feeling a sense of ease and wellbeing flood his soul the lead detective sighed contentedly before allowing his eyes to drift closed into a healing sleep.