Dan Williams pulled into the Naval base, parking near the gangplank of the docked cruiser. "So you never did tell me what happened when I was under hypnosis," he commented, as if it had just crossed his mind. "What did I do?"
Steve McGarrett raised one eyebrow, not fooled at all by the casual attitude. "I'm saving it for the right time. We're talking serious blackmail material here."
"Come on, Steve," Dan said. He opened the door and grabbed McGarrett's suitcase from the backseat. "It's driving me crazy not knowing. Did I make a fool of myself?"
McGarrett shook his head, revelling in his second's curiosity. "Is that the worst thing you can think of?" he asked, chuckling as Dan's eyes grew wide with horror. "I don't think you want to know, Danno. The doctor instructed you to remember only what you wanted to remember. Don't you think you might have had a reason to forget?"
Dan frowned, two diagonal slashes forming across the bridge of his nose. "Did I do something terrible? Is it something I should be worried about?"
McGarrett grabbed the suitcase. "Nothing too serious. You just tried to shoot me, that's all." He grinned widely enough to stretch the corners of his mouth. "Have a good week. Don't let the office go to rack and ruin." He clapped Dan on the shoulder, entertained beyond measure by the stunned expression on the younger man's face, then hurried off to the waiting cruiser. When he turned back, Dan was still standing where he'd left him, staring out across the water.
The remainder of his active duty passed quickly. He loved these two-week respites from the real world. Being at sea always energized him and he rarely had time to indulge in extended voyages beyond his reserve stint. There was something about the spray of salt water that refreshed his mind and made his nerves tingle. On the other hand, the monotony and routine of naval duty, while a welcome break from the often hectic pace of Five-O, grew wearing after awhile. He was always glad when his duty ended and he was back in his beloved Honolulu. What had he told Danno just the week before? It's always a good flight when it lands in Hawaii.
The good feeling faded slightly when he saw Chin waiting for him at the dock. Danno was always the one to meet him after a trip and the change in routine was unwelcome. The worried expression on Chin's face didn't help. McGarrett tried to tell himself that Chin always looked worried, but he didn't convince himself. "Everything all right at the office?" he asked, as casually as he could manage.
Disturbed, he decided after a closer examination, was a better word for Chin's demeanour. He appeared as unsettled as McGarrett now felt. "Everything's ship shape, boss," he said, but he sounded puzzled, as if he couldn't quite pinpoint what was wrong either. "It's been pretty quiet, actually. No new major cases and we wrapped up the Swenson case a couple of days ago."
"Danno take the day off?" McGarrett asked, hoping he didn't sound as disappointed as he suspected he did. After all, personal chauffeur wasn't actually in Dan's job description.
Chin glanced at him uncomfortably and an alarm bell went off. "Uh, no," Chin stammered, starting more alarm bells ringing. "He's back at the office finishing off the budget reports."
"The budget reports? But they're not due for another week." This time McGarrett didn't care how he sounded. They all hated the endless paperwork that seemed to swallow their desks on a daily basis, but nothing was more despised than the monthly budget reports. Normally they fell to McGarrett to complete, but only after strident reminders from the governor's office.
"Well, uh, like I said, things have been pretty quiet."
McGarrett wasn't buying that. The Dan Williams he knew was more likely to start a crime spree of his own than to voluntarily do the budget reports. "What's going on, Chin?" he demanded.
"I was kind of hoping you could tell me, boss."
"What do you mean?" McGarrett snapped, instantly on the defensive.
Chin shrugged. "He's been awfully quiet since you left. That's not like him. And he's been working crazy hours. More than usual. I checked the logs and he's been coming in before seven and not leaving until midnight. I don't think he even bothered to go home last night." He seemed to be searching McGarrett's face for some kind of clue. "The last time he was like this was after he resigned. I thought maybe something happened between you two and he was trying to make up for it."
McGarrett had a pretty good idea what that something might be and mentally kicked himself for his flippant comments about the hypnosis. He should have known they would send Danno into a tailspin of guilt. "Don't worry, Chin," he said, patting his colleague on the shoulder. "I'll take care of it."
McGarrett instructed Chin to take him straight to the office, wanting to settle things with Dan right away. Williams had had a week to brood, a week of believing that he was capable of murdering his friend. When they arrived at the Palace, he bounded up the stairs and burst into the office.
"Welcome back, boss!" Jenny cried out, the relief in her voice another warning sign.
"It's good to be back," he replied, taking the opportunity to glance into Dan's cubicle as he gave her a hug. It was empty, the desk neater than he'd ever seen it. "Danno taken over my office?" he joked, knowing that Dan often split his time between the inner and outer offices when he was away. From what Chin had said, he expected to find his second-in-command with his nose buried in a pile of paperwork.
"He's out on a call, boss," Jenny replied. "He got a tip on the hotel burglaries and he went to run it down."
"Oh," McGarrett replied, unable to keep the disappointment from his voice. "Well, let me know when he gets back. I need to talk to him right away." He saw Jenny look at Chin over his shoulder and saw hope and relief light her eyes.
The phone rang, attracting her attention and he took the opportunity to slip into his office. If Dan's cubicle had been neat, his own office was downright spotless. Even the mountain of rainy day paperwork had been tackled and conquered. The only thing remaining on his desk was a neat stack of reports waiting for his signature. Dropping his bag by the door, he sat down to read.
More than an hour passed before the phone on his desk buzzed. "Yes, Jenny?"
"Doc Bergman's on line one for you, boss."
McGarrett grabbed the line. "McGarrett."
"Good, you're back. I need you to come down to my office right now."
McGarrett tapped the desk impatiently. "Can it wait? I need to talk to Danno before I leave here."
The two words, delivered in Bergman's typically abrupt tone, nearly stopped McGarrett's heart. Without thinking, he dropped the phone back on the receiver and hurried out of the office, not even stopping to tell Jenny where he was going. He was halfway across the park that separated the Palace from the medical examiner's office before he rethought the brief conversation. By the time he reached Bergman's door, he had calmed down enough to realise that he had jumped to an improbable conclusion.
Bergman wasn't in his outer office, so he pushed through to the exam room, stopping short at the doorway. Dan was sitting on the table, an icepack pressed against his cheek. His jacket was ripped and dirty and there were drops of blood on the collar. He looked up at McGarrett's entrance, wary and uncertain.
McGarrett crossed quickly over to him, wanting to reassure the younger man, yet needing reassurance himself. "Are you okay, Danno?" Dan's face was unreadable, his expressive eyes shuttered. If McGarrett hadn't already known there was a problem that alone would have clued him in. Dan never closed himself off to him.
"Sure. I went out to Makapuu to talk to Johnny Pikila. Damn fool tried to run." He shook his head. "You know that dirt bike he's got? Instead of hopping on and heading the other direction, he comes right at me. I dive out of the way, but he clips the side of my car and takes a header. Knocked himself out." He lowered his head and glanced over at Bergman through his lashes. "The paramedic said I should get looked at, so I stopped here on the way back to the office."
McGarrett was suspicious of this sudden cooperation with medical personnel. "You must have hit your head pretty hard if you took his advice." The joke fell flat as Dan looked away. Chastised, he patted Dan on the shoulder. "You did a great job while I was away, Danno. Things are in order that I didn't even know were out of order."
Bergman nodded approvingly at him. "The good news is, there's nothing broken," he said, hovering protectively at Dan's side. "A couple of scrapes, a bruised cheekbone."
Dan jumped off the table. "Good. I can go then." He was already halfway to the door before Bergman yelled at him to sit down again. "Sorry, Doc. I should be at the hospital when Pikila wakes up. Good to have you back, Steve." And then he was gone.
Steve stared at the door, wondering how the hell he was going to make things right with Danny if he refused to stay in the same room with him.
"You know, if I didn't know better, I'd say he was avoiding you," Bergman mused.
"He is," McGarrett replied flatly.
Bergman raised an eyebrow. "What's he done?"
"Nothing. It's what he thinks he's done. And it's what I did."
"What you did? You've been away for a week."
McGarrett didn't relish admitting his mistakes, but Dan's well-being went before his pride. He hesitated, then told Bergman the story of the hypnosis.
"You told him that? And then just left him hanging? My god, Steve, what were you thinking?"
McGarrett knew he deserved the rebuke. He should never have told Dan what happened under hypnosis, not without taking the time to talk it through. He had been the one to point out, after all, that there was probably a reason Dan didn't remember the incident. "I don't know. But I'd take it back if I could."
Bergman's expression softened slightly. "I know. But you're going to have to find a way to fix this fast, Steve, or the next time it's not just going to be cuts and bruises."
"You said he was all right," McGarrett protested.
"I said nothing was broken. But he's far from all right, and you know it." Bergman shook his head. "He's exhausted. He admitted that he hasn't been sleeping much and I know he's been working around the clock. His blood sugar is low, too, so he hasn't been eating properly. He's running on empty, Steve, and if you don't pull him off the street, he's going to get hurt."
"I can't do that, Doc. I bench him now and he's going to think it's because I don't trust him."
"Would you rather he ends up with a bullet in the head?"
McGarrett felt the blow land low. "That's a cheap shot. You know what Danno's life means to me." The words struck a chord of memory and the echo took him back three years to another office and another crisis involving his second-in-command. That time he had been forced to condemn Dan to what could have been death. He wouldn't allow that to happen again.
Bergman sighed. "I wouldn't be lecturing you now if I didn't. But you need to remember how much your approval means to Danny. He'll literally work himself to death for you if you don't talk some sense into him."
"How can I talk to him if he won't stay in the same room with me?" McGarrett didn't realize he had spoken the words aloud until he saw Bergman's face soften with sympathy.
"You'll find a way. You always do for him."
It was a vote of confidence McGarrett wasn't sure he deserved. A wave of guilt nearly threatened to drown him, but he pushed himself to the surface and bid Bergman a distracted farewell as he set off in search of his troubled detective.
He tried the hospital first, but when he got there, Dan had already left. Pikila had woken up, lawyered up, and clammed up, and there was no talking to him. His attempts to reach Dan on the radio were met with silence as well. He was on his way back to the office to search the case files for a clue when dispatch patched a call through to him.
"McGarrett," he snapped, annoyed by the potential distraction.
"Steve, it's Dan."
"Danno, thank god. I have to talk to you." McGarrett didn't bother to disguise the relief that bled into his voice.
Dan's response, though, was uncharacteristically wary. "Can we talk later? I need you to meet me down by the docks I checked out a warehouse where Pikila used to work and I think I found where they've been stashing the goods from the hotel robberies."
McGarrett's professional curiosity was piqued and all other concerns were swept away in the thrill of the hunt. Spying a break in the traffic, he spun into a u-turn and headed towards the warehouse district. "I can be there in twenty minutes. Wait for me," he added, caution temporarily reasserting itself.
He wove in and out of traffic, energized by the possibility of solving a case that had been nagging them for months. The conversation with Bergman remained in the back of his mind, but it was buried beneath his single-minded desire to bring the troubling crime spree to a halt. Tourism was the lifeblood of the islands and the Governor took any blight on the hotel trade very personally.
Dan directed him via the radio to a parking lot behind the Archer Electronics warehouse and he parked the car on the outer edge, behind a dumpster. It wasn't perfect cover, but from a distance, it wouldn't be immediately noticeable. He looked around for Dan. For a moment McGarrett thought that he had ignored his orders and left in an effort to avoid talking to him yet again, but then he spied a figure hovering nearly unseen in the doorway of the warehouse.
The sighting was confirmed when Dan stepped out of the shadows for a moment and waved him over. "Good work, Danno," he whispered, as soon as he reached his colleague's side.
Dan held a finger to his lips. "We've got company," he whispered. "Car just pulled up around the back. Can't be sure, but it looks like a couple of Pikila's muscle. What do you want to bet they're up to no good," Dan whispered, the shadow of a smile playing across his face.
Relieved to see a flash of Williams humour, McGarrett chuckled nervously and shook his head. "No bet. It's not exactly business hours."
"Only if they're in the hotel burglary business. What do you think?" Dan asked, then proceeded to answer his own question. "They must have heard about Pikila and decided we'd eventually track down this place. Or maybe he called them and told them to move the stash."
McGarrett couldn't argue with that analysis. Either way, they had a good chance of catching the thieves red-handed. He frowned, puzzling out a plan of attack. "How many entrances are there?" he asked, knowing that Dan had already scouted out the area.
"This door, back door, there's an unlocked window at the side."
"Call for back-up," he said. "Then give me time to get around back. We'll come at them from both sides."
Dan nodded and turned towards his car. Impulsively Steve clapped him on the shoulder, halting his progress. "Be careful, Danno. I need you in one piece so I can explain some things to you." Dan's back was to him, so he couldn't see his expression, but he felt the muscles tense under his hand. Worried he'd once again said the wrong thing, he squeezed the shoulder affectionately. "It's not what you think, Danno. I promise you, everything's all right."
Dan didn't reply, but he nodded briefly and slipped away silently.
McGarrett sighed, knowing that he had more work to do to make things right. He crept around the side of the building, careful to stay out of view of anybody looking out the window and took up position beside the back door. He was just about to try the handle, when the door flew open. He wasn't sure who was more surprised – himself or the burly kanaka that stepped outside. Fortunately McGarrett was the first to recover and he had his gun on the other man before he'd even opened his mouth. By that time he'd recognised him. "Funny place to run into you, Keoki," he said. "I thought you were working up at Makapu'u. Isn't that what the terms of your parole say?"
Keoki scowled at him. "I ain't in prison any more, McGarrett. I can run an errand if I need to."
"What kind of errand is that? One for Johnny Pikila? I'm pretty sure that's not in the terms of your parole." He patted Keoki down and pulled a gun out of a shoulder holster. "Now that's definitely a no-no."
Keoki sagged slightly, but remained defiant. "I got nothing to say to you."
McGarrett shrugged and pulled out his handcuffs. "You better not have anything to say to your buddy in there either. Keep your mouth shut and maybe I'll talk nice to the DA." Cuffing Keoki to the stairwell with another warning not to make a sound, he slipped inside the warehouse. Neither Keoki nor his partner had switched on the lights, so the interior was shrouded by darkness, only a thin light filtering in through grimy windows. McGarrett waited a moment for his eyes to adjust, before moving along the wall.
The skin on the back of his neck prickled as he sensed someone nearby and he raised his gun. He glanced around, but there was nobody in sight. Still, his instincts were rarely wrong. Movement to his left caused him to turn abruptly, but he exhaled deeply when he saw Dan step out of the shadows.
He nodded acknowledgement of his colleague's position, noticing in the split second how tired Dan looked and how loosely his suit jacket hung on his body. It was a graphic illustration of how difficult the past week had been on the younger man.
Dan's eyes narrowed and he raised his gun suddenly. For an instant McGarrett thought he was aiming directly at him and he wondered if something had retriggered the hypnosis. His face must have shown his concern, for Dan's eyes widened again and his arm started to drop. Then he snapped back into firing position, and even as Steve's senses warned him of danger from behind, he yelled at Steve to get down.
A shot whistled past his head as he dropped instinctively and rolled behind cover, followed almost instantaneously by a shot from Dan's position. There was a heavy thud, but McGarrett still scrambled to his feet in the ready position, seeking the danger. A body was sprawled twenty feet away, half hidden by a stack of boxes and McGarrett approached carefully, eyes fixed on the hand still loosely holding a gun. He rounded the corner of the boxes and let out a sigh of relief. The gunman was dead, a bullet in his chest. Dan might be tired, but it hadn't affected his marksmanship. Still, he bent over to take a pulse.
"Good shot, Danno!" he called out, kicking the gun away, just to be safe. He straightened at the sound of approaching sirens, musing that HPD always seemed to be a step behind. Still, it would be nice to let them handle the clean up.
He turned to look for Williams, surprised that he hadn't already joined him. "Danno?" he called out, holstering his own gun. "Are you all right, Danno?" He thought of the shot that had missed him and hurried back into the shadows.
Dan was leaning against the wall, staring down at the gun in his hand. Even from a dozen feet away, Steve could see that he was shaking violently. Steve slowed his approach, not wanting to spook him further and called out softly, "Danno, it's Steve."
Dan looked up at him and opened his mouth to respond, but no words came out. His face was pale and sweat beaded his forehead. He swayed slightly, and even as McGarrett hurried over to steady him, his knees buckled and he slid to the ground.
McGarrett patted him down quickly, searching for any new injuries. The left sleeve of Dan's jacket was damp and his heart started to pound. "Let's see how bad it is," he murmured, easing Dan's jacket off. Even in the dim light the dark stain spreading down the white shirtsleeve was unmistakable. He pulled out his handkerchief and folded it into a makeshift pressure bandage, hoping it would be enough to stem the bleeding. "This is going to hurt," he warned, though he couldn't be sure Dan heard him, and slid it through the torn sleeve and up against the wound.
Dan moaned and his eyes fluttered open, then closed.
"Easy, Danno, easy," Steve said. "Help's on the way."
Even as he spoke a beam of light fell on them and McGarrett raised his free hand. "Five-O," he called out. "Don't shoot."
The flashlight dipped and a HPD patrolman moved into sight. "What happened, sir?" he asked, recognising McGarrett and Williams immediately.
"Shootout," McGarrett replied succinctly. "There's one cuffed out back and another dead by that stack of boxes. And get an ambulance here now."
He leaned Dan back against the wall, holding tight to the pressure bandage as he studied the face he knew better than his own. Dan's brow was furrowed, the slashes across the bridge of his nose a stark sign of distress. His cheek was scraped raw from the earlier incident, a bruise already forming on skin that sometime in the past week had lost its usual healthy tan. "I'm sorry, Danno," he whispered. He remembered all the times he had watched Dan sleep as he recovered from an injury, his own emotions churning. Relief that Dan was safe, terror that he might not recover, rage towards those who had hurt him. But this time he had no one to blame but himself.
Dan moaned again, then suddenly muttered, "Steve!" and pulled out of McGarrett's grasp. He slumped back against the wall, crying out as he jarred his injured arm.
Steve touched him on the shoulder, but he jerked away whimpering. "Danno, it's okay. It's all right." As gently as he could, he pulled him upright and resumed pressure on the wound. "Look at me, Danno. Open your eyes." He laughed nervously as the blue eyes popped open obediently. "That's it, Danno. You're okay."
McGarrett cupped a hand over Dan's cheek. His skin was flushed, but he didn't seem to be running a fever. "I'm here, Danno. I'm right here."
"I didn't kill you?"
McGarrett swallowed, his suspicions confirmed. "No, Danno, you saved my life."
But Dan covered his face with his right hand. "I tried to kill you. I remember it now. I pointed a gun at your head and I pulled the trigger. I see it every time I close my eyes."
McGarrett again cursed himself for reopening that memory, but more than that for allowing his friend to be part of the demonstration in the first place. Dan's sense of guilt had always been too finely tuned. He often joked that Dan should have been the one brought up Catholic, but there was nothing funny about the guilt his friend was experiencing. "Listen to me, Danno. It wasn't me you tried to kill. Do you remember why you pulled the trigger?"
Dan shook his head and McGarrett sighed. He had given Dan a piece of the puzzle, the worst possible piece, but not shown him the whole picture. "You were told that it was an impostor, someone disguised as me, but really a double agent. And that the impostor was going to leave the room and press a button that would destroy 12 American cities. You were the only one that could stop it. And so you did. But you didn't try to kill me."
Dan dropped his hand and stared at him, hope flaring painfully in his eyes. "I thought…"
"I know. I'm sorry. It was cruel of me to tease you like that. I wasn't thinking." It had seemed funny at the time. He wondered what that said about him.
Dan struggled to sit up, as the guilt trip train turned down a different track. "No, Steve. I was the one who wouldn't let it rest. I shouldn't have pressed you."
"Stop right there," McGarrett chided. "None of this was your fault. Not then, not now. The only thing that matters is that you know I have always and always will trust you with my life."
Dan ducked his head in embarrassment, but not before McGarrett caught a pleased smile flash across his face. Just as quickly it was gone as Dan winced and swallowed heavily. "I don't feel so good, Steve," he moaned, his body canting slightly to the side.
McGarrett held him upright. "I know, bruddah, I know." He shook his head. "Bergman's going to kill me," he mused. "I promised I'd make sure you were all right. I'm not doing a very good job, am I?"
"I'd say not," Bergman retorted, kneeling in front of them, as if McGarrett's words had summoned him. "I was on my way home when I got the call about a dead body. I must say I'm very relieved to see both of you breathing. Though perhaps not so much you, Steve." He glared at the Five-O chief. "I told you he was exhausted, yet you still bring him along on an investigation. Are you trying to kill him?"
McGarrett knew any protest he might raise would just sound defensive, but Bergman's attack was unfair. Apparently Dan felt the same way. "It's not Steve's fault, Doc. I came here on my own."
Bergman turned his frustration on Williams. "Did I not tell you how dangerous it is to be running around suffering from sleep deprivation and low blood sugar? I thought you had more sense than that."
McGarrett bristled. "Shouldn't you be making sure he doesn't bleed to death, instead of yelling at him?"
Bergman inclined his head slightly. "Touché. So shove aside."
Williams seemed to have rallied during the exchange. "It's not that bad, Doc. It shocked me more than anything."
"Why do I keep having to explain to you Five-O detectives that I'm the doctor?" Bergman asked rhetorically. "You were shot."
"Barely," Dan grumbled.
Steve hid a smile. The rebellion against medical advice was the best sign of all that Dan was recovering. He could tell by the twinkle in Bergman's eyes that the ME agreed. "It does look like just a graze, Danny," he said, wrapping gauze around Dan's forearm. "You're lucky he's not as good a shot as you."
"Not so lucky," McGarrett corrected. "That bullet was meant for me. I'm sorry, Danno," he said. "You hesitated because of me. It's my fault he got that shot off."
Dan shook his head. "Not your fault. It was just too close to the dream, that's all."
McGarrett wondered if there could be a silver lining to this situation after all. "Then remember this, instead of the dream. You saved my life. He got the drop on me, but you were there to back me up, just like you always are."
Dan didn't answer, but he let out a deep breath and leaned against McGarrett's shoulder. Steve reached up and ruffled his hair. "How are you doing?" I'm fine, he predicted.
McGarrett snorted. "Sure you are. Well, you're off for two days, no arguments. I'll sic Doc on you if you don't behave," he threatened, when Williams frowned and started to protest.
"You don't want that to happen, Danny. Steve won't bench you, but I won't think twice about taking your badge and gun away if you don't take better care of yourself." He led Dan through a series of exercises. "How does it feel? Truthfully."
Dan shrugged. "It burns more than anything. Truthfully," he added at Bergman's skeptical frown. He flexed his arm experimentally and smiled. "I'm glad I'm right-handed," he admitted, "but I've gotten worse scrapes on the reef."
"There doesn't seem to be any damage to the nerves or bone," Bergman admitted, "but I'd feel more comfortable with an x-ray and you need stitches." He glared at McGarrett again. "Can I trust you to take him to the hospital, or do I have to put him in an ambulance myself."
The rebuke set his teeth on edge, but McGarrett controlled his temper. Barely. "If you don't think you can trust me, then why bother asking the question," he snapped.
Bergman stared at him, while he finished bandaging the wound. "I'll see to my other customer," he said and stalked over to the body.
"I'm glad he won't be stitching me up," Dan sighed and struggled to his feet. "He's really pissed off this time."
Steve felt the corners of his mouth twitch involuntarily. "He's just worried about you."
Dan grinned. "I guess it can't be easy being the official Five-O doctor. Still, I wouldn't want him waving a needle around me right now."
Dan was still a little unsteady of his feet, so McGarrett stayed close to him as they walked slowly to the car. He waved away the paramedics who had just arrived and instructed them to take the dead body to the morgue instead. Dan managed a fairly convincing impression of good health while under scrutiny, but as soon as he was inside the Mercury, he slumped over, resting his head against the side window.
"Hold on just a little longer, Danno," Steve murmured. "We'll be there soon." Once he had pulled out of the parking lot, he reached over with his right hand and let it rest on the nape of Dan's neck, needing the contact. "Not too much farther," he encouraged. "You feeling sick?"
Dan shook his head. "Just tired," he replied, his voice muffled. "Don't worry, I'm not going to throw up in your car."
"I don't care if you throw up in my car."
Dan chuckled. "Maybe not now, but you would tomorrow."
"Just let me know if you need me to pull over." They drove in silence, as McGarrett sacrificed his usual aggressive speed for a smooth ride.
When they arrived at Leahi Hospital, Dan sat back in the seat and sighed. "You won't let them keep me, will you Steve?" he asked plaintively.
McGarrett was torn between wanting to make sure Dan was properly looked after and the impulse to do whatever his friend asked of him. "I can't promise that, Danno. If the doctor thinks you need to stay, I won't fight him. I need you well, my friend."
"Please, Danno, don't argue with me on this. I know I haven't acted like it recently, but I only want what's best for you." He stared out the front windshield, unable to meet Dan's eyes. He knew he was disappointing Dan, hated to do it, but he wouldn't take a chance with the younger man's health. He felt a light touch on his shoulder and turned to see Dan smiling at him.
"It's okay, Steve. I'll do what the doctor says."
McGarrett frowned. He was used to Williams following his direction, but for the first time he worried about the motivation. "You're not just saying that because you're still trying to make up for something you didn't do, are you?" he asked.
Dan shrugged. "No. I'll stay because you're worried about me." He shook his head, his face twisted in a boyish look of confusion. "I mean, I don't want you to worry about me, but it kind of makes me feel better, you know? Helps me believe in here that I didn't hurt you," he explained, tapping his head.
Heart lightening, Steve ruffled Dan's hair. "You could never hurt me, Danno. Never. And I'm always going to worry about you. It's part of my job."
"I don't think that's in the contract," Dan joked.
"Sure it is. Big brothers are supposed to worry about their kaikaina. That's written in the heart."
Dan blushed, the colour visible even in the dim light that filtered through the windows. "So that's why I get all the dirty jobs. And here I thought it was because you were the boss."
McGarrett pulled him into a rough one-armed hug. "I am the boss, and don't you forget it."
"Never," Dan agreed fervently. "I really am fine, though."
Dan nodded. "Yeah. About everything."
McGarrett smiled. "You're more than fine, my friend. You're the best."