This is the first of a series of "alternative universe" stories about Hawaii Five-0 in the years that follow Season 12. This first story gives an answer to why Danny was missing in Season 12 (something others have also done) and leaves one with the opening to the eventual conclusion in the second story: It's How You Play the Game. There is not attempt here to steal, just borrow for a while. No money being made, this is strictly for the enjoyment of those who read. The only reward is your feedback, which is always appreciated.

Date: June 1979

Every Mother's Son
By Peg Keeley

The young man heaved a sigh as the plane's wheels touched down with a bump on the runway. The long flight had been almost unendurable. One half of the plane had been occupied by a very loud tour group that had been partying ever since they'd left LA. Since he'd slept from Dulles to LA, sleep had alluded him the second leg of the journey. He glanced at the slender oriental stewardess who was making her way up the isle. She paused to give him a smile.

"Have a lovely visit, Mr. Chaney, aloha."

"Thank you," he responded through tight lips. Lovely visit, indeed. If she only knew. If he only knew. What would he do? What will he do? He gazed out of the Plexiglas portal at the airport personnel who were scrambling about the plane as it eased towards the jet ramp. This was really happening. He rubbed his sweating palms against the leg of his pants. Swearing an oath to himself to see this through, he rose to collect his coat from the overhead bin. At last a long awaited debt would be paid.

He registered at the Royal Surf as Robert Chaney, his true name. It would never have occurred to him to do otherwise. In his room, he lay the two suitcases on the bed. Opening the smaller first, he reverently removed a framed picture and set it aside. He unpacked the small bag of clothes, then carefully lifted the larger one onto the bed and opened it. Packed firmly in foam rubber were an unassembled lightweight machine gun and a gleaming .357 magnum pistol. Everything had traveled well. He sat down on the bed and, with great care, picked up the framed 5x7 picture of a blonde-haired woman. She beamed happily from the photo, sunshine in her smile. He gently rubbed his hand over the picture.

"We're here, Mother. At last I've found him. It's going to be all right now, all right."

The picture dated back twenty-seven years. In the photo with the woman, in naval officer's uniform, was a very young Steve McGarrett.

Robert 's first purchase was one that many tourists made--that of a map of Oahu. On one side was the whole island, little numbered circles showing the many points of interest. The other side was a detailed map of downtown Honolulu. His point of focus would have been present on either side. Iolani Palace. He highlighted it on both sides in ballpoint pen. He'd planned to rent a car, but was convinced it would be far cheaper to a motorbike from the bellhop's uncle. The boy had even written a note to give him a discount.

On his yellow motorbike, the map folded in his shirt pocket; Robert quickly found his way to the Iolani Palace. He sat on a bench beneath the aged trees watching. Except there was nothing to watch. After an hour, he bought a Coke and a newspaper. A photo got his attention. Its caption explained a drug bust on Hotel Street and identified the three Five-O officers as Steve McGarrett, Duke Lukela, and Dan Williams. Robert carefully tore the photo from the paper.

And he waited. He did not know that Ben Kokua walked down the sidewalk in front of him and he did not recognize Jenny as she left the building for a luncheon appointment with hairdresser. When Duke headed across the lot for his car, Robert got up and followed from a distance.

Duke went home for lunch. His wife, Mary, met him at the door with a hug and kiss, just as she had every day for twenty years. Sam, his second son, was on his way to play basketball with friends and jokingly reminded his father that his birthday was next week.

Half a block away, Robert watched. And he continued to examine the activities of Duke's day through the afternoon and into the next morning. After another day of observing Duke, he was still unable to find a way to make contact. Lukela's life was full of not only his job, but also his family.

On the third day Robert was becoming anxious. He still had yet to see McGarrett--each day the parking spot had been empty. Then, the morning of the fourth day, the black Lincoln pulled into the spot and stopped. Robert's heart skipped a beat. Across the parking lot, in the flesh, McGarrett left the car, went up the steps and disappeared inside the white building. Robert stared at the closed door from his spot across the park for quite a while. No longer was McGarrett the aging photo on the dresser or the black and white lithographed newsprint. He was real, flesh and blood.

It was only half an hour before McGarrett came back down the steps and got into his car. Robert recognized the man with him as Dan Williams from the news photo. Hurrying to the motorbike, he followed the black Lincoln as it sped out into the morning traffic on Kapiolani Boulevard. Tailing McGarrett was not easy. The man drove hard and fast. And he never took the same route to anywhere twice.

Robert spent the week next tailing and dodging McGarrett all over Oahu. All the while, Robert kept little tracks across the map, and took notes in a small pad. He saw McGarrett confront drug dealers and politicians; watched as McGarrett played with the young son of a police officer. McGarrett was nothing like the smiling picture. He was crafty and illusive. Wary of everything, on two occasions McGarrett seemed to be conscious that Robert was tailing him and Chaney had dropped his surveillance.

The morning of Robert's tenth day in Honolulu, he got up late. He glared at the pile of notes, the scribbled map and felt frustrated. I am no closer than I was back in Virginia. He went to the mirror and glared at his reflection. "You coward, just do this. Do this! Make it happen!" He touched his mother's picture and whispered. "For you. I promise, yes, for you." He snatched up the pages of notes and scanned through them. If he could not predict where McGarrett would go, he would make the man come to him. Robert had seen Williams with McGarrett often. McGarrett would most certainly come anywhere Williams asked him to. He would be trusted. Robert smiled quietly as he developed the plan.

Three days of following Williams had proved very productive. Unlike his co-worker, Lukela, Williams did not have a family to take up his time. And unlike McGarrett, he was very predictable. When he worked late, he stopped at one particular bar for a beer. On earlier days, he went to the health club. Chaney parked the motorbike at the health club late in the afternoon and waited outside the locker room. The idea of speaking with someone he didn't know was nearly as terrifying as his mission. Chaney had never been comfortable meeting people or making friends. The social graces escaped him. Williams appeared in shorts and a polo shirt, Robert licked his lips, fisted his hands at his sides and, nearly chasing Danny up the corridor, announced: "Hi, there."

Dan Williams, taken slightly aback, looked at him, eyebrows raised. "Hello." He paused. "Am I supposed to know you from somewhere?"

Chaney laughed. "No, not really. I'm looking for a game of racquetball. I've been in the islands for two weeks, haven't met a soul and decided today was the day to finally get a life started. Racquetball seems the way to go. You don't happen to play?" he asked, already knowing he did. His words had all run together in his haste. Now he held his breath in anticipation. If Williams said no, what would he do?

Danny hesitated, unaccustomed to such a forward person. This guy seemed kind of lost. He felt sorry for him. Racquetball would be more fun than the weight room anyway. "Well, all right. Dan Williams." He extended his hand.

Robert took the handshake in relief.

Two days later Robert was waiting for Danny at the health club again.

"How do you like Honolulu?" Danny asked him in the locker room after their workout.

"Very different that I'd imagined," Robert admitted honestly. "Virginia's a long way away."

He laughed. "Guess so. What brings you here?"

Robert felt a moment of panic. "Oh, I just needed a change. Decided that Hawaii would be a good place to start over."

"Start over?" Danny asked. Most guys doing that are leaving something behind. Wonder what. Divorce maybe? He dismissed the thought. "So, got a job yet?"

"Not yet. I don't have a lot of experience. I'll get something though."

"Hawaii isn't an easy place to find work."

"Don't worry about me," Robert assured him. He tossed a towel into the barrel. "Know a good place to get a bite?"

Danny finished buttoning his shirt, rolled his tie up and jammed it into his jacket pocket. He gave a grin. "Come on."

A few beers and a steak had eased Robert's spirit quite a bit. "I've always wanted to be front some place exotic," he said between bites.

"Exotic, huh?" Danny said with a shrug.

"There's so much to see and do."

"Want to know a secret?" Danny commented, a twinkle in his eye.

Robert looked at him closely.

"The dog sled races aren't very good."

Robert roared with laughter that was just a little too loud. "Good, real good."

A young Hawaiian waitress approached. "Hi, Danny," she said, her pretty face aglow.

"Hi, Linda," he replied.

"How's my favorite Five-O man?"

He shrugged.

Robert jumped at the chance. "Five-O? What's that?"

She giggled. "Mainlander?"

Danny grinned. "Yeah."

"You showing him around?! Be sure to bring him by my place. I'll show him everything he really needs to see!" She tickled Robert's ear and was gone.

Robert flushed, his gaze following her.

Danny gave an inward smirk. There was something childish about Chaney. He needed to be protected by a woman. Linda would probably just love his type. Danny finished his last bite of steak. It had been a long day. He was getting tired of the company and was ready to do nothing more energetic than change TV channels.

Robert suddenly spoke again. "What did she mean? What's Five-O? A business firm or something?"

"State police," he said briefly.

"You're a cop?" Robert asked innocently.

"Somebody's gotta be," Danny commented, disinterestedly.

"There a lot of crime here?" Robert leaned forward in sudden interest.

He shrugged. "Look, Robert, it's my job, okay? I'm not on duty."

Robert seemed not to hear. "I've never done anything exciting like that. I don't have a family or anything. I might like being a cop. I'm not married, so that's probably better. What do you think? You're not married."

Danny felt anger building at the line of questioning. How does he know I'm not married? I don't remember telling him that. Robert had been becoming a bother and the rush of questions was another irritant. "You sure you don't work for the National Enquirer?"

Robert sensed his contact escaping him and began to panic. His voice pitch rose slightly. "Do you think you could get me a job in the police department?" His words tumbled over each other in his haste.

Danny rose, dropping his napkin. "Look, do yourself a favor, Chaney, go get a tan, maybe take a helicopter ride over Mauna Loa, and go back to Virginia." He tossed payment for his meal on the table and left.

Linda came over to the table, giggling. "Where'd Danny go?"

"Out," Robert answered glumly.

She scooped up the money. "Don't worry about him. Everybody who works for McGarrett gets moody. What'd you do anyway?"

He shrugged. "Just asked about getting a job."

She shook her head. "They're all a pretty tight bunch. Like a brotherhood, you know?"

McGarrett, too?"

"McGarrett is like a granite wall," she answered. "Stay away from him. Stay away from all of them. Go down to the beach and find some of the good people."

Robert spent the night brooding. How was he going to handle this now? After all the tortures of all these years there was no going back now. He paced the floor of the hotel room, argued with the mirror, and whimpered promises to the photo. As the sun rose on his unrested face, he resolved that, come what may, he would do what needed to be done. He picked up the phone.

Jenny knocked on Danny's open office door. He looked up from his report. She stuck out a handful of pink phone memos. "Danny, you've got someone pretty anxious to talk to you. He's called four times this morning, three times this afternoon. I feel silly telling him you'll call back."

He sighed and took the memos. "He's just an irritant."

"He sounded very anxious."


Steve came out of his office. "Jenny, I need this typed with two copies."

"Done, Boss," she said, accepting the letter, then glanced back at Danny.

"All right," he assured her. "I'll do it." He tossed down the memos.

"Is it Girl Scout Cookie time already?" Steve asked with a grin.

He smirked. "I wish. I met this--this tourist at the health club. Started ask nosy questions. Now he keeps calling."

"What does he want?"

"I don't know. Maybe he's selling insurance."

"Why don't you tell him that when you're not hang gliding or scuba diving, you're letting people take potshots at you?"

Danny forced a grin and reluctantly picked up the phone.

"All right, Chaney," Danny said tolerantly when Robert opened the hotel room door. "What is it that's so important?" He was angry and embarrassed. This had better be good.
Robert ushered him in and nervously closed the door. His hands felt sweaty. "Look, I know you think I just tried to pull some trick or something. I don't blame you for being mad." He bit his lip. "Just let me explain, okay? This isn't easy. I-I really came to the islands to find somebody. And I need help."

"What kind of help?" His tone did not soften.

Robert ran a hand through his hair. "I, look, I knew you were a cop. I didn't meet you by accident. I thought you could help me."

Danny's hostility was growing by the moment. I was set up. "Five-O doesn't handle missing persons." He knew he should already be half out the door, but he hesitated.

Robert exploded, fists clenched. "Shut up! Just shut up! This isn't easy and you're making it harder!"

Danny knew he'd better back away from this. There was something really wrong with this guy. Chaney was clearly a man on the edge. At the same time, he somehow felt sorry for him. "Okay," he said calmly. "Go ahead. I'll listen."

"Sit down."

Danny sat, obediently, in a chair and watched in silence as Chaney paced the floor for several minutes.

Finally Robert spoke. "Until six weeks ago I didn't know where he was, didn't even care. But I saw this news special on crime and I saw him."

"Saw who?"

Robert looked at Danny. "Let me start over." He wrung his hands as he paced again. "My mother raised me the best she could. She worked herself so hard for me. Died of cancer three years ago..."he trailed off. Gradually, he slowed his pacing. "When I saw him and realized he was my father, I had to meet him. Don't you see?"

"I still don't know who you're talking about," Danny admitted. "If you've got a name HPD could-"

Robert whirled to the dresser grabbed the 5x7 from behind the lamp and shoved it at Danny.

He stared, openmouthed, in shock. "Um," he finally uttered, "are you sure about this?"

Robert didn't bother to answer the question. "I need your help."

"You need somebody's help, but not mine."

"You're his friend."

"This is none of my business!" he shouted angrily, jumping to his feet. "We shouldn't even be having this discussion!" He dropped the photo on the bed. "Now, look, this is between you and McGarrett. You need to talk to him."

"And say what: 'Hello, Daddy'?" Robert shouted back.

Danny took a deep breath. "That is your business. This is a private matter between you and McGarrett. What do you expect me to do anyway?"

Robert was pleading. "Dan, I need your help. I can't face him alone." He grabbed Danny's arm. "Tell him for me."

"No way." He pulled away. "I don't know who you really are. That picture could have come from anywhere!" What am I doing here?
Robert thought for a moment. "Call him. Tell him to meet us here. Right here, okay? Right now. Yes, that's it. Right here, right now. All private, you know. No office or anything. I don't want to embarrass him, you know. And just be here when I tell him."

Dan put a hand to his forehead, then rubbed his eyes. Of all the outlandish fixes, this has to take the cake. "All right, all right. I guess I'm already in this now." He picked up the room phone. "Operator, give me Five-O.......Jenny? Dan. Is Steve there?" He hoped she'd say no, but she said to wait. There was a long pause, long enough for him to seriously consider hanging up.

In his office, Steve finally pressed the button. "Yes, Danno."

"Steve, I need you to meet me at the Royal Surf. Room--"

"403," put in Robert.


Steve frowned. "Now?"

"Yes. If you can."

"What's all this about?" he asked, sensing Dan's uneasiness.

"There's someone you'd better meet."

McGarrett scowled. It wasn't like Danno to be so secretive on the phone. "I'll be there." He hung up.

"Well?" Robert asked, expectantly.

"He's on his way."

Robert paced the floor becoming more and more restless. After a few minutes he murmured: "How much longer?"

"At least ten or fifteen minutes," Danny replied.

Chaney continued to pace the floor. Occasionally, he would mutter something under his breath. Danny noticed him glance into the mirror every time he passed it. As the moments ticked by, Robert was starting to unravel. Again Chaney asked the time. It had been only five minutes. "I can't do this." Robert declared. "What'll I say? What'll I do?"

Danny commented flatly: "It was your idea. You came all the way to Hawaii just to meet him."

Robert sat down on the bed. "Yeah, but now I'm not so sure." He got up wringing his hands and pacing the floor. "Please, you've got to do one more thing."

"What now?" Danny asked. He did not look forward to the impending meeting. How will Steve handle this? Furious? Devastated? And if it was true...well isn't that every young male's biggest nightmare: to have fathered some bastard who shows up at the door one day? Especially one as unbalanced as Robert. He kept eyeing Robert's features critically, trying to detect something that looked like Steve. He saw nothing.

"Go down and tell him. At least do something so I don't have to spring it on him," Robert pleaded.

He didn't respond.

"Just tell him my mother's name. Tell him Karen Smith's son is here and needs to talk to him. Maybe he'll figure it out for himself."

Danny summed up Chaney, clearly a man falling apart. And he thought of Steve. It would give him a moment to prepare for what was coming. The idea of the two of them discussing this in the relative private of the parking lot seemed like the closest thing to a reprieve he could get. "All right. You stay here. I'll bring him up."

Chaney closed the door after Danny, waited a moment, and then locked it. He dashed to the closet and snatched out the suitcase of guns. Any indications of his previous nervousness were gone and a look of grim determination accented his deft haste as he quickly assembled the ak47 machine gun. "Ah, Mother, I'm going to even the score for you this day. I'll destroy the man who destroyed your life!" He stepped to the window and gazed down the four floors waiting. The black Lincoln was just pulling into the lot. It was nearly fifty yards away and partially hidden by the large concrete garden wall. McGarrett was getting out. Chaney forced himself a wait until McGarrett was closer.


Danny walked out of the hotel, across the courtyard towards Steve's car, still practicing in his mind what to say. For the first time, he wondered if Steve would be angry with him for interfering. It seemed better than having Chaney appear in Five-O with his wild proclamations.

"Danno!" Steve called to him as they approached. "What's all this cloak and dagger about?"

Robert lined up his cross hairs on Steve's chest. McGarrett and Williams were walking side by side and it was hard to stay on target. This has to be good. I may get only one chance. Don't miss.

"This is pretty strange," Danny began, uncomfortably. He stopped walking, and when he did, so did Steve.

Now! Robert pulled the trigger.

"It's about-" Danny turned to face Steve. The same instant there was a shot. Danny was thrown against McGarrett. Steve left a white-hot searing pain in his left arm as they both landed on the ground. For an instant, he thought Danno had pushed him down. But Williams was limp and then Steve saw the rapidly growing blood stain on the back of the gray sports jacket.

"My God," he uttered, ducking for cover behind the stone wall and dragging Danny with him. Less than fifteen seconds had elapsed since the shot.

Robert knew he had missed his mark. "NO! NO!" he screamed and in rage, flipping the automatic on the AK47 and firing in fury on the stone walled garden. Lead pounded into the rock face, the plants, and dirt. People down below were screaming and running.

McGarrett crouched low behind the wall, rolled Danny onto his back. The bullet entrance had been just left of his spine in his upper back. McGarrett tore open the shirt. The exit through Danny's chest was also left-sided and nearly three inches in diameter. Air bubbled through oozing blood and, with each gasping breath, only the right side of his chest rose. There was a peculiar sucking sound as air was pulled in through the wound. Steve knew he'd live only minutes without medical attention. Already Danny had paled to an ashen gray and his lips were turning blue. Steve fumbled with a handkerchief, attempting to make some kind of seal against the leaking air. If the collecting air and blood collapsed the other lung, Danno would die. Steve's left arm felt like fire and he noticed blood dripping from the cuff of his shirt. He could hear sirens approaching from the distance as he slowly pulled off his jacket. The shirtsleeve was saturated with blood. He took off his belt and used it to tourniquet his arm above the bullet wound.

A black and white squad car streaked around the corner into full view.

"No! No!" Steve waved them back. They were too close, in perfect line of the sniper. Even as he attempted to warn them, the gunman opened fire with the machine gun. The windows in the squad care fragmented, and the bubble light exploded. The car came to a rolling stop ten yards away from McGarrett, with Steve still between the sniper and the vehicle. On the far side, the driver's door opened and the officer hit the ground. McGarrett could see him clutching his radio and hear his voice edged in panic. "Officer down! Officer needs assistance! Central, help!" He was young, probably a rookie.

Steve, huddled by the wall, called quietly to him. "Officer, you all right?"

"My partner," he called back.

By the amount of blood and glass on the passenger side, Steve could tell that the young officer's senior partner was most likely dead. "Can you toss your radio out here?"

The officer tried to get closer by crawling under the car.

"Careful, careful," McGarrett cautioned.

He flung radio out, but it landed far short. There was a single gun blast. Both McGarrett and the officer ducked down; the radio shattered into pieces.

This guy's good, Steve thought, already analyzing what little bits of information he had. Professional? Military training? Why? Who is he? What does he have to gain?

Other units were pulling up around the corner, a respectful distance away. McGarrett could see them, but the gunman couldn't. Duke and a swat officer were pointing and gesturing, but Steve couldn't hear the words. Bulletproof-vested swat officers hurried away around the back of the hotel.

Duke viewed the scene. HPD Chief Paulua's car pulled up with a shriek. "Lukela," he called to Duke. "They tell me I've got a unit with a rookie cop pinned down."

"You've got more than that," Duke replied, pointing. "Steve and Danny are pinned down behind that concrete planter. Your officer is under his car--I think. He's the one that reported an officer down. That was about three minutes after the 911 call from the hotel. The shooter's been quiet, but I'm pretty sure he's still up there."

Paulua squinted through field glasses. "We've got more than once officer down."

There was a new burst of gunfire; everyone ducked instinctively. Bullets traced around the concrete garden for several seconds, the palm in the center slowly bent and toppled over.

In his room, Robert was wild. Nothing was going right. He needed a plan. He stopped to glare at the image in the mirror. I can do this! I can do this! This last exchange convinced him he could not penetrate the concrete protection. He needed to get to be better location. McGarrett couldn't stay hidden forever. How long can I wait? Surely the police are already trying to find me, perhaps room to room. It wasn't supposed to go like this.

Below the swat officer commented to Duke: "This isn't random. He wants McGarrett. We've got to keep him from moving to a better location." He picked up his two way and spoke to his unseen team. "I make it fourth floor, midsection. Evacuate everybody in the place and notify me when secure. Keep him contained. But stay away from that fourth floor, let's not spook him into shooting up a bunch of tourists."

"That'll take time," Duke commented.

Ben came over from his car. "Jenny says Danny went to see a guy named Robert Chaney in the Royal Surf. Room 403."

"He's got to be our man," Duke agreed.

The police negotiator patched his phone in.

Robert jumped as the phone gave a shrill ring. He stared at it dumfounded for a moment. They were on to him. How much time would he have? It kept ringing. He stared out at the courtyard again.

"He's not answering."

"Let it ring," Paulua ordered.

Duke bit his lip, his attention on the figures huddled behind the concrete wall. Paulua's people were looking at the situation, not at the victims. McGarrett might be a seasoned officer, but right now he was still a victim, there were injuries, and he needed to be reassured. "We need a way to make contact with Steve and let him know we're doing all we can. Evacuating that hotel will be awhile," he told Ben. He hurried to the back of his car and opened the trunk. From a paper bag, he pulled out a new skateboard, ripped off the plastic wrapper. "My son's birthday gift," he remarked to Ben. "Get me a radio unit." In seconds Ben was back, two way radio in hand. Duke pulled off his tie and used it to secure the radio to the skateboard.

"A long shot, Brudder," Ben said.

It was 25 yards to McGarrett, but Duke hoped the slight slope of the pavement would help. "Here goes nothing." He gave the skateboard a shove and it scooted out, trailing the tie.

McGarrett looked up as the board sped towards him. There was a series of single shots as the sniper fired at it, but missed. Steve lunged out for it with his good right arm and a bullet struck the pavement next to him. He quickly pulled the radio from the board. "My compliments, Duke," were his first words over the radio.

"What's your status, Steve?" Paulua's voice came back.

"One officer in the car probably dead. One under the car all right. Williams is critical, we need to get him out of here soon or we'll lose him. You'd better get a thoracic surgeon out here. What's the game plan?" He glanced down at Danny. He was failing fast. His breath gurgled in his throat as he struggled to breathe. The attempts were getting feebler and his pulse was weak and racing. Steve realized he'd missed part of Paulua's reply. "Repeat that," he asked.

"The swat team is evacuating the building," Paulua repeated. "We can't make voice contact with the gunman, so we'll have to flush him out. May take another 10 minutes or so."

"We haven't got ten minutes," Steve replied hotly. "Can they get the guests into main corridors away from windows?"

"McGarrett, it's a big place," the swat lieutenant broke in. "We're doing the best we can."

Ben's voice broke in. "Steve, the surgeon's on his way."

"Yeah, Ben." He released the button. His fingers on his left hand were numb. He released the belt for a moment. He was exhausted and knew he was losing blood, too. Everything became quiet. McGarrett glanced down. The gurgling sounds had stopped. So had Danno's breathing. In horror, he groped for a carotid pulse. There was nothing. Pure emotion waved over him. He could not let this happen. "Don't you do this!" he shouted at the unconscious form. He grabbed the radio. "I need to break for it now!" he yelled.

"You can't-" Paulua started to protest, but could see McGarrett was already trying to get Williams up off the ground.

An EMT broke in on the radio. "McGarrett, you move him, you'll kill him."

"I've got nothing to lose." He dropped the radio and pulled Danny up over his shoulder. Blood poured out of the chest wound down McGarrett's back. He staggered to his knees. The swat team opened fire on the sniper's window as Paulua prayed the tourists had been cleared and Duke prayed for a miracle. Steve started to run as best as he could. Shots seemed to blaze everywhere. The distance was closing. Korea, repeating itself, he thought. The pain, the smell of blood and gunpowder. Halfway there. His own blood pounded in his ears, every muscle strained to keep moving.

Ten yards to go. McGarrett felt a sudden explosive pain in his right hip and went down.

Ben and a paramedic jumped out into the thick of the firefight, each grabbed a man and pulled them to safety. McGarrett gestured Ben to leave him at the step of the ambulance as the medics lay Danny out inside. Steve felt oddly detached from everything around him. Officers were shouting orders amongst gunshots outside. Inside, a medic slapped electrodes onto Dan's chest.

"No respiration, no BP, no pulse," one stated levelly.

"Cardiac standstill," a second reported.

"Let's defib and see what happens." The third flipped a switch. "Clear." The defibrillator discharged. Danny's body jumped. All eyes shifted to the monitor. It blipped once, then straight-lined again.

"Bicarb! Epi!" the first said, opening syringes.

"Got no IV," the second reminded him.

"Then get one! Put the Epi down the trach tube," he shouted at the third.

"Not yet." The third man, up at the head of the gurney, had inserted a laryngoscope down Danny's throat to try to insert an airway. "Suction. I can't see a damned thing for all this blood."

A young man entered and stepped over McGarrett as though he wasn't there. "Get me a thoracentesis tray and suction." He ordered the medics. "You don't get O2 in there, you'll get nothing else." He flipped Danny to his right side like a rag doll. "Come on, hustle, folks. The clock is running here."

McGarrett felt awash in hopelessness. He struggled to follow what was happening, but exhaustion and blood loss were taking their toll. There was another siren now, voices calling out. More gunfire. He needed to do something but couldn't move. His arm grew numb again and he lacked the strength to loosen the tourniquet. The void of unconsciousness was closing over him but he could still hear voices...."...Still searching, he's not on the roof..."..."this way, this way!"..."Another 50cc syringe...""Rib splitters, let's crack this chest"Basement is clear"Hey! Keep an eye on those elevators!""I'll try direct cardiac massage"

Steve roused slightly as someone touched him. "McGarrett," a quiet voice said.

He could not speak, just moaned.

"We're gonna get you fixed up, man."

He used the last of his energy to force his eyes open. He looked past the EMT kneeling before him. All he could see was the monitor with its straight line.

"This is hopeless," said a voice of despair from without or within.

As everything drifted away, he suddenly could see Chin Ho Kelly, as he had laid dead in front of their office two years ago. Then there was nothing.

Steve opened his eyes and waited momentarily for the world to come into focus. He was where he knew he'd be--a hospital bed. He ached all over.

"Steve," said a soft, feminine voice.

He turned to the sound. "Suzy?"

The young oriental woman, Suzy Kelley, smiled and put aside her book. "How do you feel?"

"Why are you here?"

"Ben called me. He said you were calling out daddy's name. He thought--" she stopped. "I'm glad to be here."

"But all the way from San Francisco?" He marveled.

"Who better to do it for?" she replied.

He squeezed her hand. "You're a special lady," he whispered. He noticed it was dark outside. "What time is it?"

"Twelve-thirty at night."

"The gunman?"

She gave a sad smile. "I'm afraid I don't know much except they didn't catch him."

He shook his head. Everything hurt, physically and emotionally, but there was work to do. Anything to keep the thoughts away. "I'd better call Duke." He reached for the phone, but pain shot through his hip, checking his action. "Mind?"

She brought the phone over, but left her hand on the receiver. "You should know about Danny."

He cut her off. "I know he's dead, Suzy. I don't have to ask."

"He's not, Steve."


"He's alive," she repeated, earnestly. "It isn't good, but he's hanging in there."

He stared at her, then whispered in disbelief. "Alive?" He could remember the blood pulsing between his fingers, the gray skin, and the dismal flat line on the heart monitor. Had it all been a hallucination? "I need to see him."

She patted his arm. "In the morning."

"Now," he said firmly. "Get Doc Bergman."

"But it's the middle of the night," she protested.

"Bergman's here already," came a familiar voice in the doorway. The old burly doctor came in. A wrinkled lab coat was thrown over jeans and a flowered shirt. He never liked the situations that brought him into the hospital; it usually meant one of McGarrett's team was in trouble. But, as a pathologist, there was a certain pleasure in having live bodies choosing your counsel or that of a surgeon's. "You didn't really expect me home in bed at a time like this, did you? It's not a good idea for you to run all over the hospital. A surgeon picked two slugs out of you this afternoon."

"I know about myself," McGarrett snapped.

"Danny won't even know you're there," Bergman persisted. "Your hip needs rest."


He shrugged. "I've got a stretcher outside the door. I'll take you upstairs, but watch that leg."

It was good advice, the leg hurt like fire.

Outside ICU Bergman introduced Steve to Dr. Wallace, the young doctor Steve recalled seeing in the ambulance. He shook hands at the introduction.

"I'm not going to mince words with you here, McGarrett," Wallace started. He clipped off his sentences like a short list. It was a way he'd developed to maintain a detachment from the dying and their loved ones. "Things are pretty grim. There's been considerable chest damage. I picked a lot of metal fragments out of the left lung, including two that were lying against the pericardial sac. In the end, we removed the upper third of his lung. We've got chest tubes in, he's ventilator supported. We've cardioverted him three times in six hours, which isn't encouraging. He's not coming through with any spontaneous respirations. We're using medication to maintain his blood pressure and reduce swelling in the brain. It's pretty early to make a prognosis. I just don't know how long his brain was deprived of oxygen. If we have to, we can check for brain activity with an EEG in twenty-four hours. Things are complicated in that there's no immediate family."

"Danny has a living will," Steve murmured, hollowly, painfully aware at the lack of emotion Wallace had expressed and why. He thinks this is hopeless.

"Yes," Wallace nodded. "It's on his chart. You were appointed in it to make the decision."

Silence hung like a dark shroud for a moment.

"Questions?" Wallace asked.

Steve shook his head. It had been no hallucination after all.

Wallace opened the door to ICU. "If you're ready."

The Intensive Care Unit was set up with six small cubicle rooms with glass walls that faced to the common area dominated by the nurses' station. A nurse, cup of coffee cuddled in her hands, sat before a bank of small screens, each one showing a little green electrical tracing of someone's heart rhythm. Another nurse was in a cubicle talking with a patient as she offered her a drink through a straw. Wallace gave a wave of a high sign to the one at the desk. She gave a disapproving glance at her little monitor, and gestured towards the cubicle on the right. Bergman pushed Steve on the stretcher to the glass wall.

Nothing could have prepared him. Danny lay flat on a gurney-like bed with IV lines and equipment wires strung everywhere. The little cubicle was crowded with equipment, IV lines, machines and pumps. The ventilator dominated the room. The ET tube tied in place covered the lower half of his face. His eyes were taped shut. A swan-ganz central line fed into the subclavian artery. There was a fresh sutured incision six inches long running up his chest, terminating at a bulky dressing at the top. Three chest tubes, one on the right, two on the left, ran from his sides to the vacuum containers.

McGarrett looked away overwhelmed by the day and the moment. "My God."

Wallace touched his shoulder, his own humanity peeking out. "What he needs is time."

The sun was barely cracking at the horizon when Ben arrived at the hospital.

"Visiting hours won't start until ten o'clock," the receptionist at the desk said, curtly.

He flashed his badge. "Steve McGarrett's room."

Ruffled, she waved him towards the elevator. There was a uniformed officer at the elevator where he got off and one at the door of the room.

"How is it?" Ben greeted him.

"Quiet," the officer answered with a shrug.

Ben as entered, Steve looked up from the morning newspaper he was taking notes from. "Ben," he nodded, "fill me in."

Ben was not surprised at McGarrett's business-first attitude, but could detect how upset he was behind the tone. "When the squad entered the room, Chaney had escaped through the ceiling."


"Pulled down some ceiling tiles. Went out through the rafters. I saw that in a movie once, too." He cleared his throat. "We scoured the building. No luck. He left prints all over, no matches with our files, haven't heard from Washington."

"Keep on it, Ben. My bet is he's had some military experience somewhere. He was too good a shot."

"Well, looks like he's been clean till now."

"Till now. What's the background on this guy? Why now? Danno said yesterday he was asking nosy questions."

"What kind of questions?"

McGarrett adjusted the sling on his left arm. "He said Chaney was a tourist with nosy questions. We probably won't find a history here. Did you check with the airlines?"

Ben nodded. "A Robert Chaney arrived eighteen days ago on a flight from LA. It was a stopover, he'd started out in Washington."

"A long way from home."

"Address the airline had was in Norfolk, Virginia. Probably false."

McGarrett frowned. "Maybe not. Ben, what kind of man comes to the islands to make a hit using his real name, leaving an open trail?"

"Maybe he didn't plan this."

"He certainly had the firepower. See what the gun shops here had been selling. He's an expert shot. He planned this whole thing. Of that I'm certain. But why?"

Ben pulled Chaney's tourist map from a manila folder he'd been carrying. "No question he was following you."

Steve could recognize places he'd gone and the blue ink line that had been traced over and over. He noticed some of the circled spots weren't things related to him. Duke's home address. Danny's apartment complex. The health club. A chill ran up his spine. This was a calculated stalking of the Five-O group.

"One more thing. This picture was in his room." Ben handed him the framed photo.

McGarrett looked at the 27-year-old picture in surprise. "Karen," he whispered.

"Who is she?"

He sat there for a moment looking at the photo. He hadn't seen her in years, but now he missed her like yesterday. His look told Ben there was a lot here, maybe more than he wanted to know. "Get somebody to Norfolk, Virginia. He'll be looking for Karen Smith."

"Smith?" Ben murmured writing the name down. How many smiths will there be in Norfolk?

"Check the county records. She probably married," McGarrett added, still staring at the picture.

"Duke flew out for Washington three hours ago. He's going to call when he arrives."

Steve nodded. "Good, Ben."

Ben was aware that McGarrett was still preoccupied with the picture. "Um, Steve?" he added uncomfortably, "you didn't see Chaney, did you?"

"No," he answered, not looking up.

"We haven't gotten a good description of him. None of the hotel people seem to remember him. Pretty forgettable guy."

Steve looked up, trying to focus on what Ben was saying and trying to recall his conversation with Danno the day before. It already seemed so long ago. Odd how distorted the emotions of shock made everything seem. He dragged his attention back through disciplined determination. What was important? "Check with the health club Danno belonged to. What's the name of that little waitress? Linda?"

Ben nodded. "Yeah, I've met her once or twice."

"Talk to her. She doesn't miss anything." He tapped the circled spot on the map. "He went to that club."

The door opened. Che Fong entered, a file under his arm. "Hi, Ben," he said, then nodded to Steve. "How are you feeling?"

He doubted Che really wanted to know that internally he was unraveling in emotional agony. Not since Chin was killed--he pushed the thought away. "What do you have, Che?"

"Some pieces, nothing conclusive. From clothing articles, hair, etc. in the hotel room, your man is about five ten to six feet tall. Dark brown hair, weight 160 to 180."

"That fits about one hundred thousand people on this island," Steve remarked.

"His weapon is a late model ak47 machine gun with hollow points, could be purchased through those survivalist catalogs till a year ago. We also found several rounds of hollow points for a .357 magnum, but no gun."

"Then he's not finished."

"Apparently not. We've been piecing together what happened. He initially fired one shot." Che pulled a report from his file and handed it to Steve.

"What's this?" Steve murmured examining the diagram of a human form with all sorts of lines, arrows, and letters.

Che looked mildly nervous. "They've got this new kid just started at HPD in forensics. It's a computer analysis."

"Computer?" Steve asked.

"Latest thing. He developed this program. We enter trajectories, angle of entry and so forth. It gives us this."

The meaningless lines suddenly sprang to life as McGarrett interpreted the little coded numbers. His gaze fixed on the point determined by the computer as the T3 rib in the back where the straight line spread out like a firework. The single hollow point had sprayed shrapnel throughout Danno's chest. There was a major line leaving that point and terminating outside the front of the drawing at an "x" marked #2LDt. That point had been Steve's left arm. Beneath the figure was the computer-generated assessment of angles and points of origin and so forth.

"Approximating where you and Danny were standing, from witnesses and blood stains, looks like he stopped a hit meant for you," Che added.

Steve took a slow breath. His mind flashed back to the moment. He recalled how Danny had turned between him and the hotel just as the shot was fired. He remembered Danny being thrown into him. The blood. Trying to hold back the flow as it ran through his fingers. It wasn't a stalking of the team; it was a stalking of him. He felt an unexplainable crushing responsibility for this horror. How could this happen? What did this Robert Chaney want? Danny had been used as an expendable pawn, a lure. And it worked--almost.

Che could see the profound effect the visual aid had made. What would prove to be a valuable tool for the department on its initial run had been all its programmer promised. It helped the detective recreate the moment of impact vividly; this time a little too vividly. "Sorry, Steve."

Steve made no reply. This happened because of me. Why didn't it happen to me? It should have been me. He kept reliving the moment of impact. He could now recall the gasp and the look of astonishment that had flashed across Danny's face. He had no idea we were being set up.

Ben declared he was going back to the office and asked if he should pass a message on.

"Keep looking, but be careful," Steve replied, automatically.

Che lingered a moment longer, wondering if McGarrett would like a listening ear, but if he wanted one, Steve did not express it. Che went out, spoke with the officer at the door, and left.

Steve sat in solitude, struggling to keep his emotion in check and failing. He ached to have Chin Ho at his side and the mere thought caused him to smile. Chin had always been his patient counselor. Oh, how he missed him. Chin should have died as an old man in his bed with three generations of family at his side. Was he alone in death? Steve had never wondered about that before. I may not be able to keep Danno from dying, but I can keep him from dying alone. He pushed the call button and demanded a wheelchair.

Steve's demands overrode the protests of the nurses who were responsible for his care. Having worn them down, they and the uniformed officer assigned to Steve's protection made him reasonably comfortable in a wheelchair. Right leg elevated and towels and pillows stuffed into strategic spots, he was ushered by the officer up two floors to ICU. As they exited the elevator, the officer gave a wave to the one stationed outside ICU. The visiting hours for intensive care were very limited and strict, five minutes on the hour and only two members of the immediate family. The charge nurse met Steve at the door, accepted the wheelchair without comment. The two officers remained, gratefully behind.

"How is he?" Steve asked of the nurse.

"About the same," she replied. "Look, we have limited hours here, but you can stay as long as you like. It's sure not going to matter to him. Just understand that if he--he gets suddenly worse, we are going to boot you out."

Unlike last night when he had remained outside the glass wall, this nurse took the wheelchair into the cubicle.

"Call me if you want me, I'll hear you." And she was gone.

Steve felt his heart sicken as he again was confronted with the magnitude of the situation. Danno was propped half on his side by pillows that were arranged to provide support to his body and reduce pressure on his skin. The tape on his eyes had been replaced with two small oval patches of gauze. The respirator still breathed for him 12 times a minute with no spontaneous breaths recorded on the machine. The cardiac monitor showed what Steve supposed was a fairly normal pattern but slow--58. The room was remarkably quiet except for the regular hiss of the respirator since all the alarms were channeled out to the desk. Although the web of wires and tubes was intimidating, Steve gingerly reached out and touched Danny's IV laden right hand. There was no response and Steve was a little surprised at how hot the skin was.

He could hear nurses chatting as they changed shift at the desk outside the door. One joked about a TV show last night and the laughter seemed almost obscene. Their tones dropped as they reported on their patients. An old man in hypertensive crisis was ready to move out to the floor. A seventeen-year-old MVA was still in a coma. One mentioned the gunshot wound in room one and Steve felt his pulse quicken.

"Use sterile technique on that dressing," the off going nurse advised. "They left a hole behind big enough to lose a tennis ball in."

There was a sudden silence, as if they had realized he was close enough to hear them.

"Well, anyway," she went on, "he's unchanged."

Steve felt as if the hole was in his chest. Chaney. What did he want? What connection was there between him and Karen?

He heard footsteps and glanced back to see Dr. Wallace. "They told me downstairs you were up here," he commented in a friendly manner. "You really need to stay on your back to keep pressure off that hip."

"Didn't know you were a bone doc, too," McGarrett remarked coldly.

Wallace was taken aback. He didn't like the nurturing stuff. Fine, I did it once, now let's be professional. "I brought the consent."

"Consent?" Steve murmured.

"For the EEG."

Steve gazed at the silent, pale face of his friend. God, Danno, how could you do this to me? He remembered the day Danny had asked him about the power of attorney in the office. Agreeing seemed like the right thing to do. Of course he realized it might actually happen. But not like this. Not when I should be the one lying there. "Let me think about it a while."

"Sure," Wallace replied. "No hurry really. Look, nobody's wanting to do anything rash here. I need a baseline is all." He hesitated, then added with conviction. "I want to see him make it, too." He turned away.

A nurse entered the room humming quietly. The baggy blue scrubs made her look younger than the forty-ish she actually was. Her light brown hair was cut short, and there was the suggestion of wrinkles in the smile lines of her eyes. McGarrett watched her, as there was little else to do. In spite of the nature of her high adrenaline job, she seemed remarkably at peace. She glanced at McGarrett as if to acknowledge his presence as she checked the pump rates on the IVs. "Might dank in here." Even the mild Scottish accent was comforting. She reached up and drew back the blinds on the small window in the corner. Sunlight streamed in to strike the far wall. "Better." She checked the chest tubes. "Better, too," she said cheerfully. "Serous drainage." She carried on the rest of her examination of the equipment and Williams, pausing to make brief comments.

Steve slowly realized she was not talking to him but Danno. In interest, he watched her. Her quiet cheerfulness was a balm to his wounded spirit. Finally he could resist no longer. If there was any word of hope, it would come from her. "Nurse, is there any change?"

She didn't answer right away but finished making a note on the ventilator record. She came around the bed to stand directly in front of McGarrett. "These places are awfully small for all this stuff, aren't they?" She waved a hand towards all machinery. "The name's Shelley MacIntire. Shelley will do."

"Steve," he replied.

"And where have ya escaped from, Steve?" she asked.

"You didn't answer my question."

"Aye," she agreed. She walked back to the ventilator and drained the collected moisture from the tubing. As she reconnected it, she looked at Danny. "You ought to sit up and tell 'im yourself," she said gruffly.

Steve stared at her in awe.

She chuckled quietly at his expression. "We know so little about unconscious consciousness, subconscious. It's been said that hearing's the last thing we lose, the first thing we regain. I talk to all my comatose patients. And as for your question: he isn't any worse. That's something. Medicine and the ventilator are keeping him stable. He's not loosin' ground like he was last night. So, that's got to be an improvement. I'd say he's home but locked in the bath and can't come to the door. He needs time to find the key."

McGarrett found himself liking this unusual person. "Doesn't sound very professional."

She stuck her hands in her pockets. "Well, in my professional experience, I've discovered very few people whose emotions are professional. We all need someone to believe in us, sometimes believe for us. Ever have anybody who believed you'd make it when no one else did?"

He didn't respond.

"Well, I believe he'll make it."

"But nobody else does," he concluded.

"You do." She finished her work and left Steve to brood and watch. He was painfully aware that regardless of how positive she might sound, Shelley had not really given a lot of hope. But it was enough for him to know he'd hang on a little longer and using his power of attorney refuse the EEG--today.

Chaney wandered the streets of Honolulu aimlessly. He felt lost, confused, without a sense of purpose. His entire reason for living and been knocked out from under him. Failure. A failure again. It had been a whole day and he still had no plan. The sun was setting on the water as he sat on the cinderblock wall watching people play on the beach. Watching, always watching. Never permitted to be part of the joy. You don't deserve the joy. You don't deserve anything. You are a failure, like everyone said. Can't do anything right. Stupid, stupid. He pressed his hands to his temples to quiet the voices. He felt empty, hungry. He had not eaten since yesterday. You don't deserve to eat. He stared at his distorted reflection in the window of a car. You failed. You couldn't do it. What kind of love is that? You didn't really love her. It was all he could do to keep from bursting into tears on the spot.

The radio playing from a blanket on the sand distracted him. "Locally, there are no new statements coming out of Five-0 regarding the shootout of yesterday afternoon at the Royal Surf Hotel. The mayor's office says reliable sources state that this was not random violence, but a plotted attack against specific members of the police. Mayor Gunterson emphasized that our tourist and local populations are in no way at risk. When asked about the investigation, Chief Paulua's office had no comment. Meanwhile, memorial services for Officer Farrell, killed yesterday, are scheduled for tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. Queens Medical Center has not released an update on the condition of Steve McGarrett or Dan Williams, but it is reported that officials will hold a news conference tomorrow afternoon."

Robert swallowed hard, remembering his brief friendship with the man he had accidentally shot. I didn't mean to. It was a mistake. No, McGarrett did it. He made it happen. He did it again. It is all his fault. I must find a way to rid us of him. I must make him pay.

The weight of the gun in his belt under his shirt was bothersome. He had to think of something. He wandered the streets in the dark, going his second night without sleep. It was nearly sunup when, exhausted and numb Robert slumped down on a stone bench behind a rest room at Kapiolani Park.

Duke Lukela had spent the last eight hours outrunning the sun westward as his jumbo jet headed him back home. A seasoned time zone traveler, he had tried to do his best to keep his body clock on time with Honolulu and was just now awakening to the aroma of fresh coffee and the touch of the steward's hand on his shoulder.

"We'll be arriving in thirty minutes," the young man told him.

He nodded, missing the days when all flight attendants had been young females. He grinned inwardly at his thoughts then he wondered what had happened in Fivo-0 during his absence. His phone calls with Ben had assured him Steve would be all right. He hoped Danno was still alive.

Ben met him at the plane; they exchanged a few words. Duke wanted to see his wife, but felt compelled to see Steve first. At Ben's insistence, he went home to shower and freshen up first.

I am a monster to them. Chaney stood in front of a television display at Sears in the mall. The mid day news was on and all stations were covering the memorial service of Officer Farrell. They don't understand. They see McGarrett as a hero. The reporter had claimed McGarrett would be present at a news briefing later that day and gave an encouraging wish regarding the Five-0 chief's healing. McGarrett, the avenging angel, is holding a press conference at four o'clock. I know when, I know where. He thought about that as he wandered out of the mall and stood on the curbing. The glory of blowing McGarrett away in front of a crowd of the press seemed entertaining. I can tell them what McGarrett was really like. How he killed the most lovely mother in the world. They'll see I was justified in what I did. If they don't-- well, that wouldn't matter, because McGarrett will have paid his price. The more Chaney thought about it, the more he liked the idea.

A car horn tooted. "Need a ride?" a cabby called.

Robert realized he was standing in a taxi zone. "Yeah." He hopped into the cool, air-conditioned cab.

"Where?" The burly driver flipped the flag.

"Hum-I gotta friend in the hospital, Queens Medical Center."

He stuck the cigarette butt in his mouth. "If he's real sick, you got him at the right place. My wife's father has a bad ticker. They fixed him up real good there." He took off for the other end of town still talking about his father-in-law.

Duke found the two HPD officers outside ICU by the door. "How long have you been here?" he asked the one responsible for Steve.

He shrugged. "Two hours or so."

"Will he come out and talk?"

"I doubt it. He won't come out for nothing. Was there most of yesterday. Went back this morning. Not been out," the big Hawaiian answered. "Rumor has it he wants to be there when Williams croaks." The look on Duke's face caused him to stiffen. "Sorry."

"Keep your gossip to yourself," he snapped.

The officer struggled to lighten the situation. "Well, I guess it keeps too many people from bugging McGarrett anyway."

Without further comment, Duke opened the door and entered. Steve was not going to like what he had to say, no matter how much it helped to develop the case about Chaney. The charge nurse approached him and he began to pull his badge.

She stopped him. "I know. Five-0, right?"

He nodded.

"I think I'll sell tickets," she remarked, motioning towards the doorway.

He could see the wheelchair just inside the door. He took a deep breath and went ahead. Duke did not like doctors or medical things. His wife took the kids when they were sick and he did not come to hospitals unless there was no choice. This was no exception. He stared at the bed, a lump in his throat. He felt oddly like he was at a funeral. "My God, Steve."

McGarrett looked up. "Yeah." He understood.

Duke pulled his eyes away. "I learned some things about this mess."

"Let's have it." Steve gave him his full attention.

"There's a connection between Karen Smith and Robert Chaney. She's his mother."


He nodded and handed Steve a picture. "It's Chaney."

Steve looked at the picture. "He's only a boy!"

"Well, that picture's three years old. It's the newest I could find. Karen Smith married Morris Chaney in 1954."

"Morris Chaney," Steve whispered. The name was familiar. "He was her high school sweetheart."

"Right. There was a long period of time she didn't see him. According to a friend, she renewed contact in late 1953. They were married in spring of 1954. Robert was born in November the same year. Morris Chaney was apparently no saint. The town louse. Repeated police problems, drunk and disorderly, reckless driving, breaking and entering his in-laws house. Those charges were dropped. Two reports of child abuse and one of wife beating, but--" he shrugged, "--nobody did much in those days. And she wouldn't file a complaint."

Steve sat rooted. Poor Karen, my sweet Karen.

"Robert Chaney doesn't have a remarkable past. Except for a short psychiatric history during his teen years, he's clean. Three years in the army. Expert marksman."

"I could have guessed."

"Morris Chaney died in an auto accident when Robert was eleven. Apparently drunk driving. Killed the young couple in the other car, too. Karen Chaney worked in odd jobs: waitress, house cleaning and such till 1976 when she died of cancer."

"She's dead?" Steve looked up, sorrow deepening.

He hesitated, regretting he had not broken it more gently. "I'm sorry, Steve, she was something special to you?"

"Yeah, something special."

"There isn't really much else. Chaney worked in a car dealership as a salesman till four weeks ago. Gave notice, vanished, turned up here."

"But why?" Steve studied the picture of Robert. He could see some of Karen in the boy. Karen--if only I'd known. Why didn't she every contact me? If only--Duke was still standing there, looking uncomfortable. "Update the APB."

"Already have," Duke replied. Another long silence. Duke wanted to leave, but felt he couldn't. He searched for something to say. "We're, um, still looking for the shrink who saw Chaney as a teen. Um, how's Danny?"

Steve shook his head. "He's got a nurse who'd tell you to ask him yourself."

"What?" Duke looked shocked.

"Never mind."

At last, Duke found a reason to leave and when he'd gone, Steve sat painfully inside and out, staring at nothing, seeing nothing, his mood as black as the slippery dark pit of depression he found himself unable to escape. Why would Karen's son come gunning for him? Karen--if only he'd known, he never would have let her go. At the time it had been right, but now it seemed all wrong. She was gone. No way to make it up to her. And her son? What was it Shelley had said: the conscious, unconscious? He gazed at the serene face of his fellow officer and friend. At some point over the morning, a nurse had removed the eye patches, making him look a little more human. Steve tried to convince himself that Danny looked to be at peaceful rest, but he could not evade the growing fear that he looked already dead. Did Danno have the answer to this puzzle? He suspected so. He was beginning to wonder if he would ever hear Danno's version of the tale. Karen, dear Karen. How he would have loved to discuss good old times with her son. That would not be likely to happen.

He ached. His pain medication must have worn off and he was tired. He would need to stretch out somewhere soon. But he lingered. Time is short, what if he dies while I'm gone? What if he awakens while I'm gone?

Kono appeared in the doorway. "Steve." His voice was hushed.

McGarrett sighed. "Yeah, Kono."

"Press conference."

"Find Duke to handle it."

Kono stared at him. "Steve?"

"Or Ben. He's handling the investigation, have him handle the statement."

Kono backed away. "All right," he replied, shocked. He had never seen McGarrett back away from a commitment before. He could easily excuse the maneuver, but it put him in a scary position. He glanced at his watch: 1:50. Ten minutes to find Ben and get him here. In the conference room downstairs, the pack of press was already growing.

The cab pulled up outside Queens and the driver pointed at the TV minicam truck parked by the main entrance. "Hope your friend is okay. You're in the hottest spot in town today. Might get to see something."

Chaney paid him and got out.

The cabby accepted his fare, noting the generous tip, shrugged and pulled away.

In the lobby there were clusters of news people speaking in hushed tones, many with video cams on their arms. A hospital representative came in.

"If you'll follow me, please, we'll be taking the briefing in the board conference room."

They began to move in a massive herd through the cattle chute of the corridor that emptied into the boardroom. Chaney blended in with the reporters and slipped inside. The table had been removed and rows of chairs set up with a podium at one end of the room. Spotlights had been hurriedly erected, and the reporters stepped carefully over the cables snaked around the floor.

Kono was nervous and frantic. Unable to locate Ben or Duke, the responsibility for this press conference was landing squarely on his shoulders. Finally, he straightened his tie, checked his hair and, taking a deep breath, stepped out into the conference room. All eyes and cameras focused on him as the tungsten lights blazed. He moved to the podium clung to it for dear life.

"My name is Kono Kalahaua. I've been requested to handle this news conference."

Everyone started to talk at once, and Kono raised a hand to still them. Just like the president, he thought as they quieted. He felt reassured. They accepted that he had the power.

"Please, I have a statement to make first." He cleared his throat. "As to the perpetrator; he remains at large. We are following several leads both here and on the main land. I cannot go into great detail as it would tend to hamper our case, but progress is being made. Steve McGarrett continues to improve. His condition is at present listed as satisfactory. Dan Williams is unchanged."

"Does that mean he is still critical?" someone spoke out.

"Yes, it does. HPD is setting up a fund to assist the family of Officer Farrell who was killed yesterday. Inquiries may be directed through the Honolulu First National Bank."

"Officer Kalahaua," A female reporter spoke up. "Is the sniper still out there? I mean here, on the island?"

"Yes, Ma'am, I believe so."

"Do you think he'll attack again?"

Kono shrugged his shoulders, realizing too late that it was not very professional. "That would be difficult to say. The facts do support this was not a random shooting."

People started buzzing. "There have been rumors that he was stalking McGarrett. Why would he be after him?" one man called out.

"Is his capture immanent?" the first woman called out again.

"I'm not at liberty to say," Kono answered her, ignoring the other reporter. That question he did not want to address.

"McGarrett was supposed to be here," a reporter Kono recognized as from the evening news said, "you say he's improving, but where is he? Is his condition worse than we were led to believe?"

"Um, he's just had a hard day." Kono winced internally. "I have no other comment in that regard."

Two more reporters started to speak at once.

Kono raised his hands again to still them. "We have a limited description on the attacker. He's male, white, mainlander, with dark hair, medium build, approximately six feet tall. His name is Robert Chaney. He's not familiar with the islands so he may be looking for help. We'd appreciate the public reporting any suspicious individuals, but he is armed and dangerous. We don't want anyone attempting to stop him."

On Kono's cue, a uniformed officer began passing out glossies of Robert's old picture.

Chaney felt his face reddening and glanced around. He moved back towards the door, away from the direction of the officer who moved through the group. Robert suddenly felt giddy as he realized that no one had noticed him. It seemed unbelievable that he stood as his description was read in a group of the most alert people in town, reporters and cops, and no one noticed. He had been initially disappointed that McGarrett was not going to show. He had wanted to prove to everyone that McGarrett was worthy of death. But he could find him. He was in this building somewhere. He would find him, stare him in the eye, and destroy him. He slipped out of the door.


In ICU, McGarrett punched the remote control on the TV. Poor Kono. This was not the way or time to host his first news conference. He recalled his first press meeting. How long ago? Almost twenty years. The circumstances hadn't been much better. He remembered the fear, the bright lights, and the inquisition. He'd been afraid of reporters then. I didn't know what real fear was.

His hip was throbbing and he shifted his weight. I really need to lay down.

Shelley came in, a unit of packed blood cells in her hand. "Well, good afternoon," she said more to Danny than Steve. "I'm glad you waited for me to come on shift this afternoon." She went through her routine of inspecting all the equipment, checking Danny's vital signs, all the while chatting about the weather, her dog, the surfing championships on the North Shore. She concluded with the announcement: "Brought your steak, Mr. Williams." She hooked the blood up and started it running. She approached Steve. "You've been missed in your room. The nurse's station called here for you."


"There's a little thing called change of shift. The nurse responsible for you downstairs would like to see your face once during her eight hours," she remarked, but it was not unkind. "You could probably use some pain medication and some food. Why don't you go get some rest? I can call you with any change."

He hesitated, then gazed back at Danny in the bed. Yes, I really need to rest. But he couldn't bring himself to go. "I'll stay a little while longer." He tried to force a smile, but failed.

"Aye." She patted his shoulder, seeming to understand his conflict. "I'll have them bring something up."

Steve didn't reply. The gentle mothering pat was not something he, as the tough man, was accustomed to. Right now he didn't feel so tough.

Thirty minutes later, a nurse brought him a cold fruit salad and a small cup with a brightly colored collection of pills. The salad he only picked at; the medicine he swallowed without question. She took his blood pressure, asked how he felt.

I feel like hell, honey. "Pretty good."

She extracted a promise that he'd be upstairs within two hours--and backed it up by passing the agreement on to Shelley and Steve's guardian officer outside ICU.

Steve gave a slight sigh of relief after she left. He wanted no more than to stay here, but was not sure anymore for what he waited. It has been two days. The insurance company will over ride me and force an EEG in the morning. What kind of a society do we have in which big business can decide over dollars and cents if a life is worth saving? Would it be worse for him to live or die? Steve had seen some who had somehow cheated death come back to their former vibrant beings. And he had seen some who had not and were little more than beating hearts in crumpled bodies that had to be cared for over the years with no hope but that of a mercifully early death by some other means. Maybe the insurance company is right. What would Danno really want me to do? He was aware that the pain medication was effecting his thinking. His mind was wandering to places he did not wish it to go. He could not stop it...

....He remembered Chin Ho. Until now, no other death in the department had cut him so deeply. He'd planted him in his undercover; it had been his fault. That morning in his office, Chin had accepted his assignment, going undercover for the first time in years. Chin had never been so alive. In fact, he had remarked that it was about time Steve saw that older men still had what it took to serve. That afternoon he'd been dumped cold and lifeless in the parking lot like a bag of garbage. Is one life more dear than another? How many cops have died in that two years? And now. This is different. He'd felt Danno's life bubbling away through his fingers, was watching him die slowly, bit by bit. Steve felt himself sliding into a black abyss from which there could be no escape. I can't save him. I can't save me. Where is the hope? It is all up to me and I can't change it. He was trying to hold back the blood, but it kept coming faster and faster until it was gushing over him in a flood. As he threw all his weight against the bleeding chest, he could see Danno looking at him, a look of serene acceptance. "What do I do?" Steve shouted in his vision. "What do you want?"...

...Steve opened his eyes with a start. He blinked and registered he was in the silent ICU room, slumped over the wheelchair. It was a dream. Boy, am I stiff. It was nearly four o'clock. Shadows were starting to lengthen through the window. He glanced at the EEG permit lying on the counter. Tomorrow. His own needs could no longer be ignored. It was time to go. He turned to call the nurses to get the guard to take him back to his room.

An alarm sounded at the desk and three nurses rose as one, their actions well choreographed over much practice. Steve realized they were headed towards Danno at the same instant the warning sounded on the ventilator. They shoved Steve in the wheelchair not too gently aside in their haste for their patient. Steve looked up at the overhead monitor, but instead of a flat line, there were rhythmic bumps and the flashing number: 154. The ventilator alarm went off again and Shelley, intent on her team's assessment, punched the silence button. McGarrett noticed the nurses seemed to suddenly relax. The charge nurse turned and reset the heart monitor--raising the upper limit. The alarm stopped. Steve noticed the rate was slowly dropping, then leveled off at 92. The green display on the respirator read 20 breaths a minute.

"I'll call Wallace," the charge nurse offered and moved out towards the desk.

The second nurse gave Shelley a gentle clap on the shoulder and headed out. "MacIntire, you've done it again."

Shelley turned back towards Steve and a smile spread across her face. "Aye, Steven, your friend is back."

Steve grabbed hold of the bed railing with his good right arm and pulled himself out of the wheelchair, ignoring the pain in his hip. "Danno! Danno, can you hear me?"

Shelley spoke quietly and calmly. "Be patient," she cautioned Steve. "Let's see how aware he is." Close to Danny's ear she said quietly: "Mr. Williams, if ya can hear me, you're in a hospital. Can ya squeeze my hand?" She placed two fingers against the palm of his right hand.

Steve's eyes were riveted to the hand. Time seemed to drag. How long was it? A second? A minute? A year? Then, slowly, the fingers gradually started to curl around her fingers, not with much strength, but a definite controlled action. Steve felt a wave of relief wash over him. It seemed like he was breathing for the first time in nearly two days. Hot tears stung in his eyes. He forced them back.

Shelley shot him a cautious, yet reassuring smile, then spoke to Danny again. "Can ya open your eyes for me?"

Danny slowly opened his eyes, blinking in the light. A confused scowl crossed his features before his gaze fixed on Shelley leaning over him.

"Aye," Shelley whispered softly. "The machine's helpin' ya breathe. Don't fight it. Ya canno' talk right now." She waited a moment. "If you understand me, blink once."

Danny focused on her again and blinked once. He felt confused about his surroundings. God, what happened? I can't remember. Who is she? Why am I here? It was a struggle to remember anything.

"So," Shelley said proudly, "you've come back." She gestured towards Steve. "You've a devoted friend here."

"Danno," Steve said intently, "I need to know about Chaney." He wanted to tell Danny how glad he was, what a relief this was, but somehow couldn't. I need to deal with this psychopath out there.

Danny stared at him trying to remember who he was. He knew he should know him. He struggled to remember. And who was Chaney?

Shelley shook her head. "He's probably still a bit disoriented. You'll need to ask only yes or no questions. He can't talk. And keep it simple," she added. The respirator gave a squawk of an alarm. She punched the silence button again. "Just let the machine do the breathing for you," she told Danny.

He stared at Steve like he was his only connection to reality.

Steve studied the situation, watching Danny, as Danny watched him. "Danny, do you remember Chaney?"

A frown crossed his face. He was tired, he wanted to sleep, but somehow he knew there was something he had to say. What had happened? What was the last thing he could remember? A hotel. He had to talk to Steve...Steve! He looked back at the man before him. Of course, Steve. Suddenly, like a floodgate opening, it all came rushing back in disjointed pieces and images. Chaney begging for his help. There was a picture of a lovely blond woman with Steve. What about Chaney? Chaney! He remembered.

Steve noticed the change on Danny's face, the look of recognition. "Do you remember?" he asked.

Danny wanted to answer, but quickly realized his mouth was filled with plastic. He nodded.

"Do you remember Chaney?" Steve asked, anxiously.

He nodded again, more confidently.

"What--" he stopped. "I know he's Karen's son. Did he tell you about Karen?"

Danny tried to mouth a response around the tube taped into his mouth.

"Why did he come here?" Steve realized, too late, he'd asked an impossible question.

Danny pointed weakly at Steve and attempted a hand gesture. The respirator squawked again. The respiration rate was 28. The heart rate was beginning to climb again.

"Daniel," Shelley said quietly, "You need to calm down. Think about slowing your breathing. I'm going to give you some medication so you can rest." She went out towards the nurses' station.

Danny shook his head intently and pointed at Steve. Now he remembered he didn't want to risk forgetting again.

There was a knock at the back stairwell door in the unit and the charge nurse walked over. A lab tech in white lab jacket stood sheepishly on the other side, caddy of blood tubes in hand. "I didn't have a key," he murmured, embarrassed.

"You must be new," the nurse declared.

He tried to smile. "Yeah." He came through the door, caddy tray first. He glanced quickly around. Robert had spent almost two hours searching the hospital. It had not been easy to locate McGarrett's room. Once he'd found it, McGarrett had not been there. At least the nurse there had readily told him he was up here. This time there will be no concrete walls, no people, anything to get in my way. The magnum in his belt under the jacket was calling to him to finish what he had set out to do.

In the cubicle, Steve was trying to find a way to communicate. He wasn't even completely sure Danny had the answers, but for now, they were reduced to playing 20 Questions.

"Danny, Chaney wanted to kill me," Steve said quietly. "He missed and shot you. It's been two days. We're still looking for him. Do you know why he'd want to kill me?"

He lay there trying to think. Everything was so fuzzy. In bits and pieces. He hurt all over. Every breath pushed in felt like needles. His stomach churned with a wave of nausea. Chaney was looking for Steve to tell him something. Is Steve his father? Could it be? Finally, Danny nodded. With his index finger, he attempted to trace letters on the bed sheet.

Steve scowled, unable to make it out. He hated to tell him so. "Maybe you could write it." He glanced around for paper, but was incapable of moving. He was using most of his strength to stay upright balanced on his left leg, gripping the railing with his right hand.

Danny was waiting for the spark of understanding and saw none. Vainly, he tried to speak around the ET tube, the respirator squawked.

Shelley stepped back in the doorway, the sedative in hand.

Chaney brushed past her into the room. "Lab work," he commented to her as he entered.

She turned back with a scowl on her face. "There isn't any lab work ordered-"

"I've got it right here." He pulled the gleaming pistol from under his lab jacket.

Hands half raised, she gave a little gasp, jumping back against the glass wall. She glanced out of the door, but neither of the other two nurses was at the desk.

Steve looked up, face to face with Robert Chaney. There was a fraction of a moment when he realized how critical situation was and how high the odds were stacked. "Robert Chaney, I presume?" he asked calmly, in spite of his fear. He wondered if his heart was now racing faster than Danno's. He needed to buy time to think.

"That's me." The young man nodded a touch of pride in his tone. "Do you know me? You knew my mother--Karen Smith." His voice turned angry. "Remember her?" he demanded bitterly. "I guess you don't spend much time looking back, huh? You good as killed her."

"I knew your mother a long time ago," Steve responded calmly. "I only learned of her death a few hours ago. In what way do you feel I killed her?"

"You left her!" He trembled with emotion. "You left her! I'm your bastard son! You got her pregnant and abandoned her like an old shoe!"

Steve mentally reeled for a moment trying to come to grips with this impossibility. "What?" He glanced at Danny. No wonder he wouldn't talk on the phone. He must not have know what to think. He didn't know it was a lie. He turned back to Chaney. "Robert," he took a deep breath, "did your mother tell you this?"

"That doesn't matter."

"Yes it does! It matters very much because it isn't true! You've believed a lie and killed one man, seriously injured another!" He didn't know whether to express fury or pity towards this confused young man. He took a breath in attempt to calm himself. "Karen was a wonderful woman. I loved her very much, but not in the way you mean."

"You're lying!" Robert shook the weapon. He is trying to make it sound all right. He is a liar. He will do anything, say anything. Revenge! Make him pay! "You got her pregnant and abandoned her!"

"Look, no one around here is armed," Steve said slowly. "Put that thing down and let's talk. Fire it in here with all the oxygen lines and you'll kill a lot of people. I don't think you really want to do that."

"I don't trust you. They said you're a cop's cop! I don't trust you!" His grip tightened on the magnum he had aimed squarely at Steve.

Steve searched his mind for the source of that comment. Of course, the crime special interview. "Robert, you don't really know me at all, do you? Until a few weeks ago, I was no more than an old picture in the drawer."

"She used to talk about you, she loved you!" he shouted. "And you killed her!"

Steve attempted to move closer, but between his useless arm and wounded hip, the movement was impossible. "All right, all right." he said a lot more calmly than he felt, "then tell me how I killed her."

"You left her to suffer! You never came back. Look how you live--like a king in paradise. She worked like a dog, scraping and groveling for every penny. She couldn't even get care when she got sick. So she died!" He was distraught. "Why didn't you come back for her?"

Why didn't I? "Robert, I knew your mother in 1952. I was in the service waiting to go to Korea. I asked her to wait and she chose to end it. It was her choice. And she chose to marry Morris Chaney. When you were conceived, I'd been in Korea five months. Now think, Chaney!"

"No!" he yelled. "She could never choose to marry a bastard like him!" By now, the other two nurses were aware of what was happening. Neither of them could make a move towards the phone without Robert seeing them. Steve prayed none of them would do something crazy and start him shooting.

"Robert, I'd like to talk to you some more about Karen, about how things used to be. Could we go somewhere? Anywhere away from here just you and me. These nurses aren't involved. Williams doesn't deserve anymore of this."

Robert seemed to become aware of Danny for the first time. "He's--uh--he's gonna live?"

"I believe so."

"Good." Robert's emotions overwhelmed him for a moment. He looked about to cry. "I never meant to hurt him, you know. I never meant to. He got in the way. It was an accident."

Shelley spoke up, her voice melodic, bringing peace into a scene of panic. "We all know you didn't intend harm to him, Robert. It was a mistake. We all make mistakes. You do. Steve does. We all do. And we all have to live with the consequences. Maybe if Steve here had come back, he could have helped your dear Mum. But it sounds like she made her own mistakes, too. Who was the man she married?"

Robert stared at her, the gun moving in her direction and Steve thought for one awful moment he'd shoot her. "Morris Chaney," he said, sullenly.

"A good strong name."

"He did unspeakable things," he murmured. "He didn't love her, he hurt her. Just like him." He gestured to Steve. "He says he loved her, too."

"But your Mum married Morris Chaney?"

"Yeah, because she had to marry somebody. He left her!" He gestured towards McGarrett.

"When Chaney died, did she ever write to Steve?"

Robert was growing angry again. "I don't know. It doesn't matter." Maybe this woman is his lover now. No, that can't be. Then why is she taking up for him? She doesn't know him. She doesn't know how he killed my mother. It was his fault Williams almost died. It was supposed to be McGarrett. He tricked his friend, just like my mother. He is a deceitful liar. He killed her! He left her! Robert was breaking out in a sweat.

She took a step closer to him and he edged away from her, moving step closer to Steve. Shelley persisted quietly, in a maternal tone. "Robert, your precious Mum, may she rest in peace, however loving, made some mistakes."

"No, she didn't."

"She married Chaney."

He bit his lips. "So?"

"As I said before, we all make mistakes. But whatever poor choices either she or Steve may have made, she would not want you to throw your life away making a bigger one. If she worked hard, it was because she loved you and wanted to see you grow into a strong good man." She felt at this point she should touch him in some way, but she did not dare. "Now don't throw her love away in such a useless way. Don't ruin your life."

He shook his head. "My life's already ruined. The only purpose left is to make him pay." Voicing the statement renewed his resolve. He pointed the magnum back at Steve.

Shelley continued, trying to pull his attention back. "Your life's hardly ruined. It's only beginning. You've certainly made some large mistakes. You can't change killing that poor officer, but don't make it worse. Make a good choice now. For the sake of your dear mother, rest her soul, let the killing stop here. Put the weapon down."

Robert's look softened, the gun dropped for just a moment; one, under better conditions, Steve could have used to snatch the weapon. It was gone too quickly. He cursed his immobility as Robert stiffened again, swinging the magnum back towards Steve. "I hate you," he snarled. "I'll always know you killed her. I promised her I'd make you pay." Kill him! Keep your promise! Don't fail again!

"Robert," Shelley said again, "your mum certainly understands more than you think. She knows how you love her. If her heart's as big as you say, she's forgiven Steve here already. Maybe you should, too."

Robert turned back to Shelley, his face twisted in confusion and pain. "I do like you, I'm sorry about all this. But I can't listen to you, it's too late." As he spoke, his gun sagged again.

This time, Steve ignoring his injuries lunged towards Chaney, grabbing hold of the magnum and wrenching it savagely from the young man's hand. He felt a hot tearing pain in his hip and just prayed he could stay on his feet. "Get the guard!" he shouted, pinning the howling Chaney to the wall with his bodyweight and one good arm.

Robert was breaking down into a sobbing mass of humanity. Hands over his ears, he wailed his great anguish. "NO! I failed! I failed!"

The officers were slamming through the door instantly, roughly smashing Chaney, face first against the glass wall, giving him his rights, and not too gently snapping the cuffs around his wrists.

Steve sagged slowly down into the wheelchair, exhausted physically and emotionally. He knew he'd torn open the wound on his thigh, but it somehow didn't matter very much. He glanced at Danny, but couldn't tell what his thoughts were. McGarrett turned back to Shelley still standing there in the doorway. "You took a very big risk."

"Seems it wasn't a risk any of us asked for," she said with a gentle grin. "Are you finally ready to get some rest?"

Danny was a resident in the step-down unit. Aside from the cardiac monitor on the wall, all the equipment was gone. Odd how simple things like just sitting up or eating hospital Jell-O seemed so special. Steve was coming by on his way to discharge. They had never talked about what had happened. To Danny it seemed like it was overdue. Maybe the answer is in that Steve avoids the discussion. I made a bad call allowing myself to get involved with Chaney at all. An officer died because of that poor choice. Steve could have been killed. How would I have lived with that?

The door opened and McGarrett appeared. In his suit with the cane for support, he looked quite distinguished. "Time somebody around here was getting back to work. We've taken a real chunk out of our workman's comp policy this time," he kidded with a smile. "This week out of the office has felt like a lifetime."

"Hell of a way to make you take a vacation," Danny remarked. His voice was still raspy from the intubation. He doesn't want to talk about it now either. "We need to talk about Chaney."

The smiled faded some. "What's to say, Danno? He was a crackpot. That's the end of it."

"I didn't know what to do. I mean, I never should have allowed myself to get--it was your personal business. I'm sorry," Danny muttered, the emotion not coming easily, but at least the words were said and the issue was broached.

"You're sorry?" Steve replied quietly. He shook his head slightly. "When we thought you might die, I couldn't bare the thought of it. I kept remembering Chin. As officers of the law we know that any one of us can make the ultimate sacrifice at any time. But--" he shook his head again, "--he used you to get to me. I never considered if you should have done something different. I just wanted you to stay alive." He paused, not sure how to go on for a moment. He glanced at Danny and recalled the week before and how unreal it already seemed. The ventilator and other equipment had all vanished to be replaced by a giant bouquet of flowers from the governor's office. Danno looked weak, pale, but he was gaining strength back. In time this will just be a memory. And what then? "There is a renegade cop out of Boston named James Carew," Steve commented. "He bugging the heck out of Alika. Ever heard of him?"

Danny shook his head. "Boston isn't a place I know much about."

"No discipline, but Duke's seen him in action here. Even though he's stirring up trouble, he uses good police technique." Steve gazed out the window because he found he couldn't look Danny in the eye. "I've decided to sign him on; see how he does."

"What for?" Then, as if Danny already knew the unspoken answer he added, "Just give me a week. I'll be fine."

He set his jaw, still staring out the window. "You need time, Danno. A lot of time. This recovery isn't going to be a few days or a week. We're looking at months. I want you to get well, friend, and to live a long time. I want you to let this go. Consider doing what you once dreamed of--go back to school after that PhD. Be glad you are alive to achieve that dream."

Danny looked at McGarrett's back for a minute, then looked away. "Why? Because you can't deal with my shooting?"

Steve winced, steeling his emotions. "I need to make some changes, Danno "

Stunned silence was Danny's response for several agonizing seconds. "All right, Steve." But his reply was hollow. Just like that? Eleven years and just like that?

Steve turned to the door. "I need to go, but I'll keep in touch." He paused, wanting to say more. Hand on the knob, he looked back, thought again, and left.

Steve slowly made his way up the hall towards the elevator. How could I ever explain to Danno what I can barely admit to myself? He is the closest friend I have, but his life is more precious to me than the friendship. If that is what it costs to ensure his survival, I will pay that price, but this will never happen again. Steve had seen a vulnerable spot within himself he could not live with. He could not afford this emotional attachment to his men. Things would be different now. Perhaps he'd done Danny a favor. He hoped so. He vowed to be certain there was a job waiting for Danno when he was able, but it would not be in Five-0. He headed for the car and Duke. Duty awaited.

This is not the end. A resolution is offered in It's How You Play the Game