I am a bad person! I'm so sorry I didn't update, life decided to visit me. So, we reach the final chapter! I hope you've enjoyed reading, as much as I've enjoyed writing. This is not the end however, as I will be back very soon with another story, I promise.
"Danno?" Steve's voice was quiet, broken, but the Jersey native heard it clearly. He'd been waiting to hear it for a while now.
"Steve? You there?" He asked back hesitantly. As soon as he spoke, the heart monitor showed the SEAL's heart fall back into a more regular rhythm. The nurses who had rushed into the room as the alarms sounded quietly moved away from the beds, having realised that nothing was seriously wrong with their patient.
"Uncle Steve!" Grace's bright voice reminded her father of her presence. The little girl darted from his side, to the edge of the bed, her hand automatically grasping his partner's fingers. Slower than she was, Danny very carefully crossed the room, a part of him terrified at what he would see.
Dull and confused blue eyes gazed up at him, and suddenly Danny's hopes soared.
"W-What happened?" The ex SEAL's voice was soft, and expressed his utter bewilderment. Whenever Steve was recovered, Danny was going to use this moment as blackmail material. As soon as that thought entered his head, the Jersey native had to laugh, though the sound was weak with his relief.
"Finally decided to wake up have you? Grace was getting worried," Danny told him, subtly reminding his partner of the child. He wanted to explain things to Steve, but not when his daughter was in the room. Steve frowned slightly, his eyes darting around until they settled on Grace's angelic face, peering anxiously at him.
"Uncle Steve?" Her voice trembled slightly, her glee having evaporated.
"Hey Gracie! How are you doing?" Steve's voice was coated in false happiness that Danny noticed straight away, but his daughter seemed blissfully ignorant to.
"I'm fine, but Danno says that you've been sick... Are you going to be Ok?"
"You know me Gracie, I'm indestructible," he whispered conspiratorially to her, and then watched as a grin spread across her young face. She looked so innocent and peaceful, that Steve felt the grin leak onto his own face.
As he moved his face, he suddenly became aware of the numbness, not just in his facial muscles but all over. This revelation had his panic rising again, taking hold. Danny watched his partner's darkening face with alarm.
"Monkey, why don't you go and find Steve's doctor?" His daughter looked at him in confusion for a second, before flashing a brilliant smile and darting out of the door.
As soon as the door had swung shut again, Steve let his composure slip from his face. Danny saw the panic once again flare up in his eyes, and quickly moved closer to the side of the bed.
"Calm down you idiot," he scolded gently, watching the heart monitor jump wildly. "Stay calm and I can explain."
"What happened? Why can't I remember?" Steve's voice, though normally smooth and collected, was coated in fear. He was genuinely freaked out by this whole experience Danny realised with some surprise. With his partner's track record, he had assumed that Steve was used to waking up in hospital beds.
"What's you last memory? Where were you?"
"I was... fighting? A warehouse? No, after that..." Steve's brow furrowed as he dug through his memories. "Rocking. A boat... yacht." Suddenly his face tensed and his eyes flew open. "Sang Min?" It was half an exclamation, and half a question. The heart monitor started dancing crazily again.
"What did I say about calm?" Danny hushed him desperately. "What else can you remember?" He didn't want to make Steve recall all those dreadful moments, but the doctors had told him that he was more likely to build up his memory if they let him unlock it himself.
"A room. No windows. A cell?" There was a very deep silence for a moment, and Danny watched as hatred leaked onto the ex SEAL's face. "Nick Taylor." Danny felt his own face tighten, and the corners of his mouth turned down.
"So you remember that then?" His voice was bleak. "Um, I don't know how you'll take this, but he's dead, Steve." Carefully, he examined his partner's face for any signs of distress at this information, but the ex SEAL had closed his eyes, hiding his emotions. It was silent for several moments, and Danny was about to ask if he was ok, but Steve spoke first.
"What do you mean?"
"How did he die?" The words were carefully emotionless.
"He, er, shot himself. As soon as he was faced with Chin and Kono, he decided to end it." Danny wasn't entirely sure what to do. He knew his partner wouldn't accept any comforting, but at the same time he couldn't bear watching Steve suffer on his own. Even if the SEAL hated Taylor, once, long ago, he had been his friend.
"Why? Couldn't he have escaped?"
"He could probably have gotten away from us, but not from his... friends. The people who helped him escape were blackmailing him to pay up for their services. That's why he wanted you. The information you had could have bought his freedom from them." Silently, Steve nodded at this information, opening his eyes at last. To anyone else, it would be all but invisible, but Danny saw in the depths of those blue orbs a deep pain. "Are you alright?" The words were out before he thought them through.
"Why are you here?" Danny pulled back in surprise.
"Do you want me to leave?" He couldn't help the hurt that laced his tone. Steve heard it and saw it in his partner's eyes.
"No!" He hurried to reassure. "It's just that... everything that happened... I'm surprised you're not in a hospital bed yourself. You look like hell." Danny scowled at that comment. "But even without that, I would have thought that the last place on Earth you would want to be would be my hospital room."
"Why's that?" Steve tried to see past the words, to understand how his partner was truly feeling.
"You... You don't blame me?"
"Blame you? Of course not!" Danny was horrified that Steve had even entertained the thought. His partner just blinked at him for a moment, letting that sink in, trying to come to grips with it. It had been entirely his fault that Danny had been kidnapped and tortured, and yet the Jersey native was here at his bedside to comfort him. His partner's loyalty touched him in a way that no words could.
It was that moment that Grace decided to return, pulling a middle aged man in a lab coat through the door. Though Steve had visited the hospital several times since returning to Hawaii, he had yet to meet this doctor.
"Hello Commander McGarrett, I'm glad to see you're awake. I am Dr Fellows," he introduced himself pleasantly, smiling warmly at him. Steve nodded at him.
"Why don't we leave these two to talk, Monkey?" Danny suggested to Grace, and subtly exited the room to allow them some privacy. Steve would keep him up to date on anything important, but he wanted to shelter his daughter. Besides, he needed to call Chin and Kono, who had gone back to the office earlier in the day.
"So, Commander, are you in any pain?" Dr Fellows asked as he did a practised check of his vitals and wrote something on the chart at the end of his bed.
"Not really. I take it that there are some drugs keeping me that way, huh?"
"You could say that. You were in a hell of a state when you came in, I can tell you." The doctor shook his head at the memory. He had been in the medical profession for over twenty years now, but he wasn't sure if he had ever seen a case quite like McGarrett's.
"So, what's my injury tally?" Steve's memory was still hazy, and the drugs stopped him from feeling anything below the neck, so he wasn't really sure how bad he was. "And how long have I been here?" He had suddenly noticed that he had no idea when it was.
"You came here about 78 hours ago, and have been in and out of surgery for most of that time. You have a bullet wound to the upper chest that hit an artery," Steve suddenly had a flashback of searing pain above his heart, "one punctured lung, and the other was heavily bruised," memories of being short of breath, "and you had fallen into shock by the time you got here. Your kidneys faltered slightly and so have had some dialysis."
"Wow, that's an... impressive list."
"I don't think that impressive would be the word I'd use." The doctor tried to look stern, but a smile broke out on his face.
"So, when can I get out of here?" The oppressive cleanness that Steve related to hospitals was already starting to get to him.
"Woah, hold on there! You've only just woken up! You're not going anywhere for at least a week. That's an order." This time the doctor meant it. Feeling the pull of sleep, probably an effect of the drugs, Steve just didn't have the energy to argue. Fellows saw his patient's eyes flutter, and recognized the weariness on his face. "Sleep now commander. Your friends will be here when you wake up."
"Danno, you have to get me out of here! I'm going to go insane," Steve pleaded for the thousandth time.
"You already are insane! You threw us both off a boat remember?" His partner teased him lightly.
"Not really... I remember saving your ass," he retorted, grinning. Danny rolled his eyes at the ex SEAL, not bothering to respond. For over two days now Steve had been begging to be allowed to leave the hospital, and to be honest Danny couldn't blame him. He was getting pretty sick of the place himself, and he could leave whenever he wanted. Not that he was going to abandon Steve.
"Please Danno!" It was painful to hear Steve beg him, when his only answer could be no.
"You know that you can't. What good does bothering me do? Bother your doctor instead."
"I would but he's not here," Steve pointed out. Danny sighed tiredly.
"Do you want me to get him? You know that he will say no, just like the other hundred times you asked and begged and grovelled. Just accept that you're stuck here."
"All I'm doing is lying in a bed. I can do that at home."
"Tell Dr Fellows that then," Danny said, forcing himself to his feet in order to find Steve's doctor. He was fairly sure that the man had been hiding from him ever since Steve woke up, trying to avoid the incessant pestering to be discharged.
Steve watched his partner leave the room and sighed to himself. Chin and Kono would be back soon, hopefully bringing some decent food. Danny was in no way bitter towards him after what had happened. In actual fact, he had been very protective over him, and was constantly there to make sure that he had everything he needed.
Most of his memories had returned now, though he would have been happier had some of the details continued to elude him. Sang Min was still on the run, and had been a complete dead end in the investigation. Steve also had yet to decide what he thought about Taylor's death. It hurt more than he wanted anyone to know, but at the same time, the ex SEAL knew that this would only be over with his death. No more What Ifs. It was over. He had his friends around him. He was safe.
And it's over! I hoped you liked the story! I know I left a load of open ends, but there will be a sequel, so all will be explained (eventually). I have exams in a few weeks and I won't be writing again until after them, but then I have a load of new stories to get out there. Thank you to those of you who are offering me plots, my muse enjoys them greatly :D Hope to see you soon! Final reviews anyone?