A/N - I am completely confused. I thought this chapter was posted ages ago. Am I cracked? Or have the changes here at FFN caused this chapter to do a Houdini? Well, in any case this is chapter eight. I am working on chapter nine. There are only a couple of chapter left to go. Sorry about the long wait.
After this story is completed I think I may not be around too much any more. I seem to be having some difficulty concentrating on anything for more than a brief period of time. It must be that Alzheimer's kicking in. Come on guys you know I'm kidding, I don't have Alzheimer's, but I am having a lot of trouble concentrating and remembering things. It could be that I thought I posted chapter eight but never actually did! My memory has gotten that bad. I blame it on a pathological lack of sleep. Between three over achieving kids in 3 different schools (due to the difference in their ages), a full time job working the night shift, the rest of the world having no clue that night shift workers actually need to sleep during the day time, and a household to run, I have pushed myself to my limit of endurance!
Whew, I need a breath after that run on sentence! LOL. I still always have that nagging in the back of my mind that I have actual fans of my stories out there looking for an update, so I am committed to finishing my open stories and then taking a break. I plan to simplify my life as much as possible in hopes that my focus and memory do a rebound. I feel very honored that so many folks have liked my silly little stories. It is unbelievably gratifying that someone is actually reading and enjoying my work. I have tried to get my husband to read my work and give me his opinion, but even though we celebrated 18 years yesterday, he has still never read anything that I have written! So I thank each and every one of you who have taken the time to read and give feedback. It makes me feel like I have actually accomplished something. You guys rock.
Love ya all. Please enjoy and I promise chapter nine shouldn't be but a couple of week away.
Chin Ho Kelly felt at home with his team. He had found his place in the world when he joined Steve McGarrett's team on the Five-0 task force. Chin was very protective of his family and he considered Five-0 his family. As they made their way back to the vehicles the older dective could see that Steve was in pain but hiding that face. He held his left arm close to his side as they walked northward down the beach and it wasn't lost on him that Steve gravitated closer to the water where the sand was firmer and easier to walk on.
Chin couldn't help but notice the striking similarties between the Five-0 Commander and his father. Being a partner with a McGarrett seemed to have inherant responsibilities regardless of which vintage you were dealing with. Steve was easily as stubborn as his father was, if not more so. Chin understood that stubborness and respected it. It was a trait that allowed both Steve and his father to function at a level that seemed so uch higher than other people. It could also be a burden, in that getting either of them to admit to the need to stop and rest.
Chin was prepared to give Steve a hard-line argument as to why he wouldn't be driving when they left, but much to his surprise the Commander simply walked over to the passenger side of his SUV and got in. Kono exchanged a look with him, but refrained from saying anything.
"Kono, I want you to contact the sweep commander and get HPD to concentrate the search south of Waianae. The area is pretty residential, but I'm sure there are at least a few homes that are empty. It's possible that Kalawai could be hiding out within the neighborhoods to the south of us. We know that he is at the very least a mile south of WCCC. My guess is he has moved on past the community mental health center, but I could be wrong. You should probably have someone check the in-house facility. Kalawai would be familiar with the grounds and know if there were any good hiding places."
Kono had a curious look on her face. "Would a place like that have medical facilities?"
Chin raised his eyebrows at the young rookie. She was thinking like a good cop. "I'm sure there is an infirmary at the very least. You should have an HPD unit check out the facility. Kalawai's familiarity with the grounds and facility might make it a good place for him to stop to get some bandages or clean clothes."
"You got it, cuz." Kono looked past Chin Ho at Steve. "Hey, Boss, get some rest. If we find anything you'll be my first call."
Steve leaned his head back on the head rest. He had a good team and he knew he could trust them to keep the investigation and the search on track. Chin had learned from the best. Steve never doubted his father's ability as a cop and Chin had learned from him.
Steve hated giving into the fatigue and discomfort he was feeling, but that was nothing compared to the guilt he felt burning in his gut. Every time he closed his eyes he saw Danny lying on the beach, eyes open and sightless. This should never have happened, and no matter how many different ways he tried to look at the situation, he knew in his heart that he should have realized what Kalawai was going to do. What happened to Danny was his fault.
Chin climbed up into the driver's side of the SUV and looked over at McGarrett for a moment before turning on the engine. "You okay, Steve?"
Steve didn't even bother opening his eyes. "I'm good. Lets get back to HMC West. I want to check on Danny and see how he's doing."
Chin's voice didn't betray any emotion, but Steve could tell that he was concerned. "Okay, brah, but then you need to go home and get some rest. We'll catch up with Kalawai in the morning."
The ride back to Honolulu didn't take very long because traffic was light during the evening hours. Steve dosed off almost as soon as they hit the Farrington Highway and didn't rouse until Chin parked the car in the hospital's lot.
"We're here, Steve."
McGarrett opened his eyes and took a moment to focus. He was still bone tired, but the short nap had refreshed him enough to function at a level that was much closer to his norm. As Steve and Chin walked down the hallway from the elevators to the ICU an alarm could be heard from the unit and several people in medical attire rushed past the two Five-0 detectives. McGarrett heard one of them say, "code blue" and his gut clenched in fear. Steve and Chin exchanged a worried look and moved as quickly as they could down the hallway toward the ICU.
Their admittance to the unit was hampered by the activity and a nurse or possibly an aide came over to the unit entrance. "I'm sorry but you can't come in at the moment."
Steve pulled out his badge and waved it at her, but she was not swayed. "Look my partner is in there. I need to know what's happening with him."
The woman gave McGarrett a sympathetic look and pointed to a small waiting area just outside the ICU. "I'm really sorry, but you need to wait out here until we have the situation under control." She then turned away from them and closed the main door to the unit.
Steve was about to protest and walk right through the closed door when Chin put a restraining hand on his arm. "Steve, you gotta let them do their jobs."
Steve knew Chin was right, but he didn't move away from the now closed door to the ICU. "Think about it, brah, do you really want them to stop what they are doing to answer our questions?"
Steve crumbled under Chin's reasoning. Of course he didn't want the medical staff to stop working. He dropped his head to his chest and turned away from the doors, and headed for the small waiting area that had been indicated. The room was open to the corridor but tucked off in a corner on the left side of the hallway. They had turn round a slight bend to walk into the area which offered a modicum of privacy for the family members of patients in the ICU.
The room wasn't particularly large but it would easily accommodate about fifteen people if necessary. The seats were unlike the hard plastic chairs in the ER waiting area. These seats also set up in a bank of two rows facing each other were plush with thick fabric cushions. The walls were a soft peach color with one wall being windows that went from about hip level to the ceiling. A woman was in the far corner turned away from them and speaking softly into a cell phone. Steve couldn't hear what was said but something about the voice drew his attention.
Was that an English accent?
"Rachel?" Steve asked.
The woman turned and Steve's eyes opened wide to see Danny's ex-wife standing there. She quickly ended her phone call and walked up to the Five-0 detectives. "Commander, McGarrett."
Steve looked at her face and realized it was calm and composed. He glanced back toward the closed doors of the ICU, and then back at Rachel; a confused frown pulling his eyebrows together.
Rachel seemed to understand and she reached out to touch Steve's arm. "Oh, no that isn't for Danny. All visitors were asked to leave the ICU when one of the patients had something happen."
Relief flooded through Steve and he found himself sitting down as his knees grew weak. Rachel took the seat next to him and glanced up at Chin. "I'm Rachel Edwards; Daniel's ex-wife," she introduced herself.
"Hello, I'm Chin Ho Kelly. I work with Danny on the task force. It's nice to meet you."
Steve took the moment while Chin and Rachel were introducing themselves to each other to make sure his breathing was under control. "Rachel, I wasn't expecting to see you. Where is Grace? Did you get a call from the hospital? Is Danny all right?"
Steve didn't want to sound frantic, but his heart rate hadn't quite slowed down yet. Rachel seemed to understand and spoke calmly answering all of his rapid fire questions. "No, I didn't get a call from the hospital. When I arrived they said that Danny is doing just fine. Grace is home with a sitter at the moment.
"Commander, I wanted to apologize for my behavior this afternoon. I had no right to treat you the way that I did, and then run out like that. I just... I was overwhelmed with everything."
Steve sighed and nodded. "Rachel, you don't have to be sorry. I know that the last thing you expected to deal with was something like this happening to Danny. How is Grace doing with all of this?"
Rachel sat up a little straighter. "She isn't very Happy with me at the moment. She wanted to come see her father tonight, but I don't want her to see him like this. All those tubes and the respirator would frighten her. She can be as stubborn as her father, I'm afraid. The doctor said that he was going to take Danny off the respirator in the morning so, I promised her that I would bring her tomorrow morning before school. I'm just praying that he will be all right."
Steve knew that Rachel was worried about brain damage. If he were truthful he was just as concerned, but felt the need to allay Rachel's fears. "Danny is strong, and stubborn, and he is devoted to Grace. He'll pull through this, Rachel. By tomorrow afternoon he'll be complaining about everything and asking for pizza without pineapple on it."
A small smile turned up the corners of his mouth as though picturing Danny in full rant mode with his hands flailing all over the place. Steve couldn't help but notice the look in the young woman's eyes. It was clear to him that Danny's ex was still very much in love with him.
Rachel's voice pulled him from his musings. "I'm really sorry to do this again, but I must get back home. The sitter has a curfew."
"It's all right, Rachel. Try not to worry, Danny will be fine."
Rachel got up to leave and shook Chin's hand as well as Steve's. Once she had disappeared down the hallway Chin sat down next to Steve with a quizzical look on his face. "She's not what I expected."
"Rachel, is definitely a very interesting woman."
Chin looked in the direction she had gone. "It seemed to me that she still has some pretty strong feelings for our boy."
Steve nodded. "Yeah, That's the feeling I got when we used her house as a stakeout during the triathlon. She just couldn't deal with the stress of being a cop's wife."
Chin nodded knowingly. "It's a hard thing, constantly worrying that your partner won't come home. It's too bad that had to come between two people who obviously still care very much about each other."
Steve tended to agree with Chin, but he also understood that the job took a toll on families. His father's recorded message echoed in his mind.
"The toll that it took on my family; the way that it hurt them; it's something I think about everyday."
"Danny isn't the easiest person to live with. He's one of the best cops I've ever known, but this job - it takes no prisoners sometimes."
Chin looked a little confused. "How's that?"
"Danny's a great cop. He's totally dedicated to this job maybe to the exclusion of other important things like family. Danny hasn't talked to me about his break up with Rachel except to say that he wondered if Grace would think of him as a selfish son of a bitch. He told me that this job is all he's got and that he's good at it. Maybe that just wasn't enough for Rachel."
Chin shook his head. "I don't know, brah. I know how much this job can effect family, maybe more than some."
Steve nodded his head. Chin Ho had lost a lot including the alliance and respect of many of his own family members over issues with the HPD.
"Steve, I know how dedicated Danny is to his job, but the man left his home, his parents, his siblings, and his friends, and moved halfway around the world just so that he could be near his child. That just doesn't strike me as a man who put the job before his family."
Steve leaned back against the cushion of the seat he was in. "That's true. Danny has never been very comfortable here in Hawaii, but he would do anything for Grace. It's too bad that it didn't work out between Danny and Rachel. He'll never admit it, but I know he still loves her, and I think she may still love him. She even crashed Step Stan's car during that stakeout to get Danny out of a tight spot."
The same nurse or aide who prevented Steve from coming into the ICU walked out to the waiting area. "We're sorry that you had to wait out here, but we had an emergency with another patient to take care of. You can come in now and see Detective Williams. His nurse is waiting to update you on his condition, if you'd just follow me."
Steve and Chin exchanged a concerned look and got up to follow the woman. They walked into the ICU and passed by one of the large glassed doors that led to one of the rooms. Even though the curtain on the inside of the door was pulled closed it didn't completely block the view of the room, especially the floor which was covered in a copious amount of blood that the janitorial staff was in the process of mopping up.
The same nurse that Steve had spoken to earlier that day was still there and just finished hanging another bag of some kind of IV fluid attached to a line that snaked it's way under the blanket covering Danny. Steve pointed over his shoulder back toward the other room with his thumb. "It looks a little like a crime scene over there."
The woman smiled slightly. "GI bleeds can be very messy. When we have an emergency like that we need to clear all visitors from the unit so that the staff can concentrate on the issue at hand. I'm sorry you had to wait."
Steve noticed that Danny looked much the same as he had earlier, with the notable exception of his complexion. He had far more color in his cheeks than he had that afternoon. "How is he doing?"
"Your partner is doing very well. His blood oxygen levels are good and have been all day. He is still under sedation, but Dr. Hallstrom ordered another EEG which came back with very positive results. His heart rhythm is strong and normal. His lungs still sound clear although that could always change over the next twenty four hours given that this was a wet drowning, but all in all, he is doing very well."
Steve was bolstered by the good report and stepped over to the side of the bed. He took a hold of Danny's hand and squeezed. "Hang in there, Buddy."
Steve looked up and saw Chin standing back close to the door. He got the impression that Chin was giving him a few moments. "Chin, I'm going to go get some coffee. Why don't you stay with Danny for a few minutes?"
Stepping out of the room Steve walked half way down the corridor toward the exit to the ICU before stopping and leaning against the wall. The stress and fatigue seemed to all come crashing down at once and he felt a little dizzy. This had been one of the longest days that he could remember. Surely he had endured harder days during his extensive military career, but at that moment he couldn't bring a single one to mind.
Steve didn't realize that he had slowly slid down the wall until he was sitting on the floor with his head resting on his knees. He didn't realize that he had begun to shake drawing the attention of the nursing staff. He had no idea how long he sat there in this awkward position making his ribs throb painfully. Chin's voice was the first thing to penetrate his fatigue fogged awareness as the older man's hand rested lightly on his shoulder.
"Steve. Hey, brah, can you hear me?"
"I'm good." Steve replied automatically.
"Not sure I'd agree with you. Come on, lets let the ladies check you out." Chin said as he grabbed Steve under his arm and helped him to regain his feet.
Once he was up the Five-0 commander shook his head. "Nah, I'm just a bit tired. I'll be fine."
Danny's nurse guided him over to a chair at the nurses station. "Commander McGarrett, I'm sure that is true, but would you humor me and let me take your blood pressure?"
Steve looked up into her ernest green eyes and just nodded. He knew that they wouldn't let him leave unless he submitted to the request so the most logical thing to do was to stay put and let the woman do her job. She wheeled over a box on a pole that had a blood pressure cuff attached to it. The front of the instrument had several screens that gave different information as the cuff inflated around his bicep then deflated.
"Your blood pressure is a little low, but not overly so, and your pulse is fine. Did you feel dizzy?"
Steve shook his head. "No, I'm just tired. It's been a really long day."
"I can imagine. Commander, you really should go home and get some rest. There is nothing you can do here. Your partner is doing very well and I have your cell phone number in case anything changes with him."
Steve knew that she was right. Staying here was illogical and he would be in no condition to continue the search for Kalawai in the morning if he didn't get some sleep. "What time will the tube come out tomorrow?"
"Dr. Hallstrom will remove the respirator at seven in the morning and take him off the sedation. I would expect him to be waking up by seven thirty or eight o'clock depending on how he handles sedation. Everyone is a little different."
Steve nodded his understanding. "You'll call me if there are any problems with him?"
"You will be my second call, Commander."
Steve looked up at Chin. "Can you give me a lift home and be back by seven to pick me up?"
Chin still looked concerned, but seemed to defer to the nurse's opinion that Steve was fine. "You got it boss."
Chin had just closed the door of Steve's house behind him when his cell phone buzzed in his pocket. He walked back to his SUV as he glanced down and saw that it was Kono calling. "Hey, Kono, what's the word?" Chin put the phone on speaker as he climbed into his vehicle and started it up.
"Chin, you called it right. Kalawai did pay a visit to the Waianae Coast Community Mental Health Center. A utility entrance in the back was his access. There is a camera back there, but it was broken some time ago and due to budget cuts it was one of the items low on the list of priorities where the money was concerned. The patients aren't allowed access to the rear of the property where the utility entrance is and it's kept padlocked."
Chin pulled out of McGarrett's driveway and pulled out heading north. "What makes you think that it was our guy?"
"Kalawai was a patient at the facility during a time when the rear of the building was in use, so he should know about it, but it helped that he was picked up on the video inside the building."
"Was his face visible in the video?" Chin wanted to know.
"No, he knew where the cameras were and kept his face turned away. He was carrying some dark green utilities management overalls. The vid shows him entering the infirmary and leaving a few minutes later wearing the coveralls, but get this, he still had the handcuffs hanging from his wrist. He grabbed a bunch of gauze some medical tape a couple of towels, and what looks like some plastic bags."
Chin frowned and shook his head. "Wait, so that means he doubled back to the Jembatan bridge after leaving the center. Why would he patch up his wounds but not take the cuffs off while he was there. He obviously jimmied the lock on the cuffs while he was under the bridge, but why wait and why go back?"
"He had to get out of the infirmary quickly. Kalawai must have known that security would have picked him up on the internal video. He left his clothes behind and threw on the coveralls. When he left the infirmary and headed back toward the utility entrance it was only moments before security showed up. By that time most of the available HPD cruisers were in the area. I'm thinking he went back to the bridge to take care of his injuries, get the cuffs off and wait until the sun went down."
"Kono, were you able to talk with the guard on duty at the center this afternoon?"
"Already way ahead of you, cuz. He saw Kalawai on the monitor and didn't recognize him. He noticed the bloody shirt, which is what drew his attention, and knew that the infirmary was unstaffed at that time. Patients aren't allowed access to the infirmary without an escort, so he came down to investigate. He would have gotten there sooner except that the service elevator was disabled with wedge jammed into the open doors and the stair cases are tripped for alarms to go off because they are only to be used in emergencies. The guard had to go back to the security office to disable the stair alarm system before he could get down to the first floor where the infirmary is located. Playing back the video, it looks like he missed Kalawai by only the length of a corridor."
Chin turned right onto the Farrington Highway. "Are you still at the center?"
"Yes, HPD is dusting for prints to confirm that is was Kalawai, but the clothes left in the trash bin are the same that Kalawai were wearing earlier."
"Okay, I'm on my way to you." Chin said as he speeded up.
"What about Steve and Danny?"
"Danny is holding his own. There haven't been any problems. Steve is beyond exhausted, and I took him home. I don't want to call him right now, he needs to sleep more than he needs to know where Kalawai was five hours ago. Hey, good work, Kono."
PS: I have noticed that the text of many stories are centered rather than left justified. I hope that doesn't happen when I tell this thing to post. I hate centered text. It drives me nuts.