Here's the final chapter! Once again I say a big thank you to everyone who has read, reviewed and alerted this story. As far as endings go, I hope this one is up to par.
Disclaimer: I don't own a thing related to Hawaii Five-0. But it's fun to dream!
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Danny had always wondered what the attraction was for people to watch buildings be demolished. He recalled a time in Jersey when the King Street Hospital was taken down. People lined the streets to watch the old building collapse in a spectacular display of explosive power. Danny had been one of them, but not voluntarily. He was on duty – trying to protect the lunatics from getting too close to the demolition zone.
He questioned the allure even more now that he was inside one.
Danny watched helplessly as the floor above him began to crash down around him. With a grunt he managed to sit up. He attempted to pull his body closer to the workstation to use it as a shield against the falling debris. Danny ducked his head while throwing his right arm over it hoping to protect himself. The best Danny could do was bend at the waist, lean against the table, and try to make himself as small of a target as possible.
What began as small pieces of plaster and wood turned quickly into larger chunks that crashed into the floor. Danny wanted to see where Steve had landed but each time he turned to look, more of the ceiling rained down, forcing him to shut his eyes. Chunks of ceiling struck his head and arms and he could feel the hot sting as his flesh was cut open.
It probably only lasted a few moments but it felt like ages.
When it was all over, Danny found it impossible to relax his tense body. He stayed in the same position for several minutes – holding his breath – not ready to believe that it was over. He could still hear the small thuds and clangs as fragments fell to the ground around him.
He opened his eyes and they stung as they came in contact with the dust and residue that swirled in the air. Blinking, Danny looked down at his body. Blood seeped from his wounds, staining his shirt. It looked as though his shoulders and arms had taken the brunt of the damage. Wiping grime off his face, his hand came away bloody. The wound on his head must have re-opened.
Without bothering to look behind him, Danny began to lower himself back down on to the floor. His head knocked against something cold and hard, and he propped himself back up to take a look. A steel beam had landed right where his head had been a few minutes before.
Danny tried not to dwell on what would have happened, but the gravity of his situation hit him hard. He swallowed down the panic that threatened to envelop him and was saved once again by the sound of Steve's voice.
Danny looked to his left to see his partner's head poking up through the rubble, hair speckled white from all of the dust and debris. "Steve! Are you okay?"
"Peachy." Steve's eyes met Danny's briefly and then flickered up to the ceiling. "The floor above us collapsed."
Danny laughed. "Thank you for that re-enactment."
"No I just…" Steve trailed off in a moment of concentration. Danny waited, and then, "I just find that interesting."
"What? Why?" Danny prompted, not sure where his partner was going with this.
"Well," Steve coughed, but continued, "I had assumed the bomb was someplace in Five-0. I was the one who got the call, so it seemed likely that the bomb had been planted here. But Chin said earlier that a wall on the fifth floor had collapsed. And now the entire floor almost fell on us, meaning – "
"– Meaning the bomb had to have been planted somewhere between the fourth and fifth floors." Danny nodded. It made sense. The blast had been big, but not big enough to kill them. If it had been planted in Five-0 headquarters, Danny felt quite certain he wouldn't be alive.
The sound of coughing shook him out of his thoughts and he turned back to see Steve shifting the large pieces of rubble away from his body. "You still determined to get over here, huh?"
"Look, Danny… Chin said that rescue isn't coming anytime soon. I'm not just going to sit and wait. Not when the entire building could come crashing down at any moment." Concern flickered briefly across Steve's face. "If I can get to you and get you free from that table, then I think we can get out."
Danny admired his partner for his tenacity. He figured there was no point in arguing with a Steve who had set his mind to something, no matter how impossible he thought it was. Because the truth of the matter was he had seen Steve accomplish the impossible on many occasions.
He watched as Steve managed to claw his way out from underneath a heap of wreckage. He noticed how Steve tried to mask his pain with a look of determination and concentration, but failed miserably. Danny spotted fresh cuts on Steve's head and his back seemed to be bleeding profusely; Steve's shirt was plastered to his skin.
"Steve, your back – "
"I know," came Steve's gruff reply. His partner was now struggling to stand. He moved too quickly and Danny saw Steve's face grow pale. He was able to catch himself before he fell and he leaned heavily against one of the few support beams still standing. After closing his eyes briefly, he opened them again and met Danny's glare.
"Steve… I mean it. I'm not going to be able to get out without some serious help. You're hurt. I'm hurt. Between the two of us, we have a few arms and one leg. This is not going to work."
"I've done more with less." Steve shrugged.
Danny threw his hand out in front of him. "What does that even mean?"
Steve leaned away from the wall and Danny saw a look of pure resolve cross his face. "It means I'm getting us out of here. Right now."
Danny raised his eyebrows but said nothing further as Steve somehow managed to hobble his way to Danny's side, weaving through the tattered remains of headquarters and using the walls and beams for support. His partner slowly lowered himself to the ground at Danny's left side, winded from the exertion. Danny didn't miss the fact that Steve still clutched his right side and he was sure he could see the bruises already beginning to form through the gaps in his shirt.
"Hey, you alright?" Danny questioned, trying to keep his voice even and calm.
Steve didn't answer. He began to look Danny over, concentrating specifically on his pinned legs and the placement of the table. Without a word, he began scooting himself behind Danny's back and he turned to follow Steve's movements. He was inspecting the beam that had fallen behind him; looking from the beam, over to the table, back to the beam.
Then, without warning, he took out his phone.
"Chin, I've made it over to Danny…. No, brah, he's good." Danny rolled his eyes. He was anything but 'good' but decided not to argue the point. "Listen… if I can get us back to my office, think you can get a scissor lift to the window? ….Exactly… Roger that. See you soon."
Steve shut his phone and turned his focus back to Danny.
"Ok Danno, here's the plan. I'm going to push this over to the workstation." Steve patted the steel beam with his hand then pointed back over to Danny. "Together we're going to lift the table, slide this underneath, and use it as a prop."
Danny nodded. "Like a car jack."
Danny contemplated Steve's plan. It sounded good, in theory. But getting the beam over wasn't going to be easy. Then finding a way to slide it under the table was another obstacle. And he didn't know how much strength he had left in him to lift the table off of his legs.
Danny didn't have time to raise his objections as Steve was already using his left shoulder to push the beam over to the workstation, his head lowered in full concentration. It was slow going. Steve had to pause after every push to catch his breath. His breathing was so shallow that Danny was certain his broken ribs were wreaking havoc to Steve's lungs. But Steve kept pushing – a small grunt escaping his lips with each shove - and it inched closer and closer to the workstation until it finally nudged against it with a soft clink.
Steve sunk to the ground, his breath short and ragged.
Steve held up a hand, silently asking Danny for a moment. Then he nodded, raised his head and smiled. "Piece of cake."
Danny rolled his eyes at his partner. "Ok, MacGuyver, what next?"
Steve lifted his chin, indicating the table. "Think you can lift the table as I slide this under?"
Danny turned back to the workstation. "I don't… I don't know. I don't think I can get enough leverage this close to the ground. Not to mention that I only have one good arm."
Steve seemed to consider Danny for a moment. "I could set your shoulder for you."
"No! No thank you. I'll try it with one arm."
"You're sure? I've done it before. I just need-"
"Really. I'm sure." Danny trusted his partner, but popping his shoulder back in was something he did not want to endure at the moment. He was trying his best to hide the amount of pain he was in. Steve fixing his shoulder might throw him over the edge and he didn't want to pass out. Not when Steve's ridiculous plan was this close to being accomplished.
"Let's just do this."
"Ok, on the count of three. I'll push the beam, you lift the table."
"One…. Two…. Three!"
Steve pushed. Danny lifted. His right arm strained with effort as he lifted the table off his legs. He shoved his shoulder into the table to try to give him more leverage, but he couldn't get it up any higher. Steve was shouting to lift the table higher, but Danny's strength gave out and he lowered the table back down.
Danny shook his head in defeat. Steve managed to get out of his office, over to Danny and push a heavy beam – all with a broken ankle, a few broken ribs, and God knew what else. And now the plan had stalled because Danny couldn't lift a stupid table.
"You can do this, Danno. One more try, ok? One more try."
Danny bit his lip. Turning back to the table, he slid his right hand back underneath and nodded to Steve that he was ready. Steve counted to three again and Danny mustered all remaining energy he had and lifted. He felt the table give and he pulled even more.
"That's it! That's it Danny!" He could hear Steve's yell over the sound of his heartbeat pounding in his ears. His arm shook and his triceps screamed for relief. He managed a glance over to his left and saw the beam clear the space between the table and the floor. With a sigh of relief, Danny released the table and it clanged heavily against the beam.
For the first time, Danny was now able to get a good look at his legs. His thighs still bore the indentation from the table resting upon them for so long. The bruising was like nothing he'd ever seen before… blues and purples radiating outwards, down toward both of his kneecaps. He wiggled his toes and was relieved to see them move inside of his shoes. And while the table had been a constant source of pressure, he hadn't been in much pain during this ordeal. But now that the table had been removed, and blood returned once again to his lower extremities, the pain was excruciating.
He closed his eyes and lay back down, unable to bear it much longer.
"Danny? Hey, Danny, come on man." Steve made his way over to Danny's side and placed a comforting hand on Danny's shoulder. "Ride it out. Ride it out."
Danny ground his teeth and balled his hands into fists. The pain in his legs burned with such intensity he was sure he was going to black out. He focused the best he could on Steve's voice and tried to block out the throbbing in his legs.
He opened his eyes and saw Steve staring down at him, his face dripping with sweat and a look of worry unlike Danny had ever seen before.
"I'm okay." Danny's voice gave away the lie and he closed his eyes again. "Let's just keep going."
Eyes still closed, he felt Steve slide his arms underneath Danny's and pull. All at once Danny slid out from underneath the table. But Steve didn't stop. He kept pulling and pulling. Inch by inch Steve dragged Danny across the room. Inch by inch they made their way over to Steve's office. He could hear Steve's ragged breathing and on more than one occasion begged him to stop… to take a rest….to let Danny help somehow.
But Steve ignored him and kept going.
Danny tried to help, but his legs prevented him from doing much. Their progress was incredibly slow. Once they reached the threshold of Steve's office, they found that the collapse of the fifth floor had done a good job of demolishing the bookshelf. Danny watched as Steve kicked out at the few loose boards remaining and they broke easily. Steve climbed over the pile of furniture that was left and hoisted Danny up and over.
Neither of them spoke. It was as though both of them knew that conversing would waste precious energy and strength.
At long last they reached the window in Steve's office. They both lay on the floor, breathless from their trek across the office. Although the distance they had covered had been less than 60 feet, it felt to Danny like he had just run a marathon. His legs ached with more fury than ever. His head pounded to the beat of his heart. His shoulder throbbed.
"I'm sorry, Danno." Steve's voice was barely a whisper.
Danny turned to his left to look at his partner. He looked deathly pale. He was propped up on his left elbow, his right hand still occupied at his side, clutching his ribs. His breathing was irregular and shallow and Danny worried that Steve may pass out.
"Hey, Steve, stay with me here." Danny managed to roll over a bit to get closer to his partner. "Sorry for what? What did you do this time?" Danny tried to be playful, but was too tired to put much of an effort in.
"I… I called you in on a Saturday. You shouldn't have even been here."
Danny managed to raise his voice just enough to try to get his point across to Steve. "That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. You listen to me…. Of course I shouldn't have been here. But I was… not because you called me in, but because we had work to do. Important work."
Danny paused, looking out the window. Where was that lift?
"And if I wasn't here, then you wouldn't have had anyone to save. And then what would you have done with yourself, huh? Because I'm quite certain you have a Super-SEAL to-do list to accomplish each week… catch bad guy…. drop him in shark tank… drive Danny's car….. save Danny's life…"
Steve shook his head, but Danny saw a smile forming on his lips.
"Danny, you…" Steve stopped abruptly and looked out the window. He waited, then, "Do you hear that?"
It was faint, but Danny could hear it. A mechanical whine that could only mean one thing. Blessed rescue. He lifted his head off the floor to look out of the broken window. Squinting into the sunlight, he could see the top of Chin's head coming into view. He smirked. Of course Chin would lead the rescue attempt. Chin would want to see Steve and Danny for himself. And in that moment, Danny had never been happier to see him.
"You boys need a lift?"
Danny rolled his eyes, but couldn't stop the grin from forming on his lips. "Hey, leave the one-liners to me, buddy, okay?"
Chin removed his sunglasses, inspected his two teammates and then turned to shout something to the ground below. Nodding, he turned back to Steve and Danny. "We've got a medical team on standby. I'll be back with help."
He could feel himself relax for the first time since this whole thing started. One look at his partner and he knew Steve felt the same way. Steve sat still, his eyes gazing out the window where Chin had now disappeared.
"Thanks, man." Danny held out his hand. Puzzled, Steve looked at it for a moment, and then shook it.
"So, you really aren't blaming me for this situation?"
"I should. It seems as though all horrible situations I find myself in are somehow traced back to you. But since you are not the Aloha Bomber, I'll let this one slide."
"Thanks." Steve shook his head.
"You're welcome." Danny smiled. With a sigh of contentment, he lowered his head back down to the floor and closed his eyes.
"We're going to catch this bastard, you know." Steve's voice cut through the sound of the lift approaching the fourth floor. Medical personnel were now attempting to clear out any remaining glass shards of the broken window to gain access to the office. "The Aloha Bomber. We're going to catch him."
Danny shook his head slightly. "Of course we are. But can we start on Monday? Because I'm fairly certain this is the last Saturday I'll ever be working…. ever again."
Danny could feel Steve's laugh next to him. "Fair enough."
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