Hoapili (Close Friend)
By Montez
Disclaimer: Don't own, but if I wasn't such a chicken I'd fly to Hawaii and see if I couldn't get them to come back home with me :)

A/N: This is my first attempt at a Hawaii Five-O story. I've only caught a few episodes online as I just really discovered this show-I'm always late at finding the good ones, but hey in this case, better late than never. Anyway, I'm still trying to get real feel for the characters, Danny's gonna be the hardest for me to write, I can tell already. But I gave it a go. This takes place at the end of the episode with the assassination plot against the General (sorry don't know the name of the episode) To me it appeared Steve got cut on the inside of his upper arm, this is my take on if that injury was worse than we were led to believe. I don't know medical stuff other than what I see on TV, so please excuse. I'm also hesitant to use some of the Hawaiian words, but I tried to look a few up to put in-hope I got those right too, don't want to offend anyone with my ignorance. Well that aside let me know what you think and enjoy.-Montez

A/N 2: Just an FYI, since I've been caught off guard by unannounced relationships between characters in other stories (mainly slash, which I don't care if people write it, I just personally don't like to read) please don't look into any of my interaction among the characters as anything other than teammates, friends, family. As I said I'm just trying to get a feel for them and already feel I've got Danny and Kono kind of OC. Not really sure, anyway, Thanks again-Montez

The house had fallen eerily quiet. For the last untold number of minutes that seemed like hours automatic gunfire had tore through the walls, shattering glass, pictures and mementos. Danny Williams had prayed that since there had been no urgent calls for help from downstairs that Kono and Steve were both relatively unharmed as only the faintest hint of sirens approaching in the distance could be heard.

Danny knew that this time the blue and whites that would arrive any minute were the actually HPD and not the friend turned traitor Nick Taylor's men. The minute Danny had met Steve's old SEAL buddy there was something about him that didn't set right. Though he didn't really try very hard to hide his dislike of the man from Steve, he could see his partner had a bond with the man that only came with serving in the most dire of conditions.

So Danny had let it go to some extent, though he wasn't ready to trust the man as much as McGarret was, he did try to respect the friendship the two men shared, though grudgingly. However once Steve had to fight with one of Nick's men who was driving the SUV he, Danny, the General and his family were in, there had only be a moment of 'I told you so' that flashed in the Jersey natives mind before the deafening discharge of the drivers gun echoed in the all too small confines of the vehicle the six people were riding. The struggle in the front seat continuing until just seconds later the front SUV exploded into a ball of flames. Only then did their own truck come to a halt, Steve finally managing to shove the driver out as gunfire erupted from the last truck, carrying Nick himself and three other men.

In those moments as the four members of the 5-O team exchanged gunfire on the street did all of Taylor's men had gone down, except Nick himself. Chin had taken out the engine of Nick's vehicle, Steve taking out the tires as the four of them scrambled back into the two remaining SUV's speeding the General away as the former SEAL continued to fire at them.

Honestly in those minutes after the initial firefight, as the realization that Nick Taylor was really the bad guy, did Danny not pay attention to where Steve was leading them, not until the SEAL pulled into the driveway of his own home. Danny had questioned Steve when they pulled in, who assured him that Nick had never been to the house and until they could get help it being the only place Steve felt was safe enough to bring the foreign dignitary.

Upon entering, Kono had ushered the General's wife toward the kitchen and the first aid kit for the bullet graze she'd received from the drivers stray shot. Danny and Chin had gone upstairs a minute only to moments later come down to Steve clearing things away from the sofa as he slide it in front of the door. Steve had then placed a call for assistance as he cautiously watched the windows. A sense of dread, worse than Danny had felt since the beginning of this assignment continued to twist in his gut as it started to get darker outside and HPD remained conspicuously absent.

When blue lights finally flashed into view, Danny had chanced to hope this nightmare of a job was finally over as Steve pulled the couch from the door and Danny reached for it. All that shattered at Steve's frantic yell for him to get away from the door as he realized it was Nick's people who had arrived and not the help they desperately needed.

Chin and Danny headed back upstairs, leaving Kono and Steve on the ground level. Two small explosions illuminated the front of the house at McGarret's attempt to blind the night vision of the assault team. That was when all hell broke loose.

But now, it was the silence that was deafening as he and Chin cautiously made there way downstairs, slowly clearing the darkened rooms of the ground level. They found Kono standing, back against the wall, a dead man just feet from her, but otherwise no other black-clad men were inside the house that was now littered with holes.

"Where's Steve?" Danny whispered to the youngest of their team as he continued to watch the windows for any further movement.

"I don't know, he told me to stay here. I think he went out back." Kono replied, the tremor of her voice barely noticeable, the girl jumping slightly when her cousin Chin rounded the corner, gently touching her shoulder.

Danny turned to make his way toward the back door as he mumbled, "again without back-up." Danny knew Steve wouldn't rest until Taylor was taken down, to Steve there was no worse betrayal to the code the SEAL lived by than someone taking what was honorable and twisting it for profit. But Williams also knew it went deeper, Nick had been Steve's friend and that was something Danny knew for a fact Steve McGarret did not give away lightly-his absolute trust and friendship.

Just as Danny made it to the back door three successive shots ran out from the back of the property that ended in the rolling tide of the Pacific Ocean. As the blond detective cleared the back porch it was the silhouette of a lone figure that greeted them, as he just barely realized that Kono and Chin were right behind him. As they rushed across the yard, guns still at the ready, for just a moment Danny feared at just who it was standing there. He didn't want to believe Steve had been on the wrong end of those bullets, but he also knew that his partner was actually going up against a man who knew everything the SEAL knew.

It wasn't until the trio reached the small drop in the yard that changed the grass to sand that he recognized the narrowed shoulders of his friend, who was standing in the clouded moonlight, watching a body bobbing gently in the calm surf. It was then Danny breathed a small sigh of relief, Steve had come through, even though Williams knew it was going to take an unimaginable toll on his partner for having to take the life of his former friend.

Steve finally glanced behind him, meeting his teams gazes, Danny seeing the barely noticeable look of relief that flashed in McGarret's face at his team appearing relatively unharmed from the full on assault that had just transpired. Danny quickly sent Chin to coordinate with HPD who had finally arrived, apparently alerted by neighbors to the war zone Steve's house had become. He then sent Kono to make sure the General and his family were all right.

Danny watched HPD make their way toward the body in the water as Steve turned fully to face him. A haunted look was in his eye's even as he tried to break the tension with their normal banter, giving his partner a reassuring grin that was more of a grimace. It was then Danny saw the blood on his friend's face from the life and death fight that had taken place on the beach. He saw the way Steve's right arm was holding his left arm close to his body, blood just barely visible from the bouncing lights that the arrival of backup had brought.

"You okay?" Danny asked as it took much more effort than usual for Steve to clear the several inch embankment from the sand to the grass.

"Fine." Steve's quiet voice answered back, Danny knowing his friend was anything but. However he let it drop until later, when he would try and get his friend to talk about what happened at the waters edge, knowing McGarret needed time to process what had taken place over the course of the day. Turning Danny started to make his way to the porch where Chin was briefing the SWAT leader on what had happened, yet in the chaos the backyard was becoming it was a barely audible voice that caused him to turn. "Danny…"

Williams turned to see his partner, his friend literally lose what color he had, it was the pain-filled, almost scared expression that he saw flash in Steve's eyes that made Danny take a step toward him, his own forehead knitting in concern, then fear as he watched Steve's eyes roll back, the taller man's legs giving out, "STEVE!" Danny yelled as he lunged forward, barely catching his friend, the weight of the unconscious man taking him to his knees as he managed to cushion Steve's fall. "Officer down!" Danny shouted as he got Steve onto his back.

Chin had been glancing toward his two teammates while he briefed the incoming officers, portable floodlights quickly being set up to light up the crime scene that McGarret's home had become, now for the second time in a year. However it was the panicked yell of his commander's name the pulled his eye's quickly to the yard as he watched Danny lunge, catching a collapsing Steve, that had him running across the yard. The shout of "Officer down!" by Williams as Chin reached them nearly froze his soul as he saw how deathly pale and still their commander appeared. "What happened?" Chin shouted as he dropped across from Danny.

Danny was quickly running his hands over his downed friend, checking the obvious areas for injury; over his head, running his hand over the Kevlar vest searching for the tell-tale indentations a bullet could leave. But it wasn't until he reached for Steve's left arm that his hand came into contact with the warm fluid that he'd barely noticed before coming from partners arm. Several lights that were now shining on them showed a sight that made bile rise in Williams throat. It was a four inch wide gash on the inside of Steve's bicep that was bleeding freely. It actually took Danny a second to realize a minute increase in the flow in what appeared to be in rhythm with Steve's heartbeat.

"Damn it!" Danny shouted as he reached out and placed both his hands around McGarret's upper arm, squeezing with all his might. "Artery…" the blond shouted as he looked up at Chin.

"We need medics now!" Chin shouted just as EMT's rounded the back of the house.

"You never can do anything the easy way can you?" Danny mumbled as he could feel the throb of each heartbeat through his hands as he desperately tried to keep his best friend from bleeding out in his own backyard.

"What have we got?" a dark-haired medic asked, dropping gear in the spot Chin had vacated.

"Knife wound, think it got his artery." Danny said as the younger man across from him started to work on Steve.

The medic started his quick assessment grabbing several items from his bag as two more medics arrived with a backboard and stretcher. Danny watched as the younger man probed the large gash just below his hands. "Found it…" he heard the EMT say as the medic shouted for more light. Williams watched as the man working to save his friend's life pushed a long metal object into the wound, "Got it, we need to move him now! Sir I need you to move so we can transport him."

Danny wasn't sure that he heard right, the medic wanted him to move, he couldn't move or Steve could bleed out. "What?"

"I've got it clamped, it's not severed or he'd be dead already, but we need to move him now, so you need to move." Danny felt an arm reach around his, his eye's glancing up to meet Chin's as the older man pulled him up, the medic's swarming around Steve as it seemed they had him on the stretcher and halfway across the yard in less than a minute.

Danny ran to catch up, "I'm going with him!" Just as they reached the corner of the house Williams looked back, Chin just feet behind him, "Chin?"

"Go, we'll meet you there." Chin yelled as he watched the stretcher disappear around the corner, Danny close behind.

In the harsh interior of the ambulance Danny could finally see the true, physical damage that the fight with Nick Taylor took on Steve. The head wound from when the SUV abruptly stopped earlier in the day was bleeding freely again, as were numerous more cuts that stood out in stark contrast to McGarret's sickingly-pale skin. The EMT had packed gauze around the gash in Steve's arm as soon as they got into the rig. "Can you help me with this?" the younger man asked Danny as the ambulance speed from the driveway-hitting the concrete of the street with a sharp bump.

Danny reached up as the medic started ripping at the Velcro straps of the Kevlar vest Steve still had on. In their desperate rush to stop the life-threatening bleed, a cursory exam hadn't been performed to assess any other possible injuries. Once the black vest was removed the EMT cut open the front of McGarret's shirt and started attaching heart monitor leads, then quickly taking a blood pressure reading. Danny heard the younger man shout to the driver something about low blood pressure, but his focus was on the angry bruises that were forming in the spaces on Steve's torso that the protective vest hadn't covered. Nick had known exactly were to hit Steve that the vest couldn't protect.

"Sir?" The quiet voice of the EMT pulled Danny from the dark thoughts of worry about his friend. "Here." Williams looked up from Steve to see the medic holding out a towel for him, obviously seeing the confusion on the detective's face the young man continued, "For your hands."

It was then Danny looked at his hands and saw they were almost completely covered in red, the Jersey native reflexively swallowed as bile rose in his throat at the sight of his best friends blood covering his slightly shaking hands. A slight nod was all Williams could manage, for fear of breaking his streak since the last time he'd thrown up, he took the towel and started to slowly wipe the thick, red liquid from his hands, his eye's looking back toward the deathly pale face of McGarret.

They finally reached the hospital as the doors to the rig were jerked open and Steve was pulled from the back, doctor's and nurse's swarming the stretcher as the medic jumped out, relaying the Five-O commander's vitals. Danny moved a couple seconds later, seemingly frozen in place as the events of the day finally start to come together, going back to the early morning when they'd first been called in and effectively forced onto the protective detail of the General.

As he made his way through the emergency room doors his mind played out the first meeting of Nick Taylor. He'd seen Steve's face light up at the recognition of an old friend appearing through the sliding glass door. It had bristled Danny as the two men started to 'talk in code' and he recovered with his usual smart-ass determination when he turned to McGarret to interpret what the two men were saying. Honestly it hadn't been that that seemed to set Danny on edge as much as the strange vibe he'd gotten from the guy, he'd chuckled when Steve accused him of being jealous.

"Sir you can't go back there." A calm-quiet voice caused Danny to look at the woman standing beside him; he'd slowly made his way toward the treatment bay doors.

"My partner's back there, Lt. Commander Steve McGarret." Danny stood a little straighter, knowing he couldn't use his shorter stature to intimidate like Steve could, but his over the top attitude usually made up for it.

"The doctor will be out shortly, I'll let him know you're out here." The young nurse was now standing in front of him, blocking the doorway, his attempt at intimidation apparently not working on her.

Running his hand through his hair, Danny turned and nodded, "Fine…just…I need to know how he's doing, that he's okay." Williams could hear the pleading sound of his own voice, knowing if McGarret heard him it would add to the list of things the Navy SEAL liked to pick at him about, like his tie and his want to be anywhere but this 'pineapple infested hell-hole'.

The woman's eyes softened a bit, she'd dealt with law enforcement personal before, knew the bond that was shared by the individuals that put their lives on the line daily. "Please, have a seat I'll try and get you an update." She quickly turned and headed through the bay doors.

Danny watched as she disappeared then turned again, he wasn't going to go into the waiting area, where everyone else waited, he didn't want to be around anyone else at the moment-the replay of the last couple hours played to heavily in his mind. He spied an open chair just behind the nurse's counter and sat, placing his elbows on his knees, his head now held in his hands as he stared at the speckled patterns on the generic looking tiles that covered the floor.

What was normally a busy emergency room was quiet, the wee-hours of the morning lending to the stillness. Danny could feel his whole body trembling slightly. He'd never in his life been in such an intense fire fight. Yeah he'd been pulled into some crazy shit since meeting Lt. Commander Steve McGarret, Navy SEAL and all around badass, but tonight. There had honestly been a moment as he took cover in one of the upstairs rooms of Steve's beach house that he never expected to see the bright brown eye's of his daughter again. A part of him believed they were all gonna die in that house. Steve had been the only one really trained to deal with what exploded around them once Nick Taylor's crew fully opened up on the house. But Danny knew his partner usually had a highly trained team backing him up, not a transplant from New Jersey, a supposedly disgraced cop and a rookie fresh out of the academy.

But the McGarret luck of overcoming seemingly overwhelming odds had saved them again, that was until Steve collapsed in his backyard. A gentle touch on his shoulder pulled his attention to the petite woman before him, the nurse who'd gone to try and get him info on his over-the-top partner. "They're getting ready to move him to surgery; the doctor will be out in just a minute." Danny nodded as he closed his eye's, running the palms of his hands roughly over them. "Can I get you some coffee or something?" A shrug was all Williams could manage, his normal repertoire of words fleeing him at the moment. The nurse gave a hint of a reassuring smile as she stepped toward a back office.

The emergency room doors opened, revealing the other two members of their team, Kono honestly looked shell-shocked, but was holding it together better than any rookie Danny'd every worked with. Chin had his normally stoic expression, but Williams could see the worry in his eyes. "How is he?" Chin asked as he kept a hand on his cousin's arm.

"Nurse said they're getting ready to take him up for surgery, doc should be out any minute." Danny stood as the treatment bay doors opened, a white-coat clad middle-aged man approaching the group.

"Are you all here for Commander McGarret?" the man stopped before the trio.

"Detective Danny Williams," Danny held out his hand, shaking the doctors as he continued, "How's Steve?"

"I'm Dr. Makana, I was the Commanders attending. We've just sent him up to the OR to repair the nick in his artery from the wound in his upper arm. He lost a lot of blood and we had a rough time stabilizing him. The Commander has a moderate concussion, several cuts and bruises littering his face and torso, just below where his vest rested. There is mild bruising on his upper chest and back, no doubt from the force of the attack he encountered, the vest managed to keep him from receiving any broken ribs. His kidneys, however are bruised so we'll monitor them closely, but right now the main concern is getting the artery repaired and his blood volume up to stable levels." The doctor watched as the officers before him took in the information.

"But he'll be alright won't he?" Chin asked quietly.

"The surgeon will be able to tell you more, but as long as the repair is successful I believe there is a very good chance the Commander should make a full recovery, baring any unforeseen complications." Dr. Makana tried to give an encouraging smile.

Danny ran his hand over his mouth, "Yeah, well Steve is a walking, breathing unforeseen complication." A strangled chuckle escaped the blond as Chin snorted slightly, a quiet nervous sob escaping Kono.

The doctor glanced toward an approaching nurse, then looked back at the small group. "The OR waiting room is on the third floor, I've called up and they have a private room set up for you, the surgery should only take a couple hours at most."

"Thanks doc." Danny held his hand out again, then watched the man disappear back through the silver doors.

"Detective?" The now familiar voice of the ER nurse drew Danny's attention as she approached, three cups of coffee balanced on a small tray. "I saw the rest of you come in, thought it might help."

"Thanks." Danny took two of the cups, handing them to Kono and Chin, then taking the last one.

"I hope your friend is okay." She smiled. Any other time Danny would have latched on and made an attempt to flirt back, but his mind was three floors up, praying Steve's knack for 'unforeseen complications' didn't rear it's ugly head again today. A sad smile that didn't reach his eyes was Williams' response as he, Chin and Kono made their way toward the elevators.


"I called the governor, she wants an update as soon as we know something." Chin stepped back into the private waiting room that held the remaining members of the Five-O team. The older man glanced at his younger cousin who was sitting on the far end of the couch, her legs drawn up close, her Kevlar vest resting on the coffee table that took up the center of the room. She'd been unusually quiet since everything had gone down and it made Chin wish he'd never introduced McGarret to her. However at the time he felt it was a good thing because he feared since she was related to him, she'd never be taken seriously as a cop and always be under the cloud of suspicion that the investigation into him had caused.

Chin observed that Danny had alternated between pacing, sitting bouncing his knee and fidgeting to pacing again over the course of the last hour and a half. The normally very vocal haole was quiet, Chin knew that despite the rough beginning to Steve's and Danny's partnership, both men had become close friends almost like brothers, a slight smile crossed Chin's face as he inwardly chuckled, 'God knows they fight like brothers'.

The older man's thoughts were interrupted by the entrance of a green-scrub clad man close to Steve's father's age. Danny's voice was heard before the man was fully in the room, "How is he?"

The doctor smiled tiredly, the tension in the room seemed to evaporate immediately. "I'm Dr. Pono; Commander McGarret is going to be fine." Each member of the Five-O team released the breath they'd been holding for the last few hours.

"Really?" Danny's voice took on an amused, relieved sound as he smiled, turned slightly looking at Kono and Chin, them back to the doctor.

"Yes, really. We were able to successfully repair the small nick in his artery. Fortunately it was only a couple millimeters or he may have never made it to the hospital. He's still suffering from blood loss, but we are pushing units to replenish what he lost. The rest of his injuries are minor, nothing broken, his kidneys will be monitored for a couple days because of the bruising. The concussion is moderate so he should only have the residual headache that is to be expected, but overall the commander was very, very lucky." The doctor finished.

"When can we see him?" Danny again asked, relieved his friend would pull through, but still needing the reassurance that comes with actually getting to see his partner with his own eyes.

"He'll be in recovery about another hour, we want to make sure he comes out the anesthetic all right, then we'll move him to a private room." Dr. Pono concluded.

"Thanks doc." Danny said as he shook the older man's hand.

"Mahalo doc." Chin said, also shaking the surgeon's outstretched hand.

"I'll send a nurse in to get you all when the Commander is moved. Like I said it should be about an hour, you all look exhausted yourselves, maybe you all should rest some, get something to eat." The doctor added as he made his way out the door.

"I'll call the Governor, give her an update. Do either one of you want anything to eat?" Chin asked, his body and mind were tired, but he knew none of them would leave until they got to see Steve for themselves.

"Whatever sounds good is fine with me." Danny replied, Kono smiling slightly, silently conveying to her cousin that whatever he decided was good for her as well. Chin left the room to make the call and food run.

Kono returned to her seat on the couch, still having not said a word since they'd arrived at the hospital. Danny found himself looking out the window that stood in the corner of the room, the barest hint of dawn starting to lighten the eastern horizon. He took a couple deep breaths, thankful they were all being able to greet the new day.

The quiet of the room was broken by a quiet noise. Danny turned to see Kono with her hands over her face, he could tell by the minute shake of her shoulders that she was crying, something he never recalled seeing the younger woman do. But hell after the day and night they'd all just went through he was surprised he wasn't a babbling mess himself. Making his way to the couch he sat next to the rookie. "Kono?" When the young woman beside him didn't respond he reached up and gently touched her shoulder, "Kono?"

The scared, tear-filled eye's that looked up at Danny through a veil of dark-hair had images of Grace flashing in his mind. It was the first time he realized just how young Kono really was, she was fresh from the academy, no real field experience under her belt, but she'd been a quick learner, quicker than any rookie's he'd dealt with back home. She'd held her own from the word go, but like him, what had transpired over the last twenty-four hours wasn't something they ever covered in some classroom. The father in Danny reacted as he pulled the smaller woman toward him, his hand rubbing her back as she reluctantly leaned toward him. "Hey, it's okay…it's over now."

The fear in her voice spoke volumes, "We could have died." Somewhere in her mind Kono knew that becoming a cop required her to put her life on the line for others, but the full reality of the pledge was made itself known in spectacular fashion within the confines of Steve's house.

"Yeah, but we didn't, you need to focus on that." Danny continued to rub comforting circles on his friend's back. Any other time contact like this would seem odd, hell Kono scared him sometimes, but what had happened to them was beyond the norm of even their normally over-the-top escapades.

"I lost sight of him in the house, once everything started. He emptied his clip out the window then he was gone. I moved back some once the first round stopped. Had my back toward the kitchen, I was so focused on the windows I never saw the guy behind me until I heard him hit the floor. Steve was right there, I saw the faint glint off his knife as he looked at me and told me to stay put. Then he disappeared again." Kono'd had some close calls since joining the team, but up until last night, she'd always been able to react, to at least get a shot in at a would be attacker, but if Steve hadn't been there when he was, she'd be lying dead on his living room floor. "It was scary just how quiet he was, I never heard him and then he was gone so fast, I couldn't even tell where he went. Is that was his training was? I know SEAL's are Special Forces, but it was just…"

"Yeah, he can be scary sometimes, but he knew what he was doing, what we were up against and he wanted to make sure we all came through it. I think that's why he kept you downstairs with him; he knew you had his back, but that he had yours too." Danny hoped he wasn't making Kono feel she was any more vulnerable than the rest of them, but Chin and he both had many more years under their belt. Williams had seen how Steve tried to take special care when it came to Kono, whether it was her status as a rookie, or that she was the youngest and maybe reminded Steve of his sister, Steve made a point of keeping a closer eye on the young woman. It was the same care he'd seen Chin have toward Kono.

"I don't know if I can do this…" Kono whispered, she was never one to usually doubt herself, but she'd been downstairs with Steve, she was his backup. But she'd let him tell her to stay put and she didn't follow him out like she was sure Danny would have, despite the SEAL's order. Her boss, her friend had almost died because he had no one helping him. "I should have followed him; I didn't have his back and…"

"What?" Danny couldn't believe he was hearing the younger woman leaning against him trying to take on the weight of guilt over what had happened. "Kono, look at me." Williams leaned back taking in the dark, exhausted, guilt-filled eyes of the rookie. "This isn't your fault; its Nick Taylor's fault-he's the one that turned on his own friend. Steve did what Steve always does, he became solely focused on the target that he felt he was the only one who could deal with him. Now normally this flawed logic gets us into some hairy situations. I think he forgets he has back he can call and waiting a couple minutes for them to arrive wouldn't normally change the out come. But his training, all his years in the field he's done things his own way, relaying on his own training and sometimes the training a few individual who think like he does. In many ways, just like you, he's having to learn proper police procedure; God knows I've tried to drill it into his head when he does something that has bullets flying in our direction. But I have never doubted his abilities to keep his head and stay focused once things go sideways." Williams paused a second before he continued.

"But I'll tell you something and you better never, ever tell Super SEAL this…" Danny saw a slight smile at the nickname he'd throw around Steve. "I believe Steve was the only one of us that could have taken Nick down. Yeah, we were able to take out his crew, which I'm sure were some former military or mercenaries, but Taylor was different and if he knew half of what I've seen Steve do, we would have been in real trouble. Steve said he'd trained Nick, so he knew exactly what the man was capable of. I think that is why he sent Chin and me upstairs, he knew you were the only one of us that would listen to him when he told you to stay put. Hell Chin and I both would have tried to follow him out and probably made matters worse. In Steve's warped sense of things he was protecting us by doing what he does best, taking out an equally trained, equally skilled adversary. So don't you dare think what happened was your fault because you didn't follow him, he didn't want you to, didn't expect you to and that helped keep him focused on his target."

"You think so?" Kono took a couple deep-breaths, a little surprised the talk Danny had just given her did make her feel a little better, though some guilt would continue to hold on, she knew she needed to take what had happened and learn as much as she could from it.

"Trust me, for all the grief I give him for going off half-cocked, he is very good at being a few steps ahead of us mere mortals when it comes to foiling would-be assassination plots against ruthless dictators. I'm just glad we don't have to deal with this on a regular basis or he'd start thinking he really is better than the rest of us." Danny smiled.

Kono couldn't help but laugh, "I guess so, but I wish someone would have told me about all this before I agreed to the job offer."

Scooting away from the younger woman once she raised up, moving back Danny look at her with one of the most serious looks she'd ever seen. "Kono, don't ever doubt what you bring to this task force. Trust me when I say you have handled yourself better than any rookie I've ever worked with. You're a fast learner and quick on your feet, I think you are right where you're meant to be and I know Steve would tell you the same thing."

"And I'd have to agree." Chin's voice drew their attention to the older man standing just inside the door.

Kono stood up and crossed the room, hugging her cousin as Danny approached, "How long you been standing there?" It showed just how tired and totally off he was that he never heard the door to the waiting room open.

Chin grinned, "Long enough to know you give a hell of a pep-talk, does Steve know this insightful side of you?"

Danny laughed, "No and he better never find out." At that Williams took one of the coffee's Chin had in the drink carrier he was holding as the three remaining members of the governors task force took a set to eat what Chin had brought and wait until they were finally allowed to see their boss, their friend.


Steve's head hurt, it had been a while since it hurt like this telling him he was indeed feeling the effects of the concussion he was sure he'd gotten when his forehead slammed into the dashboard of SUV he'd been riding in earlier. Memories of what had taken place over the last day started to fill his sleepy mind. The murder of a would-be assassination informant. The forced job of becoming a protective detail to a man who'd committed horrific, unspeakable acts on his own people, to the firefight on the streets of Oahu.

Then finally the memories of last night started to take shape. Taking the General and his family to his house had seemed like a good idea at the time. They needed to regroup; Steve needed to regroup, especially as he came to the realization that his one-time friend and former teammate was now the bad-guy, who was now selling out his oath for money. In the fire-fight on the street it became clear that Nick wasn't going to back down even though Steve had thought, right up until that minute, that they were friends. They'd had a bond that could only be forged in the preverbal trenches of combat. A bond Steve never, ever took lightly and to have Taylor destroy that unwavering trust, it had just taken Steve some time to wrap his head around.

Once they'd reached his house and he'd called who he thought was HPD for backup, Steve knew he would have to find a way to take down his former friend, especially when the General revealed why he was really in Hawaii. He'd planned on turning himself in and standing on the international stage, admitting to all the wrongs he'd done, giving the world what it needed to save his country. Steve's anger at not knowing that piece of information simmered. His whole mindset during this operation would have been different; he would have been looking for someone who wanted to take out the General for those reasons instead of wanting him dead for what the dictator had done. Maybe then he would have seen some of the things Danny had seemed to have picked up on in regards to Nick.

When the realization that the help he'd called for had actually lead Taylor right to his front door, then the warning shot the former SEAL at taken at him while he was on the phone with him, Steve knew there was a real possibility that because of his blind faith in his former military buddy he could very well get his current team killed. That was the fire that fueled Steve from that point on. He knew he would be the only one who could take Nick down, that he couldn't let his team go after him. That's why he'd sent Danny and Chin upstairs, Danny would have figured out what he was going to do and would have foolishly followed him. No, keeping Kono with him had been the best choice, he could keep an eye on the rookie who was no where prepared for the assault that was unleashed on the house, but he knew, without a doubt that when he had told her to stay put, she would.

Laying there Steve recalled taking out the guy who'd been sneaking up behind the young woman, then throwing a quick glance and order her way, he'd headed outside. He knew Nick would target him, Steve knew that he was the only one that Taylor saw as the real threat to his plan. Steve reflexively clinched his eyes tighter as the memory of the bright light flooding the night vision goggles he's found on one of the dead mercenaries just outside his door, when Nick had shined the flashlight at him. He remembered getting a couple shots off before he was tackled by his former partner. The details of the fight were a blur right now, his groggy mind only remembering bits and pieces. It had been years since he'd fought with someone who could match him hit for hit, block for block. Steve remembered the sting of Nick's blade tearing into his upper arm, but adrenaline continued to fuel the fight.

Somehow Nick had gotten him down, all the man's weight was on the knife he was trying to force through Steve's chest. The pain in his arm was screaming for him to stop the assault and with a last burst Steve had managed to throw Taylor off balance just enough to grab the gun the former SEAL had on him and fire three quick shots center mass. The splash of water told Steve the shots had found their mark, that his one-time friend was now dead, by his hand. Getting to his feet he felt the sting of the cut on his arm, saltwater adding to pain he was feeling. Steve remembered standing there a minute, watching Nick's body bobbing in the calm surf.

He remembered hearing the approach of his current team behind him, turning he caught the somewhat relieved look in Danny's face that it was indeed Steve still standing after the small war that had just been waged. Steve remembered the banter about his choice of friends that Danny had sparked. In just the few seconds of those comments Steve realized how true his words were when he'd told Danny that he'd 'chose' him. He'd never really chose Nick as a friend, that need came out of necessity in battlefield conditions, not out of clear, 'you can walk away when this case is over' choice. In those few seconds Steve realized the difference between Danny and Nick. Taylor had been a friend of necessity; Danny had been a friend of choice.

It was for that reason he'd called out to his friend when he felt his vision tunneling, his strength slipping from him with each beat of his heart. In the moment he'd literally felt his life dripping away down his arm from the deep gash, he knew Danny was the one he could count on to catch him when he fell. His partner lunging toward him was the last memory Steve McGarret recalled.

The steady beep over off to his left helped him focus through the dull ache in his head, that and the cool air just below his nose told him he was in a hospital. Opening his eye's slowly he was relieved that the overhead lighting was dimmed, knowing the normally harsh lighting would have sent spikes of pain through his concussed head. Blinking a few more times to clear his vision and bring the room into focus he looked around, he saw Kono's small form curled on the couch near the window, fast asleep. Her feet resting in her cousin Chin's lap, who was also asleep his head resting at an odd angle on his hand.

He felt a hint of a smile at the realization that they both had come out this latest case unharmed. Turning his head slowly he searched the room for the one other person he needed to see; that he needed to make sure also had come out unscathed. He needed to see his real friend, Danny Williams.

"If we ever get another case like this, I quit." Danny's quiet voice greeted Steve as he finally got his head turned; his eye's meeting the very exhausted, worried gaze of the Jersey native.

Steve smiled, "Yeah man, me too."

Danny moved to the edge of his chair, "How you feeling? And no lying too me this time." The seriousness in the blonds face and voice spoke volumes to just how worried his team had been.

"Head and arm hurts, the rest just kind of a dull ache." Steve tried to set up, wincing when he went to use his left arm.

"Easy, don't do that." Danny leaned forward, reaching for the control on the bed that would raise his friend into a more upright position.

"Danny…" Steve started but was cut off by the haole.

"No you don't, you don't get to tell me to not worry. I'm not buying the 'I'm fine' line you are gonna want to try and feed me, not after what we just went through." Danny was trying his best to keep his voice down, Kono and Chin had only been asleep about an hour and he knew that just like him, they needed all they could get. The only thing that had stopped his surrender into la-la land was that he needed to see his friend, his partner awake. "You know, I never, in a million years dreamed I'd been in the middle of a full on tactical assault between two highly trained, Special Forces trained Navy SEAL's. I've been on raids before and God knows since I've met you I've been in more shoot-outs than I had in ten years back home, but please tell me what happened last night is not going to become the norm."

"I hope the hell not." Steve said softly, yeah he was trained for exactly what had gone down, but as all hell broke loose at his house he knew the three people who made up his team, his friends, his ohana were not.

"Good, because I'd really like to see Grace grow up and have kids of her own that I could spoil mercilessly without having to worry about what my ex has to say." Danny gave Steve a tired smile.

A few minutes of silence settled over the room, Danny believed his partner had fallen back to sleep when Steve slowly opened his eye's again, "Is the General safe?"

Nodding Danny answered, "He and his family are fine, they've been moved to Hickim until his flight to the mainland in a couple days."

Steve nodded. He then looked down at his bandaged arm. "How bad?"

"Well, you've got a moderate concussion. Your forehead getting up-close and personal with the dashboard yesterday gave you that little gift. How the hell you could even think straight after that is beyond me. Bruised kidneys, you managed to get hit just about everywhere your vest didn't cover you and then some, you managed to get some bruising even where your vest covered." Danny paused.

"Yeah, Nick always did have a hell of a hit." Steve mumbled as he rubbed his chest absently.

"Well it's a good thing he wasn't as good with a knife as some SEAL's I know or you'd have bled out." Pointing toward the white bandage around Steve's bicep Danny continued. "Apparently he got a good swipe in, nicked an artery."

Again silence settled between the two friends as Danny finally leaned back in the chair he'd been sitting in for the last five hours waiting for Steve to finally wake up. "Thanks Danny." Steve said softly.

"What for?" A part of Danny, just like with Kono had felt he'd failed in protecting his friend, for not having his back when he went after Nick. But just as he'd told the rookie, Danny knew Steve had maneuvered them exactly where he wanted them without them realizing until after the fact, his entire purpose; to keep them alive.

In an unguarded moment of unusual openness that if asked later McGarret would blame on the pain meds, he looked intently at Danny, "For 'really' being my friend."

It took a second to process what Steve had said and the way he'd said it. Yeah their first meeting had been intense, by the end of the first case Danny Williams would have stood on the top of Mauna Kea and shouted his dislike for Steve McGarret. But the months that had followed since Danny realized that except for his former partner in HPD he'd never had a person, since arriving in Hawaii that he could really call his friend. But now, he knew that as much as the man before him infuriated him at times, Steve was the first, true friend he'd allowed himself to have since leaving home.

Danny stood, covering the last few feet that separated his chair from Steve's bed, he reached his right hand out, Steve raising his to meet it. The grip was strong, telling both men that the other would always be there, would always have the others back, "Right back at ya man, right back at ya."