The sound of stumbling feet and panting breaths disturbed the peace and quiet of the place. The two figures stumbling through the forest looked out of place, especially the man with the tie and well pressed slacks, which by now were hopelessly stained with blood and mud. "You know… For a guy so concerned with… eating well… and exercising… I figured you'd be… at least a little bit… lighter…" Danny's speech was punctuated by his panting breaths.
"Well… I… told you… to leave… without me…" Steve's breaths were not coming any easier. He was trying not to lean too heavily on his partner, but the bullet hole on his left thigh was turning a task as simple as walking into a very unpleasant experience.
Danny would have glared at the man stumbling beside him if he could have spared the breath to do so. "Ok… first of all… I think… I made myself clear… about the fact that… even if I had taken off… without your annoying self… I wouldn't have made it… very far… because I wouldn't know… in which direction… to run… And… second… whatever happened… to that whole… 'Leave no man behind' deal?... huh?..."
Steve shook his head, trying to hold more weight on his good leg. "You… are not… a SEAL… Danny…"
Danny rolled his eyes. "What's that… supposed… to mean, huh? I don't have the training… or the nerves of steel… or I don't have a death wish?... Well… let me tell you…. That all of your training… didn't help you… very much… today, my friend…"
Steve sighed. "I saw you fall… Danny…"
Danny huffed, whether in annoyance or from the effort to pull his friend along was anyone's guess. "I am wearing a vest, Steven… they are designed… to keep the bullets away… from your body… you, on the other hand… should wear… a full body armor!... what were you thinking… when you left your cover… like that, huh?"
Steve shrugged. "They were… closing in… on you… had to distract them…"
Danny shook his head. "Let me tell you… getting shot… is not the best way… to get their attention… my friend… you're lucky… they didn't hit… an artery… or we wouldn't… be having… this conversation… anyways, how much further before… we can get some cell reception… around here?"
Steve looked around. "I think… that a couple… of miles… in that direction… we should be able… to get reception…" Suddenly Steve tensed. "Danny… we need to stop!"
Danny stopped, looking at him worriedly. "Are you in pain?"
Steve shook his head. "No… I think they're getting… too close! Come on… behind this tree…"
They hobbled around the tree and crouched there, trying to remain silent. A couple of minutes later they heard the sound of trampling feet passing nearby. They were waiting for the sound to fade in the distance, but clearly the universe had a strange sense of humor because all of a sudden Danny's phone started ringing. He moved quickly to answer, seeing as it was Chinn calling, but the damage had already been done. "Shit! Hello? Chin! Give me a sec!" He turned to Steve, grabbing his shoulder to catch his attention. "Listen, man. I'm gonna run that way to try to lose them again… I'll be right back. Try not to get shot again, ok?" and he took off, trying to make as much noise as possible before Steve had any chance to voice his protests. He put the phone next to his ear, hearing Chin's attempts to get his attention. "Danny! Danny, can you hear me!"
Danny tried to keep his voice down, while hoping that the guys following him had not found Steve first. "Chin! My man! We need backup! And a Med Evac!"
"Are you injured, Danny? What happened?" Chin had never heard Danny sounding as breathless as he did on the phone.
"I'm fine… Our Super SEAL… got shot on the leg… and we're being chased by our unfriendly gunrunners… I have no idea where the hell we are… and I'm supposed to lose the two that are following me… and head back, hoping McGarrett is not turned into a colander by now!" He was speaking in harsh whisper, but apparently it was not enough, because a shot ricocheted over his head right then. "Shit! I gotta go, man… I'll leave the line open, but be careful! Because these guys really don't want us to leave this bug infested forest!" He pocketed his phone, not hearing Chin's heartfelt "Be safe, brah."
Danny ducked behind a tree, returning fire. He noticed that out of the three men that had been following them at first, only two could be seen ducking behind some bushes. Damn, he didn't have time for this! He needed to get back to Steve!
Not really believing that it would work, he grabbed a large rock and threw it as far away from him as he could, and what do you know, at least one of the stupid gun traffickers went for it, turning away just in time for Danny to place a well aimed shot. One less, two to go.
Unfortunately, in taking down one guy, Danny left himself wide open for the other one nearby. He only discovered his mistake when his vest stopped another bullet from piercing his chest. He dropped bonelessly to the forest floor, not being able to move, not able to think, not able to draw a breath, and watching as the man that shot him was coming closer to finish the job. He watched detachedly as the man raised his gun, but was a bit surprised when the shot sounded from a few feet to the side. Apparently the gunrunner was surprised too, because he looked curiously at his bleeding chest and fell to the floor, dead.
A familiar figure hobbled to Danny's side, calling his name and removing the vest. "Danny? Answer me! Are you alright? Danny!" Even though Steve was whispering, he still sounded scared.
Once the pressure on his chest was removed, Danny doubled over, gasping and trying not to cough so loudly. Once he got his breathing somewhat under control, he glared at his partner. "When I said… I'll be right back… I meant that…. You were not supposed to follow… If I wanted you to follow me… I wouldn't have said that I'd be back!" He stifled a couple of more coughs.
Steve looked like hell. Pale and trembling, but still mustered a smile for Danny. "Well, Danno. I was not sure if you'd know how to find your way back…"
Danny shook his head, not willing to admit that Steve's reasoning was not that far off. He moved to stand, taking the ohine from his pocket. "Chin, you still there?"
It was Kono's worried voice that greeted him. "Danny! Are you alright? We heard gunshots!"
Danny smiled. "We're fine, Kono. We still need that med evac though…" He said, looking at the slumped figure of his partner.
"We have your location, Danny, but we'll need you to move about a mile south, there's a clearing where the chopper can pull you up."
Danny looked around and saw nothing more than trees, trees and more trees. "South? How the hell would I know which way is south?"
He could hear Kono chuckling over the phone. "Maybe you can't, but I'm sure the boss could point you in the right direction."
Danny looked at Steve, hoping that Kono was right. "Alright… What's your ETA?"
"We'll be there in 10 minutes." Was Kono's reply.
"Alright. We're on our way… Be careful, one of these guys is still put there." And with that he hung up.
He looked at Steve and moved to crouch next to him. "Alright, man. First of all, I need you to use your Super SEAL mojo and tell me which way is south."
Steve looked around him and pointed in one direction. "That way…" The fact that he hadn't asked for an explanation told Danny a lot about how badly he was feeling right now.
Danny crouched next to Steve, offering his hand. "So, Rambo… Ready to move?"
Steve nodded, getting ready to get up. He was surprised when Danny turned away from him, and instead of standing next to him, Steve ended up hanging from Danny's shoulders, his arms crossed across Danny's chest. When Danny bended over to catch Steve's good leg, he finally got Danny's plan, and he didn't like it one bit. "Danny! Put me down! Put me down now!"
Steve squirmed so much that Danny ended up dropping to his knees and sprawling ungracefully on the floor. Once they managed to untangle their arms and legs, Danny pushed Steve down and talking directly to his face. "Now you are going to fucking listen to me, Rambo. We need to move, and we need to move NOW. So you either suck it up and let me give you a piggy back ride or I'll have to drape you over my shoulder and carry you like a potato sack. I need you to be awake and aware enough to point me in the right direction, so putting any more weitght on that leg is not an option. I'd personally like it better if you helped a bit trying to holding up some of the weight of your fat ass, but I'll have to deal either way. So what's it going to be, huh?"
Steve glared at Danny, but finally accepted the fact that he was in no shape to go running around the forest anymore. "Turn around, Danny…"
Danny turned around, and with a deep breath, pushed up from the floor with Steve's chest wrapped over his back. He grunted with the effort, and had to wiggle about a bit to get a good hold of Steve's legs. He could feel Steve tensing when he touched a sore spot on his injured leg. "Sorry! Sorry… You ok?"
He felt Steve nodding against his back, so he didn't pry any more. "Alright… which way was south again?" Steve pointed the direction and uttered a soft "That way, Danno", so Danny started walking, trying not to jostle his passenger too much.
"Just my luck that we get stranded… in the most bug infested… jungle in Hawaii. I'll probably end up… with a nasty case of… Malaria." Danny grumbled, while trying to shake his head and keep away some mosquitoes flying around them.
Steve waved his hand around for him, scattering away the annoying bugs. "There is no Malaria in Hawaii, Danno." He said, in a soft voice.
"Well, then I'll swallow some of these nasty buggers and I'll die from a strange poison…" Danny grumbled.
Ha could feel Steve chuckling against his back. "You wouldn't have to worry about it… if you kept your mouth shut… Danno…"
"I'm… just trying… to make your trip… more enjoyable, my friend…" Danny was about to ask if he was going in the right direction, when the sound of a helicopter made the question pointless. He moved in the direction of the sound, but found that the clearing where the Helicopter was coming down had too many places where the remaining gunrunner could hide and have a clear shot of them. Just then, his phone started vibrating. He let go of Steve's good leg to get his phone and passed it to Steve. "Babe, would you lend me a hand?"
Steve grabbed the phone and pressed it to his ear. "Yeah Chin. We're here…Ok, I'll tell him…" Steve squeezed Danny's shoulder. "Danno, Chin says to wait until the chopped touches down…"
Danny was still looking around the clearing. "Tell him that we'll need them to cover us… that the third guy is still out there…"
Steve relayed the message and listened to Chin's response. He squeezed Danny's shoulder again. "Ok, Danny… Chin's gonna give us the go…"
Danny nodded, taking a deep breath and waiting for the signal. When Steve slapped his shoulder with a loud "Go go go!" He was off as fast as he could, which was not very fast, considering he was carrying 170 lbs. of squirming SEAL over his shoulders. He almost stopped when he saw the glint of a gun to his right, but fortunately, the squirming SEAL had seen it as well, and hand his gun out and shooting before Danny even needed to warn him. What neither of them expected was a fourth shooter to their right, but Chin and Kono were taking care of him at the moment, so Danny just concentrated on putting one feet in front of the other as quickly as he could.
Suddenly, Chin, Kono and two guys in full combat gear were in front of him, taking Steve's weight off his back and helping them both into the chopper. Once inside the chopper, Danny watched detachedly as the paramedics checked Steve's wound, setting up and IV and other machines. Apparently the pilot of the chopper was not very experienced, because it seemed to Danny like everything was moving around too much. Or maybe it was Danny who was moving? He was not sure anymore. When Chin leaned into his line of sight and started talking to him, Danny decided that maybe he was the one with the problem, because Chin was going in and out of focus and he couldn't make sense of anything his friend was saying.
Maybe if he closed his eyes for a minute, things would make a little more sense?
The next time he woke up he was lying on a soft bed and he could hear familiar voices nearby.
"Did you ask the doctor about it?" Steve sounded worried.
"I did brah. He said it was normal for him to sleep for a long while after the exertion of yesterday…" Chin was using his 'reasonable' voice.
Of course that Chin's 'reasonable' voice wouldn't convince Steve. "He took two slugs on the chest, Chin! Did you ask him to check for internal bleeding?"
Chin was still trying to calm down their concerned friend. "They took x rays and checked him up from head to toe, Steve. He's just sleeping…"
"I went in and out of surgery, got a full night of sleep and still woke up before him, Chin! Could you ask the doctor what's wrong with him?"
Danny drew a long suffering sigh and opened his eyes to a blurry, white room. He turned around and located what looked like his partner lying on a bed. "After carrying your heavy ass up and down this pest infested island, you are not capable to allow your trusty steed to get some well deserved hours of rest? What the hell is the matter with you?"
Steve turned at the sound of Danny's voice and gave him a goofy smile. "Danno! You're finally awake!" He studied his friend's tired face. "How are you feeling?"
Danny took a moment to look around their room, and then another moment to decide on the best answer for Steve's question. The truth was that he hurt. He hurt from the tip of his toes to the top of his head. He wasn't moving a muscle and yet the mere effort of breathing made it seem like he was straining muscles that he wasn't even aware he had. On top of that, he was very aware of the places where the bullets impacted his vest, now turned into two very sore spots on his chest.
One look at his partner's concerned face gave him the right answer. "I'm alright… just a bit tired." He turned to Chin. "So, what's the verdict?"
Chin smiled, looking happy about seeing Danny awake. "The doc said you had two cracked ribs, were dehydrated, had a bump on your head, but no concussion and probably would wake up very sore, from your joyride yesterday."
Danny nodded, not commenting on how accurate the doctor's assessment was. "How about our fearless leader?"
Chin looked at Steve. "They removed the bullet without too much trouble. They were more concerned about the blood loss and the risk of infection, that's why they're monitoring him closely."
Danny nodded, turning to Steve. "And you… don't ever do that again, or I'll shoot you in the other leg!"
Steve raised his eyebrows in question. "What did I do?"
Danny just glared at him. "You got shot while trying to save me… I'm not a damsel in distress, you know…"
Steve smirked. "Of course not! You're my trusty steed!"
Danny rolled his eyes. "I just don't want you to die because of me, babe…"
"If you can look me in the eyes and tell me that you wouldn't do the same thing if our roles were reversed, then I'll promise to never do that again." It sucked that Steve would choose this moment to start talking seriously.
Danny was too tired and too sore to prolong this conversation more than strictly necessary, so he decided to go for honesty. "I just don't want you to get killed because of me… I can take care of myself… was even wearing a vest…"
Steve looked at him pleadingly. "They were moving in for the kill… both times… I just provided a distraction…"
Danny sighed, rubbing his chest. "Then I guess I should thank you…"
Steve shook his head. "You got me out of there… I'm pretty sure we're even…" He was glad to see Danny smile, even if it was a poor substitute for his usual smile. "Get some rest, Danno… We'll have plenty of time to talk later…"
Danny nodded tiredly. "You too, Rambo… you still look like death warmed over…"
Danny waited for Steve to fall asleep before he allowed himself to close his eyes. They were finally safe, and the rest of their team would watch their backs for as long as they needed.
A/N: Than you for reading... This was written for a prompt in the hawaii_50_hc h/c meme. The prompt was Piggy Back Ride or Carrying Injured Teamate, and this is what I came up with...
Leave a review if you feel like it... see you around!