Chapter 3

While his friends impatiently waited for the paramedics to arrive to take care of Singleton, Danny Williams began to die.

His breathing grew more and more shallow. He might have passed into the ultimate stillness unnoticed, but when Danny Williams was still, his friends noticed. Chin glanced at his Jersey friend and couldn't see his chest move.

"Steve, he's not breathing!" Chin said sharply.

Kono beat their boss to their friend's side and put her ear to Danny's chest. The faintest wisp of air touched her hair. "No, he is, but just barely," she said. She shook his shoulder and called his name, but Danny didn't respond.

"He's had too much of the truth serum," Tellen said clinically. "It depresses the autonomic systems."

"Where are the paramedics?" Steve demanded.

Chin already had his phone out, checking with EMS. "They were diverted. School bus accident," he said grimly. "Another ambulance is on the way, 10 minutes out."

The Five-0 trio exchanged glances. Did Danny even have 10 minutes?

"Release me," Tellen said calmly. "I have an antidote."

Steve hesitated to put Danny back in the interrogator's hands.

"Come, commander. It is surely in my best interest to save his life. I have never killed anyone and I do not wish to start now, especially not with Detective Williams."

It's true that everyone Tellen was suspected of drugging had been found confused and amnesic, but alive. The doctor conveniently ignored that the information he obtained was used by others to commit murder. Self-deception was another kind of lie.

"There is little time," Tellen prodded.

Steve unfastened Tellen's cuffs. The man instantly went to the table and began loading a syringe with a pale yellow fluid.

Still on the floor, Singleton began to laugh, mocking the cops. Steve pounced, savagely ripping the bandage off Singleton's shoulder and out of the startled SWAT officer's hands. Singleton yelled as the pad tore away the scab that had begun to form. Steve shoved the bloody bandage into the mobster's open mouth and used the free ends of the gauze to tie the gag in place.

Steve jabbed a finger in Singleton's face. "Danny dies. You die," the commander snarled. "I don't think anyone here will have a problem with that."

"No sir," the SWAT officer agreed, and forcefully applied a new pad to Singleton's wound. The mobster writhed at the painful pressure.

Singleton kicked and thrashed, then froze as a shotgun muzzle hovered so close to his face he had to cross his eyes to see it.

"Hold. Still," Chin said fiercely. "Make one more sound and you will be nothing but a mess for crime scene cleanup to handle."

"Here." As Steve returned to Danny's side, Tellen handed the commander a small oxygen tank. "Help him sit up, please. It will help his breathing."

Steve sat on the cot and took his friend in his arms, supporting the limp body in a reclining position. The commander fastened the oxygen mask over Danny's mouth, glad to see the slight clouding of his friend's breath on the inside of the mask. First it was a faint mist, but soon the entire mask was fogging up.

Checking Danny's pulse, Tellen nodded. "Yes, he is responding."

Kono sighed with relief. "What did you mean when you said you didn't want to kill anyone, 'especially' not Danny?" she asked the doctor.

"He impressed me," the doctor answered, without taking his eyes off Danny. "I've never had a patient lie to me. They evade, twist, dodge. I think of it as a car chase, with me in pursuit of the truth. But Detective Williams slammed on the brakes, looked me in the eye and lied. And laughed while he did it.

"I don't know why he was able to do that. Perhaps he had an individual reaction to the drug. Perhaps his confidence in your impending arrival gave him the strength to fight. I don't know, but I found it most impressive. Most impressive. Um, may I ask a question? What did Detective Williams mean when he told you, 'I won'?"

"We had a bet, which of us you would kidnap, which of us would be the soft target," Kono answered.

"Ah, well, your cousin stuck too closely to you for us to consider either of you," the doctor said.

Kono gave Chin a dirty look. He just shrugged.

"I suppose you never considered Steve," Kono said drily.

Tellen looked at the Navy SEAL, who looked ferocious even while nursing a sick friend. The doctor shuddered. "No. Never."

"You couldn't have known I was coming!" Singleton protested angrily around a mouthful of soggy bandages.

"You repeated the same MO too often, Singleton," Chin said with scorn. "We set a trap to catch you and Tellen, putting ourselves up as bait. When Danny didn't check in on schedule, we knew he'd been the one taken."

"But how did you find us?" Tellen asked.

"I think Danny's waking up," Steve interrupted.

Danny felt as if he'd just closed his eyes for a moment, but he opened them on an entirely different perspective. He was sitting propped up, wearing an oxygen mask, facing Tellen with Steve's arms cradling him as if he was a sick child. His head felt stuffed with cotton balls, but he didn't feel giddy or giggly anymore.

Danny cleared his throat and in a voice that sounded surprisingly normal asked, "What just happened here?"

He felt Steve's shuddering sigh of relief. Then the commander answered in a strained voice, "We almost lost you, partner."

"Really?" But Danny could see by the expressions on Chin and Kono's faces that Steve was not joking.

"It was an overdose, brah," Chin said, as he crouched in front of the detective. "You almost slipped away without us noticing."

"Fortunately, we always notice when you get quiet," Kono joked, tears in her eyes.

Danny processed the information. "Well, if I ever get a choice, I'll take that over convulsions," he said judiciously.

"You will remember, yes, that my antidote saved him?" Tellen asked.

"After your truth serum almost killed him," Kono said angrily.

"It was Singleton who turned up the drip. Tellen tried to stop him," Danny said.

"We'll remember," Steve promised. "And when the paramedics get here, you're going to the hospital, Danny. No arguing."

"Do you hear me arguing?" Danny asked. "That was insidiously scary. Anyway …" He scratched the small lump under his hair at the back of his neck. "…this tracking device itches like crazy. The doc can take it out while I'm there."

His words made them all aware of the tracking chips embedded under their skin.

Kono scratched the back of her head, too. "Very good idea," she agreed.

The paramedics treated Singleton's wound and pronounced it just a hole through the fleshy part of his upper arm. They took Danny in the ambulance, but left Singleton with the cops.

Steve hauled him up by the scruff of the neck. "Come on, you're due for an interrogation of your own," the commander growled.

Singleton had chewed through his improvised gag. "You should have killed me!" he raved, as Steve dragged him away.

"We don't want to kill you," the SEAL said with an evil grin. "We want you to talk!"

The End