Title: A Pre-existing Condition
Summary: From a prompt by desertport at the hawaii_50_hc h/c comment-fic meme. Steve and Danny are imprisoned for some reason or other and held in two rooms separated by an opaque wall that lets a little sound through. One or the other is injured, and/or maybe being interrogated by the bad guys, and all the other one can do is listen and try to keep his friend's spirits up with his voice.
Characters: Steve, Danny, Ocs, quick appearance by Chin and Kono
Disclaimer: Lies, pretty little lies, all of it.
Warnings: more Danny-with-seizures, swearing, show-levels of violence
Neurotic Author's Note #1: So I guess I have ANOTHER 'verse. This is a sequel of sorts to The Art of Bad Timing. You don't have to read the story to understand this one, just know that Danny has a pre-existing condition that predisposes him to seizures.
Neurotic Author's Note #2: Um, this is only sort of what desertport asked for. Sorry, babe! I hope you like it anyway.
Neurotic Author's Note #3: Unbeta'd comment-fic. I'm posting it now because I've been staring at it for way too long.
Steve wakes up to a throbbing headache and the overall sensation of having been beaten half to death with a baseball bat. He blinks, trying to rid himself of the remaining cobwebs in his brain, tries to bring up a hand to poke at the sore spot on the back of his neck only to find that he's been very securely bound to a really uncomfortable straight-backed chair. He groans under his breath, rolls his head to relieve some of the tension in his neck, forces himself to take stock of the situation.
He's in a small room that's very obviously been retrofitted to be some sort of cell, or maybe an interrogation room, judging by the two-way mirrors on two opposing walls. There's no table, only another chair and a platform bed bolted to the wall with a blanket and fitted sheet. He has no memory of getting here, which is annoying. If he'd been conscious at least for part of the trip, he'd have a better idea of where this might be and how far from help he is. The painful spot on his neck tells him he was on the wrong end of a taser, and he's pretty sure that he was drugged afterward to keep him knocked out long enough for transport. Danny is never going to let him live this down, he thinks with resignation: this is three times now that others have gotten the drop on him with a taser.
Otherwise, Steve is pleased to note that he appears to be otherwise unharmed. The zip ties are cutting a little into his wrists, but his feet are free, which means he can probably figure out a way to escape without too much difficulty. He's a little curious about his captors –they must be pretty well organized if they were able to surprise him, after all. The last thing he remembers is the feeling of people coming up from behind him in the darkened parking lot behind headquarters and whirling to face them. Obviously that didn't go quite as he planned, since he's now a captive.
A little over fifteen minutes later, the door swings open, revealing a fit-looking Japanese man in an expensive grey suit. Steve is more than a little surprised when he doesn't recognize the man. He had half-expected it to be one of the better-known faces of the Yakuza here in Hawaii, given how close he and Five-0 have been getting lately to finally shutting down some of their larger operations. This man, however, is a stranger to him. Steve doesn't recall even seeing his face in any of the surveillance footage they have, although Chin would be in a better position to confirm that. The man comes to stand in front of Steve, hands clasped in front of him.
"Good afternoon, Commander." His accent is entirely American, suggesting he was either born in the U.S. or has lived here long enough to lose any trace of his original accent.
This isn't the first time that Steve's been taken prisoner. The rules are simple: don't engage with your captor except when strictly necessary, don't divulge any information, no matter how mundane. Interrogation techniques only vary in the surface details, resisting them always comes back to the basics. Steve remains silent, which only makes his interlocutor smile.
"Yes, I was told you would not be susceptible to most of our methods of extracting information. I will not tell you my name, but you may call me Hiraku for the purposes of our interactions." He takes a step forward. "Since conventional methods are not likely to work, I have come up with a, shall we say, alternative plan to convince you to cooperate with us."
He turns, then, and flicks a switch on the wall, disabling the one-way mirror and enabling Steve to see through it. In spite of himself Steve turns his head to look and has to bite back a cry of dismay.
"You son of a bitch!" The words are out despite his best intentions.
The room on the other side of the glass could be the mirror-image of this one –same chair, same bed– except that it's Danny tied up in the chair before the mirror. He's slumped over, clearly unconscious, and Steve can see blood congealing in his hair and sheeting down one side of his face and neck, staining his shirt. He looks terrible, pale and sunken-eyed, his clothing rumpled and torn in places. He obviously put up a fight before being knocked out.
Hiraku flips the switch again, and Danny disappears, replaced by Steve's anxious features staring back at himself. "As you can see, we were able to secure your partner well before you. Since he has been, none too surprisingly, equally as uncooperative when it comes to providing us with the information we want, I have decided to simplify matters. You will tell me all of your findings on your latest investigation –and there is no need to be coy, we both know what you have been investigating– or I will have your partner beaten. Every time you refuse to cooperate, he will bear the brunt of your refusal. Do I make myself clear?"
Steve glares, straining uselessly at the zip ties keeping his wrists bound, but says nothing. Hiraku simply shrugs, and his cool tone makes Steve's stomach clench unpleasantly.
"I rather thought you would take that attitude. So be it. Until you cooperate, that will be the last you see of your partner, unless I choose to show him to you."
With that he turns on his heel and shuts the door behind him. For a moment Steve can hear the distant sound of some sort of machine humming in the background before the door closes, and then all he hears is the sound of a key turning in the lock. Then there's silence for a few minutes while Steve's mind races, trying to think of a way out of this before these people can start in on Danny. It's only a short time, though, before the muffled sound of a door opening and closing comes from the room next door.
"Detective Williams, will you be gracing us with your attention now?" Hiraku's voice comes through clearly, if somewhat distantly. Looking up, Steve catches sight of a vent by the ceiling, connecting both rooms and allowing sound to travel almost unimpeded."Get him up," Hiraku says flatly, and there follows the meaty sound of flesh connecting with flesh. There's a groan from Danny, and Hiraku's tone turns a little more sardonic. "Ah, welcome back, Detective."
"Fuck you," Danny spits, and Steve smiles to himself. It'll take a lot more than these people to knock the fight out of Danny Williams.
Hiraku clucks his tongue. "Let's not be melodramatic, Detective. The fewer heroics from you, the better it will be for all of us, yourself and your partner included."
"Steve?" Steve can hear the surprise in Danny's voice, laced with something that sounds uncomfortably close to anxiety. Damn it. Danny isn't trained the way Steve has been, and he can't afford to have his composure broken.
Danny snorts, and while most of it is bravado, Steve is relieved to hear it nonetheless. "You're wasting your time. I don't know how you managed to get the drop on him, but rest assured, he's more than able to deal with your pathetic attempts at torture, here. I gotta say, as these things go, so far you're looking pretty amateur. Small fry, really, and I–" Danny's words cut off abruptly, replaced by what sounds like a brutal blow. Steve winces in sympathy when he hears Danny cough and retch. When Danny speaks again, his voice is strangled. "Like I said –amateurs. Oughta be ashamed. You won't break him."
"You're absolutely right," Hiraku says calmly. "Which is why the goal is not to break Lt. Commander McGarrett, but you, Detective. You had better pray to whatever gods you have that your partner tells us what we want to know. The longer he holds out, the worse the punishment we will inflict upon you. Do you understand?"
There's silence for a moment. Then, "You stupid son of a bitch. You really think that's going to work on him? You're a class-A moron, you realize. There is no way he's going to tell you anything, and using me as leverage is probably one of the best ways to get him to clam up even further. You obviously don't know McGarrett well, or you'd know that the man is certifiably nuts. If I hadn't seen his bed myself I would have sworn –my hand to God– that he sleeps on rusty nails and broken glass for sport. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if he has a back-up bed made up of precisely that, just so he can practice every now and then. So you can't–"
"Be quiet," Hiraku snaps, and whoever is with him must hit Danny again, because there's a grunt of pain, and then silence.
It's the worst ten minutes Steve has spent in a very long time. Danny dutifully shuts up for the first time in his career at Five-0, but that means that Steve can only hear the sound of blows landing, accompanied by the soft sounds of pain Danny can't quite contain. Steve chews on the inside of his cheeks, reminds himself that this is part of the job, that the minute he talks he's condemning them both to death. No, better to remain silent, to buy as much time as possible in order for Chin and Kono to find them. Hiraku has made no mention of them yet, which means they're in all likelihood still free and already searching for him and Danny. Supposing Danny can withstand the treatment he's receiving. Danny's tough, but Steve has no illusions that he'll be able to hold out for more than a few days at most, depending on whether or not their captors have any intention of providing them with food or water. He hears Danny cough and retch, the sound of his chair legs scraping loudly against the concrete floor, forces himself to stay calm, not to try to imagine the worst case scenario with every blow that lands.
Finally, there's complete silence, punctuated only by a faint rattling sound that Steve can't identify.
"Now that is very interesting," Hiraku says softly. "Leave him be, for now. We will come back."
Danny's door opens and closes again, and Steve half-expects Hiraku to return to him, but his own door stays closed. There's only silence coming from next door now, making his heart speed up anxiously in his chest.
"Danny?" he calls out, figuring that sound must carry both ways, but there's no answer. "Danny, it's me! Talk to me, are you okay?"
There's still no answer, and he guesses that Danny must be unconscious again, which does nothing to calm his nerves. He's not sure how badly he's hurt, but it means he's lost consciousness at least twice along with the severe head injury he sustained, and Steve knows only too well that Danny and head injuries are a terrible mix. He squirms a little in his chair, trying to see if he can't find some sort of leverage to free his hands, to no avail. Forty-five minutes later his efforts have still borne no fruit, but he's distracted from his attempt to get loose by a soft groan from the room next door.
There's another groan, but this time Danny answers. "Steve? That you?"
A relieved laugh forces its way past his lips. "Yeah, Danno, I'm here. They've got me in the room next to yours. I'm right behind the mirror. You okay?"
"Not really," comes the answer. It's not surprising, but Steve had sort of been hoping for a better response.
"I'm going to get us out of here," he promises. "How badly are you hurt, Danno?"
There's a pause, as though Danny's trying to collect his thoughts. "Pretty fucked up. Can still walk, I think. 'M tired," he adds faintly.
That sets off alarm bells in Steve's head like nothing else in the world can these days. "Danny, talk to me. What's happening there?"
"Nothing. I mean… not now. Think I had a seizure," Danny admits. "I'm all messed up, and I lost a bunch of time somewhere. Dunno."
Shit. Shit, shit, shit, is all Steve can think. "How long since you took your meds?" If they're lucky, Danny will have taken his last dose at work, which means they have a few hours' grace period before this gets really bad. Danny's next words dash his hopes into splinters, though.
"This morning. They got me when I was heading home. Back-ups are at the office."
By craning his neck uncomfortably, Steve can spot that it's well into the evening on his watch, which means that Danny's already missed one dose of his meds which in turn means it's only going to go downhill from here. It's been several months since Danny had that first seizure in Steve's living room —not Danny's first, Steve reminds himself, but the first one Steve was present for— and Danny had assured him that it was a fluke occurrence, that the medication he was on kept the seizures under control, that only extreme stress brought them on. As far as Steve can tell, Danny was telling the truth: there were no subsequent episodes, especially once things started settling back down at work. Except that now Danny's missed his meds and almost definitely has a concussion. Stress is the worst of Danny's triggers, and Steve is pretty sure that being held prisoner and beaten by Yakuza is the very definition of a stressful situation. It's not surprising that he's already had one seizure, but the question remains whether there will be more before Steve can figure out a way to get them out of there.
He's still racking his brains —Danny having fallen worryingly silent on the other side of the wall— when the door to his room opens and Hiroku comes back in, this time bringing a chair with him, which he sets in front of Steve. He sits, crosses one ankle over his knee, and laces his fingers over his shin.
"I trust you've had a little time to think things over. Are you ready to tell me about the results of your investigation? I am particularly interested in all the names that have come up in the course of your police work. You may speak at your own pace, as quickly as you'd like. I have excellent recall."
Steve wants nothing more than to lunge out of his chair and throttle the smug bastard. He forces himself to be still. "Let Danny go. You let him go, provide me with proof that he's safe and an assurance you won't touch him or my team or any of my family again, and I'll cooperate."
It's a lie, of course, and Hiroku sees right through it. He rolls his eyes, shifts in his seat, and an expression of annoyance flickers across his face when his good pants catch on a screw protruding from one of the chair legs.
"It's regrettable that you make this choice, but I expected nothing less. I wonder if Detective Williams will be so sanguine about the fact that you so cavalierly play this way with his health. Do you know," he continues casually, "I made an extremely interesting discovery today. I have done this a few times before, but I have never witnessed a man have a seizure as the result of our treatment." Steve stiffens a little in spite of himself, and Hiroku's smile turns shark-like. "Ah, I thought this might indicate a pre-existing condition. Detective Williams should really wear his MedicAlert bracelet, don't you think? Epilepsy is so unpredictable. A blow to the head, the application of a taser... who know what all of these things can do to the delicate balance of the brain?"
Steve grits his teeth. There is nothing he can do to the son of a bitch right now, but at least he can have a good time imagining all the things he will do once he's free.
"I see that we shall have to be more persuasive," Hiroku says, his tone regretful and his expression anything but. "Perhaps I shall see if Detective Williams is photosensitive , if his particular type of disorder is susceptible to abrupt changes in lighting. It's rare, I'm told, but I'm willing to experiment."
It takes all of Steve's self-control not to scream at his retreating back. He clamps down hard on his tongue, focusses instead on the chair that Hiroku just vacated, because he's pretty sure that's where his salvation —and Danny's— lies. His legs are free, which makes it easy enough to scoot his chair over, angle himself so that his fingers are brushing against the loose screw.
Danny's voice comes through the vent. "Oh, hey, you're back. Good, because, you know, I was starting to get lonely in here all by mys—" he's interrupted by what sounds like yet another blow. Danny coughs, and Steve thinks he hears the sound of spitting. "Yeah, okay, moving on to the face, I can respect that. I mean, otherwise I'd be the best-looking guy in the room, and we can't have that. Just watch the hair, because—" another blow silences him, and Steve hears him coughing convulsively. "Damn it, that's my second-best tie. My daughter gave me that, and now it's ruined."
"I assume this would not be the first time someone has told you you talk too much, Detective."
"No," Danny's voice is strangled. "Been told before. Thought you wanted me to talk?"
"Have you decided to tell me all that you know about your investigation?"
Danny laughs and coughs some more. "Oh, man, an optimist. It's rare to find those in your line of work. Screw you, buddy. I might have considered it before you destroyed my favourite tie, but now? Forget it."
There's a moment of silence, and Steve has to concentrate on what he's doing in order not to go crazy wondering just what Hiroku is doing in there. The screw is turning, agonizingly slowly, but it's turning nonetheless.
"You know," Danny pipes up again, and Steve can feel some of the tension leaving him just as a result of knowing he's still conscious, "you really need to work on your bad guy technique. You think this whole glib, well-dressed thing you've got going isn't a total cliché? It's been done over and over, and in case you hadn't noticed, I am way cooler than James Bond. Although I wouldn't mind having my Camaro better-outfitted. What is that?" he asks suddenly, and Steve tenses all over again at the shift in his tone.
"It's a pocket flashlight," Hiroku says in the same conversational tone he's used throughout the interrogations. "Nothing to be concerned about, normally. It's not even strong enough that you wouldn't become acclimated to the beam in a few minutes. Unless, of course, you were to have some sort of pre-existing condition, but since there's nothing in your file to that effect, we need not worry, right?"
"You sick son of a bitch. You seriously need help, of the psychological variety. In fact, once we arrest you and throw your ass in jail, I will personally make sure that you are actively followed by the best on-staff psychiatrist there is and prescribed lots of nice drugs to counteract your obviously psychopathic tendencies and... don't fucking point that at my face, you psycho!"
Hiroku doesn't say anything, and Steve redoubles his efforts to get the screw free, tucking it behind his watch strap. There's silence from next door, broken only by the same strange rattling sound as before. It's Danny's chair, Steve realizes with something akin to horror, moving against the floor while he seizes. Steve closes his eyes, starts counting the seconds, as much to monitor the length of the seizure as to keep himself from going nuts in the interim. The only time he ever saw Danny seize, it lasted less than a minute, but this time sixty seconds passes and the rattling sound doesn't stop. Steve swallows, keeps counting, well past two minutes. At two minutes and thirty-five seconds, the rattling stops, and Steve lets out the breath he was holding. He thinks about the screw, still tucked away in his watch strap, but if Hiroku sticks to his pattern, he'll be coming in here any second now to convince Steve to spill all his secrets.
To his surprise, it's not Hiroku who comes in, but another guy dressed in the black fatigues that all private security seem to like so much. True to form, he's well-equipped, too, with a gun and taser hanging next to the key ring, walkie-talkie and cell phone on his belt. He's got a large plastic cup in one hand with a straw, which he holds out toward Steve.
"Protein shake. Boss says you gotta eat, but we're not untying you. Drink up."
It's humiliating, but Steve has been in worse positions than this, and it's useless to starve himself, even counterproductive. He obediently tips his head, makes short work of the shake. "You feeding Danny too?"
"Boss says he doesn't eat or drink until you talk." The guard pulls back when the cup is empty. "
Shit. Because what Danny really needs is another potential trigger. That just means it's even more important for Steve to get them out of here before he has another seizure. He holds himself very still, waits for the guard to leave the room, tugs the screw out from under his watch strap, and applies himself with everything he's got to sawing through the zip tie binding his wrists to the back of his chair. It's frustratingly slow, and what Steve wouldn't give for a knife or a razor blade, but at least the screw is metallic and relatively sharp, and he does feel as though he's making progress. The room next door is still worryingly silent, though, and after a while he risks calling out.
"Danny? You awake?" There's a muffled groan, so he tries again. "Talk to me, Danno. Tell me you're okay."
"You want me to lie? That's rich," Danny's voice is weak, his words slurred, but it's the best sound in the world. "Fuck," he moans.
"Hang in there, Danno, I'm getting us out, okay?"
"'kay. You better have a good plan. I'm fresh out."
"I have a plan, don't worry."
"I said a good plan," Danny says a little peevishly, and Steve laughs.
"I need you to hang on for me, because it could take a while. How bad is it, Danny? Level with me. How're you doing?"
There's a pause, and Steve thinks he can hear Danny take a deep breath. "Not that good, to be honest. There's, uh, blood. In my urine." Danny's voice is thick with humiliation, and Steve winces. Loss of bladder control isn't an uncommon thing to have happen during a seizure, and this means that Danny's probably got some kind of internal injury from the beating he got earlier.
"Okay. Okay, Danny, I hear you. Just... I need a little time to make this work, but I promise I'll get us out of here. You still think you can walk?"
"Gonna need some help."
"All right, I can work with that. You take it easy, rest as much as you can until I can get us out, okay?"
"Not like I have much choice. Fuck, I think I pulled my shoulder during that last seizure..."
"Please tell me they untied you."
"Never that lucky..." Danny's voice trails off.
"Danny?" Steve can feel the plastic beginning to give way, but he's still a ways from getting free. There's no answer. "Danny, talk to me. What's happening in there?"
"Nothing," Danny slurs. "Tired. And my head's fucking killing me."
After that, Danny doesn't answer no matter how much Steve yells, so he concentrates on getting the rest of the way through the zip ties. There's no telling how long it's going to be before someone comes back and he can put the rest of his plan into action. He positions himself by the door, strains to listen for footsteps in the hallway outside. It's been about two hours since the security guard came in, but there's a peephole in the door, so if the guard is using it to check them on his rounds, he'll definitely notice that Steve isn't in his chair anymore. Of course, there's always the risk he'll call for back-up, but Steve is pretty sure that, private security being what it is, the guy's first instinct will be to open the door and check for himself.
He's not disappointed. It takes another hour, but sure enough he's alerted to the guard's presence by the turning of a key in the lock, the sliding of the deadbolt, and the door swings open into the hallway. The guy comes in with his gun raised, but it's child's play to disarm him, and a few well-timed blows serve nicely to knock him out cold. Steve binds his wrists and ankles with his own zip-ties and stuffs his own bandana into the guard's mouth. He tucks the guy's weapon into his belt, takes the taser just to be on the safe side, and uses his cell phone to dial out.
"Kelly." Chin answers his phone on the first ring.
"Chin, it's me." Steve grins when he finds a Swiss army knife in one of the guy's pockets. God bless private security who always compensate for their lack of actual skills with an overabundance of equipment.
"Steve! Thank God. Where are you?"
"No idea. Can you trace this call?"
"Already on it," Chin says, and Steve hears the distant click of his keyboard. "You all right?"
Steve tucks the phone between his ear and shoulder as he makes his way carefully into the hallway. There's no chatter at all from the guard's radio, which means he probably didn't call for backup.
"I'm fine, but Danny isn't."
"Danny's with you?"
"Yeah, I'm getting to him now. We're going to need an ambulance."
"On it. Okay, I can have back-up there in less than fifteen minutes. Can you get to an exit?"
"Yeah, I'll figure something out. I'll keep this phone on me until we're out."
"Got it. Be careful."
Danny's slumped in his chair when Steve opens the door, head lolling at what looks like it must be a really uncomfortable angle. Steve hurries over, dropping the cell phone into his pocket, kneels behind him and neatly slices through the zip tie on his wrists. Danny's a mess, covered in blood down one side of his face and shirt, one eye swelled shut and bruises blossoming along his cheek and jawbone. He smells of urine and vomit, no doubt the result of the seizures, and for a worrying moment he doesn't rouse at all under Steve's touch.
"Danny, hey, come on. I need you to wake up for me, okay?"
It takes another minute or so before Danny's eyes flutter open, but his gaze stays unfocussed.
"Hey, welcome back," Steve grins, tries to prop him up a bit more. "Come on, Danny, look at me. We're getting out of here, but you're going to have to work with me. Can you get up?"
Danny grunts softly, but he makes an effort to sit up, ends up halfway collapsed in Steve's arms. "Shit," he mutters. "Feel terrible. You okay?"
Steve laughs in spite of himself. "Fine, Danno. I'm more worried about you. What hurts?"
"What doesn't? Please tell me you called for back-up. And don't say it's me, I can't be your back-up. Too fucked up."
"I called for back-up. We have to get going, right now. Someone's going to notice when the guard doesn't check in. Can you walk or do I need to carry you?"
"I can walk," Danny lets out another pained grunt as Steve hauls him to his feet, only to have his knees buckle. "Okay, maybe not so much walk."
Steve pulls Danny's arm over his shoulder. "How about if I help you?"
"That'll work. I'm so sorry about this," Danny mutters. "Useless."
Steve's already moving them out the door. "Don't you dare apologize for this. You've been beaten half to death and had two seizures. You're doing better than I'd be doing."
"Three seizures. I think. Lost count. And you're a liar. You'd be scaling a wall one-handed by now. Shit," Danny stumbles over some unseen obstacle, and it's only Steve's grip on him that keeps him from falling face-first on the ground. He manages one more step before he stops short.
"Shit," Danny shakes his head. "Not now..."
"Back-up's right outside, Danno. All we have to do is make it out," Steve says, but he can feel Danny already starting to tremble, what little coordination he had left deserting him.
"Sorry," Danny manages. "Gonna have to leave me... come back after, okay?"
His knees buckle again, and this time Steve doesn't try to hold him up, eases him carefully to the floor and lays him on his side, wishing he had something, anything to put under his head. Danny's still struggling to speak, but he's already too far gone, and Steve smooths a hand over his forehead.
"Take it easy, Danno. I got your back, I'm not leaving you here, okay? You can let go, I got this."
He has no idea if his words have any effect, but a second later Danny's eyes roll back in his head and his whole body goes rigid. Steve starts counting in his head when the tonic-clonic phase sets in, poised over Danny's prone form, scanning the hallway for any sign that they've been discovered yet, his blood roaring in his ears from the surge of adrenaline. He pulls out the cell phone, dials Chin's number again.
"Chin, how far out's the back-up?"
"Three minutes, maybe less. Kono and I are two minutes behind first responders. Talk to me, what's happening?"
"We're still inside," Steve has to keep himself from reaching out to hold Danny still while he seizes. "Danny's not doing well, he's having a seizure, I can't move him yet."
"Are you secure?"
"No. We haven't been discovered yet, but it's only a matter of time," Steve breathes a sigh of relief as Danny shudders and relaxes, his whole body going limp. "Okay, worst of the seizure's over. I'm going to try to get us to an exit."
"I got building schematics from the city. Do you know what part of the warehouse you're in?"
"No idea. There weren't any windows, but it doesn't feel like it's underground, so I'm guessing converted offices of some kind."
"Right. That puts you in the Northeast corner of the warehouse."
"I can work with that. Make sure the EMTs are waiting for us, okay?"
"They're en route."
It's at that moment that a siren goes off, nearly deafening him. It's impossible to tell if it's due to the arrival of the police cars outside or if it's simply a response to their escape, but there's no question that they have to go, right now.
"I have to go. I'll see you soon." Steve shoves the phone back in his pocket. Ready or not, he has to get Danny out of here before they're discovered. Everything else can wait. "Danny, Danny, can you hear me?"
Danny doesn't so much as twitch, eyes still rolled back in his head. There's no time to worry about anything except getting them out, so Steve pulls him up and over his shoulder in a fireman's carry, sprints to the end of the hallway where it branches out, and sends up a fervent prayer of thanks to whoever invented the emergency exit sign. It's easy enough to follow the signs out, all of the exist unguarded. Whatever else Hiroku and his men were doing here, they're obviously either understaffed or weren't expecting Steve to be able to escape. Steve bursts through the fire escape to find himself in a parking lot just as the first HPD cars pull up in a screech of tires, lights flashing and sirens blaring loudly.
"Suspects are still inside!" Steve barks at the first officer that steps out of his vehicle. "At least two men, one of Japanese descent. There's private security, all armed with tasers and side arms. Where are the EMTs?"
"One minute out," the guy assures him, and Steve can already hear the ambulance siren getting closer.
He barely pays attention as the rest of the HPD cops move in on the building, too busy laying Danny back on the ground to check him over. Danny's still out of it, and Steve's heart skips a beat when he sees blood at the corner of his mouth. Danny's still breathing, though, his pulse weak but steady under Steve's fingers. Less than a minute later the ambulance has pulled up, and Steve backs off while the EMTs shift Danny onto a stretcher, racking his brain for answers to all their questions and finding that, more often than not, he's coming up frustratingly short.
"I don't know, I couldn't see what was happening," he tells the paramedic, balling his hands into fists and wishing for just two minutes alone with Hiroku, supposing they even find him. "I know they beat him, but I don't know with what. He's seized at least four times since yesterday."
"Okay, brah," the paramedic puts a hand on his shoulder. "I hear you, we're taking good care of your partner, but I want to check you out too, okay? You can ride in the ambulance with us until we get to the hospital, so we can make sure you're okay."
"I'm fine," Steve brushes him off, but he's happy enough to get into the ambulance and sit near Danny while Chin and Kono take over directing the crime scene. He's got a good team, he thinks a little distractedly, they'll handle it.
What he's not counting on, though, is getting ushered to a separate exam room while Danny's whisked away on his gurney, out of sight within seconds while a harried-looking doctor spends a good ten minutes trying to convince Steve to stay put and be examined. Finally he bodily blocks the door and glares at him.
"Commander! The sooner you let me examine you, the sooner I can let you go and get news of your partner. You'll just be interfering with his treatment at this point, I can assure you."
Steve snorts because, really, he's being unreasonable. "Look, I promised him I wouldn't leave, all right? I don't break my promises."
"And you're not," the doctor keeps his tone placating, almost wheedling. "He's less than twenty yards away, getting taken care of. You're a trained professional, right? Would you want untrained personnel in your crime scenes? Of course not. You need to trust us to do our jobs, the way everyone else trusts your team to keep the island safe. Now sit!"
Steve huffs, but it's easier to just let him get on with it than keep arguing. "Fine."
Thirty minutes later he's given the all-clear with instructions to take it easy for a few days —instructions he has every intention of ignoring— but it's another couple of hours before they let him in to see Danny, the entirety of which he spends pacing anxiously in the waiting room. At least Rachel and Grace are out of town, which gives him an excuse not to call them until he has something definitive to tell them about Danny's condition. Chin and Kono arrive shortly after he's discharged, and their presence alleviates some of the tension as he briefs them on what happened. Not altogether surprisingly, Hiroku —or whatever his real name is— was long gone by the time HPD swept the place, but the guard Steve overpowered is in custody along with one other member of the private security in the place, and as soon as he's been processed Chin is heading back to question them properly.
"You want to come with, or are you good here?" Chin asks him, as though there's any doubt about his answer.
"I trust you. I'll call you as soon as there's word on Danny."
In the end, the news is good and bad. Good, in that Danny doesn't need surgery, and so Steve is choosing to take it as a win. The blood in his urine was most likely due to a broken blood vessel, and the blood in his mouth the direct result of him biting his tongue during one of his seizures. The hospital is keeping Danny until they're sure he's out of the woods, at least twenty-four hours, maybe more, and the doctors are all being annoyingly cautious in what they say to Steve about him.
They do let him in to see Danny, though, with explicit instructions to let him rest, so Steve steals in as quietly as he can, pulls up a chair next to the bed and prepares to wait. Danny's asleep, hooked up to an IV and several different monitors, all beeping quietly and reassuringly regularly, one hand on his chest moving with the even up and down of his breathing. At least he looks peaceful after all of it, Steve thinks, trying to find a more comfortable position. He's determined to be the first person Danny sees when he wakes up.
The next thing he knows daylight is streaming in through the window in Danny's hospital room, he's got a crick in his neck, every muscle in his body feels like it's trying to cramp up, and Danny is watching him from his bed, his expression a mixture of fondness and exasperation.
"You goof. Have you been there the whole time?"
Steve sits up, cranes his neck until he feels it crack, stretches out the kinks in his spine. "Where else was I gonna go?"
"Home," Danny flaps a hand emphatically. "Where there is a shower and a bed and a change of clothes. All of which are things you desperately need." He's smiling, though, and that's all the reassurance Steve needs. He gets up, goes so stand by Danny's bed.
"So how are you feeling?"
"Like warmed-over crap. Everything hurts, and I do mean everything," Danny lets his eyes close. "I'm also really, really tired. Did we get the guy?"
"He got away in the confusion."
"Shit," Danny sighs. "I'm sorry," he adds, and the very idea that Danny's apologizing for this makes rage roil in the pit of Steve's stomach.
"Hey, you have nothing to be sorry for, you hear me? I'd let him run to the other side of the world if it meant you were safe, okay?"
"Okay," Danny's voice grows even quieter. "You're not being entirely stupid and feeling guilty about this, are you? I bet you are, because you're a goof. A goof with guilt complexes. Tell me you're not."
"'Course not. Don't be ridiculous," Steve lies, and hopes Danny will be too out of it to notice. "I'm just glad you're okay."
Danny doesn't open his eyes, but a smile tugs at the corners of his mouth. He shifts uncomfortably on his bed, gropes for a moment with the hand that's not hooked up to an IV until Steve catches it in his. "You're a giant softie, you know that, right? Big old marshmallow, all gooey on the inside."
Steve snorts. "Just what are they giving you?"
"Don't know. Probably a whole lot of painkillers and anticonvulsants. They told me but I lost track." Danny's voice is fading even more. He's clearly not all there, because Steve's attempt at deflection didn't even register. To Steve's surprise, though, he opens his eyes again and struggles to sit up until Steve reaches over to raise the bed for him. Danny nods his thanks, drops his gaze to his lap. "Steve, I, uh... look. The last time... this could get pretty bad. I mean, I don't know, it could be nothing but... I just don't know. So, uh, you should look into making sure you get a replacement for me lined up. At Five-0, I mean."
For a moment Steve doesn't know what to say. Danny's twisting his hands in his lap in a way he's never done before, and for the first time since Steve has known him he looks —small. Small and defeated, hunched in on himself as though he's expecting to be beaten down by something. By life, maybe. Rachel left him because of this, Steve remembers suddenly. Not only because of this, but it played a large part in it, and Steve thinks he gets it, now.
"Are you telling me you're that easily replaced?"
That gets him a laugh, at least, one that sounds so close to a sob that it makes something awful twist up inside Steve's chest. "You wish. I just figure it'll take months of careful screening, so you'll need whatever head start you can get."
Steve shakes his head, then reaches over and cups the back of Danny's neck, disguising it as a soft cuff to the back of the head, but he lets his hand linger. "Don't be stupid, Danno, I'm not replacing you. First off, this is probably nothing. That guy purposefully screwed with you while you were concussed, dehydrated and had missed all your meds, so we can't know how you'd react under different circumstances. You'll take time off —well-deserved vacation time— and we'll take it from there. Right now all you need to to is relax and not worry about any of this. Think you can do that?"
"Do I think —what do you take me for?" Danny's head comes up at that, and Steve can see the relief beneath the bluster. "Yes, Steven, I think I can manage to lie still in this not-very-comfortable hospital bed. Unlike you, I might add. If our positions were reversed —and trust me, I'm glad they're not, because I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy— then they would probably have to strap you down to keep you here. I, on the other hand, plan to be a model patient."
"Oh, 'sure, Danny,' he says, like I'm a child to be humoured," Danny grumbles, but he lets Steve nudge him back onto his pillow and closes his eyes again. "I will have you know that I have received compliments from nurses on being a very compliant patient."
"Good. So be compliant and go back to sleep."
"You going to go home and shower and sleep like a normal person if I do?"
"Worry about yourself, Danno."
"I am worried about myself. I'm multitasking by worrying about you too. I am a modern man, capable of doing more than one thing at a time. Go home, Steven, and do humanity a favour by taking a shower, then a nap. Don't swim, either, you lunatic. Sleep."
"All right. I'll be back later, though, see how you're doing. You need anything before I go?"
"Not unless you can provide me with a couple of cold ones."
"Not on your life. Your head still hurt?"
"I have a concussion. What do you think?"
Steve grins. "I think you're grumpy, which is a really good sign. Get some rest, I'll come back as soon as I can. We'll figure out the rest as it comes, got it?"
Danny's obviously too tired to argue anymore. "Yeah, okay. Steve... thanks."
"Don't mention it."
Steve smiles to himself as he goes. He'll make up the guest bedroom when he gets home, because there's no way he's letting Danny convalesce in his rat-trap of an apartment. Danny will probably bitch about it, but they've never had an argument that Steve hasn't won, in one way or another. First he'll shower and nap, because it's nothing to give Danno this one victory, not in light of everything else. Then he'll make up the bed, buy some more groceries, and make sure he has some Longboards on hand, just in case the hospital says Danny's allowed to drink when he's released.
Tomorrow he'll bring Danny home, and they'll take it from there.