The second time Danny woke up, he was more coherent, and demanded to see Steve. His doctor, a few nurses, and even Kono tried to reassure him that Steve was fine. They wanted Danny to stay in bed, he had two bullet holes in his body and a screwed up knee, but he was adamant about seeing Steve. Reluctantly, his doctor relented, but he had been confined to a wheelchair.
"You're very stubborn you know that," Kono said as she pushed him down the hall.
"I have to be sure," Danny informed her, wishing she would go faster.
"And you couldn't take my word for it?"
"I have to be sure," he repeated and he could practically see her roll her eyes.
"Stubborn ass," she muttered but continued to push him down the hall.
"Hey, Kono," Danny started after a few moments of silence. "Where's Chin?"
"He, um," she cleared her throat, "he went after Bates." Danny could hear the worry in her voice and immediately knew something was wrong.
"How long has he been gone?" he asked slowly.
"A-about an hour."
"I…" she sighed, taking a deep breath. "He told me to keep in constant contact, and every time I call he won't answer his cell."
"So, basically, he's missing," Danny observed, his stomach clenching with worry.
"We don't know that," Kono replied hurriedly and Danny couldn't help thinking, who's stubborn now?
But he kept his comments to himself, knowing she was worried enough for the both of them, and said, "I'm sure they're in a low service area."
"He had a satellite phone," she said softly.
"Maybe the battery died." Danny knew he was grasping at straws, he knew Chin was like Steve with his phone. It was always charged, always on, just in case the governor called, or one of their team ended up in the hospital. In a way, they all we neurotic like that with their phones.
"I'm sure he's fine," Kono responded and Danny heard her nod her head. "He's fine." She was trying to convince herself more than him.
"Yeah," Danny mumbled humoring her, "he's probably fine."
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Chin came to just as the surface below him jolted. His head was pounding against his skull and it took a few seconds to pry his eyes open. The midday sunlight nearly blinded him, screwing his already blurry vision up, and it took him a few seconds to get his bearings.
When he was able to see clearly again, he realized he was on Adam's helicopter. He had no recollection of getting on the helicopter. It didn't help matters that he could barely remember the events leading to him waking up in the helicopter.
"Good, you're awake," a voice said to the left of him, and he turned to see Bates, blood staining his clothes, sitting a good six inches from him, a gun trained on his chest. The shorter man looked about ready to drop, and Chin knew it was sheer will keeping him going. "Now you can walk by yourself."
Chin looked out the window, trying to figure out where they were, and noticed they were parked on the roof of an apartment building three buildings down from the hospital. He wondered just what Bates had planned, and just how he was going to pull it off without getting caught.
Despite his killer headache, it was suddenly blatantly obvious what Bates was going to do, and Chin almost knocked himself in the forehead for not seeing it sooner.
"Using me as bait? Not sure how well that plan will work out," Chin commented softly. Bates didn't respond, he just motioned for Chin to get out of the helicopter. Kelly flashed his friend Adam a look, the pilot slumped in his seat. He didn't see any blood, so either his gunshot wound hadn't bled much yet or he had only been knocked out. Chin was really hoping for the latter. Relief flooded him when he saw the steady rise and fall of his chest. Meaning Adam, at the very least, was still alive.
He scooted to the edge of the helicopter's door, ignoring the sharp pain shooting through his head. He jumped down and landed unsteadily, his legs turning to jelly and his vision screwing up. By the time he got his bearings the second time, Bates was standing next to him, gun pressed into his back, right against his spine.
"Start moving or you'll never walk again," Bates said softly and Chin began slowly walking towards the fire escape. It was the most logical way down, unless Bates wanted to drag them through the building. And that would be something trying to explain why there was a helicopter on the roof and why both men were bleeding. They probably only had a few more minutes anyway, before someone came to investigate the sudden noises on the roof. And that is if anyone heard anything.
They worked their way down the fire escape, Chin noticing how Bates took a second to zip up the jacket he had stolen from the helicopter. It was enough to hide the bulk of the blood, just until it started seeping into the lining.
By the time they reached the street, Bates was gasping for breath and Chin felt dizzy and sick to his stomach. It was only a matter of time before one, or both, passed out cold. And Kelly was pulling for Bates to just dropped, determination be damned. But he knew that wasn't going to happen.
"You do realize," Chin started once they stopped outside the hospital's entrance, "the security cameras will pick you up the moment you walk inside. Security will be on you before you can make it six steps to Steve or Danny's rooms, and that is if you can find them."
Bates still didn't say anything; he just nudged Chin away from the double doors, and towards the back of the hospital. There was a ramp leading to a door, where a delivery guy had just dropped off food and supplies, and Bates managed to catch the door before it could close.
He beckoned Chin to go inside, the taller man didn't move, narrowing his eyes. Bates beckoned again, and Chin just glared. Finally, he just pushed the cop through the door. Chin slammed into a shelf, knocking several supplies to the floor.
Bates let the door close and forced Chin into a nearby closet, just as several orderlies appeared around the corner to check out the noise.
"Make a sound, I kill them all," Bates said into Chin's ear, and the cop knew he had to be quiet. He was a cop, he was supposed to protect people, and he couldn't let Bates kill those men. He also couldn't let Bates kill Danny and Steve either. This would be so much easier if his head didn't feel like it was going to part from his neck.
"Okay, let's go," Bates whispered a few moments later, when the orderlies picked up the mess and gave up searching for whoever caused it. Chin was certain he heard one said, "Something probably fell off a stack and knocked everything off."
They continued through the corridor, towards the elevator at the end of the hall. Neither man said a word, but Chin could feel the gun pressed against his spine again. A plan started to form, if he could just spin around and grab the gun at the right moment, he might be able to disarm Bates. Or he could end up shot in the process. The plan died before he could put it into action.
Bates ushered him into the elevator, just as Chin's phone rang. He met the shrink eyes as the shorter man pulled the phone from his pocket. "It's Kalakaua," he said shoving the phone at Chin. "say a word about me and I kill you."
"Kono," Chin said once he answered the phone. "What's up?"
"Where have you been? I've been calling you for a half an hour."
"Signals got crossed. There's something crazy going on with my phone. May have to switch to my old one; though, there will be shrinkage in my minutes. And I might have to ask Danny for it back."
"What are you talking…?" it took Kono a few seconds, but it seemed she pieced together his hint. Or he thought she did, Chin couldn't be sure, but she had gotten quiet. Finally, she drew in a breath and said, "Did he hurt you?" His cousin never ceased to amaze him.
"No, I like this phone, but I may have to…"
"Is he in the building?"
"Yeah, I actually prefer this phone, too, but like I said…"
"Chin, I'll get a hold of…"
"That's enough," Bates snarled knocking the phone from Chin's hand. It hit the floor and Bates smashed it with his foot. "Obviously, not saying anything is beneath you, Detective Kelly. That won't do at all."
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"Chin!" Kono yelled into the phone. "Chin!" She hung up, barely listening to Danny call her name, and redialed Chin. Instead of the usual ring, it just went straight to voicemail.
"What's wrong?" Danny asked looking up at her.
"I can't…" Kono drew in a deep breath, trying to keep from freaking out, and said, "Bates has Chin and he's in the hospital somewhere."
"Let's go find him," Danny stated, trying to push himself from his chair.
"No, you stay here," Kono replied stopping outside Steve's door. "Keep an eye on McGarrett."
"Are you sure?" Danny asked and Kono could tell he wanted to kill Bates himself. Not for himself, however, but for Steve.
"Stay here," she repeated opening the door and pushing him inside. She had only seen Steve one other time since he got back out of surgery. He was hooked up to several machines, and looked too vulnerable, too un-Steve like. Kono didn't like it, but she'd rather have him alive and hooked to machines than dead in the morgue.
"I don't remember him looking this bad," Danny commented as Kono parked him next to Steve's bed. She didn't have the heart to tell him that McGarrett had woke up during surgery, that he lost more blood than he should have, that he could have died.
"Stay here," she said a third time and hurried out of the room. She had to find her cousin.
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Danny leaned forward in his chair, resting his uninjured arm on Steve's bed. With the exception of a breathing tube and life support (something Danny was thankful for) it seemed Steve was hooked up to everything in the hospital. It was a scary thought, to see the super SEAL like that. He was the most resilient member of their team, taking more blows than anyone Danny knew, and Williams couldn't believe one guy could screw that up.
It angered him that Bates was still running around, that they hadn't managed to kill him yet. He was certain he had heard two gunshots before he ended up shot again, had been so sure Chin killed the maniac, but it seemed Bates was like a cockroach. Once he found a target, he just kept coming until they removed his head.
That was good idea, removing Bates' head. He wouldn't be able to do much without his head. Though, Danny's luck, the asshole would be like a chicken or a real cockroach and live without his head for a few extra moments. And in those moments he'd somehow manage to kill both Danny and Steve.
"That's a stupid thought," he said out loud, looking down at Steve. "Bates being able to live without a head," he answered as if Steve had asked 'what?' "I mean, I don't think it's possible in humans, though I've never actually done the research. I'd have to ask Max."
He drew in a deep breath, giving his friend a small smile. "When you wake up, I'll give you fifty bucks to ask Max. He'd probably laden you with research. But you have to wake up first."
The door opened behind Danny. With some difficulty, he half turned his chair, expecting to see Kono, ready to ask her if she had any luck locating Chin, but was surprised to see Bates standing in the doorway, covered in blood, holding a gun on Danny.
"Unfortunately, Commander McGarrett isn't going to be waking up," Bates said softly, closing the door and locking it. "Never, ever again. And neither will you." He pulled the hammer back on his gun, his finger tightening on the trigger.
There was no way he was going to let Bates kill him or Steve, but there wasn't much Danny could do, so he did the only thing he could think of. He threw himself at the doctor.
The gun went off, the bullet going wild, as Danny slammed his fist into Bates' face. Pain shot down his arm, radiating from his shoulder, and he nearly tore a hole in his lip as he bit down to keep from crying out.
Before he could push his pain away, Danny was knocked away from the shrink and landed painfully on his wounded side. His vision blanked out for a few seconds, and when he came back to himself Bates was standing over him.
"It has been a real pleasure knowing you Daniel," Bates said softly, pressing the gun to Danny's forehead. "Perhaps I'll see you in another life."
Danny felt the metal against his forehead, saw his life flash before his eyes, but before he could come to terms with the fact that he was never going to see Gracie again. Never going to hold her, hear her tell him about her day, complain to him about Tommy, or any of the other number of things she did, he noticed a tall figure appear behind Bates.
He owed Steve McGarrett fifty bucks.
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Steve yanked Bates off of Danny, throwing the shorter man across the room. He had awoken to the sounds of a struggle, had managed to rip out every single needle while Bates was seconds from killing Danny, and now he was going to make this asshole pay.
Every, single injury he had didn't matter. He was beyond them at that point, high on adrenaline and pain medication. He knew he probably only had a few moments before his high began to crash, but that was all he needed.
He slammed his fist into Bates' face as he tried to get up, sending the shrink to the floor. Steve kicked the gun away from the older man, but barely paid much attention to where it went. He grabbed the I.V. pole, swinging it into the side of Bates' head, stunning the doctor.
He threw the pole to the side, grabbed Bates by the scuff of his collar, and yanked him to his feet. Almost as if some primal instinct took over, something Steve just couldn't control even if he wanted to, the SEAL began smashing his fist into the doctor's face; one punch after another, hitting him as hard as he could.
While he went to town on the guy, he began to relive the past few weeks. He had been tortured by this guy, forced to relive the worst memories of his life. He watched his mother die over and over again, had people he cared for pretty much tear every wall he ever had down to the point where he just couldn't rebuild them. He was forced to leave, to flee from his problems, just so he wouldn't have to think about it.
He hurt people he loved, his family, all because of this piece of trash. Why did Bates deserve to get what he wanted, to have his freedom and get his so-called revenge? Where was Steve's freedom? When would McGarrett get his revenge?
"Steve," he heard a voice say. "Steve!" the voice said louder, and this time he recognized it.
"Danny?" he whispered finally stilling his fist. Bates was limp in his hands, his face a bloody mess.
"Let him go," Danny said softly. "He's gone, Steve. Let him go." And the detective managed to pry the shrink out of McGarrett's grasp. Once his hands were free, and he had nothing to hold onto, Steve dropped to the floor.
Tears started pouring from his face, while every single memory came crashing back a second time. He didn't want to watch his mother die again, he didn't want his father to blame him for his death, he didn't want his team to tell him they were going to get hurt because of him, but most importantly he didn't want Grace, real or not, informing him about how blindly Danny followed him. About how one day his partner was most likely going to get added to the list of people he had gotten killed.
Steve felt arms wrap around his shoulder, and heard his partner say, "Hey, it's okay. Everything is going to be okay."
The SEAL clung to Danny like a life preserver, knowing he was the only thing keeping him grounded. Just like he was the only thing that kept Danny grounded when O'Riley buried him alive. They weren't codependent like Bates said, but they did need each other. It was their friendship that would get them through anything, and Steve knew he had to hold onto that for as long as he could.
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They finally managed to locate a nurse to unlock the door. It took longer than Chin would have liked, and he would have easily attempted to kick the door in had O'Riley not put a hole in his leg. He was limping heavily on it, refusing medical care until he was sure Steve and Danny were okay.
When the door flew open, the first thing Chin noticed was Steve clinging to Danny, the SEAL in the middle of a very scary, very real breakdown. Williams caught Kelly's eye first, and gave him a 'leave them be' look. Chin nodded, turning to one of the nurses.
"I think I'll take that exam now," he told her softly. She nodded just as a couple doctors rushed in to check on Bates and hover over Danny and Steve. Giving them as much room as they could while simultaneously checking to make sure none of their stitches had been ripped open.
Chin knew it was what Steve needed, someone to just sit there and let him have his moment, and if he could pick anyone, it would most definitely be Danny. They were partners, brothers, and would do anything for each other. It was also in that moment that Chin realized he could totally, one-hundred percent, forgive Steve.
Auntie used to say, 'Grudges just weren't worth it,' and Chin could think of no truer words. Being angry at Steve wasn't helping anything, especially when he was going to need them. And Chin would give as much help as he could, even if the SEAL tried to push him away. They were O'hana, they had each other's back, and that was all that really mattered at the end of the day.
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Yes, this is the end. The rest would have just been recovery, and like I said I didn't want to drag this story out. Maybe I'll do a one-shot with the team getting back together after Steve left... On second thought, I'll most definitely do the one shot. Just not now, I have to clear my plate first. And I was debating whether or not to do a sequel for Start of a Breakdown, but I'm not sure how many of you actually read it or if you want one, and I'm not sure if I could come up with a decent plot. I have too many ideas and not enough time :D
Anyway, thanks to everyone who read, alerted, reviewed, favorited, supported, or bugged me to finish this story. I know this chapter is later than I usually update, I've just been super busy, and I hope you guys like the length. It's over 3000 words w/o my babbling.
Anyway, thanks for reading, drop a comment if you like, and I own nothing.
Catch ya in the next story.