Steve glowered as Lopez's men loaded the two unconscious bodies onto stretchers for transport to the military base hospital.

Lopez correctly interpreted the look. "Don't even think about it, McGarrett," he said. "One word from you, and you're joining them, tied to another stretcher to keep you from pulling another stunt. What the hell were you thinking, jumping into the water like that?"

"I was thinking," Steve returned stiffly, "man overboard."

"And I was thinking," Lopez pushed, "that a man with a concussion, rescued from a hunk of rock in the middle of the Pacific, would have the sense not to dive into the harbor in the middle of a pitched gun battle, when we could have sent out a boat in another couple of minutes."

"Chin could have drowned by then."

"If he hadn't drowned within the first few minutes, he wasn't about to drown by the time we got to him. Face it, Steve; you're an adrenaline junkie."

"Here, here." That came from one of the 'unconscious' bodies on a stretcher. The voice was weak, but clear.

"Danno!" Steve hastened to the side of his partner. "Danno, you okay?"

"No, Steven, I am not okay, hence my current position as a slice of lox positioned on this bagel masquerading as a stretcher. You might have noticed, Steven, that I seem to have this hole in my leg, another one in my side, and they both hurt like hell. Fortunately for you, Steven, someone with a kind heart gave me morphine so that I really don't give a rat's ass how I feel."

Steve looked up at Lopez, and at Kono, a mixed expression of delight and disgust. "He's okay," Steve announced. "He's talking, and he's not making sense. He's back to normal."

"This," Danny observed, "is not my place."

"Very good, Detective Williams," Kono replied serenely, pulling her car into the driveway and coasting to a halt. "Care to guess as to whom this home belongs?"

Danny glowered at the house, at the roses on the corner, at the neatly trimmed shrubs in front, and especially at the name on the mailbox: McGarrett. "I have enough trouble with McGarrett, now you're trying to be like him? What are we doing here? I want to go home, to my own place, where I can recuperate in peace."

"You can't recuperate by yourself," Kono told him.

"Can, too."

"You'll eat horrible take-out food, with no nutritional value whatsoever—"

"I thrive on take-out."

"You'll forget to take your medicine—"

"Which is highly over-rated, I might add."

"And you'll put on your tie."

Danny stared at her. "What does my putting on a tie have to do with recuperating?"

Kono turned off the car engine. "We're here," she announced unnecessarily. "Don't try to get out until I come around and get you."

"I can walk, Kono. I've been doing it since I was, what, two years old?"

"Right. That's what you said while trying to get into my car on the way out of the hospital. You almost fell flat on your face. If that corpsman hadn't caught you—"

"Yeah, yeah." Danny pushed open the car door and swung his legs out.

Mistake. Kono hustled around in time to shove her shoulder under the man's arm, before his leg gave out from underneath him. "You think you might want to listen to me?"

"I…always…listen…to you…" Why the hell was his breath so short? He'd only been in bed for a couple of days. Damn rocks. Damn hospital. Dammit, now his vision was failing him. "I think…I'd better…sit down…"

"Steve, a little help here?" That was Kono, calling out to the house.

Danny felt a strong hand under his other arm, and a deep chuckle. You're just laughing because my eyes aren't working well enough to see you. "I thought…you were…recuperating…too."

"Sit down before you fall down, Danno."

Next thing he knew, he was flat on his back on something that felt suspiciously like a sofa. His feet were high in the air, and someone was wiping the sweat off his face.


"He's back." Chin too was present, although Danny's eyes weren't helping in the slightest with the identification. His ears had to do all the work.

Had he said that out loud?

"Yes, you did," Steve told him, a worried laugh coming through. "Seriously, bro, should you be out of sick bay so soon? Andy told me that you insisted on leaving."

Danny kept his eyes closed. "Do you know how boring it is in there?"

"Yeah, I might have an inkling," Steve said dryly. "It's what makes it so appealing to get better."

"Then you know why I insisted on leaving." Danny chanced opening his eyes, pleased when it only took two minutes for his vision to clear.

Kono looked the best of them, with a black eye, courtesy of the commander of the mini-sub. Chin had a white dressing across his forehead and a drawn look to his face that said getting up out of the easy chair he was in was about as easy as cracking this case. McGarrett was well over the worst of his concussion, but the various cuts and bruises that he'd collected while on this mission still bore mute evidence of the damage.

"Yeah, but the blonde bitch looks worse," Steve informed him. "Nice work, Kono."

That brought back memories for Danny. "You got her?"

"She's in custody," Chin said. "She's not talking, but it's only a matter of time. We got one of her men, as well, and I hear he's close to cracking."

Steve looked at Chin. "How'd you find that out?"

Chin smirked. "I have my ways, bossman."

Danny frowned. "So we don't know which country launched the mission to try to take out Sheik What's His Name?"

"No, but we will," Steve said complacently. "She burned off her fingerprints with some acid, but facial recognition is coming up with some possibilities. Interpol has gotten into the act. I hear they're pretty pleased with us."

Kono nodded. "Chin's sniper, Yuri Denisovitch or whatever his real name is, was a wanted man for the last several years, but no one could find him. That too is a lead to figure out who was behind this, and Interpol grabbed all the intel we had. In the meantime," she added, "there will be no work for any of you for the next week. No files, no computers, just a lot of lounging outside in the sun."

"No ties?" Steve asked oh-so-innocently.

Danny stared suspiciously at first Steve, then Kono, then Chin. "What's with all the ties? All of a sudden you're interested in my neckwear?"

"Nothing," Steve replied, watching Kono.

"Not a thing," Chin agreed. He, too, was eying his cousin.

"Steven? Kono? Is there something I should know?"

"Not a thing, Danno."

"Nope. Nothing."

It dawned. "You made a bet. You made a bet as to whether or not I'd put on a tie while on sick leave," Danny accused. "Admit it."

"Not me."

"Not me, either."

"Liars. Terrible liars, both of you." Danny lay back on the sofa and stretched out his arms over his head, trying for the best position of ease that he could. It didn't work; the wince betrayed him when he pulled on the stitches in his side. Danny settled for a smirk. "How much? Twenty?"



"Getting closer."

"Good." Danny closed his eyes. "The winner will be the one who treats me best. Have at it, lady and gentlemen."