Chapter 26:

"Kono?" Chin said into his com link, his voice holding an unusual amount of tension. "Do you copy me?"

"Loud and clear, cuz," Kono answered a little breathlessly, she sounded as she was walking quickly. "No luck with the key so far and no sign of Baines. How are Danny and Steve?"

"Forget about the key, I found another way in," Kelly replied quickly as he tightened the blood-soaked dress shirt around Danny's thigh, at the same time having a look at his boss who as well was still out cold.

"Ah, I knew the noise came from your shotgun," Kono said and Chin almost could hear her smile across the line. "Nice."

Slightly shaking his head about his cousin's idea of fun, he pressed his fingers against Steve's neck once more to monitor his pulse. "Where are those paramedics?" he asked urgently, worried about the ongoing unconsciousness of his two teammates. Chin had no idea what happened to Steve, but judging from the lack of injuries and from the empty syringe he'd found in one corner of the room he assumed that Steve most probably had been drugged.

In the short time span between his arrival at Five-0 headquarters and their hasty departure toward Baines' hideout, Kono had tried to quickly fill him in on the events of the last few days but to be honest he hadn't really grasped the full extent of the case.

His gaze fell on the empty EpiPen that Williams had used on Steve, obviously knowing or hoping that the content would get Steve back from the brink of death. So whatever McGarrett had been drugged with, Danny seemed to know more about the substance; a fact that certainly might be helpful in finding the best way to treat him.

Danny on the other hand looked like he had been in a slaughterhouse recently – and on the wrong end of the butcher's knife at that. Chin had seen a lot of ugly things during his time with HPD and Five-0, but the amount of blood on the white tiles and on Danny's clothes actually made him a little sick; even more so because he knew that all of that blood was Danny's.

"EMS just arrived," Kono finally answered Chin's question, breathing a small sigh of relief over the com link. "I'll lead them downstairs."

Only a few seconds later Chin could hear heavy footsteps coming downstairs and before he even turned around two paramedics entered the room.

Cursing the heavy cast on his right leg, Kelly struggled to his feet to give the two men space to work. Placing the gurney and the huge emergency kit they brought with them next to Steve and Danny, they immediately knelt down to check on their patients.

"Only one gurney?" Chin asked, frowning.

"Second ambulance was only a few minutes behind us, our colleagues will be here soon," one of the paramedics, a tall, young man with unruly, curly hair answered curtly. The man whose name tag identified him as Ian Walton, looked up at Chin, "Can you tell us what happened?"

"Not really, no," Chin answered apologetically, trying to suppress a frustrated sigh. "It looks like Danny had been shot twice," he said, unnecessarily pointing at the blond detective before he continued. "He passed out about five minutes ago, but before he was responsive and moving around."

Nodding briefly toward his boss, he explained matter-of-factly, "Steve had been unconscious ever since I came in about ten, fifteen minutes ago. I think he might have been drugged. His pulse had been very slow and almost not palpable, but after an injection with the EpiPen," he interrupted himself to show the paramedics the empty device, "his heart rate increased a little bit."

"Okay, thank you, Sir," Ian replied, already busy with installing an IV line to Danny's right arm after he quickly had taken his vitals. "I'm attaching a bag of Ringer's to compensate for the blood loss," he said to no one specific. "Vitals are within acceptable range," he added much to Chin's relief as he pressed the IV bag into the cop's hands. "Would you hold that up, please?"

Doing as he was instructed Chin took the IV bag, shifting his weight from his broken leg as he watched how the paramedic professionally tended to Danny's injuries. Both gunshot wounds on the shoulder and on the thigh were bleeding moderately but they were obviously not bad enough to be a cause for concern because Ian patched them up meticulously but without real hurry.

Without shifting his attention from his patient, the paramedic asked his partner, "Alaka'i, what do you have?"

"No visible injuries, pulse 40 bpm, BP 80 to 50," the second paramedic, a middle-aged, sturdy Hawaiian answered. "I think he's coming around."

And true to his words, Steve's eyelids began to flutter only a moment later.

"Sir, can you hear me?" Alaka'i asked, placing his hand on McGarrett's shoulder. "Can you open your eyes?"

Deep lines formed on Steve's forehead when he slowly fought his eyes open with a hoarse moan. Blinking sluggishly a few times to clear his vision, he swallowed laboriously before his gaze focused on the unknown paramedic that hovered over him.

Tensing his muscles and narrowing his eyes Steve immediately and instinctively switched into fight mode, the change in his posture only visible for someone who knew him very well.

Chin stepped closer, hoping that his presence would help to overcome whatever traumatic experience Steve and Danny had suffered during the last few hours and calm down the agitated SEAL before he accidentally hurt someone.

"Easy, Steve, everything's alright," he said reassuringly literally a split second before the other man started to move. "Relax, brah, everything's fine, just let those nice paramedics do their work."

Steve winced slightly, his gaze darting around until his eyes finally came to rest on his teammate. "Chin," he breathed out faintly, clearly confused about what was happening around him. Relaxing hesitantly, he swallowed again and cleared his throat before asking hoarsely, "What happened?"

Squeezing his eyes shut McGarrett tried to take a deep breath before he raised his right hand, rubbing it across his face with trembling fingers.

"Danny!" he suddenly exclaimed before Chin was able to answer his question, his eyes snapped open as he struggled to get up. "Where's Danny? Is he alright?"

"Sir, please, you have to stay lying down," Alaka'i intervened, gently grabbing Steve's shoulders in an attempt to guide him back down into a lying position.

Totally ignoring the Hawaiian paramedic, Steve managed to sit up, breathing deeply when a wave of dizziness rolled over him. "Is Danny alright?" he repeated, his gaze darting from Danny's still form to the paramedic and further to Chin.

"Both gunshot wounds will probably require surgery, but his vitals are good," Ian answered Steve's desperate question, looking up from his patient. "Your friend will be fine," he reassured, narrowing his eyes when he took in Steve's pale complexion and his breathing which was getting more and more labored with each passing second. "Why don't you lie back down while we do our work?"

Blatantly refusing to take the advice, Steve turned his attention back Chin who just shrugged his shoulders, a wry smile on his lips, "Let him do it his way. He won't lie down until he gets all the answers he's looking for."

"Baines?" Steve asked, clipped, locking eyes with his teammate.

"Looks like he was able to escape," Kelly answered equally curt, shaking his head in frustration.

"Damn," McGarrett whispered, wiping the sweat from his forehead with trembling hands. His eyes widened slightly when he noticed for the first time the white cast on Chin's lower leg. "What happened to your leg?" he gasped out, finding it suddenly hard to breathe.

"Long story, brah," Chin answered, throwing him a concerned look. "Steve, maybe it'd be better if you do what these guys say."

"Your friend's right," Alaka'i said, gently placing his hand on Steve's right shoulder. "I strongly recommend that you lie back down."

"I'm good," Steve replied breathlessly, weakly trying to bat away the paramedic's hand.

"Oh…" he breathed out just a moment later, his face suddenly contorting with pain as he pressed his left forearm to his heart region. "Maybe not…" his voice trailed off as he squeezed his eyes shut in an attempt to keep the pain at bay.

"Sir, please lie down," the Hawaiian paramedic said urgently, quickly guiding Steve back into a lying position. "Can you tell me what's wrong?" he asked, pressing his stethoscope to Steve's chest and listening concentrated for a moment.

"Chest hurts… can't breathe…" Steve wheezed faintly, his eyes once more snapping open in panic when he wasn't able to draw a proper breath.

"Try to calm down," Alaka'i advised as he quickly strapped an oxygen mask to Steve's face. He once again placed one hand on Steve's shoulder, hoping that the physical contact would help provide some calm, while he motioned with the other hand towards his partner. "Ian, would you draw me up some more adrenaline and maybe a mild sedative," he said quietly, turning his head a little bit to not agitate Steve any further. "And then let's get him to the hospital before his heart rate gets totally out of control." Turning his attention back to Steve, he said gently, "Try to take deep and slow breaths."

"Can't…" McGarrett replied wide-eyed, his breath coming in fast, shallow gasps. The oxygen mask gave him a slight claustrophobic feeling, raising his right hand he tried to slip it off but he was quickly stopped by Alaka'i who gently but firmly took Steve's wrist.

"Yes, you can, the mask will help you breathe," he said, guiding Steve's hand away from his face. "I will also give you something to aid your heart beat more regularly." Nodding a brief thanks to his partner who handed him the requested syringe, Alaka'i turned his attention back to his patient. "You'll feel a little prick, and the drug will make you a bit sleepy. Don't fight it, just try to breathe as calmly as possible. You're in good hands, we have everything under control."

"Second round of paramedics is here," Kono's voice suddenly and unexpectedly interrupted the tense atmosphere as she led two other men into the room.

"Just in time," Alaka'i said as he experiencedly injected Steve with the medication.

Flinching slightly when he felt the needle pierce his skin, Steve tried his best to follow Alaka'i's advice but the raw pain in his chest was something he'd never felt before and hoped he would never feel again. He had been in a lot of dangerous and potentially life threatening situations before, but the pressure in his chest really left him mortally terrified.

But whatever the paramedic had given him seemed to act fast. Steve felt his eyelids slowly droop, breathing became a tiny bit easier and the last thought before he drifted into a drug induced sleep was that at least Danny would be fine.

"Okay, let's get them both to the hospital as fast as possible," Ian said to his two newly arrived colleagues. He and Alaka'i would take care of Steve so he briefly filled them in on Danny's condition while they prepared the two gurneys for transport.

Not even half a minute later, both Steve and Danny were on their way upstairs and suddenly Chin and Kono found themselves alone in the white tiled room where now the blood-covered walls and floor and the small orange plastic box were the only reminders of the ordeal that had happened here recently.

Exchanging a grim look the cousins silently agreed to leave the securing of all evidence to HPD.

"I'll stay with Steve to make sure he stays calm if he comes around again," Chin said concerned about the sudden change in Steve's state of health.

"Then I'll go with Danny," Kono nodded quickly as she turned around and limped out of the room. "See you later at the hospital, cuz."

Danny's world uncomfortably swayed to and fro and he wasn't sure if opening his eyes really would be a good idea right now. Forcefully swallowing down the beginning nausea he cautiously blinked his eyes open. Furrowing his brow he took in his surroundings; he was in a small, confined room that rocked erratically and he needed a long moment until he identified his whereabouts as the inside of an ambulance.

"Hey Danny, welcome back," he was softly greeted by a familiar female voice and when he turned his head slightly to the right, he noticed Kono sitting by his side, gently smiling down at him.

"Hey," Williams answered hoarsely, raising his head just enough to throw a brief look at his shoulder and his leg before he leaned back with a small sigh. The pain from before was completely gone and he felt a little bit like he was floating a few inches above his own body. Blinking slowly, his gaze fell on the IV line that snaked its way into his right arm and he smiled drowsily, "Whatever is in there, I really like that stuff."

Kono breathed out a small chuckle about the mildly stoned expression on Danny's face. "Looks like they gave you some of the real good stuff, brah," she said, cautiously placing her hand on Danny's good shoulder. Squeezing gently she asked quietly, "How do you feel?"

There was a long moment of silence and Kono had just thought that she wasn't getting an answer when her teammate finally slurred tiredly, "Good, I think." Breathing out a long sigh, Danny shifted his weight a little bit on the hard gurney, "Can't really feel anything."

He found it hard to concentrate long enough on one special thought to transform it into a coherent sentence. Licking his lips, he asked hesitantly, "Is Steve alright?"

Thinking for a moment about the best answer to satisfy Danny but not to upset him, Kono answered with a little nod of her head, "He's in the ambulance right behind us. Don't worry, he's in good hands right now."

In fact Kono had absolutely no idea if McGarrett was alright. When she had come back to the white tiled room, there was quite a bit of hectic action amongst the paramedics and before she even knew what happened, Steve and Danny had been carried upstairs. On the short way up the stairs and to the waiting ambulances Chin had briefly filled her in on Steve's condition and judging from the lines of concern on her cousin's face Kono knew that he was deeply worried about their boss.

Giving Danny another reassuring smile she just hoped that in his current state he didn't notice that she actually had avoided a satisfying answer, but obviously he was happy about her words because he replied softly, "That's good…"

Danny's eyelids grew heavy and he felt himself drifting off again, but there was something else he desperately needed to know. Forcing his eyes open, he pleadingly looked at Kono as he asked anxiously, "What about Gabby? Did you… did you find her?"

The genuine smile that appeared on Kono's face immediately soothed Danny's frayed nerves and he heaved a sigh of relief.

"Gabby's fine," Kono explained while she gently rubbed her thumb across his shoulder. "She was already fully conscious when I found her. They took her to the hospital just to make sure that she's not suffering any unexpected aftereffects. But she is fine and she already asked for you."

Smiling tiredly, Danny turned his head a little bit to the right so that his cheek came in touch with Kono's hand. "Thank you," he whispered before he allowed his eyes to close.

"And there is another little lady that is desperately waiting to see you," Kono added, gently squeezing Danny's shoulder. "I promise to bring Grace as soon as you're allowed to have visitors."

The smile on Danny's face grew brighter for a short moment before his face went slack and he succumbed to an exhausted sleep.

Tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear, Kono breathed out a deep sigh, leaving her other hand on Danny's shoulder until they arrived at the hospital only a few minutes later.

Watching how the paramedics rolled the gurney with her teammate quickly but without hurry or panic toward the emergency room, she slowly exited the ambulance, grimacing slightly when a jolt of pain shot through her injured, right leg. Gritting her teeth she limped toward a row of seats, deciding that she would wait for the second ambulance with Steve and Chin before she'd go in to complete the necessary forms.

Tiredly closing her eyes, Kono felt like a huge portion of stress had slowly left her body. Ever since she'd seen that jet-ski speeding toward her and Grace a few days ago, she had known that that had been only the beginning of something much bigger.

She inhaled deeply and exhaled slowly through her nose. Rolling her shoulders to get rid of the last bit of tension a relieved smile tentatively crept across her lips.

Grace was fine, waiting safely with Malia at HPD for Kono to pick her up. Gabby was unharmed and in one piece. Chin had only suffered a simple broken leg. Danny and Steve were tended to and would hopefully also recover quickly from whatever Baines did to them.

Kono grimly pressed her lips together when she thought about Paul Baines. Once again the man had managed to escape, but she was sure that Five-0 would be able to hunt him down. This time they knew a lot more about his work and about the way he ticked. And if he only left the tiniest bit of a trace, she was sure they would find him eventually and make him pay for all his crimes.

The young woman looked up when suddenly a flurry of activity emerged around her. A bunch of medical staff came running out of the building and only a heartbeat later the second ambulance came round the corner and stopped right in front of them with screeching tires. The backdoors burst open and before Kono could even jump to her feet, the gurney with Steve was yanked out of the vehicle.

There was a cacophony of shouts and voices and a shiver ran down Kono's spine when she saw one of the doctors jumping onto the gurney. Kneeling next to Steve he hectically started CPR while the others rushed them into the building and out of sight.

The uproar died down as quickly as it started, and despite the sudden quiet Kono barely noticed that Chin slowly crawled out of the ambulance behind her.

"What's happened?" she whispered terrified, staring wide-eyed after the small group of people before she slowly turned around to face her cousin.

"His heart stopped a minute ago," Chin said blankly, wrapping his arms around Kono's trembling body and pressing her tightly to his chest.


Sorry, couldn't resist another cliffhanger... ;-)