Disclaimer: I do not own Hawaii 5-0. I certainly like playing with their characters from time to time.

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Chapter 6

"We are not splitting up Steven," Danny exclaimed as he pushed away from the tree. "We need to stick together, so I am not letting you go on alone. I will be okay!"

"You don't look okay," Steve insisted stubbornly.

"Neither do you," Danny shot back. "We're both hurting but we are seeing this out together. Don't argue with me, I know my limit and I haven't reached it yet. We need each other."

Steve shook his head and scanned the area around them. When he looked back at his partner, there was no mistaking the determined set to Danny's jaw or the stubborn gleam in his eye. It was evident that he'd have to knock Williams out and tie him up to get him to stay behind.

"Okay…..I'm only worried about your wound but we'll stay together," Steve relented. His voice was rough with concern.

"I appreciate that you're looking out for me babe but one bullet is not stopping me. By the way, getting shot is becoming the norm around you. Next time we go undercover, I am wearing body armor, to hell with fooling the bad guys," Danny said lightly, then sobered. "Honest Steve, I will be okay."

"If you insist," Steve agreed. "Can you go a bit further? The closer we get to the clearing the sooner we get rescued."

"I can if you can," Danny told him as he started forward. Steve stuck close to his side, keeping one eye on his partner as he picked the easiest ground to cover.

They had traveled for about fifteen minutes before both of them realized that they were quickly wearing down. Sounds of pursuit were getting louder and the ground underfoot was getting rougher. Both men stumbled more frequently and the pace had to slow accordingly. Steve hooked one arm around Danny to help him keep up but found that he needed the support just as much. The ankle that had been feeling tolerable now began to throb with every step.

They paused to rest and catch their breath and Danny could see that Steve was just as exhausted as he was.

"We need to take a break. You look like you could use some water," Steve suggested as he set the duffel bag on the ground. "You know, maybe it would be better if we found a place to hole up and wait for Chin and Kono to find us," he added, glancing at Danny to see how his partner took that news.

"I will keep going Steve," Danny stubbornly insisted although his heart wasn't in it. He sank down on a rock to rest.

"Of course you can," Steve agreed. "But the truth is that I am finding it more difficult to breathe easy. Let's find a spot we can defend if we have too. I am sure that one group or the other is going to find us soon. I would prefer not to be out in the open."

Steve hated admitting that he was weakening but if that was the only way to get Danny to rest then he would use it. And it wasn't a lie, his breathing had become more painful and he knew that his fight to keep moving was creating a greater risk to his health. Finding a spot to dig in and defend was a sensible thing to do.

Danny nodded, realizing that Steve made sense. Like McGarrett, he didn't like admitting to weakness of any kind but his wound was still bleeding and he was becoming weaker by the moment. He may have insisted that he could keep moving but he was willing to bet that he would end up face first on the ground if they kept going. His partner was right and he had to agree with his decision.

"So, what do you suggest? Where do we hide around here?" Danny asked. Nothing looked like a safe spot from where he sat.

The area that they presently were in had lots of trees and a rock wall that rose off to their left. Steve could see that the wall ran to the south for some distance. Brush grew in bunches along the rock face in sporadic places.

"Stay put. I am going to see if there are any breaks in this rock. We could take shelter in a large enough one," Steve told Danny.

Danny nodded, too tired to argue about Steve leaving him here to wait. He brought his weapon up into a ready position to show he would keep watch. Steve patted him on the shoulder as he left his assault rifle and the duffel bag with Danny. With only the sidearm there was less strain on Steve as he moved down the rock face, disappearing through some dense brush. He returned in less than ten minutes.

"There is a shallow cave just down the wall a ways," he announced. "It will be easy to defend and there is room for both of us to fit. It is the best we can find on short notice."

"You get my vote for cave shopping from now on," Danny drawled as he got to his feet and picked up the duffel. "Being out here in the open is making me itchy."

"Come on then," Steve said taking his weapon. He led the way through the brush and traveled along the rock wall until they came to a more open space. A gap in the wall looked large enough to hold two men plus a bit of elbow room. He motioned for Danny to go inside.

Going inside the fissure, Danny set the bag down and looked around.

"Cozy, you did good big guy," he grinned and then frowned when Steve dug the large knife out of the duffel bag. "Just what are you planning to gut?" he asked curiously.

"I'm going to cut some brush and try and hide this opening," Steve explained. "Is that okay with you?"

"Sure babe, knock yourself out," Danny approved. "Do you think that will fool anyone?"

"It worked earlier, didn't it? I can leave this space open if you like," Steve offered.

"No…that's okay. You go right ahead and cut brush. You are quite good at that," Danny commented as he waved his hand at the opening. He kept watch as McGarrett hacked at some of the brush around the area and dragged some of the larger ones back to the opening of the fissure. Danny moved back further into the gap and observed Steve's effort to arrange the brush to screen the opening.

"Very nice," Danny nodded as he sank down to sit on the ground. "The next time I need a cave decorator, I am calling you."

"You'll thank me if this keeps us alive," McGarrett retorted.

"Of course I will Martha Stewart. And what do you mean by "if"? You promised to get me back to Grace. I'm holding you to that," Danny groused.

"Please Danno, give it a rest," Steve sighed as he settled carefully to the ground. He didn't like the flush to Danny's face. "I promise this will work out."

McGarrett rested his weapon across his knees and went into the duffel to extract the almost empty bottle of water.

"Finish this," he instructed handing Danny the bottle.

Danny didn't argue and finished off the small amount left in it. Eyes closed, he enjoyed the cool liquid flowing down his throat. No way did he want to admit to Steve just how exhausted he was and just how much pain his wound was giving him. When he opened his eyes, he set the bottle down and noticed Steve was holding out two white tablets in the palm of his hand and a second bottle of water.

"Tylenol?" Danny questioned. "For a gunshot wound? Just what kind of medical experience do you actually have?"

"It will help with the fever you're running. It's all this kit has but it can't hurt," Steve said, his eyes brimming with concern.

"So now you think you are a doctor?" Danny grumbled but took the pills with a swallow of water. As he returned the bottle to Steve, he observed how McGarrett was wincing in pain. "I think you need a couple of those pills yourself, my friend. Between your ribs and that ankle, you could use some pain relief too," he suggested.

To his surprise Steve didn't argue but dug out two more tablets and swallowed them down. McGarrett then stowed the empty bottle along with the other one in the duffel.

Resting his head back against the rock wall, Danny surveyed the area beyond their brush screening.

"So, who do you think gets here first? Hawkins or the cavalry? I'm betting its Hawkins but I'll be happy to be wrong," he finally commented.

"Chin and Kono have more ground to cover so I'm not taking that bet," Steve said quietly.

"Couldn't you just pretend to play along?" Danny sighed.

Steve ignored his partner's grumbling and tried to keep his attention focused on the area outside their hiding place. Now that they were settled in, the adrenalin that had been keeping him going had fled and his body was completely exhausted. The pounding in his skull had increased and all he wanted to do was shut his eyes and slip into oblivion. He had to shift position to make his ribs hurt so that the pain counteracted the exhaustion.

Sounds from beyond the open space before them snapped Steve to attention and he quickly brought his weapon up and trained it in the direction of the noise.

"Looks like you will get your answer in a moment Danno," he whispered.

"I hate being right," Danny whispered back, he also had heard the noise and had his weapon ready.

They froze and watched while three men emerged from the brush brandishing their weapons. None of the three were Hawkins or Manunui or the two others they had hid from earlier. Danny let Steve make the first move and since he was waiting, Danny waited too. Steve was aware that any sounds of gunfire would immediately draw Hawkins and the rest of the group to their location. For the moment it was safer to see if their hiding place remained safe from prying eyes.

The trio, two Hawaiians and one black man, separated to casually search the area in front of the rock wall. Danny began to think that their luck would hold as the men only gave the wall a cursory look. Suddenly the black man's gaze swept their brush screen and frowned. Danny could feel the sweat break out on his forehead and he saw Steve tense and grip his weapon tighter as the man walked in their direction. The man paused near their fissure in the wall and his weapon no longer hung easily at his side. Slowly his dark eyes swept the face of the wall, not pausing on their pile of brush but he didn't move away immediately either.

End chapter.

We knew the guys couldn't keep running forever. So what do you think is going to happen next? See you next Friday. Thanks for reading.