Somehow, Danny managed to yank his injured wrist free. He kicked away from Mickey and managed to get his head above the surface again. As he gulped in air, he fumbled for the silver .22 and pulled it from his pocket. He brought it up, but Mickey was too quick for him. Catching Dan's wrist once more, he slowly but inexorably turned the small weapon against its owner.
Death was staring him in the face. Danny hated to go out like this, but he had the comforting thought that Steve was safe and that was all that counted. That had been the point of this whole exercise and Danny had known from the start that he might well have to trade his life for Steve's. Still, he was not going down without a fight. He pushed back against the pressure on his arm, despite the agonising pain.
Suddenly, there was an enraged grizzly bear in the water with them. Danny wondered vaguely where it had come from as he was once more submerged beneath the now-muddy waters of the ornamental pool. The grip on his wrist vanished and Mickey was suddenly not holding him down. Fighting his way back to the surface, Danny was just in time to intercept a crushing punch from a large fist that knocked him, dazed, back into the water.
Despite himself, Danny inhaled. He knew it was wrong, but there was nothing he could do to stop it happening. His thoughts were as muddy as the water. He sensed he was going the wrong way – down instead of up – but he couldn't find the wherewithal to correct his drift. He's always heard that drowning was a peaceful death, but he had no desire to prove the theory.
He didn't have to worry. A large hand grabbed his arm and he found himself back in the air, with Kono clutching him to his broad chest. Danny coughed and then puked up a mouthful of water before coughing some more. He was vaguely aware of being carried and then he felt the hard, wonderful ground beneath his back and knew that somehow, against the odds, he had survived.
That familiar voice was the utmost comfort and Danny forced his eyes open to look at his friend. Steve looked battered and tired, but he was alive and in one piece. More than that, Danny did not ask at this moment. He tried to speak, started to cough and a few moments later brought up more water. Steve supported him, gently rubbing his back while he choked, then laid Danny back down on the ground.
"Don't try to speak," Steve cautioned him. "You're going to be fine." He hoped that his injured officer was too out of it to read any expression on his face that said he thought he might be lying. Danny seemed in a very bad way. He was barely conscious, his right wrist was enormously swollen and he was bleeding from his leg. Steve glanced up at a soaked Kono, who looked even more anxious than Steve felt.
"Gun," Danny coughed.
"I got your gun, bruddah," Kono assured him. He had snatched the .22 from Danny's hand just before Mickey had managed to turn it fully on the hapless detective.
"No." Danny forced his eyes open, squinting against the bright sunlight. "Mickey… gun." He struggled to form the words as exhaustion swept over him, leaving him limp. "Water."
"Is Mickey's gun in the water?" Steve asked.
"Yeah… yeah," Danny sighed. He closed his eyes again.
Glancing up at the men surrounding them, Steve collected nods from various people. They would drag the pond for Mickey's gun. They would need it for ballistics checks. Steve felt proud that his man had thought of that, even in the depths of extremis. "Ambulance?" he asked quietly and Duke nodded.
"On the way," the sergeant replied. "Dr Bergman is standing by."
"Good." Steve felt he could relax now as he watched the Johnston brothers being dragged away in handcuffs. Mickey was soaking to the skin, covered in mud and swearing up a storm. Steve ignored him. He did not want to think about his time as that man's hostage. It would all come out soon enough and until then, he wanted nothing more than a hot shower, a good meal and some sleep. He looked down at the young detective he held almost cradled in his arms. The only other thing he needed was to know that Danno would be all right.
"Where's the leg brace?" Doc asked as yet another pair of Danny's pants was consigned to the trash.
"Um… in the car?" Kono hazarded. He really didn't have a clue, as he hadn't seen Danny remove the brace before he went to hide under the bandstand.
"For goodness sake!" Doc was angry, but he was also deeply concerned. Danny had barely stirred when he was brought in from the ambulance. He was soaking wet, slightly blue around the lips and bleeding heavily. "All those stitches have burst," he snapped at Kono, as though it was Kono's fault. Kono, shivering in the coolness of the examination room, wondered guiltily if he might not have been the partial cause of the damage.
After a second, Doc glanced at Kono. "You're soaking," he added accusingly. "Go and get dried off!"
"I promised Steve I'd keep an eye on Danny," Kono chattered.
Rolling his eyes, Doc went over to the cupboard and got out a blanket, which he handed to the shivering man. "Put this round you," he suggested in a more kindly tone. "We don't want you getting pneumonia."
"Mahalo," Kono mumbled and pulled the wool around his shoulders. It felt great.
"Danny, wake up," Bergman ordered. "Danny."
With a sigh, Danny peeled his eyelids open. "Hey, doc," he whispered. "I said I'd come back."
"I wanted you back in one piece," Doc commented wryly.
His patient frowned. "I'm in one piece," he protested. "Aren't I?" He lifted his head to glance down the length of his body and the movement was enough to make his head spin. He dropped it back with a groan and swallowed heavily. He had no desire to puke for a third time that day.
"Not quite," Doc chuckled. He quickly established an IV and then took a closer look at the water-swelled tissue on Danny's leg. He tentatively poked it and Danny all but levitated off the bed as his nerve-endings, cocooned by his close brush with drowning, decided to come back to life. "Guess you felt that, huh?" he asked, not unkindly. Danny nodded, biting his lip to try and conquer the pain. "Here, this will make you feel better." Doc injected something into the IV. Kono, watching with interest, saw Danny's face relax after a few moments. "Kono, why don't you go and find something dry to wear," Doc suggested in a tone that clearly told the larger man that it was an order. "I've got some stitching and x-rays to do here."
"Okay," the big man agreed amiably. He didn't really want to watch Doc stitch Danny's leg all over again – he'd already done that once on this day. "I'll go and see how Steve is."
"Good idea." Bergman had passed his other Five-O patient to an ER doctor on the grounds that he had already dealt with Danny's injuries and knew what to expect – kind of. He had not expected burst stitches and near-drowning and a probable broken wrist. There again – Doc paused in his work to blink moisture from his eyes – he hadn't really expected to see Danny still alive. He had honestly thought that both Danny and Steve would not come out of the stand-off alive and he was determined to find out exactly how Danny had pulled off this miracle. Taking a deep breath, he continued working.
In the next room along, Steve was watching the doctor through heavy-lidded eyes. He had been distressed that all his strength seemed to have vanished by the time the ambulance had arrived at the bandstand. He could barely stand without help and walking was just impossible. He had reluctantly agreed to ride on a gurney and shook off the attentions of the paramedics, far more concerned for Danny than he was for himself. So what if it was over 24 hours since he had slept? Who cared that he hadn't eaten or drunk for 12 hours? So he had a concussion – what did it matter? The only person Steve was concerned about lay silently on the other gurney, more unconscious than not and clearly in a bad way. However, Steve's weakness had not allowed him to follow Danny into the examination room and he now lay here clad in a hospital gown, hooked up to an IV while the doctor poked and prodded him.
"Kono!" Steve half-sat up before the doctor could push him back down again. "How's Danno?"
"Sleeping," Kono replied. "He's gonna be okay, boss."
"Are you sure?" Steve didn't doubt his detective's word, but he had to double check.
"Yeah, Doc just sewing his leg back together again," Kono explained. "He's gonna be here for a few days, though." Steve had been told part of the story while they waited for the ambulance.
"What was he thinking?" McGarrett demanded with a flush of anger mixing through his worry. "Going up against Mickey Johnston in that condition?"
"He wanted to get you back safe and sound," replied the Hawaiian.
"It was a risk…"
"A risk he thought was worth taking," Kono concluded and Steve blinked. "We thought so, too, boss." He shook his head. "Da kaikaina – he thought up the whole plan. It was almost like he knew exactly what Mickey would do. He had the men hide out below the bandstand real early, waiting for his signal."
Touched, but still shaken by Danny's close call, McGarrett opted to half-change the subject. "I don't know what the governor is going to say," he muttered.
"I think he's already said it," responded the big man. "He already held a press conference." He smiled slightly. "Five-O and HPD were given joint credit for taking Mickey down." The smile faded away. "But I don't think he was too happy that Danny didn't have on his flak jacket." Chin had reported that when he arrived at the hospital a short time before. The significance of the Governor's remark escaped both men.
Thinking of Chin seemed to conjure him, for he stepped into the room a few minutes later. "Hi, boss," he smiled. "The Johnstons are all squared away and all the charges are laid. Walter Stuart says there won't be a problem in making them stick and thinks their lawyer will advise them to plead guilty in the hopes of getting a reduced sentence that way. Officer Keno is fine and already on his way home. There were five of the Johnston gang killed; four others were wounded; two are staying here overnight and the other two have already been discharged and taken to the lock-up."
"Why are you telling me?" Steve asked. Chin looked confused. "Danno was the officer in charge for this caper; you should be reporting to him."
A broad grin split Chin's face. "He's asleep," the Chinese detective replied. "And since the first half of the caper was yours, I thought you should hear it. I had to report to somebody," he concluded with a sly smile.
"And now you've done that, you can both go," the doctor announced. "I was warned about you. Mr McGarrett will be here overnight for observation. He's being taken to a room right now and you can both go home."
"But…" Steve began to protest, but the doctor ignored him. As an orderly came in, Steve gave way with what little grace he could manage. "You two go home and get some sleep," he ordered. "I'll keep an eye on Danno."
"You're going to be sleeping!" the doctor informed him, but Steve simply rolled his eyes. He was not going to sleep until he saw his second-in-command and knew that he was going to be all right.
It was over an hour later that Steve was roused from a light sleep. The door to his room opened and a gurney was pushed in. Steve watched with interest as a sleeping Danny was transferred to the bed, his leg bandaged from hip to toes and fitted in another soft brace. He was hooked up to an IV bottle of fluids, a small bag that Steve guessed was antibiotics and a bag of blood. An oxygen mask covered the lower portion of his face, but he was sleeping peacefully enough. His right wrist was in a cast and supported by a pillow.
After seeing his patient settled, Bergman crossed to Steve's side. "You were lucky," he commented to the lead detective and Steve was not sure if the doctor was referring to Danny's survival or his own.
"Yes," he agreed. He had yet to give his statement to anyone about what happened when Mickey took him, but knew he would have to face that in the morning. It was something he did not look forward to, but it was necessary, especially to make certain of the charges stick. McGarrett was only too aware of how vulnerable and helpless he had been at Mickey's hands and the thought still troubled him. "Why did Danno do it?"
"Probably for the same reason I agreed to let him leave the hospital at 5am," Bergman replied. "For the same reason that Kono and Chin are still here, instead of being at home like you told them. Oh don't worry," he added as Steve opened his mouth to say something. "I sent them on their way in two separate patrol cars with strict orders to the drivers that they are to go home and only to go home. HPD can handle anything that comes along until tomorrow morning. You need to get some rest now. Danny will sleep until the morning and he'll be fine. A few weeks of recuperation and he'll be back to his old self."
"What did you mean – the same reason you let him leave?" Steve asked, still not sure he understood.
Heaving a sigh, Bergman closed his eyes for a moment. "Steve, you're arrogant, stiff-necked, always right and downright bossy to boot – and those are just your virtues." The older man smiled. "Damned if I know why, but we all seem to quite like you. Now you think about that while you catch up on your sleep. You have a concussion, remember?" He turned and quickly left the room.
Frowning, Steve turned to take a look at his sleeping detective. Danny's face was slightly turned towards him, displaying the bruising from the other night. He could hardly believe all the things that had happened in such a short space of time. He smiled as Danny's eyes opened briefly, but it was clear that his friend was not processing anything and after a moment, the lids closed again.
Putting his head back on the pillow, Steve thought about what Bergman had said and a warm glow lit his heart. His staff liked him. As he drifted away, he thought he would have to have a word with them about thinking he was arrogant, stiff-necked and bossy. Where did they get those weird ideas from? Him? Bossy?