A Friend in Need… and Friends In Deed
By Cokie and Stv2
This came about after I posted my first chapter of 'Emo 'ole Make lo. I received a review from Stv2, asking how Steve got that injury on his thigh. I didn't know, so I hastily pulled something together and sent it to her. She liked it, but wanted more, so I told her she had to write more. She did, and we bounced it back and forth a couple of times, until we came up with this. In the midst of all that, I sent it to Sockie1000 and Sym64 and they both added their expertise. In fact, a lot of the first flashback fight scene was from Sym. She said, and I quote, "you have the wimpiest SEAL team in the history of the United States and I am really embarrassed for them!" And they did suck pretty badly, but I asked her to please fix them, so she did. I tell you, it is so great to have friends who look out for you and don't want you making a fool of yourself. I don't know what I would do without my betas!
A/N Part Deux. So I posted this morning. Got a hysterically funny email from Sym saying that the "old" fight scene was still in it. Apparently, I didn't merge the two documents. I deleted the story right before lunch and have already received emails saying my link doesn't work. Yeah… there's a reason for that! But I think this is the way it is supposed to be.
At least I hope so… not making any promises here.
The smell of gunfire permeated the brisk night air as the firefight continued. Six members of SEAL team 4 had tracked the insurgents into the dark, forested hills of Afghanistan; their plan was to retrieve the American news reporter who had been kidnapped three weeks prior. Shortly after nightfall, they had received Intel through the local grapevine that he was to be moved to what the Afghans determined to be a "final" location.
Steve and his team of five SEALs intended to stop them before they reached their destination. If they didn't, someone would have to tell his wife and three young girls that their husband and father would never come back home. Thorough planning of the OP fell short due to time constraints. They had made plans to extricate the reporter within 24 hours, but due to the fact that he was moved, those plans had been scrapped. They were practically flying blind, not the ideal circumstances for a successful OP.
The SEALs silently tracked the rebels for the better part of three hours before hearing the group stop. He knew they hadn't been detected by the rebels despite following them for a distance. Steve gathered his team and used the time for last minute planning of their imminent attack. Shouts and laughter from the insurgents got their attention and they moved in even closer, finding the reporter tied to a tree, his shirt stripped while the rebel leader played with a hunting knife, carving the man's chest.
McGarrett immediately realized that after the fun and games, the reporter wouldn't make it to their camp. Communicating only by hand signals, his team went into action; spreading out and taking the agreed upon positions. His men were strategically placed, so that everyone had to deal with two rebels. They were a bit surprised that the important prisoner was only transported by a dozen men, but he wouldn't question their luck. Not tonight.
Steve crouched down even more and without making a noise crept closer to his first target. His objective was to get behind the captive, take out his torturer and free the reporter. Meanwhile his team would take out the rest of the rebels while he would carry the captive out in case he wasn't ambulatory. After getting a closer look at the captive, that was a high possibility. After three weeks in captivity and apparently, frequent beatings, walking out may be a problem.
And the plan worked.
His team fired before Steve was in position. Steve fired at the man who held the knife, and he went down, but he had jerked after hearing the gunfire behind him. But still Steve knew that it was a deadly hit, just not an immediate kill shot. He had seen the gun drop out of reach when the rebel went down, but still he kicked it a bit further away before making sure that the rebel posed no threat.
Before he could turn the captor over and check for any concealed weapons he turned to look at the reporter, alarmed by the choking sound of the man they were supposed to rescue. Steve could see with one look what the problem was. One of the hits to his head had broken his nose and the gag kept him from breathing. He was choking on his own blood that was running back down his throat. Steve knew he needed to do something right now, or the reporter would be in serious trouble. He took one last look at the unconscious rebel and moved quickly over to the news reporter.
McGarrett untied the reporter and removed the gag, making sure that his airway was free. He glanced at the cuts on the man's stomach and the old wounds on his body before pulling him back into the shadows.
He then turned back to the man he had shot. That was when their plan went to hell, at least Steve's part of the Operation.
The rebel was by far not as incapacitated as it appeared just a few minutes ago. Before Steve could even train his gun on the new threat, a k-bar embedded with a sickening sound in his upper thigh. It was thrown with such force that it sank into the muscle down to its hilt. Steve would have sworn that it was embedded in his femur.
Steve went down to his knees at the same moment the rebel made it to his feet. He kicked at Steve and knocked him to the ground. The knife still in his leg was pushed even deeper into his thigh when he hit the unyielding ground face first. He could taste blood and sand, but didn't pay any attention to that or the incredible pain that suddenly exploded in his leg when the knife was shoved deep into the muscle tissue.
Steve flipped onto his back, but didn't have time to get onto his feet or tend to his leg. The rebel was obviously outraged. Steve could see that he had already lost a huge amount of blood and he wondered how that man was even still standing. The blood was pouring from his shoulder in a steady stream and Steve and the insurgent both knew there was no saving him. Fueled by adrenaline, the rebel tackled Steve who had made it to his knees and they landed once again on the ground, both rolling around in the attempt to gain the upper hand.
Steve screamed in pain when the rebel got a hold of the knife and twisted it. The SEAL grabbed the hand holding the knife but only managed to pull the knife out of his thigh. Again with a sound Steve didn't ever want to hear again. Blood immediately spurted from his leg, and for a second Steve was worried that the femoral artery was nicked and now with the knife out of the wound he would bleed out real fast.
Blood was running into Steve's right eye and he took the time to swipe his hand across his face in an attempt to wipe it away. He could taste blood and felt it pouring from his nose and lip. But his opponent looked worse; he had broken his nose when he connected with Steve's forehead and blood was flowing freely, which probably added to the blood loss from the bullet lodged in his busted shoulder.
Numb now from the rush of adrenaline, McGarrett managed to push his opponent away and get back onto his knees. He reached for his weapon and swung it toward the man, the single round hitting him in the neck.
The rebel was dead before he hit the ground.
The commander still heard gunfire and rolled onto his stomach, dragging himself closer to the action. His friend, Boomer was in hand-to-hand with another rebel and managed to clock the man upside the head. As the insurgent staggered backwards, McGarrett fired, bringing him down. He heard a yell behind him and twisted, putting a round into the man running toward him.
He aimed at one more of the rebels and they fired at the same time. Steve rolled to the left and felt the bullet breeze by his head, just above his right ear. Sound was suddenly muffled but he fired once again, knowing that he had hit his target. In the same instant, he heard another round and watched as his attacker jerked on his way down. Bullfrog had moved in with a rescue when he realized Steve was in trouble.
Seconds later, the firefight ended. Steve sat up slowly, ears still ringing and head aching. Seeing blood heclamped tightly down on the bleeding wound on his thigh.
He looked up at Bullfrog, nodding his head at the man's shoulder. "You OK?"
"Yeah, I'll be fine. Just a scratch."
Steve grinned, which he knew looked more like a grimace. "Yeah, same here."
"Oh, Doggie, I can tell. You're just peachy, aren't you?"
Steve nodded toward the tall vegetation behind the tree the reporter had been tied to. "I pushed Simons into the trees over there. See if you can find 'im."
"OK, but you stay down until I get back, you hear."
Steve nodded, too winded from the fight to try and get up at that moment. Blood was pouring from his thigh and his pants were soaked from his hip to his knee; the ground beneath stained red as well. He called out to Boomer and the man came running, filling the commander in on the team's injuries, thankfully all non-life-threatening. While he was talking, Boomer went into action, reaching into his pack and pulling out a field dressing. Ripping open the pack, he held it tightly against the wound, and wrapping it around Steve's thigh, he tied it as tight as he could without cutting off circulation.
"Enough!" Steve said, hissing in pain.
Boomer reached for another pack. "You got clipped pretty good above your ear. "
"Huh?" Steve looked at him, sound still muffled. He hadn't realized he had been hit, but assumed the bullet had whizzed by his head. He reached up his hand to feel for himself then made a face when Boomer slapped it away.
"Don't touch," he warned. Boomer wrapped the gauze around his head and taped it, effectively stemming the flow of blood from the side of his head and also the cut above his eye. Steve blinked and tried to clear up his blurry eyesight. "Thanks, man."
Bullfrog came back holding onto the reporter who dropped to the ground in pain and exhaustion.
"I don't know where you guys came from… or how you found me," he panted out, "but thank you. Knew I wasn't gonna make it home when they started moving me again."
"Just doing our job," Steve told him, again grimacing in pain. He looked up at his team, all present and accounted for, although some a bit more healthy than others. Both Scotty and Bullfrog had been hit but the others looked whole. He turned back to the hostage who was quenching his thirst with a canteen before Boomer pulled it away. "How bad are your injuries?"
"Broken fingers, maybe sprained wrist, cuts and bruises…" he looked down at his carved up ches and grimaced. "But," he wiped his mouth and held out his hand for more water, "thanks to you guys, I made it."
Steve nodded at him. "Are you good for another hike?" he asked, touching the light on his watch. "It's 0300 and we have to make a rendezvous point with the chopper, so we need to get a move on. Comments?" He reached out his hand for Boomer to help him up, and when he was upright, he held on until the world stopped tilting.
"Take it easy, McGarrett. We've got you. You've already bled through the bandage on your leg."
"No, I'm good."
His five SEALs all chuckled at that remark. Of course he was.
And he tried to prove it. In pain, bleeding from numerous points, dizzy and nauseous, he wasn't going to be the one holding up his team.
They had to stop and rest several times during the journey back to their pick-up point. The terrain was rough and there were only so many places a chopper could land. If they didn't arrive, the chopper would leave, then return at 1300. With three injured SEALs and a wounded hostage, the early pick-up looked unlikely.
During the forced rest, Steve was leaning against a tree, arguing weakly with Boomer. "If I sit, I don't know if I'll be able to get back up," he told his friend. "And no, I don't want morphine."
"Come on, Dog, the more you walk, the worse your leg is gonna be. You could have nerve damage, or worse."
"No choice in the matter, is there?" Steve swiped a hand across his sweaty, ashen face, while staring in defiance at his friend.
"Yeah, you can swallow that damned pride and let us carry you."
"Not yet. Enough talk. Let's move," Steve ordered, stepping away from the tree, but having to grab Boomer's shoulder when his leg threatened to give out beneath him.
An hour later, they dragged themselves out into the valley, finding the welcomed sight of the chopper in front of them. Bullfrog was leading the team, supporting the reporter, Andrew Simons, followed by the rest of the team. McGarrett brought up their six, now supported on both sides by Boomer and Cash.
Buck, the team's medic, met them as soon as they made their presence known. He quickly triaged and with the help of other crew, had the wounded taken care of. He kept Steve for himself, seeing the evidence of heavy blood loss and the glassy, blank look in the commander's eyes.
"OK, Smooth Dog, what trouble did you get into this time?" he asked while trying to get McGarrett into the chopper.
Steve began to fight the hands that were reaching for him. "No, I'm good. Check the hostage," he ordered weakly, beginning to sound disoriented.
"He's being looked after. We need you to lie down." He glanced to one of the other medics. "Can I get some help here?"
With help, Steve was flat on the litter. "Stand down, McGarrett. We've got you." He reached for one of the packs and raised Steve's legs, sliding the pack beneath them. He cut the bandage off his patient's head and checked the wound, which did look like a graze although it had bled a lot.
He unbuttoned the shirt sleeve and shoved it back, reaching for a pre-packaged IV needle and tubing. Quickly, he had an IV going to begin replacing lost fluids. "Hey, Dog, talk to me. Can you tell me what day it is?"
"Um… sure," Steve told him, his face scrunched up in thought. "It's… Monday, right?"
"Close enough, it's early Tuesday morning." He cut the bandage off his thigh and then began cutting away the BDUs. "So, did you get shot?" he asked, trying to keep Steve's attention focused.
"Uh…" Steve tried to remember, his confusion showing. And with the confusion, he became restless, trying to remember what really did happen.
Boomer kneeled down on the other side of his commander. "Knife wound," he told Buck in a low voice. "Looks pretty deep."
"No, it's… OK," Steve told them, trying to push them away. "I'll be fine." He was shocky and the blood loss along with his aching head affected his awareness.
"Yeah, you'll be fine…" Buck slapped him on the shoulder, adding, " you've got me putting you back together." The medic reached in his supplies, first washing the wound with saline. "We need to get this clean and get you to base camp." He looked at Boomer and muttered, "Pull out a vial of morphine. I need to get this cleaned and packed en route." He glanced around at the rest of the men and then said, "Let's get this bird in the air."
Steve felt the prick of the needle in his left thigh and tried to stop them. "No! Wait, I don't need that," he argued, trying to sit up and stop the hand delivering it.
"Number one, it's too late to stop and number two, you will need it in a couple minutes. Trust me." He placed his hand in the middle of the commander's chest, pushing him back down onto the litter.
Steve jumped upon waking up, his heart beating fast and hard at the memory. He breathed in deeply and grabbed his thigh, rubbing it while trying to dispel the phantom pain from years past. He then noticed the throbbing pain in his left bicep, and reached his right hand up to touch it.
He fell back onto his pillow and sighed. He hadn't thought of that night in years, although the memory of the pain from the wound in his thigh was still vivid. But he knew what had triggered the dream tonight. Earlier, he had been forced to kill one of his team. Bullfrog. Nick. The person who had helped save his life that night was the same person who had tried to kill him with a knife tonight. Nick had been a SEAL just like him.
No, not like him. Not anymore.
Nick had sold out. Money had caused him to do things he wouldn't ever have thought of years ago.
Steve knew he had no choice but to do what he had done. But that hadn't made it any easier. It left such a bitter taste in his mouth and Steve knew he wouldn't be getting back to sleep that night. The wound in his arm was now beating in time with his heart and as much as he hated to do so, he knew there was a prescription bottle on the counter in the kitchen. Danny had made sure he hadn't left the hospital without it. In Danny's words, "those 17 stitches are gonna hurt like a bitch."
And Danny was oh-so-right. Although he would never admit it out loud.
Steve got up and trudged down the stairs in a fog, yawning from the early morning wake up call. When he reached the bottom, his bare foot stepped on a piece of wood.
It was then that the entire evening came rushing back to him and he remembered everything. Not only his fight with Nick, but the fact that his house was now in shambles. Not bright to walk barefoot with all the splinters of wood and glass all over. But yet, here he was… right in the middle of it. Those two pills Danny had rammed down his throat before he went to bed really had sent him for a loop, so much so that he hadn't remembered the entire battle that had taken place in his house.
"Hey!" a voice called from the couch.
"Huh?" Steve snapped his head up from looking down at his feet, surprised at the sound.
Danny turned on a light that he had pilfered from one of the bedrooms since everything in the living room was pretty much toast. He got up from the couch and pulled on his shoes. "Hang on, Steve."
Steve rubbed his hand through his hair and looked around the room taking in the chaos in the dim light. "Um… didn't know you were here. " He scrunched his face into a scowl. "Why are you here?"
"Well, I couldn't leave you alone. You pretty much crashed before we got back from the E.R., and I wanted to make sure you are OK." He peered closely at his partner. "You are OK, aren't you?"
Was he OK? Good question. Steve flashed back to what had transpired the day before.
General Pak and family.
Arguing with Danny over Nick Taylor.
The realization that they were on their own in saving the general.
Kono nearly getting stabbed in the back.
Hand-to-hand combat with Nick.
Even in those last minutes, he had held out hope that Nick wouldn't try to kill him. They had trained together, eaten together, shared dreams with each other, fought side by side…
Steve jerked his head, startled, when he heard Danny's voice, nearby this time.
"What? Oh… yeah. I 'm OK. But I'm kinda fuzzy about last night." He looked down at his arm. "I remember you said I had 17 stitches, but I don't remember much else."
Danny brushed a piece of splintered wood off the stairs and pushed his partner down to sit and then sat down next to him. "Well, let me see," Danny began. "You can be thankful that you have conscientious neighbors who called the real police. Although they may be petitioning for names asking that you vacate the neighborhood. About the time all the gunfire ended; the police showed up. Along with a fire truck and several ambulances."
"Did we get them all?"
"Of course we did. The ones who weren't… injured… were taken in by HPD. Listen, Steve, I know he was a friend, but you did what you had to do."
Steve nodded. "Apparently not so friendly anymore," he quietly admitted. "But," he sighed, "I know I did what was necessary."
"So, I'll ask once more. "Are you going to be OK?"
Steve sighed and looked around the room again. "Yeah, I guess. Gonna be a busy day, though. Looks like a trip to the hardware store is on the agenda."
"Yeah, looks like it," Danny replied. "A little paint, well, maybe a little plasterboard…, no, a lot of plasterboard, then paint, and the place will look like new." He grinned at Steve. "And that's the other reason I'm here. Not going to let you attempt this on your own. Especially with a bum arm. Chin and Kono will be here at 9. We can at least get the place cleaned out and then you can decide what to do. Now, if I recall, don't you keep some flip flops out on the lanai?"
"Slippers. They're called slippers."
"No, they make the flippity-flop sound, hence flip flops. Slippers are something old men wear around the house. "Stay right there, I'll be back," he ordered. Danny went to the lanai and retrieved the sandals. "Slippers, my ass," he muttered upon his return, leaning down and pushing them on Steve's feet. "There."
Steve looked up at his partner and grinned, shaking his head and resigning himself to concede the argument… for now. "You know, you don't have to…" His voice faded as he realized just how tired he really was.
"Steven, yes we do. Besides, you said it yourself just last night. You picked me as your partner. And partners are there for each other. "
Steve stared at him for a moment, and then yawned again. "Yeah? I said that? Then it looks like I made a good choice."
"Come on, you're going back upstairs. I'll get some pills and a glass of water while you get back in bed."
"Yes, mom. Time'is it?"
"Three-honkin-thirty, which, in my book is much too early to be up. Unless, of course there were extenuating circumstances with, say, someone of the female persuasion." He made sure Steve made it upstairs and while he was in the bathroom, Danny went for the water and pills.
Danny checked on him twenty minutes later, thankful to see that Steve was once again sleeping. He stared at him, seeing the blossoming bruises on his face from his fight with Nick. Danny cursed the man once again for what he had put Steve through… had put them all through…
Danny heard the shot and ran toward the ocean, seeing one body in the water and another wavering in the dim light, not quite making out who was who, but praying that Steve was the one who was standing upright.
When he turned, Danny breathed a quick sigh of relief, releasing the fear he had been holding in.
Finally, HPD arrived and took over the scene. Steve had turned to stare at the body once again, waiting while HPD confirmed that Nick was dead. He slogged out of the water and met Danny. That was when Danny realized just how much his partner was bleeding from the knife wound. He had his left arm clenched tightly to his side.
"Whoa, Babe. We gotta get you checked out."
Steve looked back down at the wound. "Couple stitches and it'll be OK."
Danny grasped Steve's 'good' arm and led him toward the red flashing lights of one of the ambulances. "You know, I bet if your head was hanging on by a single vein, you would say the same thing… 'I'm good, just a couple of stitches and I'll be on my way..."
Steve grinned as he stumbled, Danny steadying him. "Hey, got a patient for you," he told the technician who took Steve's arm from Danny and urged him to sit inside the open back door of the vehicle.
Steve felt the adrenaline of the fight leaving him. The relief of survival that had made him smile at Danny as he joked about choosing him as a friend was fading rapidly.
The wound in his arm was beginning to throb with every heartbeat and the ministrations of the technician didn't really help. Sitting down he slumped against the side of the vehicle as a bandage was pressed tightly against his still bleeding wound. Another was wrapped tightly around his arm.
"The cut is pretty deep, there's quite a lot of tissue damage so you're going to need stitches." The technician said as he tried to get Steve to sit up a bit so he could fasten a blood pressure cuff on his right arm.
"Are you sure? It didn't really feel that deep." Steve said, not really feeling like going anywhere at the moment. He really just wanted to go to bed and sleep until tomorrow and then he could clean up the mess of his house.
Feeling the pressure on his good arm from the Bp cuff, he opened his eyes that he didn't remember closing to see Danny and the technician have some sort of silent conversation using raised eyebrows.
"You should listen to him Steve, please, just be sensible for two seconds." Danny sounded resigned and tired but his voice still went high at the end showing his irritation.
"I highly recommend you coming with us to the ER to get it looked at. You're blood pressure is on the low side and you might be suffering from more injuries then just the cut judging from all the bruises starting to show."
Steve thought about it for a minute. The fight had been vicious, and he'd certainly taken a few hits but he doubted he'd been injured in any serious way. Yes, he'd feel it tomorrow, but he'd survive.
"Let's get you up on the gurney and we'll get out of here?" The tech said as he grabbed Steve's good arm to get him to stand up.
Danny could see the minute his friend decided that he didn't need an ambulance. He straightened up and shook off the technician's arm, taking a step to the side to fight the obvious head rush from standing up in a hurry. Once upright, he looked at Danny for support.
"Ok. I get it, Superman here doesn't want to go, I'll drive him myself, its fine." Danny was tired too, and didn't want to fight anymore. He could see that, on top of being injured physically, Steve was struggling with what had happened that evening. He could understand not wanting to go in with sirens blaring when there didn't seem to be a reason for it.
Danny grabbed Steve's arm to steer him towards the cars. Turning slightly he whispered to the tech, "He's going to be OK going with me right?"
"Probably, the cut is my biggest worry and it seems to only be bleeding slightly at the moment, I'll alert the ER that you're coming. Good luck."
Steve began to walk toward the side of the house and saw Chin and Kono coming to meet them. He looked at the back door and then at Kono. "Pak and his family?" he questioned.
She pointed to one of the ambulances. "The general's wife is getting patched up. Laura Hills will meet them at the hospital. The governor is making arrangements for the general and his family. Unfortunately, you know it won't be possible to keep this out of the news."
"Ya think?" Danny said, looking around at all the emergency vehicles.
"Hey, Brah," Chin spoke to Steve, "looks like you should be in one of those yourself."
"He's getting the "Danny Williams' Shuttle Special," Danny told them, placing his hand on Steve's back to get him in motion again.
"Danny!" Chin said, reaching into his pocket. "Catch. Remember, we drove the SUVs. Take the one I drove; I parked in back."
Williams caught the key and replied, "Thanks. You guys good here?"
"We got it," Kono assured them, carefully watching Steve who had remained silent throughout the entire conversation. "Take care, Boss."
Steve nodded, but continued to stand there until Danny finally circled his arm and got him moving in the right direction.
Danny kept looking over at Steve to see how he was doing, worried about his state of mind after the fight for life or death down on the beach. His friend was ignoring him, resting his head against the side window with his eyes closed. Steve's left arm was resting against his body with the help of his right holding it tight. The bandage had a blooming red stain that had grown in the last ten minutes. Danny could see small beads of sweat on Steve's face.
"How are you doing Steve, you OK?"
"Huh…oh, yeah. Just feeling today's events now that I'm sitting down," Steve answered sounding slightly dazed.
Danny dropped Steve off at the entrance of the ER, worried that his friend wouldn't make it inside on his own while Danny left to park the car. When he made it inside he couldn't see Steve anywhere so he asked at the reception desk but they couldn't help him, no McGarrett had been taken in for treatment.
"Two minutes," he muttered to himself. "I park the car and leave him alone for two minutes and he disappears." Turning away from the reception, worried out of his mind trying to decide what to do next, Danny saw the small bloodstain on the door to the restroom in the waiting area.
"Ah..you crazy…" Danny muttered as he hurriedly opened the door.
He found Steve standing at the end of the room with his back against the wall. Eyes closed, his head also against the wall, in Danny's eyes, he looked wrung out and about to collapse.
"What on earth are you doing in here, huh? Are you insane? Why haven't you gotten your arm looked at yet?"
"Please Danny; just give me a second here. I just…I just needed a minute, ok?" Steve opened his eyes without moving.
"A minute? A minute more losing blood? What…."
"I've never killed a friend before Danny, OK? I've done a lot of things but…." Steve closed his eyes again and Danny thought he could see evidence of tears forming but he wasn't sure if it was just a trick of the light.
So, he gave him a minute. Or five. Danny waited, biting the hangnail on his thumb and covertly watching his friend. He saw the moment Steve was ready. He sighed deeply and pushed away from the wall, wavering slightly before Danny met him and escorted him back into the ER.
As soon as the nurse saw Steve's bleeding arm he was whisked away to get it looked at. Not really reacting to any of what was going on around him Steve had shut down completely. Danny took charge and answered all questions about how and when, he also answered about allergies and previous conditions without really knowing.
The longer he watched Steve, the more worried Danny became. Nurses had cut off his shirt and placed his arm out to the side on a towel-padded tray. They cleansed it with saline… without numbing it first, and Steve didn't even flinch. He just stared, focusing on the wall behind them. Once they had cleaned the wound, it was numbed with Lidocaine, waiting for the resident to come and stitch him up.
Danny couldn't take his eyes off Steve, knowing that he was in shut down mode, blocking out everything around him. And it was freaking Danny out.
When asked about a tetanus booster Danny didn't really know but a refill wouldn't hurt anyone, right? So Steve got his right arm jabbed with a needle as well as 17 stitches on the cut on his left.
The doctor was worried about Steve having a concussion because of his behavior but he couldn't find any problems after doing a neuro check. He decided to release Steve knowing Danny would stay with him. They immobilized his arm with a sling to minimize the pain and help the wound heal.
Danny took the bottles of painkillers and antibiotics as well as the care instructions for Steve's wound with him as Steve was in a hurry to leave the place.
Danny walked into the hallway with the nurse and told her that he was going to get the car and asked her to please keep an eye on his partner and not let him wander away. When he returned, he found Steve right where he had left him, sitting on the edge of the ER bed, staring into space.
"OK, you ready to fly this coop?"
Steve raised bleak and empty eyes toward him and stared, then finally nodded once he apparently deciphered the words. When they reached the van, Steve stood, staring at it like he had never seen it before. It took Danny opening the door and pressing his hand on Steve's back to urge him in. Danny shut the door and went around to the driver's side. He glanced at Steve and asked, "Need help with the belt?"
Steve startled at his voice. "What? Oh… no, I'm good." Mechanically, he reached for the seatbelt and managed to reach around the sling on his arm and buckle it.
"Your arm hurt?" Danny asked.
"You need anything before we head home? Food? Anything?"
Well, so much for conversation.
The rest of the trip was driven in silence. Steve finally laid his head against the window and stared out the windshield, cradling his injured arm with his right hand. Danny glanced nervously toward him, and for once, Danny could think of nothing to say. What do you say to a person who had killed… in self defense… someone who up until 12 hours ago, you had considered a friend?
When it came down to it, there really wasn't much anyone could say.
They pulled into the driveway, and Danny noticed that all the emergency vehicles were gone. In their place stood Steve's truck and his Camaro. Thanks, he knew, to Chin and Kono.
Danny got out of the car and walked around to the passenger side. Steve still sat. Danny took a deep breath and opened the car door.
"Here you go, Steve. We're home. Do you happen to have your keys?"
He slid from the seat and checked a pocket, pulling out his keys. Silently he walked toward the house.
"Want me to do it?"
"No." And he managed to get the key in the lock. Before he opened the door, he leaned his forehead against it, postponing the inevitable. Danny placed his hand on Steve's back, offering… what? Comfort? Camaraderie? With a sigh, Steve turned the door knob and walked through the door into the chaos of the living room. He didn't even glance around, but continued through the house and opened the back door. Danny followed behind and set the prescriptions on the counter. He stood in the open doorway and watched until Steve stopped, standing right where the grass met the sand. Danny waited for several minutes, for… what? Some sign that Steve was OK? Finally he walked down to the beach, trying to make some noise so that Steve wouldn't think he was sneaking up on him.
When Danny stopped, Steve glanced at him sideways. "I really did it, didn't I?"
Danny hesitated and then nodded. "Yes. But you wouldn't have if he had just stopped."
Steve gave him a slight grin. "Not in the Bullfrog's dictionary… or his make up."
He looked back at the water. "Yeah?"
"I know you are trying to wrap your head around all of this, but for what it's worth… from my point of view, I'm mighty relieved that it wasn't you lying in the surf."
Steve sighed and listed to the side. "Yeah, Partner, me, too."
Danny reached for Steve's 'good' arm and steadied him. "How about we head back inside?"
Steve nodded and turned around, Danny's hand on his arm. Steve didn't know if it was for comfort or support… but he was glad it was there.
Danny was in his 'father mode'. He had gotten Steve upstairs and checked out the bedroom. Thankfully it had been untouched from the intruders. He couldn't say the same for the other bedroom off the balcony. Broken glass covered the floor and the drapes were swaying in the breeze.
He watched as Steve sat on the side of his bed. "Why don't you get out of those clothes and I'll go get your prescription. Yell if you need any help."
He returned to the kitchen and got a bottle of water from the fridge and emptied two pills into his hand. On the way out, he grabbed a banana and took it to the bedroom with him. When Danny reached the opened door, he found his partner still sitting on the side of the bed. Fully clothed.
Danny sighed and set down the items in his hands and looked at his partner. " OK, first, why don't you just sleep in that shirt they gave you? That way you don't have to take off the sling."
OK, he's communicating. Good.
"Now, here's a banana."
Steve shook his head. "Can't eat."
"The nurse said you should eat with the meds."
McGarrett stood up. "I don't want the meds, either."
"Oh, not so fast. You are taking them." He placed the two Vicodin into Steve's hand and then twisted the top off the water. He motioned with the water, and threatened, "We can do this the easy way or the hard way. What's it gonna be?"
Steve tried to glare at him, but with bruises on his face and a glazed look in his eyes, the frown he was going for was pretty much useless.
After ensuring the pills were swallowed, Danny pointed Steve in the direction of the bathroom. "I'll stay right here in case you need help."
"I'm fine, Danny," Steve mumbled as he walked past him.
"Yeah, and I'm the pope." He waited, listening for Steve, hearing nothing after the flush of the toilet. Growing impatient, he headed toward the door, ready to knock when he heard his partner growl.
"Danny? Get. Me. Out. Of. This."
He cautiously opened the door to find his partner, wounded arm half in and half out of the sling.
Danny stared and then quickly shook his head. "Don't think so, Partner. That stays on – at least for tonight. Doctor's orders."
"I don't want it."
Danny helped situate his arm back into the sling and had to grin. "How the hell did you even do that, you Moron? Now leave it alone. Are you done in here?"
Steve refused to answer, but hugged the door frame on his way out of the room on his way to the bed. He dropped onto it, apparently running out of steam.
"Here, Steve, please let me help. Come on, stand up and I'll get it." He held out his arm to tug Steve to his feet and then threw back the cover. When he looked at his partner, he could see a green tinge beneath the bruises. "Hey, you OK?"
Steve swallowed and nodded. "Pills make me sick."
"You gonna hurl?"
"Not plannin' on it. He gratefully got under the sheet and turned onto his right side, hugging his stomach with his right hand under the sling.
"You need anything else? Like a banana to help your stomach?"
Steve's eyes were tightly closed and he barely shook his head.
After watching a few minutes, Danny eased the door shut and went back downstairs where he took the couch cushions into the yard and shook out the glass, then turned them upside down on the couch. Grabbing a sheet and pillow, he laid down and tried to wind down, knowing that somehow, tomorrow just had to be a better day.
Danny planned to let Steve sleep for as long as possible. He was still worried about him but happy to see that he had seemed less in shut down mode at 3 a.m. and was tracking better than last night. Chin and Kono had both called to hear how things were going with McGarrett and they'd postponed coming over for a couple of hours. Kono was stopping for groceries on her way over as, according to Danny, Steve's fridge was almost empty of anything edible.
Danny was sitting on the couch pondering just how much work it would take to repair the house enough to make it habitable. A noise from upstairs brought him out of his thoughts.
Going upstairs he heard the noise again and realized it was Steve and the sounds were coming from the bathroom. Happy that his friend was finally awake he knocked on the bedroom door to alert him that he was entering.
The bedroom was empty and Danny could still hear noise from the bathroom. Waiting for a few minutes, it was quiet so a bit worried, he tried knocking again. Who knew what Steve was capable of doing, taking a shower with stitches and bandages getting wet or maybe he was bleeding?
"You in there, Steve? Are you ok?" Danny didn't want to invade Steve's privacy but he was worried after last night.
"Uh…I'm not sure." Danny wasn't happy with Steve's answer so he opened the door in a hurry. Steve was sitting on the floor with his back against the wall. Danny could see the evidence of vomit on his shirt, and the smell was making him queasy as well. He flushed the toilet, put the lid down and thought about how to help in the best possible way.
"You done upchucking?" Steve just nodded his head as he held it in his right hand that rested on his bent legs.
"Arm ok?" Danny asked, worried about Steve having pulled stitches moving in a hurry.
"Yeah, think so," Steve said as he glanced down at the bandage.
"Ok, ready to get up from the floor then?"
Steve was already starting to get his feet under him and as he stood up he leaned against the wall heavily, while the little color he had left his face.
"Hey, hang on, would you wait a second, here sit!" Danny had planned to take it slow but trust Steve to just sabotage those plans. Steve now looked ready to fall over so Danny took a firm hold of his right arm and with his other around Steve's back he got him to sit on the downturned toilet lid. Steve did an ungraceful descent as it seemed like his energy was completely gone.
"Ugh, I think the pain meds are messing with me." Steve said as an excuse for his body betraying him completely.
"I'm betting your body needs food! And pain relief, so let's get you back to bed and I'll make you some nice breakfast, huh?"
Steve couldn't understand how Danny would even suggest that he eat right after throwing up everything he'd eaten the last week. He startled as Danny put a cold cloth in his hands.
"Here, wipe your face. I'll go get you some clean clothes for you to change into." Danny said as he left the room.
Coming back, Danny helped Steve rinse his mouth, then handed him the toothbrush, and then he noticed that the bandage had a small bloodstain on it. After checking, Danny decided it hadn't bled enough to warrant changing it. Danny took a good look and then realized the sling was nowhere to be seen. He helped Steve remove the dirty shirt and replaced it with a black tee, then helped with a pair of Navy issued shorts.
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but did you not have on a sling when you went back to bed in the middle of the night? Where might said sling be? And how the heck did you get it off? "
"That would be classified," Steve replied, and then offered a slight grin. "But a diver's knife might have been involved."
"Unbelievable," Danny muttered and turned and looked into the bedroom for the restraint. Returning he held it up to his partner. "We're in luck… found it."
Danny moved to help put the sling back on and Steve objected.
"Oh, come on Danny, that's not necessary anymore. I'm fine without it." He really hated the constricting feeling of the sling. He wanted his arms free and ready to move, just an instinct ingrained in him long ago.
"OK, as you wish but don't come crying to me when you're in pain or the wound re-opens."
I'll try to control myself," Steve muttered, grabbing Danny's shoulder for balance as he pulled himself upward.
He walked into the bedroom and looked at the bed, then shook his head. "I've had enough of the bed for a while," Steve decided. "Going downstairs."
"Danny…" Steve began, then hesitated. "I'm not gonna break, OK? From what I remember of last night, I was pretty screwed up, but you don't have to hover."
"All right," Danny replied, heading toward the open bedroom door. "Just know your limits. And… know that we're here for you."
Steve nodded. "I will. Thanks."
"What would you like for breakfast?" Danny asked. "Kono's on her way over with groceries."
"Not really hungry, but it's 1100 hours. Not exactly breakfast time."
"Well, you're getting toast," Danny decided, reaching the bottom of the steps. ""Got your shoes on? Good. Now, come to the kitchen and don't look at any of this yet. I have a plan."
"Does it include a bulldozer?" Steve asked when Danny tugged on his arm, not allowing him to stop in the living room.
"No, but it requires teamwork. We'll talk when Chin and Kono get here."
Forty minutes later, they were all gathered around the table, brunch over. Kono had made her grandmother's special tea for Steve, and not willing to disappoint her, he had managed to eat a piece of toast and drank her tea.
"So, what's the plan?" Chin asked. "Do we have an agenda yet?"
Steve started to open his mouth, but Danny stood and held up his hand for quiet. "I've got this covered. I called for a rolling dumpster this morning, and it should be delivered around one. First job is to remove the old and see what can be salvaged and where to start fresh."
"Makes sense," Kono nodded, picking up the plates and stacking them into the new dishwasher Steve recently added to his kitchen.
"Guys, you don't have to do—" Steve again tried to speak up.
"Steven, shut it now. We've already had this conversation. You can relax on the—"
Steve stood and crossed his arms. Enough was enough. He shook his head and pointed his finger in Danny's direction. "No, that's where you're wrong. I'm not willing to let you do work while I just stand around. From the looks of this place, there is enough to do for everyone."
"Kamekono is heading over, and is bringing one of his cousins. Apparently they are in the glazing business," Chin told them. "So no open windows tonight. I can start removing the damaged parts of the walls." Chin looked at Steve, and seeing no objection he turned to Danny, "Do you want to help?"
"Absolutely. Steve, how about you gather all the photos and stuff from the walls? I'm sure most of it can be reframed."
Steve nodded, and then looked at his team. "Guys, I don't know what to say." Steve struggled with his emotions, hoping his friends knew how thankful he was. "Mahalo," Steve finally said. It was not enough, but the best he could do at the moment.
Kono gave him a hug from behind. "No need to thank us, Boss. We're Ohana. That says it all."
Chin nodded. "And you would do it for us. But right now, you are the friend in need. And we're here for you. So, just let us help."
"And on that note, time's a-wasting. Steve, if I see you using that arm for anything, I will truss you up so tightly, you'll think that sling was nothing." Danny felt the need to point out once again that Steve should rest, and not overdo it. Today, he looked worse for wear with the bruises fully blossomed. He may have been upright, but he was moving mighty slow.
"Brah, I think he's put the smack on you," Chin said with a grin.
Steve looked down at Danny. "And I'm sure I look suitably frightened. How about we get moving?"
Danny smiled and reminded him, "Just remember… I'm watching…"
Steve's grumbled reply was met with laughter as the friends started repairing Steve's house. It had been a rough 24 hours, but they had survived and the experience had brought them closer yet again. Sometimes our friends aren't the ones we've known the longest or who we know the most about, but rather those that we learn to rely on each and every day.
And all grumbling aside, Steve was glad that these three had his back.