AN: My first inclusion of Dan Robbins in fan fiction. I hope to write more stories that feature him - thanks to "Kahva" for her inspirational stories featuring Dan (which I hope will be posted here soon...hint...hint).

A thank you in advance goes to my wonderful readers :-)

To my SOSF beta - you rock!

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the original characters, locations or canon information depicted in the series "The Streets of San Francisco". I'm just borrowing them for my pleasure and hopefully the enjoyment of others.


Pillar of Strength

The first thing I noticed as I got up from the chair was the troubled look on my father's weary face and the heaviness with which he carried himself as he made his way toward me. Seeing Mike like this tore a hole right through me but I forced the burning pain down deep inside and kept my composure. He needed me to be strong and I was not going to fail him by breaking down.

"How is he?" the question somehow made its way past my lips which felt like rubber.

Mike shook his head slowly and for a moment I thought I was going to lose it.

"He's in critical condition. They almost lost him…" Mike's voice faltered. After a shuddering breath, he continued in a more collected tone, "Both bullets were removed and they did all they could to fix the damage."

"Can we see him?" I didn't know what else to say but I couldn't just stand there saying nothing. And in truth I needed to know for myself if he would make it.

"No. The Doc…" Mike paused and I took his hand in mine. "I can't see him until tomorrow morning at the earliest. You'd think they'd let me see him just for a lousy minute or two!" The hurt in Mike's remark morphed into anger. "I'm just glad that Tanner and Lessing were the ones who made the arrest because I just don't think I could've trusted myself to bring in the bastard who did this to him alive!"

"Oh Mike. You're a better man than that and you know it!" Somehow I found my inner strength when I scolded Mike. I just hoped it would hold out until I took him home.

"Am I? Sweetheart, sometimes I just don't know anymore. I've lost partners who were better men than I could ever hope to be. Daniel is far too young…he…in some ways he reminds me of…" Lost for words, Mike wiped his hand over his face.

I couldn't let him torture himself any longer. I needed to get him out of there. "Come on, let's go home, okay? We'll come back first thing tomorrow." I coaxed him as gently but firmly as I could.

To my surprise and immense relief, Mike relented with a nod and cast his eyes down at the floor. I quickly gathered his coat and fedora. "Here," I handed my father his hat but his hands trembled so much that I took him by the arm and held out the fedora in the other. It was then that I noticed Mike's gaze was transfixed on the blood smears coating the bottom half of his vest. Dan's blood.

I guided Mike toward the front desk and the exit. I didn't even realize I still had the coat draped over my arm.

My father is the strongest man I know but the events of that day really shook him. Dan took two bullets, meant for Mike. That act of courage would no doubt leave an imprint in our hearts. My father meant everything to me and I would never forget what Dan did. I just prayed that he would make it so I could thank him. I owed him the world and more.

~ END ~