Title: All Clear
Disclaimer: Unfortunately they are still not mine. I hope CBS and whoever owns the rights to Five-0 doesn't mind too much that I'm borrowing them for a short while.
Summary: A split second can change your life forever.
A/N: As always the facts told in this story are heavily researched and accurate to the best of my knowledge. But as always some facts are boring, and therefore needed some tweaking. ;-) Always remember this is for enjoyment, not to get a doctorate.
More notes at the end.
This is for my friends and wonderful betas Cokie and Sherry.
Danny saw it happen like in slow motion. Just a few seconds ago he had given the 'all clear' and now he watched his best friend go down like a felled tree. Steve never even had a chance; Thomas Amuku swung the baseball bat and it connected with Steve's temple, making a sickening sound.
How on earth could this have happened? Danny had been sure the room had been empty when he had called it out. Seconds later Amuku stood behind the task force leader and swung that damn bat.
The sound of his friend hitting the deck pulled Danny out of his shock. "Five-0! Drop the bat - get your hands behind your head!" Danny called out and trained his gun on their suspect.
"Drop it!" Chin yelled, coming in from the back room, raising his shot gun.
Amuku obviously realized that the two men in front of him meant business and surrendered his weapon and then himself. Chin cuffed the man and led him out of the room while Danny kneeled next to his partner.
"Steve?" He called his friend's name, but didn't dare move him. "Steve, come on, no sleeping on the job."
Danny tried to make light of the situation, it helped him focus and keep his hands from trembling when he carefully checked for a pulse. After a moment holding his breath he found a weak but steady throbbing. Danny made sure that Steve was breathing and listened to the nearing sirens, no doubt alerted by Chin.
Danny was glad that there was not a blood gushing wound, at least Steve was in no danger of bleeding to death. It concerned Danny a great deal that his friend was so utterly still, he didn't stir at all. There was no reaction whatsoever.
Thinking back to the blow… Danny shuddered remembering the impact and the terrible noise. He prayed that the skull wasn't smashed in and Steve wasn't bleeding into his brain.
Danny opened the snaps on Steve's vest, and carefully took the back part off. Steve still lay as he had dropped on his stomach, but Danny didn't dare move him after the forceful blow to the head. And as long as he was breathing okay, he would leave the moving part to the professionals.
He again tried to rouse his partner. "Steve? Steve, can you hear me?" But there was no reaction from the injured man.
Danny looked around the empty room and again wondered where the heck Amuku had come from. There simply wasn't a place a grown man could hide. Danny was still upset that he had declared the room safe and empty, and couldn't believe he had made such a mistake. A mistake his partner now had to pay for.
"Detective? Detective Williams! You can let go now."
Danny looked up and only then realized that two paramedics were kneeling next to him and that he held his partner's hand in a death grip.
"It's okay, Detective, we've got this," one of the EMTs gently said and nudged Danny to move out of the way so they could work on the way-too-still Steve.
"He… he was hit in the head… with a baseball bat… it was… a really hard blow, and he hasn't moved at all."
"Alright. Kim, help me turn him over," the bigger of the two EMTs said and together they gently turned McGarrett onto his back.
And again there was absolutely no reaction by the normally very lively lieutenant commander.
Kim pushed the rest of the vest out of the way and the two medics got to work. Danny stood back and watched them check his friend over. He couldn't understand what they were saying, but their faces showed the seriousness of Steve's injury loud and clear.
They had put an oxygen mask onto Steve's face and had started an IV. The neck brace was obligatory; with such a blow one could never be too careful. A neck injury was always a possibility.
A minute later they had Steve on a gurney. "Detective, are you coming with him?" Kim asked as they pulled the gurney up.
"Yes. Yes, I'm going with him," Danny answered and took the weapons that Kim had taken off of Steve.
Danny followed the EMTs and the gurney to the ambulance and informed Chin that he would stay with Steve. "I'll let you know as soon as I know anything."
A minute later Steve was secured in the ambulance and they were on their way to Queens Medical Center.
H50 – H50 – H50
The next hour was just a blur of activity. Danny was told to take a seat in the ER waiting room, but he was too anxious to even entertain the idea of sitting down. He was pacing the room and probably drove everyone crazy. But no one was brave enough to tell the nervous man to sit the heck down. Or maybe they were too kind hearted to disturb the distressed man.
It took another ninety minutes until finally a doctor came to take him to his friend. Or so he thought. He followed the young doctor to one of the offices.
"What's going on, where is Steve?"
"Dr. Kiley will be with you in a minute," the young intern told Danny.
Danny watched the doctor leave and took a look around the small office. It was clear to him that being in this office wasn't boding well. In his experience, doctors never delivered good news in their offices.
"Detective? I'm Dr. Steven Kiley, I'm sorry you had to wait. Please have a seat," The mid-forty almost white haired doctor told Danny as he introduced himself.
"How is Steve?" Danny didn't even wait until they both sat.
"I was told you were witness to the incident that led to the commander's injury?"
"Yes, I've… I saw the blow," Danny said and again the scene played in front of his eyes.
"Detective, you realize that it was a very hard hit your friend took to the temple?" After Danny nodded at the rhetorical question, Dr. Kiley continued. "Due to the force of the hit Commander McGarrett suffered a severe concussion."
"Yeah, well, that is actually the good news."
"The blow also cracked his skull. Thankfully the bone was not dented in," Kiley added before Danny could ask anything.
"So, that's good, right?"
"Yes, it plays in his favor. Detective, what do you know about the brain?"
"What do you mean?" Danny looked rather confused and got slightly irritated that he still didn't know how Steve was doing.
"The brain is not stationary, in simple terms it floats like in a pool cushioned by fluid. When McGarrett was hit on the left side of his head, the brain suffered hits to both sides because it swung over to the right due to the energy from the blow."
"There is a good amount of swelling at the moment, and a small bleed on the left side."
"He's bleeding into his brain?" Danny knew that was very bad.
"There is some intracranial hemorrhaging, yes. That is causing, combined with the swelling, a rise of the intracranial pressure."
"That's also really bad, isn't it?"
"Yeah, it is." Kiley looked at the detective and knew he had to choose his next words carefully. "You are listed as one of his emergency contacts and also his medical proxy. You might have to make some tough decisions tonight."
"What are you talking about?"
"At the moment McGarrett is critical and in the ICU. We are monitoring him very closely. He is weakly reacting to strong pain stimuli, but other than that he is deeply unconscious. So far he is breathing on his own, but that can change any minute. Detective, I won't sugar coat his condition; it's very serious."
"But he will be okay?"
Dr. Kiley took a moment to think about that question before he gave his answer. "I can't give you an answer to that. His chances will increase if he makes it through the night. Detective, we might have to operate on him to relieve the pressure, and we will need your consent for it."
"Of course. If that is what he needs then I'll sign the papers." There was no question that he would sign anything that would help his friend. As long as that was all that was required of him. He was not ready to make a life and death decision for Steve, even though they had talked about that possibility. "Can I see him?"
"Yeah, sure. But just for a few minutes."
Danny followed Dr. Kiley to the ICU and was worried what would await him.
H50 – H50 – H50
Queens Medical Center – three days later
Steve had the mother of all headaches and didn't dare move or open his eyes. His head felt like his brain had decided it needed to come out. Unfortunately there was no opening for it, so it was pressing against the skull and Steve felt nothing but incredible pain. It was not just located to one spot, but was engulfing him in one giant bubble of wildly hammering agony.
Steve couldn't help the groan slipping past his parched lips.
Oh God, stop yelling! Steve was sure his name was only whispered but it felt like an explosion going off inside his head. Which caused him to groan even more pitifully than before.
"Steve, are you awake?"
Argh, please, stop that.
"Hang in there, buddy, I'm getting the doctor."
Thankfully whoever had yelled at him left and the room was bathed into silence. Well, not counting the heart monitor's low beeping that set off mini explosions inside Steve's head with each low beep.
He obviously had landed himself in the hospital; would be nice to know how that had happened. Steve tried to take stock of his body, and found that he felt fine, except the pounding, excruciating headache of course. Steve had yet to open his eyes, but he had no real desire to do so. He knew from prior experience that would end in ungodly pain and either puking his guts out or blissful unconsciousness.
Which would be preferable to puking. Steve had had a concussion before and knew without a doctor needing to tell him that this one was pretty severe. He had no recollection of how he got injured, or when, or where for that matter. Those were all strong indicators that he had gotten his bell rung more than just a little bit.
Steve was just about to nod off when he was addressed again. "Commander?"
What is it with these people yelling like that? "Stp yll pls." That came out all garbled. Damn. Steve realized that no one would be able to understand his mumbled words.
"I'm sorry, Commander. I'm sure your head hurts."
Oh, you're sure, aren't you? Maybe do something about it?
"I'm giving you something for the pain; you should feel better in a minute."
The voice was actually delivering on that promise when something cold invaded Steve's veins. He hadn't even realized that he had an IV near his clavicle. Wow, a central line. Must be seriously… wow, that stuff is fast. Steve's thoughts jumped all over the place, and he had a really hard time keeping his thoughts in check and concentrate on the voice still talking to him.
"Commander, can you open your eyes for us?"
That is not gonna happen, not in this lifetime. Steve tried to voice his objection, but couldn't get the words out. "Ugh," was all that was hearable.
"The lights are off; it's almost dark in here. Please try to open your eyes."
The voice obviously wasn't giving up so Steve gave it a try. His eyelids felt like they weighed a ton, but after a bit of struggle he managed to open them to half-mast. Not that it would have done him any good, because there was nothing to see. Literally nothing.
Steve blinked a few times and was able to make out a few blurry images, but even the little light that illuminated the room was like daggers into his eyes and they went straight into his brain, making him groan and close his eyes tightly shut. Intending to never open them again.
"Commander, I'll ask you some questions, alright?"
"Uh huh." Steve was not keen on playing twenty questions, but maybe if he answered one or two the annoying man would shut up and leave.
"Can you tell me your name?"
What kind of stupid question is that? Sure I can, Steve McGarrett.
"Commander? Did you hear me?"
Oh, guess I should say it aloud. "Steve M'Garet" Uh, talking is hard.
"That's close enough. Do you know where you are?"
"Do you know what happened?"
"No. 'm tired."
Steve fought for a moment to stay awake, but moments later he slipped back to sleep.
H50 – H50 – H50
"How is he, Doc?" Danny Williams looked down at his friend who had just fallen back asleep.
He thought back to the last three days, fluctuating between hope and worry that his friend wouldn't make it. Twenty long hours the prospect of brain surgery hung over them, but Steve had dodged the bullet and the pressure on his brain lessened and Dr. Kiley declared his condition serious but stable. That was two days ago.
Ever since then Steve had been unconscious and this was the first time that he had found his way back to wakefulness. Danny thought it was a great sign, even though Steve had only been semi-conscious and only for a couple of minutes. It worried Danny that his friend had obviously been in a great deal of pain.
"He is doing better than we had expected three days ago. We need to wait and do more tests, but so far everything looks good."
"He seemed to be in a lot of pain."
"That is to be expected. He suffered a severe concussion; the pain will stay with him for a few weeks. Not as severe as now, but he will suffer some serious headaches."
"But you can give him something for that, right?"
"Of course. We'll make sure he's as comfortable as possible," Dr. Kiley assured Danny. "I will be back in a few hours; hopefully we will be able to perform a few more tests then. You should go home, McGarrett will sleep for a while."
"Okay, I need to check in with Five-0 anyway. Please call me if there is any change or problem."
Danny took one last look at his resting partner and was out the door.
H50 – H50 – H50
Steve managed to elevate the headrest of the bed he was lying in. He looked around the room and was happy to realize that the light streaming through the blinds didn't bother him that much. At least as long as he wasn't directly looking at the windows. Doing so sent his headache into orbit, as he had experienced a minute ago.
The pain was still throbbing inside his skull, but at a more bearable level. Whatever drug he was given it was doing a pretty amazing job. Now he only needed to find out where the heck he was.
Obviously in a hospital, genius. Yeah, but what hospital, and what the heck has happened that had sent him into a world of pain and confusion?
It was obvious that he had only suffered a head injury; the rest of his body was intact as he noted earlier. He felt no pain or even a small ache on any part of his body beside his head. Of course that made up for the lack of other pain.
The pain increased with every passing minute he was awake, and Steve wished he had a PCA so he could get some relief from the agony taking residence in his head. He did the next best thing and pressed the button to call the nurse.
Just a few moments later not only a nurse came in, but also the annoying doctor from earlier. No doubt in the mood for even more questions.
"Commander McGarrett, it's good to see you awake," the doctor said as he took the clip board from the foot of Steve's bed. "How do you feel?"
"Who are you, and how long have I been here?" Steve had to close his eyes after he managed to ask his question. Nausea was threatening to overwhelm his senses.
"I'm sorry. My name is Steven Kiley, I'm your attending neuro-surgeon. Commander, do you feel sick?"
"A little," Steve answered without opening his eyes.
"We might need to switch your anti-nausea meds. How is the pain at the moment?"
"Getting worse," was Steve's short answer.
"Okay, we will change your pain management," Kiley said and a moment later Steve could hear the telltale click of the attached IV pump releasing more medication into his IV.
"You didn't answer my question," Steve grumbled.
"I'm getting to that. Today is your fourth day here. You were hit on Monday. Do you have any recollection of what happened?"
"No." Steve didn't even know where he was; how the hell did the doc expect him to know what had happened?
"Your partner said—"
"My partner?" Steve opened his eyes to look at his doctor. The mention of his partner was an interesting development. "Was he hurt?"
"No, no, Detective Williams is fine. He wasn't hurt," Kiley assured his patient.
"Your partner, Danny Williams," Dr. Kiley said slowly.
Steve stared at his doctor and got the terrible feeling that he was missing a huge part of the picture. Who the hell was Danny Williams?
H50 – H50 – H50
Steve stared at the ceiling and wondered how he had ended up with Swiss cheese for a memory. It seemed that his brain had decided to completely wipe out almost three years. He knew that his father had been killed and that he had been on his way to the funeral. But that is where his memory ended.
He had no idea that he had stayed in Hawaii, formed a task force, and was now fighting crime on his home island. It had been a total shock to learn that he was no longer an active member of the Navy.
That must be a mistake. Why the heck would he leave the Navy? He loved his job. Steve's thoughts came back to that question. What would be interesting enough for him to give up his career in the Navy to become a cop? That was just ridiculous. He was not a damn cop, he was a SEAL.
It was not a good idea to become so agitated, his head reminded him of that with a spike of pain lancing through his skull. Steve closed his eyes and tried to ride it out, but soon he realized that wouldn't work and pressed the button for the PCA to get another dose of pain medication.
He had talked his doctor into letting him control the amount of drugs he took. Kiley had agreed rather reluctantly, but in the end he did. Steve hated the feeling to lose control over his mind, and the drugs made his mind all fuzzy. But the pain was even worse; it made it impossible to think, so he took the dopey feeling over the debilitating pain.
Steve dozed for a little bit until a visitor came into the room. It was a short blond man, who looked rather nervous. Steve was sure that he had never seen him in his life. But from the description Dr. Kiley had given him, he knew this had to be Detective Williams.
Steve looked him up and down and despite the pain still hammering behind his forehead couldn't keep the smile off his face. Williams obviously had no idea what to do with his hands, or if it was better to stay still or move closer to the bed. A few times he looked like he started to say something, but nothing came out of his mouth. He kind of looked like a fish out of water.
It was actually quite the show and Steve enjoyed it. Maybe a little too much, but watching the detective relaxed him, and even made the headache dissipate a little more.
"So, you're Detective Williams?" Steve finally put the guy out of his misery.
"Steve. Guess you know that, huh?" Steve had to grin at his own introduction.
"Yeah. How are you doing? How's the pain?"
"Head hurts like shit," Steve answered honestly. Besides, every idiot could see that he was hurting big time, no reason to deny that.
"Not your fault, no reason to apologize."
"But that's just it. It was my fault that you got hit. I… I'm so sorry."
Steve looked at the detective and could see that guilt and sorrow were eating at him. "I'm sure it wasn't your fault. But even if it was, shit happens, don't fret about it."
"You really don't remember anything?"
"Oh, I remember everything, but absolutely nothing after boarding the plane to come here," Steve told his… he wasn't sure what to call the detective. What their relationship would be in the future. Steve had the feeling that his memory wouldn't come back. "Maybe you should tell me about yourself. What this 'Five-0' is all about."
"I don't know, Steve. Kiley said we shouldn't tell you every little detail—"
"I'm not talking about every detail; give me the Cliffs notes version."
Twenty minutes later Steve was exhausted, his head was killing him, and he was in serious doubt about what Danny had told him. That all sounded just too 'out there' to be true.
"I think you should rest. You look beat. I'll be back later, okay?"
Steve looked at the detective and had hoped hearing about what they went through would trigger something in his memory, but nothing of the sort had happened. "Okay."
Steve watched Williams leave and felt a deep sadness taking over. It had sounded like they had become good friends. And it saddened him that he felt no connection whatsoever to the man. He felt like a total stranger to him.
With the thoughts of Five-0 on his mind Steve drifted off to sleep.
H50 – H50 – H50
Four days went by with no change to Steve's memory. Catherine Rollins had visited every day, and she was the only person he could really talk to. She had known him for years, and those years he could remember. And he remembered Freddy's words, not to mess this up. So he tried his best not to. But it was hard not to remember the time they had spent together in Hawaii.
She had been the one to tell him about his mother. He wasn't sure what to think about that development. And only when Cath had produced recent photos of him and his mom had he started to believe her.
Governor Denning had also come by to assure him that no matter what the job as head of Five-0 was still his to keep. Steve had thanked him but also told him he wasn't sure yet what he planned to do.
And that was the honest truth. Steve had no idea what to do. For him it was like he was still on active duty in the Navy, and he saw no real reason to change that. The reasons from three years ago were no longer valid; it had all been taken care of.
He had a team he knew nothing about, a job he knew nothing about. What did he know about being a cop? What right did he have to take such a position? It felt all so wrong to him.
He had spent many hours thinking about all what had happened, about all the possibilities he had.
He could stay in Hawaii and lead the Special Task Force. A job he had no idea about. He could surround himself with a team that he knew nothing about. Trust his life into their hands. Into the hands of strangers.
He had no problem with trusting his team, but those people were not his team. He didn't even know them. Even though he had talked to Detec… excuse me, Danny, and with Chin Ho for hours, he still felt no connection to them. They were just people telling him stories about a fourth member of Five-0, currently in China, and what they had done in the past.
Steve felt like something was wrong with him, the way he couldn't connect to them. He had the feeling that they had been really good friends. But it was simply not happening. Dr. Kiley had assured him that it was not his fault, that his reaction was perfectly normal.
Staying with Five-0 was one possibility; the other was going back to active duty. He had talked with a Captain here in Pearl about that possibility. He had assured Steve that he could come back anytime. His commission would be re-activated, and he would probably even get a promotion. I'll believe that when it happens, Steve thought.
He would be on sick leave for at least another few weeks, maybe a few months. The headaches were really messing with him. He couldn't stay upright without getting dizzy, and the skull fracture needed time to heal. So, he would be out of commission for weeks.
Time he could use to think about what to do. He was sure he would need those weeks to come to a decision. He needed to grieve for his father and Freddy, that phase was also lost from his memory. He needed to re-connect to his mother and his sister.
And maybe, just maybe that time would help him find a connection to his former friends of Five-0.
But Steve had the feeling that wouldn't happen.
H50 – H50 – H50
Seriously, this is the end.
A split second can change your life forever.
Okay, hold your horses. THIS really was the end, and this whole story was a gift to my two incredible betas. BUT they screamed bloody murder and threatened not to talk to me again if I wouldn't fix Steve. I told them 'NO', Steve is gone. They wouldn't believe me. I wonder why?
So, after a lengthy time of threats and finally begging, which I assure you was not a pretty sight, I wrote them a second chapter. But I'm not promising anything. Steve might still be gone at the end of that one.
Look for the conclusion coming in a few days.