Storm Ravaged

Chapter 25

"They're on the way back and they're coming directly here." Kono had just texted the brief updates to Danny - much edited - after speaking to Chin before their plane departed from Kahului Airport.

Danny's cell phone had been returned and he'd been tucked back into his hospital bed after dutifully being outside. He had to admit, the respite had been well-timed and worth the original trouble, though now he felt the familiar tension beginning to return. Hours had passed and Steve and Chin had finally apprehended McNamara. And Danny wasn't being overly picky or sensitive, but the round-robin way of being contacted by Kono instead of directly by Chin or Steve was slightly troublesome.

He sighed as he read the short text messages again. Danny had already lost some of his smile as his eyes took on a faraway, worried look. Still visiting, Ellen and Rachel shared a quick glance over Grace's head and Danny slowly nodded to their unspoken question regarding McNamara. "Yeah, he's in custody and I assume needs medical attention."

"That's a relief. To finally have him in custody, I mean." Ellen murmured under her breath. "Kono is still busy I take it?"

"Very." Danny affirmed quietly. Determined to focus on each of the addresses or locations Pete Channing had provided, Kono would not be back for many more hours to come. It was what they wanted and yet Danny plucked idly at the bedding, manhandled the remote to the TV and tapped the cell phone all with his right hand while watching Grace as she sat cross-legged at the edge of the bed.

She finally looked up and smiled happily at him but could tell something else was coming; and it wasn't necessarily because her Aunt Kono had just sent him an important message or two.

No, he had remembered. Grace grinned mischievously and then nodded before he could say it out loud though of course, he did anyway. "Grace ..."

"I will. I know, Danno." She also felt much better after their long afternoon together and she giggled when he raised his hand warningly in the air. His eyes were laughing and while she knew she was sort of in trouble, she'd be quickly forgiven now that her father was getting better. She had just needed to see him herself.

"School, Monkey! Tomorrow and on time. Promise?"

"I promise." Edging up closer she carefully avoided the IV line to hug him as gently as she could. She wasn't afraid anymore but she needed the time that afternoon to be sure. She heard him whisper thank you to her mother and Grace smiled into his shoulder. She also knew that her visit had cheered him up immensely. But now it was getting late and and she could tell that her mother, and even Aunt Ellen, were getting ready to leave.

Sure enough, Rachel got to her feet followed by Ellen who was balancing on one foot again while reaching for her crutches.

"I'll still be around in the hospital, Danny. Ponch has a few more hours on shift and I'm going to wait for him." The truth was now that she knew Steve, Chin and McNamara would be coming directly in, she needed to be there too. Just to make sure that her friends were fine and to provide even more support for Danny. If she could play messenger and keep his mind at ease, then that was exactly what she would do. Before hopping down the hallway, Ellen waved a happy good-bye so they could end their visit alone.

Each parent could see that Grace was glassy-eyed from needing sleep and more than ready for an early bedtime. Fighting his own weary feelings, Danny was also tired from the enjoyable visit and change in scenery. He shifted carefully in the bed and made a face about his bandaged feet. Of everything, that was going to be his most tiresome issue for a full recovery. His left foot was only slightly better than his right which was the culprit behind his infection.

Rachel noticed his annoyed fidget under the blankets as she walked over for Grace and to give him a warm kiss on his forehead. "Everything's going to be fine. We'll be back tomorrow ... after school."

"Bye, Danno." Grace was beaming as she slid off the bed and then leaned on her toes for another careful hug. Her words were muffled again in his shoulder but he caught each one. "I love you, Daddy."

"I love you more, Monkey." With a hand trailing off her head, he smiled happily as she skipped from the room.

He sat there quietly until he no longer heard the quick footsteps and his smile once again drifted away. The room was empty and he should take advantage of the next few hours to sleep.

"Doctor's orders. Sure." He sighed to himself with a tiny note of disdain.

Instead of trying to rest, Danny kept looking at the cell phone or towards the hallway as distant voices reached his ears. The two HPD officers were staunchly on guard even though Brian McNamara was finally in custody; and Danny was far from being truly alone on any level. Plus, they had a never-ending pile of proof against the man. With the change in venue for Allen Darien's trial, Channing turning in mound after mound of evidence, and McNamara in hand, he should have felt more in control.

Brian McNamara was the last one of the three to be rounded up. Danny was almost relieved but oddly very disturbed at the same time. Oddly, he still felt trapped and he had to work at calming his breathing for a moment as unease almost became a panicked and utterly irrational urge to run. Unconsciously, he looked where his damaged feet lay under the blankets before returning to his fidgeting.

McNamara would never have come in quietly and he wouldn't give up that easily; it simply wasn't in his nature.

On the return flight, Chin stood in the aisle between Steve and Brian McNamara. There wasn't much room in the jet for two stretchers, so Steve was sitting across the seats with his injured knee propped up. Once again his eyes were closed but he held an icepack in his right hand which he anchored firmly to his right eye while he sat stoically upright against the bulkhead. They were sure he also had a concussion and even though the ice felt good, his head was keeping an off-beat cadence to the pounding in his knee. This time, his energy was utterly spent and Steve was much less aware of his surroundings after accepting a dose of morphine.

He knew Chin was at his feet and a medic was actively ensuring his comfort as best as possible. Despite the morphine, he was concentrating on steady breaths around the belt-like ribbon of pain each careful inhale caused through his lower back. Under the icepack, his right eye was officially on hiatus as the swelling intensified but Steve partially cracked his left eye open as he sensed Chin suddenly shift warningly. The movement took him by surprise and he accidentally jolted his knee when he reached for a gun he no longer held.

"It's fine, sir," the medic said as he supported his shoulders to help when Steve sucked in a deep breath to ride out the unexpected pain. "Things are under control."

It took him a minute or two before Steve could speak though and then his eyes met Chin's worried ones.

"Okay?" Steve mumbled roughly and Chin answered with a barely perceptible nod as he stared briefly at the braced knee. Steve watched his friend harden his stance but nothing was wrong, so he forced himself to relax and went back to his rhythmic breathing. If he didn't move and if the jet didn't encounter any turbulence, Steve estimated that he could have a return flight that he would be at least able to cope with.

A few minutes later, Chin glanced to the one medic that was on his knees and once again rechecking Steve's blood pressure. It had been on the high side and the man was still not overly pleased as he fixed a blanket across his patient's legs.

With his hand casually resting on his gun, Chin's gaze went back to McNamara who had finally woken just before being settled towards the back of the plane. He remained not only on a stretcher, but forcibly restrained. His waking had been nothing short of violent and he'd almost caught everyone off their game.

It was a completely reactive response which hadn't lasted too long, but the ex-lawyer managed to kick out with bound legs to catch one of the officers with a stinging blow once again in the knee. That officer and a second had grabbed his legs, another his shoulders, while straps were fastened around him to prevent any additional movement. Zip-tied top and bottom, and now strapped to the stretcher, McNamara was staring angrily at Chin but unable to speak due to his damaged jaw.

Chin was currently in McNamara's sights because as soon as he'd become aware and then trussed, the Five-0 lieutenant had read the man his rights. He'd done so loudly and very particularly with witnesses present to avoid any future judicial issues or questions. McNamara's medical care was also diligent and trustworthy to avoid allegations of mistreatment or abuse. It angered Chin as much as the ex-lawyer but the long-term benefits were undeniably going to be an indefinite stay in a penitentiary .. somewhere completely away from civilization .. and for a very long time. No one was willing to give the wily criminal any potential for legal ammunition that would ever aid his own future defense.

Once they landed, McNamara was taken off the plane first. Steve was left with his two dedicated medical attendants while Chin and the security details swapped responsibilities with local HPD. In fact, Steve had demanded that Chin ride with McNamara personally, which he was now doing.

"Ready? We'll do all the work sir."

Steve nodded with his eyes firmly shut. He didn't relish the concept of being moved from where he sat to a stretcher. His physical condition was perilous and he'd managed to power through the flight by hardly twitching a muscle. They must have sensed it too, for the care they tried to take in moving him as slowly as possible. Still, he couldn't fight the low moan that finally escaped his lips as he was jostled through the narrow jet, down its steep steps and then was moved with the help of the new ambulance crew from stretcher to gurney.

Regardless of their care, each abused muscle was awakened and the throbbing in his head spiked suddenly to a full-fledged migraine. The air was hot and humid on the tarmac, and the strength of the bright sunlight was brutal. By then, Steve knew that he was going to lose his fight against the nausea which twisted his stomach into a spasming knot of pain.

"Sick," he managed to croak out the one word just as they reached the bottom of the jet's staircase. Gently rocked to his side, one medic kept his injured knee elevated and protected while the other three patiently waited out a long series of dry heaves. The retching pulled on his abdomen and lower back which only added to his misery.

Unable to do more than weakly nod when he was done, he was everyone's primary concern as they slightly elevated his head and dispensed an anti-emetic. But Steve was wholly wrung out and miserable after the episode. Black spots danced before his closed lids and he realized that he had finally hit his own personal wall. Wishing he could simply curl up and hide from the much too bright Hawaiian sun, Steve used his hand and what was left of the ice pack to shield his face.

He grunted in discomfort as the doors to the ambulance slammed shut to seemingly suck out the air and the vehicle began to lumber out of the parking lot towards the hospital. Danny would have plenty to say and then, so would Ramirez.

But the target was secure and the win had been more than worth it. Steve groaned softly to himself since Governor Denning would likely weigh in as well. As Chin had so ruefully reminded him, their boss had been adamant about Steve's apparent lack of rest during what had become an intense, tight timeframe of pursuit.

"You need this now, sir." Hands were on the wrist that he was using to hide his eyes and he winced as he automatically squinted, one-eyed up into an unfamiliar face. Steve's stomach churned again and he gagged unexpectedly.

"Take slow, deep breaths." The oxygen mask was placed across his nose and mouth while another blanket was laid across his chest. Slick with a cold sheen of sweat, he carefully cocked his arm back over his eyes. With an affirmative sound, Steve did as he was told and willingly resigned himself to their care.

More medication was dispensed into his IV line and he found himself practically floating by the time he opened his eyes to tiny slits again. He stared at the latest doctor who was bending over him and watched the man's mouth move. His brain was slow to hear the words and then even slower to reply as Doctor Ramirez repeated himself.

'Steve, do you know where you are?" He frowned because he certainly did, it was only that his own mouth distinctly refused to translate the words in his tired brain to actual understandable sound.

Ramirez had passed Brian McNamara off to a qualified colleague soon after the first ambulance had arrived. Chin had tracked him down to explain the situation and to continually organize the ongoing need for security.

"Steve's behind us on the next 'bus. He's banged up pretty good, Doc. Concussion, messed up knee but he took some blows to his abdomen." It was clear that Chin preferred Ramirez to take on Steve's case personally and the doctor readily agreed once he heard the reports from the ambulance to the Emergency Room.

What he found when the Commander arrived was startling. Pale and sweating heavily, Steve looked as if he'd been hit by a large truck of mammoth proportions. The reports from the EMT's logged a disturbing series of declining events. High blood pressure had increased even more while nausea had become vomiting. The pain in his abdomen and lower back had taken up a permanent residence and his awareness level had gone from good to a more semi-conscious state.

"Are you with me yet?" Trying again, Ramirez mumbled to himself when Steve finally gave in to communicating with a quick head bob. But he slammed his one good eye shut with a deepening wince of pain.

In order to examine him, Ramirez stripped his patient down to the bare essentials and then covered him with a sheet. The bruising on his face, temple, abdomen and then well below his ribcage to wrap around his back towards his kidneys attested to the power of his strong opponent. From what the doctor could see, there wasn't an injury though that appeared to be random about where it had been delivered.

"He certainly knew what he was doing." The doctor made a face as he gently checked Steve's head under sensitive fingers. Steve hissed uncomfortably as the big doctor pulled out a penlight to check first his left and then with utmost care, the tender skin around his right eye. Shortly after, Ponch was speaking to someone off to his left about his welfare and summarizing his injuries; Steve felt a glimmer of annoyance by the rudeness. Then, he even forgot that emotion as his body argued loudly against the recent abuse and he determinedly focused on the outline of the oxygen mask which lay over his nose and cheeks.

"His pupils are uneven and he will definitely need stitches for this cut on his temple. Schedule an MRI for that knee." Steve heard it all, but didn't feel the need to respond. Exhaustion had finally taken its toll spurred on by the violent fight with Brian McNamara. So while he understood, he lay there and let Ponch take over. He grimaced and weakly tried to flinch away as the doctor palpitated his abdomen and side nearest his kidneys.

"Quite deliberate," Ponch muttered in disgust as he gently found each bruise. "Pull blood for a full panel and get me a urinalysis. Put him down for an abdominal CT Scan to rule out any tears."

Steve understood that too and groaned unhappily under his breath. Depending upon how badly his kidneys were hurt, there could be blood and even much worse indicating more issues. He'd be in the hospital at least two or three days as the doctor's assessment continued.

"Steve?" There was a hand on his shoulder and Steve forced his eyes back open as best as possible. It was Ramirez again and he was insistent this time as he glowered almost angrily at him. But it was more concern than true anger, and Steve paid attention only to have his mouth twitch into a grin.

"Commander, McNamara had better be damned worse than you right now."

"Count on it," Steve huffed out the weak affirmative and raised his hand for a weary thumbs up sign.

They shared a short triumphant look but the doctor's face changed to one of confusion when loud voices echoed across the emergency room. It was then that a loud gunshot rang out from across the space and Ramirez threw himself bodily over Steve while his two nurses hit the floor to hide on the other side of the gurney.

Under him, Steve struggled briefly against his smothering weight. "Doc ... move." His fingers pulled against the bigger man's lab coat but Ramirez had no intention of allowing him to get into harms' way.

"You're of no help in this condition, Commander. No one is moving from this room." The doctor shook his head in aggravation as Steve reacted automatically and then groaned as the pain in his head hammered warningly. "Relax. There are plenty of hands on deck."

But Ramirez heard the renewed shouts when Steve did and he froze in place. Still leaning protectively across his patient, his eyes widened in horror when he heard Chin's voice, then the deeper growl of McNamara, and another volley of gunfire suddenly rang out. There were screams and the sound of panicked running steps when an alarm finally sounded in the unit.

"Ellen," he whispered her name and then nearly choked as he lurched partially to his full height. One strong hand was still planted on Steve's chest and he pulled a nurse to her feet.

'Keep him here and on that damned gurney before he breaks his damned neck! Do not leave this room under any circumstances!"

With that, he disappeared and Steve was left gasping in a stunned silence as the nurse prevented him from following.

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