Forty minutes had passed. Carrie tried to console herself that maybe that was good, that there was something to save. Jackson DeWitt sat beside her, hands clasped over his knees, staring wordlessly straight ahead. What is he thinking? Does he care? Danny thought we were still in trouble. Does he want Danny to die? Carrie fought to retain her composure. The vivid recollection of the death of her first fiancé, Officer Brad Cannon, washed over her. I cannot bare this again.
The resident appeared in the doorway. "Williams family?" He looked tired.
Carrie leapt to her feet, aware that DeWitt was right behind her. "Is he all right?"
The young doctor's expression was of remorse. "I-I'm sorry. We did we could. Maybe if he'd gotten here sooner. He was too far gone."
Her hands flew to her mouth. "Oh dear God, no!"
"Is he dead?" Jackson asked with little emotion.
The doctor looked at him. "I am very sorry." He placed an arm around Carrie's shoulders and directed her back towards the curtained cubicle.
DeWitt followed a little behind. What a stroke of good luck! There will be no trouble weaving a story everyone will buy - except McGarrett. One small detail left to clean up.
The doctor parted the curtain revealing the sheet-covered body on the stretcher inside the cubicle.
Carrie gave a cry and her knees buckled. The doctor caught her as she began to fall, and she managed to recover herself.
The clerk behind the nurses' station looked up. "Chief DeWitt?"
"There is someone to meet you at the main information desk, first floor."
He turned away. What idiot wants me now? He gave a parting satisfied look at the stretcher and left.
The resident directed Carrie inside the cubicle and carefully drew the curtains around them. He quietly walked over to the sheet draped body and drew back the cover. "She's alone," he announced.
Danny sat up and Carrie nearly fainted again. "Carrie, I'm okay," he declared.
"What-what is this about?" she gasped. "You're okay? You're not dead? This was some kind of - of .."
"A ploy to get us away from DeWitt," he completed for her. "And it worked."
In fury she clenched her fists. "How could you do this to me! You had me scared to death! I thought - I thought.." She struggled to keep from crying in spite of her rage.
"Carrie," Danny said calmly, "what matters is it worked."
"But you could have told me!"
"I had to be convincing to get rid of DeWitt. You could have checked my pulse, my breathing, either of which would have told you I was okay," he pointed out and gave a small smirky smile. "You could have tried mouth-to-mouth you know."
She crossed her arms in frustration, but it was plain her anger was fading. It had been a good trick and, as he had pointed out, it had worked. "You let me sit out there forty minutes!"
"They wanted to suture my side." He sounded a little childlike.
"He could a bullet in the right side," the doctor explained. "Managed to enter and exit, hitting nothing vital with very little bleeding. It will be fine with some antibiotics. Wish I could say the same for the leg." He gestured towards Danny. "You won't be going anywhere on that for a while. An ortho guy will need to start over with that."
"What happens now?" Carrie asked.
"I think Steve McGarrett is alive," Danny declared, "and that he is here in this hospital. How can I find out?"
"We get john does from time to time," the doctor offered. "Let me have someone check the system." He left the cubicle.
For a tense minute, Danny and Carrie faced each other before she commented. "You should have found a way to tell me."
The doctor came back with a printout. "Okay, we have two unidentified patients in the ICU: a female age 34 from an MVA; a male age 22 chest trauma."
"I might add, age can change with a keystroke - sex and diagnosis won't. That male with chest trauma could be your man."
"I need to get to ICU," Danny declared.
The doctor nodded. "I think it's time for me to transfer my GSW to ICU."
"GSW?" Carrie muttered.
"Gun shot wound," the doctor answered.
Jackson arrived in the front lobby of the hospital and looked around quickly. There were several people in the lobby, but none he recognized. As he headed for the desk, a tall, blonde-haired man rose and approached him. DeWitt could tell by the man's posture that he was trouble and was carrying a gun on his shoulder. His brief relief started to crumble.
"Jackson DeWitt?" the man asked.
Jackson stuck a hand out, hoping to look friendly. "May I be of assistance?"
He did not smile or accept the handshake. "Mark Lawson, FBI. It is my duty to inform you that you are under arrest. The only assistance you could possibly be would be to turn over all your files to state's evidence and tell me where Reggie Zito is."
DeWitt's mouth fell open.
Reggie was impatient. He worried about McGarrett regaining consciousness and when the nurse from ICU came to him reporting that McGarrett was indeed awake, it was the last straw. Reggie had spent most of his last day stuck here at the hospital and had had plenty of time to both check out the life support equipment plan his action.
"Steve McGarrett has been awake," the nurse announced to him. "He can't talk to you, but I think he is aware."
"Great," Zito remarked, hoping he sounded sincere.
There were six ICU glass walled cubicles in a horseshoe pattern around the nurses station. McGarrett's was the closest to the desk, but Zito hoped that would not present a problem. The staff had been very willing to explain everything he had asked about regarding Steve's care. They had been sincere in their desire to impart a sense of their involvement and support for not just Steve, but also the officer who had taken the vigil in the waiting room. Now this will pay off.
Zito walked to McGarrett's bedside, noting the wrist cuffs dangling unused from the rails. He quietly slipped one around each of Steve's wrists and made sure the leather straps were tight. Steve made no movement.
The ventilator still hissed as it supported Steve's breathing. The nurse had explained that although Steve was breathing for himself, he was not breathing deeply enough. Because of the severe bruises on his face, a tracheotomy had been made into Steve's neck and the ventilator tubing was connected to the small steel and plastic cuff. The heart monitor blipped silently on the wall in regular pattern. In spite of himself, Zito felt a twang of sadness. It was ironic that a man like McGarrett would be so totally helpless, unable to talk, breathe or swallow for himself. A giant of a legend, McGarrett was reduced to this point of helplessness that would be his ending.
Reggie looked around. No one was watching. He flipped the alarm lockout on the respirator, carefully reached out and disconnected the tube from the trach piece.
McGarrett's eyes opened and focused on him.
"Sorry, old man," Reggie whispered. "Only the strong survive." He placed a finger over the trach hole.
McGarrett opened his mouth, trying to shout, or breathe to no avail. He pulled against the restraints with all the strength he could muster, but knew he was helpless. The nurses, only a few yards away were completely unaware of what was happening. The heart rate began to climb on the telemetry screen.
The nurses were not at the desk. Their attention had been taken by an argument that was developing between the ICU charge nurse and a nurse with a gurney from ER.
"I've told those cowboys in ER they can't just ship patients up here without clearing it first!" the charge nurse was declaring.
McGarrett's attempts were weakening. Am I really going to die this way? The small red alarm light was blinking on the ventilator and the monitor, but there was no one at the desk to see. He was losing consciousness, still staring into Zito's sneering smile.
As the ER nurse started to answer the charge nurse, Danny sat up and demanded. "I need to get to Steve McGarrett!"
Zito heard the voice and turned, cursing under his breathe at the same instant, Danny saw Zito through the cubicle doorway. Danny leapt from the gurney sending it skidding one way, linens the other as he aimed for a wheeled desk chair that he managed to land on. Giving a kick with his good leg, the chair propelled him across the unit with amazing speed as the plastic wheels rattled loudly against the linoleum flooring.
Reggie spun at the sound and saw him coming just before Danny landed on him with a flying tackle that sent both of them crashing against the ventilator, exchanging blows.
"I want security up here!" the charge nurse shouted.
The clerk hit a button on the console and the operator downstairs announced over the public address system. "Code black - ICU…code black - ICU."
Downstairs in the lobby, the volunteer noting the cluster of officers around DeWitt called. "Code black is a security emergency! They need a cop in ICU!"
Kono grabbed Lawson's arm. "The stairs!"
Danny ducked a blow from Reggie, snatched up a small steel bowl from the bed table and swung it at his attacker. It made a melodic bong as it connected with Zito's skull. As he staggered back, Danny snatched up the ventilator tube and attempted to reconnect it. Zito kicked Danny's good leg out from under him and he stumbled backward in the cramped space.
The alarm silence timed out on the equipment and the alarm sounded at the desk. The tech saw Steve's mounting heart rate and falling vital signs and pressed the automatic code button.
The operator's voice was again heard trying to maintain a peaceful quality. "Code Blue - ICU, code blue - ICU, code black - ICU, code black - ICU."
Danny grabbed hold of the wheeled chair as he stumbled and flung it towards Zito. Reggie deflected it, pulling his gun. The blast from the weapon shattered the air and people started screaming.
The impact of the bullet striking his right shoulder crashed Danny against the glass wall the vibrated violently, but held. He slid to the floor, the shoulder wound leaving a smear of blood on the glass.
The unit secretary was yelling into the phone as personnel dove under desks. "Code Red! Code Red!"
The PA now repeated the announcement, the tone of the operator's voice noticeably edgy. "Code Red - ICU, Code Red - ICU. Code Blue - ICU. Code Blue - ICU. Code Black - ICU, Code Black - ICU."
Sounds like a damned rainbow, Kono thought as he crashed through the thick door into ICU, gun in hand, Lawson and two uniformed officers behind him. The paged medical personnel were behind them.
Zito, past any reason and consumed in rage re-aimed his pistol at Danny's head. "So long, sucker."
"Freeze!" Kono shouted.
Zito looked up into the barrel of Kono's magnum, Lawson's Beretta and two .38 police specials. He glared back at Danny. "I guess I've nothing to lose, huh?"
"Only your life, bruddah," Kono replied without humor.
Zito winced and took a deep breath. "Yeah - I guess." He dropped the gun into Danny's lap and raised his hands.
Even before Kono could get Zito away from the cubical, medical personnel were flooding into the small space and to McGarrett's side. With the ventilator reconnected, vitals quickly began to return to normal.
The ER nurse crouched next to Danny, examining his newest wound. "Another through and through in the shoulder," she commented. "Twice in one day, must be some kind of a record."
A young woman doctor finished listening through her stethoscope to Steve's chest and when she looked up made eye contact with him, noticing the concern on his face. "You're going to be fine," she assured him.
He tried to mouth that his real concern was for Danny."
She seemed to understand. "You'll both be fine."
Danny could not remember having felt this warm, safe and comfortable in days. He was just barely conscious enough to know that for the moment nothing hurt - a vast improvement.
"Danno?" Kono's voice penetrated the gray mist of recovery.
He did not want to answer. He wanted to stay to this cozy, drug-induced world of peace.
"Hey, Danno," Kono's voice again came.
Regretfully, Danny slowly opened his eyes. When he did, the mild nausea that always seemed to follow surgery set in.
Kono grinned. "How you feelin' bruddah?"
"My tennis game is a little off," he whispered in reply.
A nurse appeared in Danny's tunnel vision and he felt the blood pressure cuff squeeze his arm for a moment. He wondered if he could go back to sleep before Kono spoke again.
Kono moved back in. "I want you to know that Lonnie's just fine. Gary's bringing him back home. Got his arm broke but the vet fixed him up just fine."
Danny squinted, clearing his head of the haze. "Did you say 'vet'?"
"A long story. It's okay now. Lawson and his team took that report of Richard's and are cleanin' house. It's all falling, man. Jackson, Zito, Sergie, Travis - they're all locked up and going down."
"Travis?" This was the first Danny had heard the HPD chief was involved.
"Yeah, and guess what. Masakaski's resigning. Says he's clean but doesn't want to defame the office cause he hired DeWitt."
Danny, still dull from surgery, rubbed his eyes. "How long was that surgery?"
"Five hours," the nurse replied flatly.
Kono shook his head. "Lawson's like a machine. Can't keep up with him. He's out there doin' reports on his laptop. He don't rest, don't eat, don't drink…"
"Doesn't eat, huh? That's not Hawaiian," Danny managed to say and grin. "Maybe you wanna make him chief of Five-0 - you can be that way, too."
"Hey, don't joke about that," Kono muttered. "No governor, no Five-0 chief, no HPD chief - things are really in a bind."
The nurse interfered. "Time's up," she told Kono. "Out."
"Can his girl have a minute?" Kono asked.
She nodded and in moments Carrie was in the room and gave Danny a quick kiss. "Danny, I just don't understand…how could all this…I just don't get it all," she said in pieces. "Why you?"
"Are you all right?" he asked gently.
"Me? You're asking me? You get shot twice and rip a pin out of your leg and you ask me if I'm okay?" Her composure was slipping. "I don't understand, Danny. These things aren't supposed to happen to college professors."
He tried to smile. "They aren't supposed to happen to anyone."
"I was so scared. How did this happen?"
He could see tears starting to gather in her eyes and took her hand. "It's all right now, Carrie. It's over."
"Is it?" she whispered, voice shaking. "or is it over till next time?"
"Will you keep running back to Five-0 every time someone says jump? What happens to us -- to our life?"
"It's over, Carrie," he said sincerely. "I promise." They kissed again, longer. "Really."
"And our lives will be normal again?" she asked quietly.
He nodded. "It really is over."
There was a mild commotion at the door and the nurse's voice in protest. "You can't just come in here."
"Sure I can," came the response as Mark Lawson entered recovery, waving his FBI credentials. He approached Danny and Carrie. "I have a full copy of all the arrests made by the Bureau for your files. The federal marshal's people will be here tomorrow to begin the investigation into the banking records and real estate. All sixteen of the arrests are finalized and pending charges have been logged." Lawson held out a thick file of papers.
Danny looked at him with a puzzled expression, and then at the paperwork Lawson placed on the stand between the gurney. "Why give this to me?"
Lawson blinked in mild surprise. "Lieutenant Governor Howard appointed you as acting chief of Five-0."
Danny, shocked, glanced at Carrie and recalled his promise just moments before. They exchanged looks and both realized that far from over, it was just beginning. Carrie looked away, her expression anything but happy. Danny found it hard to think. Too much had happened. "I need some time to think."
The nurse spoke up. "I want everyone out - now. And you-" she pointed to Lawson, "-take this with you." She handed him back the file of papers. "He's full of narcotics and I won't accept the responsibility."
Carrie left recovery wondering if in another day it would be so easy to return Lawson's work to him. Lieutenant Governor? Can someone just set an appointment like that? Danny still can refuse it. He will refuse it. He has to. He promised! She found a cold drink machine and felt like taking some solace in a can of iced tea. She dropped in the change, but nothing happened. Frustrated, she crossed her arms. It figures, this doesn't want to cooperate either. Why can't everyone just go away and leave us alone?
"May I help?" Mark appeared behind her, gave the machine a powerful thump and the can dropped down. He picked it up, shook it, and opened it for her.
"You really want to help - leave us alone," she commented flatly and walked away feeling a sense of confusion and loss. All her dreams seemed to be wilting before her eyes. She wasn't sure why she returned to the harried ICU department. "Is McGarrett awake?" she asked the nurse.
She nodded and admitted her.
The department had been cleaned considerably. The blood had been removed from the wall and the broken furniture replaced. If not for the shell-shocked appearance of some of the staff it would have been as if the event had never happened. Carrie quietly walked to Steve's bedside. "Steve?"
He opened his eyes, seeming pleased to have her there.
He gave a brief nod.
He shook his head no.
"Danny's okay," she told him, then paused. "I-I thought you'd want to know that."
He gave a slight nod and pointed to Carrie.
"Me?" She forced a smile. "Sure, I'm fine." She looked away. "Actually, no I'm not and I don't know why I came here - except maybe you can't argue with me this time."
He managed a grin at that.
"Lawson told Danny that he is being appointed as chief of Five-0." She sighed. "I know you'll think I'm terribly selfish, but I want him to say no. He can say no, right?"
Steve gave no response.
"It's never going to work out for Danny and me, is it?" She shook her head. "You were right all the time." She forced a smile. "You've waited for years to hear me say that, huh?"
A tired grin creased his lips as the ventilator hissed.
"I do love him, Steve." A tear slipped down one cheek. "But I can't do this." She lowered her face to her hand on the railing and quietly cried.
He placed his hand on her hair for comfort.
End Part 10