Every Mother's Son
By Peg Keeley

Part 4

In ICU, McGarrett punched the remote control on the TV. Poor Kono. This was not the way or time to host his first news conference. He recalled his first press meeting. How long ago? Almost twenty years. The circumstances hadn't been much better. He remembered the fear, the bright lights, and the inquisition. He'd been afraid of reporters then. I didn't know what real fear was.

His hip was throbbing and he shifted his weight. I really need to lay down.

Shelley came in, a unit of packed blood cells in her hand. "Well, good afternoon," she said more to Danny than Steve. "I'm glad you waited for me to come on shift this afternoon." She went through her routine of inspecting all the equipment, checking Danny's vital signs, all the while chatting about the weather, her dog, the surfing championships on the North Shore. She concluded with the announcement: "Brought your steak, Mr. Williams." She hooked the blood up and started it running. She approached Steve. "You've been missed in your room. The nurse's station called here for you."


"There's a little thing called change of shift. The nurse responsible for you downstairs would like to see your face once during her eight hours," she remarked, but it was not unkind. "You could probably use some pain medication and some food. Why don't you go get some rest? I can call you with any change."

He hesitated, then gazed back at Danny in the bed. Yes, I really need to rest. But he couldn't bring himself to go. "I'll stay a little while longer." He tried to force a smile, but failed.

"Aye." She patted his shoulder, seeming to understand his conflict. "I'll have them bring something up."

Steve didn't reply. The gentle mothering pat was not something he, as the tough man, was accustomed to. Right now he didn't feel so tough.

Thirty minutes later, a nurse brought him a cold fruit salad and a small cup with a brightly colored collection of pills. The salad he only picked at; the medicine he swallowed without question. She took his blood pressure, asked how he felt.

I feel like hell, honey. "Pretty good."

She extracted a promise that he'd be upstairs within two hours--and backed it up by passing the agreement on to Shelley and Steve's guardian officer outside ICU.

Steve gave a slight sigh of relief after she left. He wanted no more than to stay here, but was not sure anymore for what he waited. It has been two days. The insurance company will over ride me and force an EEG in the morning. What kind of a society do we have in which big business can decide over dollars and cents if a life is worth saving? Would it be worse for him to live or die? Steve had seen some who had somehow cheated death come back to their former vibrant beings. And he had seen some who had not and were little more than beating hearts in crumpled bodies that had to be cared for over the years with no hope but that of a mercifully early death by some other means. Maybe the insurance company is right. What would Danno really want me to do? He was aware that the pain medication was effecting his thinking. His mind was wandering to places he did not wish it to go. He could not stop it...

....He remembered Chin Ho. Until now, no other death in the department had cut him so deeply. He'd planted him in his undercover; it had been his fault. That morning in his office, Chin had accepted his assignment, going undercover for the first time in years. Chin had never been so alive. In fact, he had remarked that it was about time Steve saw that older men still had what it took to serve. That afternoon he'd been dumped cold and lifeless in the parking lot like a bag of garbage. Is one life more dear than another? How many cops have died in that two years? And now. This is different. He'd felt Danno's life bubbling away through his fingers, was watching him die slowly, bit by bit. Steve felt himself sliding into a black abyss from which there could be no escape. I can't save him. I can't save me. Where is the hope? It is all up to me and I can't change it. He was trying to hold back the blood, but it kept coming faster and faster until it was gushing over him in a flood. As he threw all his weight against the bleeding chest, he could see Danno looking at him, a look of serene acceptance. "What do I do?" Steve shouted in his vision. "What do you want?"...

...Steve opened his eyes with a start. He blinked and registered he was in the silent ICU room, slumped over the wheelchair. It was a dream. Boy, am I stiff. It was nearly four o'clock. Shadows were starting to lengthen through the window. He glanced at the EEG permit lying on the counter. Tomorrow. His own needs could no longer be ignored. It was time to go. He turned to call the nurses to get the guard to take him back to his room.

An alarm sounded at the desk and three nurses rose as one, their actions well choreographed over much practice. Steve realized they were headed towards Danno at the same instant the warning sounded on the ventilator. They shoved Steve in the wheelchair not too gently aside in their haste for their patient. Steve looked up at the overhead monitor, but instead of a flat line, there were rhythmic bumps and the flashing number: 154. The ventilator alarm went off again and Shelley, intent on her team's assessment, punched the silence button. McGarrett noticed the nurses seemed to suddenly relax. The charge nurse turned and reset the heart monitor--raising the upper limit. The alarm stopped. Steve noticed the rate was slowly dropping, then leveled off at 92. The green display on the respirator read 20 breaths a minute.

"I'll call Wallace," the charge nurse offered and moved out towards the desk.

The second nurse gave Shelley a gentle clap on the shoulder and headed out. "MacIntire, you've done it again."

Shelley turned back towards Steve and a smile spread across her face. "Aye, Steven, your friend is back."

Steve grabbed hold of the bed railing with his good right arm and pulled himself out of the wheelchair, ignoring the pain in his hip. "Danno! Danno, can you hear me?"

Shelley spoke quietly and calmly. "Be patient," she cautioned Steve. "Let's see how aware he is." Close to Danny's ear she said quietly: "Mr. Williams, if ya can hear me, you're in a hospital. Can ya squeeze my hand?" She placed two fingers against the palm of his right hand.

Steve's eyes were riveted to the hand. Time seemed to drag. How long was it? A second? A minute? A year? Then, slowly, the fingers gradually started to curl around her fingers, not with much strength, but a definite controlled action. Steve felt a wave of relief wash over him. It seemed like he was breathing for the first time in nearly two days. Hot tears stung in his eyes. He forced them back.

Shelley shot him a cautious, yet reassuring smile, then spoke to Danny again. "Can ya open your eyes for me?"

Danny slowly opened his eyes, blinking in the light. A confused scowl crossed his features before his gaze fixed on Shelley leaning over him.

"Aye," Shelley whispered softly. "The machine's helpin' ya breathe. Don't fight it. Ya canno' talk right now." She waited a moment. "If you understand me, blink once."

He focused on her again and blinked once. He felt confused about his surroundings. God, what happened? I can't remember. Who is she? Why am I here? It was a struggle to remember anything.

"So," Shelley said proudly, "you've come back." She gestured towards Steve. "You've a devoted friend here."

"Danno," Steve said intently, "I need to know about Chaney." He wanted to tell Danny how glad he was, what a relief this was, but somehow couldn't. I need to deal with this psychopath out there.
   Danny stared at him trying to remember who he was. He knew he should know him. He struggled to remember. And who was Chaney?

Shelley shook her head. "He's probably still a bit disoriented. You'll need to ask only yes or no questions. He can't talk. And keep it simple," she added. The respirator gave a squawk of an alarm. She punched the silence button again. "Just let the machine do the breathing for you," she told Danny.

He stared at Steve like he was his only connection to reality.

Steve studied the situation, watching Danny, as Danny watched him. "Danny, do you remember Chaney?"

A frown crossed his face. He was tired, he wanted to sleep, but somehow he knew there was something he had to say. What had happened? What was the last thing he could remember? A hotel. He had to talk to Steve...Steve! He looked back at the man before him. Of course, Steve. Suddenly, like a floodgate opening, it all came rushing back in disjointed pieces and images. Chaney begging for his help. There was a picture of a lovely blond woman with Steve. What about Chaney? Chaney! He remembered.

Steve noticed the change on Danny's face, the look of recognition. "Do you remember?" he asked.

Danny wanted to answer, but quickly realized his mouth was filled with plastic. He nodded.

"Do you remember Chaney?" Steve asked, anxiously.

He nodded again, more confidently.

"What--" he stopped. "I know he's Karen's son. Did he tell you about Karen?"

Danny tried to mouth a response around the tube taped into his mouth.

"Why did he come here?" Steve realized, too late, he'd asked an impossible question.

Danny pointed weakly at Steve and attempted a hand gesture. The respirator squawked again. The respiration rate was 28. The heart rate was beginning to climb again.

"Daniel," Shelley said quietly, "You need to calm down. Think about slowing your breathing. I'm going to give you some medication so you can rest." She went out towards the nurses' station.

Danny shook his head intently and pointed at Steve. Now he remembered he didn't want to risk forgetting again.

There was a knock at the back stairwell door in the unit and the charge nurse walked over. A lab tech in white lab jacket stood sheepishly on the other side, caddy of blood tubes in hand. "I didn't have a key," he murmured, embarrassed.

"You must be new," the nurse declared.

He tried to smile. "Yeah." He came through the door, caddy tray first. He glanced quickly around. Robert had spent almost two hours searching the hospital. It had not been easy to locate McGarrett's room. Once he'd found it, McGarrett had not been there. At least the nurse there had readily told him he was up here. This time there will be no concrete walls, no people, anything to get in my way. The magnum in his belt under the jacket was calling to him to finish what he had set out to do.

In the cubicle, Steve was trying to find a way to communicate. He wasn't even completely sure Danny had the answers, but for now, they were reduced to playing 20 Questions.

"Danny, Chaney wanted to kill me," Steve said quietly. "He missed and shot you. It's been two days. We're still looking for him. Do you know why he'd want to kill me?"

He lay there trying to think. Everything was so fuzzy. In bits and pieces. He hurt all over. Every breath pushed in felt like needles. His stomach churned with a wave of nausea. Chaney was looking for Steve to tell him something. Is Steve his father? Could it be? Finally, Danny nodded. With his index finger, he attempted to trace letters on the bed sheet.

Steve scowled, unable to make it out. He hated to tell him so. "Maybe you could write it." He glanced around for paper, but was incapable of moving. He was using most of his strength to stay upright balanced on his left leg, gripping the railing with his right hand.

Danny was waiting for the spark of understanding and saw none. Vainly, he tried to speak around the ET tube, the respirator squawked.

Shelley stepped back in the doorway, the sedative in hand.

Chaney brushed past her into the room. "Lab work," he commented to her as he entered.

She turned back with a scowl on her face. "There isn't any lab work ordered-"

"I've got it right here." He pulled the gleaming pistol from under his lab jacket.

Hands half raised, she gave a little gasp, jumping back against the glass wall. She glanced out of the door, but neither of the other two nurses was at the desk.

Steve looked up, face to face with Robert Chaney. There was a fraction of a moment when he realized how critical situation was and how high the odds were stacked. "Robert Chaney, I presume?" he asked calmly, in spite of his fear. He wondered if his heart was now racing faster than Danno's. He needed to buy time to think.

"That's me." The young man nodded a touch of pride in his tone. "Do you know me? You knew my mother--Karen Smith." His voice turned angry. "Remember her?" he demanded bitterly. "I guess you don't spend much time looking back, huh? You good as killed her."

"I knew your mother a long time ago," Steve responded calmly. "I only learned of her death a few hours ago. In what way do you feel I killed her?"

"You left her!" He trembled with emotion. "You left her! I'm your bastard son! You got her pregnant and abandoned her like an old shoe!"

Steve mentally reeled for a moment trying to come to grips with this impossibility. "What?" He glanced at Danny. No wonder he wouldn't talk on the phone. He must not have know what to think. He didn't know it was a lie. He turned back to Chaney. "Robert," he took a deep breath, "did your mother tell you this?"

"That doesn't matter."

"Yes it does! It matters very much because it isn't true! You've believed a lie and killed one man, seriously injured another!" He didn't know whether to express fury or pity towards this confused young man. He took a breath in attempt to calm himself. "Karen was a wonderful woman. I loved her very much, but not in the way you mean."

"You're lying!" Robert shook the weapon. He is trying to make it sound all right. He is a liar. He will do anything, say anything. Revenge! Make him pay! "You got her pregnant and abandoned her!"

"Look, no one around here is armed," Steve said slowly. "Put that thing down and let's talk. Fire it in here with all the oxygen lines and you'll kill a lot of people. I don't think you really want to do that."

"I don't trust you. They said you're a cop's cop! I don't trust you!" His grip tightened on the magnum he had aimed squarely at Steve.

Steve searched his mind for the source of that comment. Of course, the crime special interview. "Robert, you don't really know me at all, do you? Until a few weeks ago, I was no more than an old picture in the drawer."

"She used to talk about you, she loved you!" he shouted. "And you killed her!"

Steve attempted to move closer, but between his useless arm and wounded hip, the movement was impossible. "All right, all right." he said a lot more calmly than he felt, "then tell me how I killed her."

"You left her to suffer! You never came back. Look how you live--like a king in paradise. She worked like a dog, scraping and groveling for every penny. She couldn't even get care when she got sick. So she died!" He was distraught. "Why didn't you come back for her?"

Why didn't I? "Robert, I knew your mother in 1952. I was in the service waiting to go to Korea. I asked her to wait and she chose to end it. It was her choice. And she chose to marry Morris Chaney. When you were conceived, I'd been in Korea five months. Now think, Chaney!"

"No!" he yelled. "She could never choose to marry a bastard like him!" By now, the other two nurses were aware of what was happening. Neither of them could make a move towards the phone without Robert seeing them. Steve prayed none of them would do something crazy and start him shooting.

"Robert, I'd like to talk to you some more about Karen, about how things used to be. Could we go somewhere? Anywhere away from here just you and me. These nurses aren't involved. Williams doesn't deserve anymore of this."

Robert seemed to become aware of Danny for the first time. "He's--uh--he's gonna live?"

"I believe so."

"Good." Robert's emotions overwhelmed him for a moment. He looked about to cry. "I never meant to hurt him, you know. I never meant to. He got in the way. It was an accident."

Shelley spoke up, her voice melodic, bringing peace into a scene of panic. "We all know you didn't intend harm to him, Robert. It was a mistake. We all make mistakes. You do. Steve does. We all do. And we all have to live with the consequences. Maybe if Steve here had come back, he could have helped your dear Mum. But it sounds like she made her own mistakes, too. Who was the man she married?"

Robert stared at her, the gun moving in her direction and Steve thought for one awful moment he'd shoot her. "Morris Chaney," he said, sullenly.

"A good strong name."

"He did unspeakable things," he murmured. "He didn't love her, he hurt her. Just like him." He gestured to Steve. "He says he loved her, too."

"But your Mum married Morris Chaney?"

"Yeah, because she had to marry somebody. He left her!" He gestured towards McGarrett.

"When Chaney died, did she ever write to Steve?"

Robert was growing angry again. "I don't know. It doesn't matter." Maybe this woman is his lover now. No, that can't be. Then why is she taking up for him? She doesn't know him. She doesn't know how he killed my mother. It was his fault Williams almost died. It was supposed to be McGarrett. He tricked his friend, just like my mother. He is a deceitful liar. He killed her! He left her! Robert was breaking out in a sweat.

She took a step closer to him and he edged away from her, moving step closer to Steve. Shelley persisted quietly, in a maternal tone. "Robert, your precious Mum, may she rest in peace, however loving, made some mistakes."

"No, she didn't."

"She married Chaney."

He bit his lips. "So?"

"As I said before, we all make mistakes. But whatever poor choices either she or Steve may have made, she would not want you to throw your life away making a bigger one. If she worked hard, it was because she loved you and wanted to see you grow into a strong good man." She felt at this point she should touch him in some way, but she did not dare. "Now don't throw her love away in such a useless way. Don't ruin your life."

He shook his head. "My life's already ruined. The only purpose left is to make him pay." Voicing the statement renewed his resolve. He pointed the magnum back at Steve.

Shelley continued, trying to pull his attention back. "Your life's hardly ruined. It's only beginning. You've certainly made some large mistakes. You can't change killing that poor officer, but don't make it worse. Make a good choice now. For the sake of your dear mother, rest her soul, let the killing stop here. Put the weapon down."

Robert's look softened, the gun dropped for just a moment; one, under better conditions, Steve could have used to snatch the weapon. It was gone too quickly. He cursed his immobility as Robert stiffened again, swinging the magnum back towards Steve. "I hate you," he snarled. "I'll always know you killed her. I promised her I'd make you pay." Kill him! Keep your promise! Don't fail again!

"Robert," Shelley said again, "your mum certainly understands more than you think. She knows how you love her. If her heart's as big as you say, she's forgiven Steve here already. Maybe you should, too."

Robert turned back to Shelley, his face twisted in confusion and pain. "I do like you, I'm sorry about all this. But I can't listen to you, it's too late." As he spoke, his gun sagged again.

This time, Steve ignoring his injuries lunged towards Chaney, grabbing hold of the magnum and wrenching it savagely from the young man's hand. He felt a hot tearing pain in his hip and just prayed he could stay on his feet. "Get the guard!" he shouted, pinning the howling Chaney to the wall with his bodyweight and one good arm.

Robert was breaking down into a sobbing mass of humanity. Hands over his ears, he wailed his great anguish. "NO! I failed! I failed!"

The officers were slamming through the door instantly, roughly smashing Chaney, face first against the glass wall, giving him his rights, and not too gently snapping the cuffs around his wrists.

Steve sagged slowly down into the wheelchair, exhausted physically and emotionally. He knew he'd torn open the wound on his thigh, but it somehow didn't matter very much. He glanced at Danny, but couldn't tell what his thoughts were. McGarrett turned back to Shelley still standing there in the doorway. "You took a very big risk."

"Seems it wasn't a risk any of us asked for," she said with a gentle grin. "Are you finally ready to get some rest?"

Danny was a resident in the step-down unit. Aside from the cardiac monitor on the wall, all the equipment was gone. Odd how simple things like just sitting up or eating hospital Jell-O seemed so special. Steve was coming by on his way to discharge. They had never talked about what had happened. To Danny it seemed like it was overdue. Maybe the answer is in that Steve avoids the discussion. I made a bad call allowing myself to get involved with Chaney at all. An officer died because of that poor choice. Steve could have been killed. How would I have lived with that?

The door opened and McGarrett appeared. In his suit with the cane for support, he looked quite distinguished. "Time somebody around here was getting back to work. We've taken a real chunk out of our workman's comp policy this time," he kidded with a smile. "This week out of the office has felt like a lifetime."

"Hell of a way to make you take a vacation," Danny remarked. His voice was still raspy from the intubation. He doesn't want to talk about it now either. "We need to talk about Chaney."

The smiled faded some. "What's to say, Danno? He was a crackpot. That's the end of it."

"I didn't know what to do. I mean, I never should have allowed myself to get--it was your personal business. I'm sorry," Danny muttered, the emotion not coming easily, but at least the words were said and the issue was broached.

"You're sorry?" Steve replied quietly. He shook his head slightly. "When we thought you might die, I couldn't bare the thought of it. I kept remembering Chin. As officers of the law we know that any one of us can make the ultimate sacrifice at any time. But--" he shook his head again, "--he used you to get to me. I never considered if you should have done something different. I just wanted you to stay alive." He paused, not sure how to go on for a moment. He glanced at Danny and recalled the week before and how unreal it already seemed. The ventilator and other equipment had all vanished to be replaced by a giant bouquet of flowers from the governor's office. Danno looked weak, pale, but he was gaining strength back. In time this will just be a memory. And what then? "There is a renegade cop out of Boston named James Carew," Steve commented. "He bugging the heck out of Alika. Ever heard of him?"

Danny shook his head. "Boston isn't a place I know much about."

"No discipline, but Duke's seen him in action here. Even though he's stirring up trouble, he uses good police technique." Steve gazed out the window because he found he couldn't look Danny in the eye. "I've decided to sign him on; see how he does."

"What for?" Then, as if Danny already knew the unspoken answer he added, "Just give me a week. I'll be fine."

He set his jaw, still staring out the window. "You need time, Danno. A lot of time. This recovery isn't going to be a few days or a week. We're looking at months. I want you to get well, friend, and to live a long time. I want you to let this go. Consider doing what you once dreamed of--go back to school after that PhD. Be glad you are alive to achieve that dream."

Danny looked at McGarrett's back for a minute, then looked away. "Why? Because you can't deal with my shooting?"

Steve winced, steeling his emotions. "I need to make some changes, Danno "

Stunned silence was Danny's response for several agonizing seconds. "All right, Steve." But his reply was hollow. Just like that? Eleven years and just like that?

Steve turned to the door. "I need to go, but I'll keep in touch." He paused, wanting to say more. Hand on the knob, he looked back, thought again, and left.

Steve slowly made his way up the hall towards the elevator. How could I ever explain to Danno what I can barely admit to myself? He is the closest friend I have, but his life is more precious to me than the friendship. If that is what it costs to ensure his survival, I will pay that price, but this will never happen again. Steve had seen a vulnerable spot within himself he could not live with. He could not afford this emotional attachment to his men. Things would be different now. Perhaps he'd done Danny a favor. He hoped so. He vowed to be certain there was a job waiting for Danno when he was able, but it would not be in Five-0. He headed for the car and Duke. Duty awaited.

This is not the end. A resolution is offered in It's How You Play the Game
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