By Peg Keeley
Audrey sat enraptured in the sound booth as Carrie and the rest of the news team proceeded with the eleven o'clock news. She found it fascinating how Jim, the weatherman stood in front of a blue wall waving his arms around, but on the monitor inside the sound room, there was a map and circles and arrows. Although Mr. Morris, the man pushing buttons on the big board, tried to explain it to her, she could not understand and sensed he did not really want her there.
The news broke for a commercial spot and a brand new red Broncho splashed across the screen and the stagehand announced they had three minutes. The co-anchor sipped a drink and Audrey saw Carrie rise from her seat and expected her to come to the booth. But Carrie moved the opposite direction.
Carrie had seen Steve McGarrett step through the sound proof door onto the sound stage just as the commercial break started. She rose and walked towards him. Instantly her heart began to race. It's McGarrett. Something is wrong. Something has gone terribly wrong. "What is it? What's happened?" she demanded, panic in her voice before he could speak.
Steve took a slow breath in hopes of settling Carrie. "Carrie, I need to talk to you. What is Audrey?"
"In the sound booth. Has something happened?"
He took her arm and motioned her aside.
. "Come on McGarrett, you're scaring the hell out of me. What's going on?"
"I'm not totally sure about what happened," he started. "The kahana nui party had some injuries in a boar attack."
Her hand flew to her agape mouth. "Oh, dear God!"
"Lonnie was able to hike out and get help."
"Lonnie! Then Danny--"
"Uncle Steve!" Audrey shouted bursting from the sound booth. "Did you hear from Danny and Lonnie? Are they having fun -- did they have to eat bugs and stuff?"
Steve exchanged a somber glance with Carrie.
"Audrey, give me just a minute," Carrie said around the enlarging lump in her throat. "Please wait in the sound booth."
"Audrey!" Carrie's fear exploded in anger. "Mac! Get her out of here!"
The stagehand took hold of Audrey's arm. "Come on, kid -- I'll get you a Coke."
"I don't want a Coke!" she cried.
"Audrey -- I'll be right there!" Carrie promised.
"Two minutes!" the overhead announced.
Steve could sense the pressure to deliver a shattering message with little cushioning. "I got a radio call while I was on my way over here. They've been located and are on their way back by chopper right now."
"Located!" Carrie gasped.
"A team was sent into the valley to find him and get him to help."
"To find him?! Good God!"
Steve waited for Carrie to recover. Carrie and I have never had much use for each other, but I know Danno loves her and she him. I have to include her out of respect for him. And this is not the time to bring up old hurts. "Flight for Life should be at Queens in about two hours."
"Flight -- Steve do you know how bad it is?" Carrie said, trying to regain her control. If I can information I can handle just about anything.
"The rescue team report is very guarded," Steve admitted stoically. "Either Kono or Danny or both may die before they get here."
"One minute!" a stage worker called as she approached. "Carrie, the director needs you right now with a breaking news story."
"What?" she turned, pale even through her make up.
"Director?" the girl pointed towards the news director standing at the edge of the news desk, a copy in his hand.
Carrie glanced back to Steve. "I have to go," she whispered, but she was shaking.
"I'll wait for you," he said gently seeing the human side of the woman who usually was as cold as ice towards him.
The director handed her a copy. "Just off the Maui news desk."
She stared at the words that would not come together.
She hurried to her desk, just as the music is was playing and the lights began to come up. She stared at the words on the page, but they looked like gibberish.
The co-anchor glanced at his partner as she still stared at the paper. "Welcome back to news KOAH," he ad-libbed. "We are back live," he gently kicked her under the desk, "with your eleven o'clock update."
Carrie looked up at the camera, swallowing her emotion. "We have a late-breaking story from Kalahua Point on Maui. One member of a Kahana Nui adventure party is dead and two more have been critically wounded in an apparent boar attack in Kipahulu Valley. We will...have more on this as...as it develops."
The co-anchor waited a split second for her to go back to the scheduled script, then glancing at the monitor read it off. "The St. Paul's Catholic Church has started an unusual program for single mothers. With that story, we switch to our reporter in the field -- Nikki Maneao." The little red camera light went out. "Carrie, what the hell?"
She just looked at him.
The wind off the ocean had picked up slightly, rattling the large glass window that provided a perfect 360-degree view from the enclosed waiting area on the roof of Queens Medical Center. The occasional flicker near the eastern horizon spoke of an electrical storm out at sea hundreds of miles away. The white hard plastic bench was cold. Audrey huddled there leaning against the white tile wall, knees to her chin, only half-awake curled in Steve's suit jacket shivering. She yawned.
Some of the intense shock of the initial impact had worn away by the delay. An hour had turned to two, now going on three. Carrie had frequently walked down to where the ER team waited, as they did, for word from the flight team. The same message kept coming back -- delays leaving Maui.
"What's holding them up?" she muttered for the sixth time.
"Take it easy, Carrie; all we can do is wait," Steve advised gently.
"But what is happening? I want to know!" Her temper flared. "What if -"
"Carrie," he cut her off with a glance towards Audrey. "This is not the time for an over-active imagination." But he knew his own imagination was running wild with all the worse possible outcomes.
The phone rang on the desk at the end of the hall and the scrubs-clad technician answered it before it had completed the first ring. "Flight deck...all right...yes..." There was a long silence. "Consider it done...ten minutes."
Carrie was on her feet, high heels clicking down the tiled floor towards the man before Steve could stop her.
The young man at the desk was punching in an extension. "Team blue to the flight deck. Team white to the flight deck. OR team blue stand by on room B. Or team white scrub in on room A, stat." He hung up.
"Are they coming? What's happening? Tell me something!" Carrie demanded.
He finished dialing a new number with a glance at her then said into the phone: "Hyperbaric chamber prepare for admission directly from OR room A."
"You can't ignore me," Carrie stormed, fists clenched on the desk. "I have a right to know!"
Steve was there at her side. More gently he remarked to the tech. "You must be able to tell us something."
He looked from Carrie to Steve. The glass window began to vibrate as the sound of an approaching aircraft could be heard closing on the flight deck. "They're on final approach." He stated. The elevator doors opened in the hallway and people rushed out. Equipment that had been standing uselessly in the hallway was switched on and little alarms sounded, lights blinked. The sound of the incoming craft was almost deafening, a brilliant spotlight illumined the heli-pad as the large Bell 412 appeared and slowly descended towards the roof of Emma Tower.
Audrey began to cry.
As the skids settled to the roof, medical personnel on the flight deck slammed the doors open, shoving two gurneys out towards the helicopter as the wind whipped around them.
Carrie and Steve backed towards the couch where Audrey sobbed, able to do nothing but watch. The side doors to the air ambulance were open and EMTS from inside, hospital crew from outside were swarming. A cluster of workers started back towards the door with a stretcher.
From the size of the patient, Steve knew right away the first gurney contained Kono. He hurried towards the door, determined to see his friend for himself. The wind whistled as the automatic doors swung open. Four trauma team members bearing Blue Team patches on their shoulders shoved past. "Kono!" Steve called out.
A member of the EMS flight crew was shouting the report as they came. "Two puncture wounds to the right chest. Partially collapsed right lung. Respiration 26 "
Kono, securely attached to the board on the stretcher managed to turn his head slightly beneath the strap over his forehead. Unable to speak through the oxygen mask, he made eye contact with Steve.
"Fibrile, 84/40, pulse 136 diaphoretic, hypoxic "
God he is alert! He'll be okay! Steve thought before he could stop himself. The team had already hurried past and were onto the elevator, the doors hissed shut and Kono was gone before Steve could issue another word.
A young volunteer stood at the other elevator, manning the emergency stop switch so the second car could not be called away. "You're friend, huh?" the teen manage to ask trying to issue a pensive smile of support.
Steve tried to acknowledge the gesture, but his attention was drawn back towards the craft. The second team was moving and there was an intense flurry of activity. The craft pilot was out on the helipad attempting to control a small kicking and screaming person. This time Steve was through the automatic doors and onto the helipad.
"My Dad!" the restrained Lonnie was shouting. "I want to see my Dad!"
Again an EMT was shouting a report: "Four lower mid abdominal puncture wounds with clostridial myonecrosis, two puncture wounds lower right back, fracture left lower leg.. Septic shock "
Steve reached Lonnie and the pilot as the white team rushed past him. "Lonnie!"
"Uncle Steve!" Lonnie, clad in a over-sized blue EMS shirt, struggled against the large pilot who still gripped him. "They said I could see my Dad! They said--"
"Give him to me," Steve ordered with such authority the pilot released Lonnie who flew to Steve. Scooping up the boy without a thought for anything else, Steve raced back towards the building. As they burst through the doors, the White Team was boarding the elevator. Steve hurried towards them just to have the doors close between them.
"No!" Lonnie pulled out of Steve's arms and began to pound on the closed gray metal doors. "No! They promised! Dad!" He sank down against the elevator doors sobbing.
Carrie pushed past Steve. "Lonnie," she whispered as she knelt beside him, taking no thought for her stockings or short skirt. Wrapping her arms around the crying boy she tried to comfort him, her own tears of dread brimming her eyes.
The flight crew entered from the flight deck and stopped.
McGarrett turned to the pilot. "Did you flyboys promise him he'd see his dad?"
The pilot glanced at the other two. "I couldn't let him ride in the back. Sir, you would not have wanted him back there," he said emphatically. "We had to say something to him."
"So you lied?" Steve demanded resisting the urge to punch the pilot.
The man, equal to Steve in size and probably outweighing him by fifty pounds looked the chief of Five-0 in the eye. "So I saved his father's life." He walked away.
The surgical waiting area had been designed to provide comfort for those who needed it most. Lonnie and Audrey had both dropped into fitful sleep in a large recliner huddled together -- something under normal conditions neither would have done.
Carrie and Steve sat side by side both staring straight ahead at the floor before them. Neither knew what to say. It was Carrie who spoke first. "I've spent a career knowing how ask just the right question to get information and right now I don't know what to talk about."
Steve managed to crack a smile. "Me, too."
She wanted to continue, but could not find a way to and hoped Steve would pick up the conversation. He did not. She glanced at the slumbering children. Tough times bring unusual enemies together in the common bond of survival. Maybe that is what is happening between McGarrett and me right now, too.
Steve rose. "Coffee?"
"Yes, thanks," Carrie replied hoping she sounded gracious. "Black."
I could have guessed that, Steve mused. There was a pot at the end of the room and he returned in moments with two steaming foam cups. "It's hot," he cautioned.
She blew the surface. "Can we be friends, McGarrett?"
He sat down with his coffee. "I'm not your enemy," he replied.
"You don't like Danny's relationship with me."
He hesitated then said truthfully. "You don't have much in common, Carrie."
"We love each other," she said defensively.
He sighed. "I know."
"And you don't think that is enough?"
He lifted an eyebrow. "I don't know, Carrie. It doesn't really matter what I think, does it?"
"I don't want it to. God, we've been fighting for years." She gave a soft smile. "I don't want to make Danny choose between you and me because I think I'll lose."
Steve pondered that for a moment. "What do you want me to do, Carrie?"
"I don't know. Can we -- be friends?"
He gave her a sideways look. "I respect you, Carrie. You are a good reporter -- which is why you irritate me so much. Our philosophies are different. You believe the public has a right to know everything. I think the citizens are sometimes better protected by not knowing. There is a part of Danno you will never accept. He may not be a cop but he will always be a cop. You can't take that out of him and someday it may drive you apart."
She shook her head. "He may think like a cop, but he's a teacher. His outlet for his cop sense is in teaching others. He sees that. You don't."
Steve lifted an eyebrow. "Like I said, Carrie -- we have two different philosophies."
An elderly woman with a clipboard stepped into the room. "Williams' family?"
Both Steve and Carrie rose. Steve glanced back at the sleeping children. "Go ahead, Carrie -- I'll wait."
Carrie did not have much personal hospital experience to draw upon as the volunteer led her into the recovery room. A nurse met them, recognized Carrie's face right away.
"You're Carrie Donagon."
Tell me something I don't know, she stopped herself from saying. "Dan Williams is my -- friend."
"He's doing pretty well." The nurse led her to the cubicle. "They had to remove some necrotic tissue in his abdomen. He'll be on a therapy with hyberbaric therapy for a few days. He is in septic shock so we need to monitor things like his kidney function, but he did very well in surgery." She paused. "It will be tough going, but I think he'll be okay. Tomorrow they'll put a pin in his leg."
Carrie tried not to be overwhelmed by the nurse's matter-o-fact manner. She stopped several feet away from the cubicle doorway, stealing herself to be strong. She could see there was a unit of blood and an IV flowing, oxygen hissing.
"He asked for you," the nurse said as encouragement.
Carrie glanced at her. He did? She moved to the bed, not sure what to expect. "Danny?"
His eyes opened and he looked at her. He managed a smile. "Okay?" he whispered.
"Yes -- now," she managed to get out around the huge lump that had sprung up in her throat. She had promised herself she would not cry, but the tears came. "Danny."
He moved a hand enough to brush it against hers. "Sorry," he whispered. "Did you buy out the mall?"
Lonnie sat on the porch without moving, watching a sparrow hop towards the breadcrumb he had balanced on the railing. It had taken the little bird several minutes of cautiously hopping, tilting its head around, and hopping a little further. Close enough, the little bird snapped the crumb up into it's beak and, without waiting to celebrate it's victory, it fluttered away. Lonnie grinned. I am glad to be home, it has seemed like forever. Now life can go back to normal. That city apartment of Carrie's was stuffy and fancy. It wasn't like home. She never cooked like Dad does. Everything comes out of a box. And she has silly fragile little things all over. She puts fake flowers in the bathroom. I am glad we are out of there.
Audrey stepped out onto the balcony. "Here you are."
He turned to her, glad she had not appeared while he was watching the sparrow. "This isn't a big place, Audrey. How many places here there to look?"
She let the comment go by. "Carrie says they will be here in half an hour. You're supposed to get washed up."
He did not move.
She sat down next to him. "What will they bring you?"
"I don't know," he replied. Since he'd been told that Kono was bringing Jason Pauiuu to see them and that they were bringing something, he had been a little afraid of meeting the son of the man who had died on their venture into Kipahulu Valley. Images of his feeble attempts to bury Jason's father still flooded Lonnie's memory.
Audrey realized his thoughtful mood a said gently. "It will probably be something good, don't you think?"
He made a face. "I don't know. Yeah, I guess it's something good, but it will remind me of a bad thing."
"Oh." She looked over the balcony at the fountain below. "Like Christmas."
"Christmas is a good thing -- you're supposed to like presents and all. But to me it is a bad thing because I remember my mother. Is that what you mean?"
He nodded in mild surprise. That was exactly what he meant. He'd had nightmares about the boar for the last four weeks. Every time he was too late. The boar usually killed him or someone he loved. "Mark was a good man, a great Kahuna. It was a stupid way for him to die."
There was a rattle of dishes out in the kitchen. Carrie was trying to find a way to seat seven people at a four-person table.
"Don't worry about it," Danny was telling her from where he reclined on the couch, casted left leg elevated. "The kids and I can eat over here."
"This is a celebration for Lonnie," Carrie reminded him. "It won't do for the guest of honor to sit on the couch."
He chuckled and shook his head.
Carrie returned to the small kitchen where she began to unbox the dinner components. She grumbled about wilted lettuce.
"I told you we shouldn't have had the meal catered," Danny called to remind her.
"Why would anyone cook at home when there are caterers in the world?" Carrie demanded. "You are the cook not me. I could not image you hopping around here on one leg cooking up stir-fried something or other."
He grinned again.
Out on the porch Audrey commented quietly to Lonnie: "Carrie is trying very hard to make you like her. Did you notice?"
He nodded miserably. "I don't want all this. I just want it like it used to be. We don't need her."
"Of course we do!" Audrey replied in very grownup fashion. "She's taken care of all of us for four weeks, Lonnie. Even you have to see that."
He sighed. "I'll make sure Dad is okay. I can sleep on the couch now instead of him so he's comfortable. And we can do the cooking. I'll make sure we get the bus to school. We'll be all right without her."
Audrey sighed. "She is nice to us. Your dad really likes her."
He sighed again. "I know."
There was the sound of a car engine and tires grinding the shell road as a vehicle pulled up to the cottage.
"They're here!" Audrey shouted. "Come on, Lonnie! I want to see Uncle Steve!" Audrey exploded into giggles and ran for the front of the house.
"There's my girl!" Steve greeted, scooping her into his arms and tossing her lightly. He spotted Lonnie as the boy came from the porch. He gave Lonnie's shoulder and gentle punch. "You're looking good, Lonnie. Ready for another soccer season?"
Lonnie spotted Kono getting slowly from the other side of the car with some assistance from a young Hawaiian man. The group headed into the house.
As Kono came through the door behind Steve he greeted Danny with: "Hey, Danno, give some ground on that couch, will you?"
Lonnie studied the man who had helped Kono. Jason Pauiuu was twenty-five, favored his father's large build and big smile.
"You must be Lonnie," Jason greeted him, singling him out.
"I am Jason Pauiuu, Mark was my father." Jason straightened. "I have heard all about your bravery and I have been to the temple site where my father is buried."
Lonnie gave a visible shiver. He glanced towards Danny and was irritated to notice that Carrie was standing directly beside Danny, closer to him than Lonnie liked.
Jason, sounding a bit more official continued. "As my father was Kahuna Nui, so it has been decided by council that his cloak of responsibility has been passed to me. My family has been honored that a prince of the blood of kings looked after my father's body in his time of death and chose to bury him on the sacred temple grounds. Documented records have established your eight generations blood ties to the great kings. With approval of the United States National Park Service and the Hawaiian Cultural Institute it has been agreed that Kahuna Pauiuu will be officially buried at the Kapeau Temple ruins. Your brave actions honored us all and have proved you truly worthy of the title Kahana Ali'I." He drew a small parcel wrapped in yellow velvet from inside his jacket. "In commemoration of your first kill, I now present you with the tusks of your first boar." He held up a leather necklace with four tusks, two upper, two lower.
Lonnie eyed the tusks, recalling the white ivory dripping blood the night of Mark's death and the stench of the animal's breath as those teeth has stopped inches from his face. He wasn't sure he wanted them.
Jason slowly draped the necklace over Lonnie's neck. "You have passed the test of Kahana Nui. You triumphed over adversity and you bravely risked yourself for others. There is no greater mark for a Nui. As you live your life as a Kahana Nui from this point on, you must think wisely, embrace all that is good. Speak kindly to those who serve you well and slay all who would betray the land." Jason's speech was ended.
"Congratulations, Lonnie," Kono said somberly, shaking his hand.
Steve patted his back and Danny gave him a fatherly hug. Carrie smiled and winked at him issuing a thumbs-up sign. Audrey wanted to play with the tusks.
Kono turned his attention to important items. "Steve, did you hear the score of the Cowboy's game from the mainland? No? Good, let's put it on." He hunted for the remote control in the couch.
"Dinner in just a minute," Carrie advised. "Audrey, pour the tea for us."
Danny, on crutches, motioned Lonnie out to the relative privacy of the porch. "I am really proud of you," Danny said to him. "Even without all this hoop-la of tusks and all, I'd be proud of you."
Lonnie fingered one of the tusks and looked down at it. "When you see it, does it make you hurt?"
Danny laughed. "Well, sort of. Maybe not forever, huh?"
Lonnie stared through the branches towards the beach. "Dad, you like her, huh?"
Danny blinked at the sudden subject change. "Carrie? No, Lonnie, I don't like her. I love her."
He sighed. "She loves you, too, doesn't she?"
"I think she does," he agreed.
"And Audrey likes her, too." Lonnie licked his lips. "Dad, when I thought you and Kono would die, I was scared -- I mean really really scared."
"I didn't know what would happen to us. I didn't want her to be nice to me, cause then I'd have to be nice back. And if she comes we won't be us anymore." Lonnie stopped, then started again. "But it can't go back to just us anyway, can it?" He sighed. "I want you to be happy, Dad. I guess I want you to know that it's all right -- if that's what you want."
"What I want?"
Lonnie looked slightly irritate. "It is what you want, right? You want to marry her."
Danny slowly exhaled. Is it? "I guess I really haven't given it a lot of thought, Lonnie. That's what that kind of decision needs."
"Hum," Lonnie responded. "Well, I guess I want you to know it's okay with me."
Danny put a hand on his son's shoulder. "Well, thank you. I'll keep that in mind." He also looked out towards the shoreline to see the waves splashing against the shore in the sunset as the sandpipers hopped through the salty puddles left behind. "Lonnie you are the most special thing in my life. I don't ever want anything or anyone to change that."
He nodded solemnly with a small smirk. "I know your love for me is different than your love for her."
Danny gave a shrug. He was fresh out of excuses. Now I must make a decision based on what I think is right. Can this relationship become permanent? Sooner or later I have to tell Carrie that her college professor is an undercover cop. What will happen then? One step at a time. If we really love each other, this will work. "Let's go see if dinner is ready."
They stepped back into the cottage just as Carrie was placing the large fruit salad in the center of the table. She looked up and smiled.
Danny felt a sudden overwhelming sense of comfort and warmth. There was a security and many other feelings of satisfaction he could not quite put into order. But it felt right.
"You ready?" Carrie asked, meaning dinner.
"Yes," he answered, meaning much more.
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