kristen999 (kristen999) wrote,
kristen999
kristen999

Fic-H50 Gambit

Title: Gambit
Fandom: Hawaii Five-O
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: None
Characters: Danny, Chin, Kono, Steve
Genre: A bit of everything. Action, Drama, H/C
Warnings: Language for the occasional f-bomb.
Word Count: 6,000
Summary: Running late for a meeting is the least of Danny's problems when he and the team discover they have an hour to find Steve. Danny POV.

AN: I had an itch to scratch. (I'm not leaving the SGA fandom)

I wanted to thank the wonderful coolbreeze1 for the swift awesome beta.





–--

Heat radiates from the upholstery, turning the inside of the car into a broiler. Sweat pours down his forehead and back, gluing his dress shirt to his skin, rolling the windows succeeding in only circulating the same hot air. Where the hell was the ocean breeze?

Steering with one hand, cell phone fused to his ear, Danny is transferred to Steve’s voice mail. Again.

He barely waits for the end of the beep before yelling into the receiver. “Hey, they made cell phones for a reason. To answer people who are trying to call you! You were supposed to pick me up. Remember that whole conversation where I said my AC’s on the fritz? I'm dying. I’ll be a puddle by the time I get to city hall and I’m--.”

A Mercedes nearly veers into his lane and Danny drops the phone as he yanks on the wheel, burning rubber and avoiding a head-on collision.

Heart pounding, he scrambles for the cell. “Did you hear that? That was me almost dying because you forgot to pick me up. I'm going to be late. I left all my notes on my desk and I have to grab them. You know, just in case you wondered where I was. ”

Clicking off, he tosses the thing onto the empty passenger seat, wiping his brow with his forearm.

Peeling into the driveway of HQ, he hops out of the car only to have Chin try to take his head off with a Frisbee.

Luckily, his reflexes are sharp and he bats it away before it can bean him in the face. “Hello? A little warning?” he yells.

Running toward him, Chin snags the Frisbee off the ground, spinning it on his index finger in a needless show of talent. “You're supposed to catch it.”

“Oh, excuse me. I wasn't aware I stumbled onto a playground.”

Kono waves innocently at him from the other side of the parking lot, looking ridiculously comfortable in a pink tank top and sunglasses. Danny waves back, wondering what the boys in the bullpen back home would think of having partners who looked like they just strolled off the nearest beach, frolicking around outside before shift. Only in Hawaii.

Chin switches fingers in what he supposes is an impressive display of Frisbee acrobatics. “Shouldn’t you be hanging out with the governor?”

“First of all, you don't hang out with the governor.You sit there and smile and agree with everything she says, and second,” Danny claps both sides of his face with his hands. “Why am I even defending myself when the two of you are goofing around?”

Pointing to the empty spot in the parking lot Chin smiles with a Cheshire Cat grin. “We got here early, saw the boss was away. And well, you know. Why not have a short game before clocking in?”

Sighing at the state of his current life, Danny kicks the front bumper of his car. “Since you’re sooo, busy. Think you could give me a lift? My AC's busted.”

“That would explain why it looks like you took a shower with your clothes on,” Chin says with a smirk.

“Hey Cuz, are you gonna just leave me hanging?” Kono yells, waiting impatiently.

“Sorry, I’ve got to cut recess short,” Chin shouts back, stuffing the Frisbee under his arm, and patting Danny on the back. “I'll give you a lift. Um,” grunting, he wipes his fingers on his sleeve. “You might want to consider some fresh threads.”

Says the guy in cargo pants and a loud Hawaiian t-shirt. Rolling his eyes, Danny clomps toward the entrance and freezes. “Um…did you just say you’ve been out here this whole time?”

“Yeah,” Chin answers, inching closer and signaling Kono to double time it over.

Raising his hand, Danny pulls out his service weapon and points at the cracked open door and the alarm system with its broken cover. Chin flanks the other side of the entrance, gun ready, and Kono runs up the steps with her weapon drawn.

Counting down to three with his fingers, Danny kicks open the door, his partners emerging right behind him. Crossing the lobby, he hustles across long stretches of marble floor, searching for trouble.

White high ceilings, desks, computers. There's nothing but empty space as they fan out. Being part of the governor’s task-force comes with all kinds of perks, including their own fancy, high-tech digs. But today, having this much space to cover is a nightmare.

The shouts of clear echo through the hub and Danny hovers outside their offices, scanning through the blinds.

Chin and Kono join him, silently communicating with gestures as they each prepare to clear their own office. Holding his breath, Danny steps inside his, leading with the barrel of his Sig.

It takes three seconds to round his desk, check by his chair, and secure things. Nothing.

Another round of 'all clears' and they regroup in front of the surface table, all three eying the last office.

“Anyone clear McGarrett's?” Chin asks, raising his weapon.

His face is cool and collected, but his body thrums with tension.

“On three,” Danny answers.

They charge inside, Danny's arms trembling with rage at the thrashed remains. Steve's desk has been turned inside out, the drawer ripped out, the contents spilled out like a piñata. Awards, model ships and everything from the display cases litter the marble tile.

Slipping on a glove, Kono picks up the toppled flags, ensuring they are no longer being desecrated. “Has anyone heard from Steve?”

Danny pulls out his cell, smashing the speed dial. “He didn't answer this morning when I called the first dozen times.” He practically breaks the phone in his palm when the voice message begins to drone on. “I'm going over there.”

“Hold on a second.” Chin steps in front of him, blocking his warpath. “We don't even know if he's in trouble.”

“No, you're right. He's probably hanging out with the governor, feeding her grapes. I'm sure gremlins broke in and only targeted Steve's office to tear apart and have a party in.” Throwing out his arms to encompass the room, Danny laughs. “I'm sure if when we dig around, we'll find the left over pretzels and beer.”

Kono keeps tabs on them from the corner of her eye while arranging for a forensics’ team to be sent over.

Chin scrutinizes Danny, his calm exterior keeping a firm lid on his emotions. “Steve could show up here any minute.”

“He was supposed to pick me up this morning and never came by,” Danny counters, leaving the meaning unspoken.

Steve is rarely late, his military brain hardwired to be on time.

Surveying the ransacked office, the evidence screaming that someone had been searching for something, Chin holsters his gun. “It takes a lot of stones to break in here. Maybe you should go ahead and check on him. We'll stay and wait for the lab bo--”

Danny's out the door before Chin finishes his sentence.

--


Rachel always accused him of having a lead foot, and Danny floors the accelerator, praying he doesn't run over a dumb tourist or slam his Camaro into a pineapple tree. These stupid islands have way too many twisty, snaking roads. He barely notices the sticky humidity, white knuckling the steering wheel, arriving in record time in front of the McGarrett home.

Leaving the keys in the ignition, he races toward Steve's Silverado parked under a palm, resting his hand on the too-cool hood. Two fresh sets of tire treads mar the driveway and he hurries toward the door, finding it wide open.

Hitting speed dial on his cell, Chin who answers on the first ring. “Send back-up to Steve's. I've got signs of a break-in.”

“You should wait for HPD to arrive,” Chin tells him.

“I should,” Danny replies. “But I'm going to check things out,” and he hangs up.

Okay, this is really stupid. Steve's crazy brand of paranoia and insanity has rubbed off on him. Toeing open the door, his gut clenches. It looks like a bomb's gone off in the living room, but knowing who sleeps here, maybe that scenario isn't that far off. Sidestepping the shattered coffee table and navigating around the flipped-over sofa, he counts no less than thirty shell casings from two different calibers.

There's signs of blood in a several places, but he doesn't have time to examine things when hears movement. Heading toward the kitchen, he pauses, finger twitchy over the trigger.

“Five-O! Come out with your hands in the air!” he shouts, droplets of sweat rolling down his cheeks.

Ears straining for noise, he prepares to launch around the corner, planting his back against the wall.

When he hears a floorboard creak behind him, he pivots, swinging his aim around to face the end of a Heckler & Koch. “Freeze! Put the gun down!”

Danny's not dead and neither is the asshole standing in front of him. “I said lower your weapon.”

The asshole doesn't flinch, his hands and gaze steady. “Alright,” he answers.

Danny recognizes a threat assessment when he sees one. A cool professionalism that comes only with cocky bad guys, cops, and the military. “Use one finger, then drop it,” he orders.

“You got it.”

The gun clatters to the ground and Danny nods toward the kitchen. “Now kick it over there.”

The asshole obliges, the gun skidding away as he holds both hands palms up. “I'm an old military buddy of Steve's.”

Of course. The blonde G.I Joe haircut and chiseled arms should have been a dead giveaway. Although his white button-up shirt and dark slacks is more business casual than military.

“Sorry if that doesn't inspire confidence. Steve doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to ex-Navy pals.” Danny doesn’t take his eyes off him as he plans his next move. “You got a name?”

“Lieutenant Mark Collins.”

“Alright, Mark. How about you get on your knees so I can cuff you?”

Mark's smile disappears into a flat line. “We shouldn't be wasting time.”

“Oh, yeah?”

“Yeah. McGarrett's in trouble.”

“You don't say? What gave you the first clue?” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that Steve's house was turned into a war zone. Danny's getting twitchy waiting on HPD, not to mention that he feels and smells like a stuck pig. “Believe it or not, I don't like hearing the sound of my own voice. I want you to get on your knees and lace your hands behind your head.”

“Look. The guys that grabbed McGarrett are really bad news. The longer we waste time jawin', the less time he has.”

“And what do you know about that?” Danny demands, knowing with every fiber of his being that this guy is knee-deep in whatever shit Steve's in.

Hands still up, Collins doesn't even break a sweat, acting way too cool for Danny's taste. “I called McGarrett when I got on the island. I might have crossed paths with the wrong people and I needed help.” Face wavering with guilt, he plasters a familiar, neutral expression that must be taught in Solider of Fortune School. “I think the guys after me nabbed McGarrett as leverage.”

“Why?”

A shrilling cell phone interrupts the question and Collins stares down at his ringing pocket. “I should answer that.”

“Put it on speaker,” Danny orders.

Fishing out the cell, Collins answers it. “Yes?”

“Collins. We both have something the other wants. I propose a trade.”

“That sounds fair.”

Danny wants to scream about getting proof of life, but he doesn't want to give away his presence.

“Meet us at the old abandoned tuna factory on Haleko Road. One hour or the commander dies.”

The line goes dead and Collins flicks his eyes from the phone to Danny. “You heard the man.”

“I did. Now you're going to listen to me, which shouldn't be too hard for someone who is used to blindly following orders,” Danny says pulling out his handcuffs. “I want you to cuff yourself around the first beam of the staircase.” Tossing the metal bracelets, he aims his Sig at the man's left leg. “If you don't, I'll kneecap ya.”

He needs time to think and he can't do that with another batshit insane Navy guy getting off on telling him what to do.

“You're making a big mistake,” Collins threatens, cuffing himself around the banister.

“Shut up,” Danny snaps.

Striding away from his prisoner, he hears the approaching sirens and stomps outside, thanking God at the familiar vehicles kicking up dust up the driveway.

Chin and Kono are barely out of their cars when Danny starts barking orders at the unis still parking their squad cars. “Secure a perimeter.”

“Any signs of Steve?” Kono asks, striding up to him.

“Signs? You could say that. Looks like a recreation of the Alamo in there, but no. Steve's gone. I've got a suspect inside, says he's an old buddy.”

“Oh, yeah?” Chin’s eyes dart toward the house. “This old buddy have any answers?”

“Maybe, but he did get a call. Whoever grabbed Steve arranged for some type of exchange.” With a quick glance at his watch, Danny gnaws on his lip. “In less than an hour.”

“What type of exchange?” Chin asks suspiciously.

“I don't know, but we're gonna find out.” The three of them go inside and Danny's pulse shoots through the roof. “No, no, no!” Storming over toward the staircase, he grabs the broken spoke, waving it around. “That son of a b--”

“Did you get a name?”

Danny doesn't answer, too preoccupied with bashing the banister with the offending wood.

“Danny, brah. You've got to calm down.” Chin grabs his shoulder. “You won't do Steve any good if you're not thinking clearly. Now did you get a name?”

“Collins. Lieutenant Mark Collins,” Danny growls, trying to reign in his temper.

“Got it,” Kono says, exuding a calm professionalism contrary to her age. “I'll put in a call, get whatever we can on the guy.”

“The question is, what's his involvement?”

Danny mops his brow using his sleeve, a million really bad scenarios filling his vivid imagination. “And how did the hell did he get away? There's no other car in the driveway.”

“He probably had a vehicle stashed along the road somewhere.”

“We need to get to the exchange first before this idiot screws everything up. The old tuna factory on Haleko Road. You know where that is?” Danny asks Chin, knowing the man could find any spot on the island with his eyes closed.

“Yeah, but it's pretty far. By the time we get a SWAT team together and get down there...”

They're racing a ticking clock.

Canvassing the destruction, Kono pulls back a couple of sticky strands of hair glued to her face. “I've got a blood pool by the TV, splatter on the opposite wall and by the entrance. There's a size ten and twelve set of boot treads exiting the front door.”

“The back patio doors have been smashed,” Chin adds grimly. “We're looking at multiple shooters coming in from two entry points.”

Steve's a modern-day Rambo, and it would take a goon squad to bring him down. Danny glares at his watch again in frustration. “We have forty-five minutes. It's either us or...”

Wiping her hands free of dust, Kono looks over at Danny with a steely expression. “What are we waiting for?”

–--

The roads leading to the tuna factory have to set a record for number of hairpin turns, dozens of Slow Down signs dotting the sides of the asphalt. Chin guns the Camaro, racing toward their location, and for once, Danny misses the fact that Steve can magically obtain and fly a chopper whenever he wants.

Arriving at the factory, Chin clicks off his cell with a murderous expression. “I've got nothing on a Lt. Mark Collins. If he's a friend of Steve's, then his history might be classified or--

“It's bogus,” Danny snarls, putting on his vest and pulling out his binoculars to scout out the factory. “I've got three Range Rovers parked outside.”

“We could slip in the back by the loading docks, see if we can locate Steve,” Chin suggests, fastening the straps to his own vest. “SWAT's twenty minutes out. We could wait on them unless you think this Collins will show up and cause problems.”

They're dealing with Steve McGarrett, the man is a walking neon sign for therapy and trouble. It doesn't matter, there's only ten minutes left on the clock. Danny gives Chin a 'what do you think' expression and the three of them make their way behind the factory.

–-----

There's no telling what type of hornet’s nest they're kicking over, so they bypass the main unloading dock to avoid detection. Finding a side door, they sneak inside, using the darkness to cover their entrance and hang out in the back corner. Of course instead of avoiding the bad guys, they find them busy piling crates into a semi-trailer, the noise of a forklift echoing off the high ceilings. The place reeks of seafood and gasoline, the forklift fumes making Danny want to gag.

He counts about a dozen men milling about, some doing the heavy loading, the rest smoking cigarettes. The middle of the loading area is huge with tons of barren space lit by what appears to be sporadic low-level emergency lighting.

“Shut that damn thing off for a second, I can barely hear myself think!” one of the goons shouts.

There are dozens of wooden pallets near the east wall, and Danny motions for them to inch a little closer to the men. They make their way behind one of the large stacks to listen in.

“Collins ain't showin’.”

“There's five minutes left. He still might have the balls.”

“I want that fucking list. When we're finished here, we'll go back to the commander’s and tear it apart.”

“I told you we should have stayed and searched more.”

“I didn't expect to walk into World War III. We lost two men; this time the house will be empty.” Tossing his cigarette to the ground, the head guy crushes it with his boot and checks his watch. “We're bugging out. Tibbs, get rid of our hostage.”

Tibbs is a large, squat man with greasy slick backed hair and he rubs his jaw ruefully. “My pleasure.”

Bingo.

Tibbs hobbles down the hall, and if Danny was a gambler, he'd bet the whole house that Steve is responsible for the punk's limp. Keeping to the shadows, they trail the guy, careful of getting too close as they go deeper into the warehouse.

The thug stops in front of a steel freezer door, and pulls out a .45, thumbing the safety off. Danny nods and like ninjas, Kono and Chin creep silently up behind the suspect.

Cocking the shotgun so it echoes loudly, Chin points the barrel between Tibb's bulging shoulder blades. “Freeze.”

Kono steps around, training her gun at the center of his forehead. “Don't make a sound.”

Holding his hands out in surrender, Tibbs turns around and Chin smacks him in the head with the butt of his shotgun. Slumping to the dirty cement floor, Kono quickly secures the guy's wrists with a zip tie.

Keeping an eye on the empty corridor, Danny meets them in front of the door, blood pressure boiling. “They stuck him inside a meat locker?”

“Doesn't look like it has power. That's a good thing.”

Chin's words don't do much to calm Danny down, because it's a goddamned meat locker!

“I'll watch the hallway,” Kono says, positioning herself by the corner, eyes skating toward the freezer like she rather be helping them.

Releasing a breath he didn't know he'd been holding, Danny unlocks the heavy door, swinging it open with barely contained rage, breathing in a wave of stale air and rotten flesh. “Steve!” he calls.

Shoving rolling trays and shelves out of the way, he ducks under all the hooks dangling from the ceiling. Way in the back is a human shaped form hanging in the corner and Danny rushes toward the body, earning him a strong kick in the face.

“Goddamn it!” he curses, grabbing his jaw, but there's no time to register the pain, because something grabs his throat in a choke-hold.

He can't draw a breath, and dropping his gun, he claws at the vice crushing his larynx. Except his fingers scrape across fabric and he realizes that he's being throttled by a pair of legs.

Steve! But he can't scream, his lungs seize and the outside world fades and fuzzes. There's a distant voice yelling his partner’s name, shouting at him to let go. Tired of clawing, Danny digs his fingers into muscle, hoping to hit a nerve, cause pain, or just get Steve to lay the fuck off him.

Panting and sputtering, he overhears Chin in the background.

“Steve, it's us. We're here to get you out. Luana, Steve.”

The vice around Danny's throat releases, and he drops to his knees choking and coughing, spots dancing behind his lids.

Finally able to draw air, he stands on wobbly legs, ready to let loose a venomous tirade, but the whole thing dies on his lips. Those thugs hung his partner on a meat hook like a fucking side of beef, and it takes everything not to storm out of the freezer and kick the shit out of that Tibbs guy and yell, 'See how it easy it is to beat on someone who can't defend themselves!'

“Give me a hand,” Chin says, trying to get their friend down.

“Yeah, right,” Danny's raw voice croaks, shaking away angry thoughts. “I'll um...I'll take his weight, you get lift his wrists over the hook.” Grabbing his partner by the waist, he lifts, trying to use his knees to take on the extra weight. “Damn, you need to lay off the protein shakes.”

Steve mumbles something unintelligible and Danny keeps him steady, trying not to notice the fine muscles tremors in Steve's arms. By the time Chin wrangles Steve's hands off the hook, they both topple over.

“Get off me,” Steve snaps.

“If I do, are you going to try to kill me again?” Danny fires back. Climbing off his partner, he wipes something sticky off his hand, realizing he's smeared blood all over his pants. “Oh, you can't make anything easy. Where are you hurt?”

“'m fine.”

“We have to get out of here,” Chin says, picking up his shotgun. “Can you walk?”

Danny isn't sure Steve is even on the same planet as the rest of them. Even in the darkness, he can see the dried blood across his face, and how he keeps listing to one side while trying to stand. “Come on, Mr. One Man Army. Let's move,” he orders, snagging his gun.

Slinging an arm around his shoulder, Danny hoists Steve to his feet and drags him out into the corridor.

“Okay, lets lean against our friend, Mr. Wall,” Danny coaxes, propping him up for a better look.

Kono lets out a noise of shock, at Steve's condition. His face is pasty, in stark contrast to the large oozing gash that goes from his right eyebrow into his hairline. The front of his shirt is spotted with blood, but it's nothing compared to the red stain across Steve's left shoulder.

“You've been shot.” Kono kneels down, peeling away the outer layer of Steve's black shirt, checking on a crude bandage beneath it. Holding him still, she eases him forward to check his back. “It's a through and through. Sloppy patch job. They didn't bind the exit wound.”

“Perhaps you could have mentioned the hole in your shoulder?” Danny chastises. It's not like they have a first aid kit with them. But Steve is too busy trying to get up. “Whoa, whoa,” Danny breathes as his partner’s legs buckle. “No, falling over. We're going to have a serious talk when this is all over. Including putting spy satellites over your house since that alarm system couldn't keep a squirrel from breaking into your place.”

Snapping his fingers, he tries to get Steve’s attention, using the light from the display screen of his phone to monitor his partner’s reactions. “Your pupils aren't supposed to be two different sizes. How many times were you been hit in the head? ”

“Don't know...lost count.”

“Oh, that's good. So, you're even more brain damaged than you were before.”

Chin squats next to them, pulling out a knife. “Let's get rid of that rope,” he says and makes quick work of Steve's bindings. “We've gotta move. You up for that?”

“Let's go,” Steve orders, getting his feet back under him while leaning heavily on Danny. “How many guys are out there?”

“What? Are you trying to assess an op with those scrambled brains of yours?” Danny adjusts his partner’s weight across his shoulders, but of course Steve is having none of it and tries to stand fully on his own. “Will you stop it!”

With his partner sagging seconds later, he struggles to find the right balance. “Keep still. You are concussed and obviously running a few pints low, so you don't get to make any decisions. Those of us who haven't been shot and beaten get to make the decisions,” he argues, waving at the rest of the team.

“Hand me a gun,” Steve demands, ignoring him.

“No! You are not physically, and definitely not mentally able to handle a firearm. You tried choking me, remember? And seriously...can you even lift up your arms after your impersonation of a slab of beef?”

“We should leave before our buddy here is missed,” Kono steps over, interrupting Danny and indicating at the unconscious lump by her shoes.

“Ill take point,” Chin says, stepping forward. “Hopefully SWAT will be on the scene.”

“I'll be the pack mule,” Danny sighs, adjusting Steve's arm over his shoulder.

“I can handle a piece,” Steve argues in his ear.

But Danny will have none of it, focusing on manhandling his partner while ensuring neither of them gets their heads blown off. “Please be quiet.”

Shuffling down the long hallway, they reach an intersection and Chin peers around the corner, waving them all back at the sound of approaching footsteps.

Radio squawking, the footsteps pause. “Come again? Yeah...things are clear back here. No, haven't seen Tibbs. I'll go check on him.”

Shit, shit, shit.

A goon wanders right past them, and before any of them utters a word, Kono walks up right behind him and taps him on the shoulder. Whirring around in shock, Kono whispers, “Aloha,” and decks the guy, knocking him out cold.

“Nice job, Cuz,” Chin praises when she hustles back over.

“Jacobs, did you find Tibbs? Jacobs?” the radio echoes.

“I think that's our cue to get the hell out of here,” Danny whispers.

Lurching down the hall is like rowdy Jersey nights during college, Steve reminding him of one of his drunk frat brothers. “One foot in front of the other. You've been doing it since you were two.”

It feels like an entirety before they reach the back of the loading docks and their ticket out through the side door. There's no one around despite the fact that there are still a dozen crates yet to be loaded, the forklift running idle, filling the air with exhaust. Not good.

“Weapon,” Steve grunts, pawing at him.

This smells like an ambush and Danny hands over his backup. “Got a plan?”

“You run, I'll shoot.”

“Can you even see straight?"

“There are doubles of everything,” Steve grits out, clenching the gun, “so I'll aim in the middle.”

“Have you stopped to consider the irony that you would fall flat on your face without my help, but you can still fire a weapon?”

Steve gives him his patented look of confusion and Danny can only snort. “Of course. Because you've probably trekked through miles of jungle on two broken legs, and then flew your own getaway helicopter.”

“Just one broken leg,” Steve corrects.

The silence stretches forever, the forklift motor the only other sound. It's now or never.

Huddled in the darkened hallway, Chin moves around to provide cover while Kono takes point, peering around the corner.

Bullets pepper inches above her head, exposing the thugs positions. Chin fires in the direction of the gunfire, yelling, “Go! Go!”

Adrenalin pumping, Danny makes a mad dash with Steve hobbling with him. The bad guys pop in and out from behind the stack of pallets, but Kono forces them to duck for cover with every blast of his street-sweeper.

There's no real cover, just the door three hundred feet away. Danny runs, feet pounding the cement, Steve his gun turret, firing and taking out at least two of the bad guys.

Bullets fly back and forth, the door getting closer. One hundred feet. Fifty. Twenty. Steve's Sig clicks empty and Danny literately hits the gas, finding that final bit of energy to follow Kono's pink shirt sleeves out the door.

Stumbling onto the ground, he tries comprehending the various shouts of the SWAT team over the distant roar of Chin's shotgun blasts. “We've still got a man on the scene!”

Blurs of tac vests crowd around them, hands grabbing Danny's arms, hauling him away from the door. “Did you hear me? Officer Chin Ho Kelly is still in there!”

“We've got it, Detective. Teams are taking the warehouse as we speak.”

Danny twists out of the grip of the beefy police Sergeant, eyes scanning for Kono, who's trying to run back inside. The exchange of automatic MP5 fire nearly drowns out the rest of the chaos, and in less than sixty seconds, there's silence.

Wavering unsteadily on his feet, Steve is flanked by two SWAT officers caught between helping and restraining him.

“Steve, stand the hell down, damn it!” Danny yells, “and guys, stop trying to add more bruises to my partner!”

“We've got the all clear,” one of the other officers shouts.

Before Danny can scream for an update, Chin strolls out of the warehouse, smile plastered over his flushed, sweaty face. “That was close.”

Strutting over, Kono goes to give him a hug and jabs him in the shoulder instead. “Thanks for scaring the crap out of me!”

“Hey, someone had to provide cover,” Chin grins, resting his Remington on his shoulder and nods Danny's way. “How's the boss?”

Bloody and bruised, Steve shrugs away from the SWAT boys, grinning like an idiot. “I'm good.” Taking two steps, he falters. “Whoa,” he mumbles, pitching forward.

Danny keeps him from smacking the ground, grabbing Steve under the armpits and lowering him to the grass. “Excuse me, is it too hard to get a paramedic around here?” he yells at anyone who'll listen. “Or should we all just sing kumbaya?”

Staring down at Steve in disbelief, Danny can't help reprimanding him. “You know that you are not Captain America or the Energizer Bunny, right?”

His partner has the gall to laugh at him while slipping into shock. A shadow passes over them, offering a little shade and Danny looks up, hoping it's a medic, only to discover Mark Collins looming there. “How the hell did you get past all the badges?”

“Guess it's because I flashed them the right ID,” Collins shrugs. Wiping his forehead, he flicks sweat onto the ground. “I have no idea how you can stand this humidity, McGarrett.”

“Mark?” Steve blinks. “What the hell?”

“I sent you a very important package and I need it back.”

The EMTs finally show up, unwinding IV tubing and pulling out equipment. “I need all of you to move away, please,” one of them orders.

But Collins doesn’t budge. “The package wasn't at your house, Steve. Where did you put it?”

“Wait a minute,” Danny snarls and looks over to his partner. “Who is this guy?”

Steve's at the end of losing a battle with consciousness. “M'k Collins... works for Navy Intelligence.”

“So, he's not an old buddy of yours?”

“No.”

“Excuse me,” Danny taps one of the EMTs. “I want you to take good care of my partner, got it?” Standing, he snags Collins by the shirt collar and drags him away, roughly spinning him around. “You lied to me.”

Kono and Chin close ranks around them while Collins straightens the flaps of his collar. “No, I said I was an old buddy of Steve's. We have worked together in the past.”

“Let me get this straight. You sent Steve a package. A package that I'm going to guess our thugs here wanted. Said thugs figured out who you sent this secret package to and when they couldn't find it. They took Steve to get to you.”

“I'm not at the liberty to discuss my work.”

“But you did withhold vital information regarding the abduction of the head of the governor's task-force.” Danny doesn't wait for an answer, his heart thumping against his ribcage. “And I bet when you saw our vehicles, you waited for us to do the dirty work to rescue the very person your responsible for putting in danger in the first place. Am I close?”

Shoving his hands into his pockets, Collins didn't say a word

“That's what I thought,” Danny gave a chuckle and slugged the guy in the face.

“You sonofabitch!” Holding his busted, bleeding nose, Collins snarls, “I'm going to report this to---”

“Report what?” Kono inquires, cocking her head. “Did something happen?”

“I didn't see anything,” Chin grins.

Wiping his hands through his hair, Danny wonders how manly it would be to just lay on the ground and close his eyes. But he digs deep into his reserves for the extra stamina for the long hours ahead. “Hospital?” he asks.

“We'll meet you there,” Chin says, clapping him on the back and wrinkling his nose. “But first, maybe you should take a shower.”

“Funny,” Danny sighs, following them to their car.

---

Danny fidgets in the hard plastic chair thinking how much he really despises the smell of chemicals and illness in hospitals. And despite psychological studies of interior designs, peach and pink motifs do not create soothing atmospheres. Reading about his Knicks latest loss to Detroit doesn’t improve his mood, so it's a pleasant surprise when he glances over to find Steve staring back at him.

Folding the paper on his lap, he leans over, his tie swinging with the motion “You coherent this time?”

“This time?”

“Yeah. Chin and Kono had a front row seat for some of your more amusing moments of lunacy. I didn't want to waste my breath talking if you're still high-as-a-kite. I figure if I wanted to have one-sided conversations with loopy people, I could visit HPD's drunk tank.”

Staring blankly isn't a good sign, but Steve's eyes are less fuzzy as they struggle to focus on him. “Six men broke into my house. The rest’s just bits and pieces.”

“That would be the result of a nasty concussion.” Leaning back in his chair, Danny adds, “you are now the proud owner of twenty new stitches and a brand-new bullet wound. Oh, and you won't be doing push-ups for a while. Your arms probably feel like taffy, not that you'd notice with being all comfortably numb right now.”

Glancing at his left shoulder resting in a sling, Steve wiggles his fingers. “I came home last night, found this envelope in my mailbox. It was tagged with a code I recognized from a mission years ago. I put it somewhere safe but...”

“But?”

“Can't recall where.”

“Fantastic. You're starring in your own version of Memento.” At Steve's blank expression, Danny rolls his eyes. “Never mind. You were abducted by international gunrunners. We busted you out in a big climatic battle envious of a Jet Li movie, where thanks to adrenaline and I'm sure sheer will, you managed to aid in the escape. Besides, I'm sure Collins... do you remember Collins?” Not pausing for an answer, Danny barrels on without stopping. “Anyway, his superiors will be upset that he lost...well whatever he lost. Which reminds me, if another one of your buddies ever drops by again, I'm just going to arrest them as a precaution.”

When Steve says nothing for a while, Danny picks back up his newspaper, figuring his partner’s nodded off again.

“Thanks,” Steve mumbles.

“For what?”

“Getting me out”

“It was a team effort.”

Finding the crossword, Danny starts penciling in the first answer when he hears, “Danny?”

“Yeah.”

“What is that sitting by my bedside?”

“That is from Grace. I had breakfast with her this morning since I wasn't going to see her the rest of the weekend.”

Shifting and wincing, Steve clumsily reaches for it. “What is it?”

“You are like a child. You know that?” Snatching the fuzzy object, Danny sets it closer on the bed. “You don't recognize McGruff the Crime Dog?”

“I do, but--”

“My daughter, being the sweet and thoughtful person that she is, thought you needed someone to protect you from the bad men.”

Staring at the stuffed animal, Steve gets a goofy grin. “He kind of reminds me of you.”

“I'm going to give you a pass because you're doped up to the gills,” Danny rants, stuffing his nose inside the newspaper to hide his smile.


---

fini-

AN: I'm a bit nervous, this was my first H50 fic. I went with something a bit more action-focused while I got my bearings.

Feedback is appreciated.
Tags: fic-h50, fic-h50:gambit
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