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Steve nodded, and then turned all of his attention back to Donald Rutherford. He waited till he saw Danny moving out of the corner of his eye; waited for the moment that Rutherford was distracted. Steve made his move.

Everything happened quickly after that. Steve heard the gunshot, but didn’t let it distract him. It wasn’t until he had Rutherford at gunpoint that he realized something was wrong. He had expected Danny to be standing next to him, ready to book Rutherford.

“Danny?”

There was no answer.

As much as he wanted to turn around and check on his partner, Steve knew that he couldn’t take his eyes off Rutherford. He manhandled the criminal onto his stomach and cuffed him, making sure that he couldn’t get away, and then he turned around.

Danny was lying on his back next to the small bed. He was way too still.

Steve rushed over to Danny’s side, and knelt down next to him. He checked for a pulse, relieved to find a strong one. Steve checked him over, looking for a bullet wound that he expected find. He couldn’t find any blood, which left him even more relieved. Danny had been hit in the vest.

Steve placed his right hand on Danny’s shoulder. “Danny? Hey, come on, man. Wake up.”

Nothing happened for a long moment. Then his mouth opened and he took a ragged breath. His eyes flew open as he coughed. He couldn’t catch his breath.

Steve helped Danny up into a seated position and slipped in behind him. He then pulled Danny back until he was resting against Steve’s chest. Danny’s breathing began to ease and the coughing started to taper off.

“Danny, you with me?”

“Shit! Vest…” Danny’s breathing was still slightly impaired, and he had started struggling to undo his vest.

“Crap! Hold on.” Steve quickly undid the vest and pulled is over Danny’s head.

“Thanks. Damn… hurts.”

“Where were you hit?”

Danny coughed again, and winced. “Just right… of center. Think I have… cracked rib…”

“Just take it easy. I’ve got ya.”

Danny coughed again and moaned with the pain it caused. Steve could feel the moment that Danny lost his battle with consciousness. He checked to make sure Danny’s breathing wasn’t too labored, and then pulled out his phone.

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At 9:00 am the following morning, Steve walked back into Danny’s hospital room to find him sitting on the edge of the bed.

Danny hadn’t regained consciousness till he was in the ambulance, and he’d been in and out while he was being examined and finally admitted. The doctor had confirmed the cracked rib, and there was severe bruising where the bullet had impacted. The doctor insisted that he stay overnight to make sure there were no complications.

“Took you long enough. I can’t wait to get out of here.”

“Well, come on then. You alright to walk, or do I need to find a wheelchair?” Steve grinned.

Danny stood and walked toward the door. “I am not going to get rolled out of here like some invalid. I can walk just fine.”

“You sure you’re okay?”

Danny saw the look on Steve’s face, and wanted to slap him.

“This wasn’t your fault, you know. He was the one with the gun.”

“Yeah...”

“Well, let’s get going. I want to get some actual rest before dinner tonight. That is if my boss gives me the day off.”

“I think that can be arranged.” Steve smiled.