For the next few days, Danny rested in his room alternatively dozing from the potent painkillers they had given him to numb the pain. The respite was short-lived and unwarranted though, because every time he closed his eyes the events on that fateful afternoon would replay themselves the same way a broken record would. He was powerless to stop them and could only watch in horror and feel everything in excruciating detail as the Camaro slammed into the back of that Cadillac fireball and the acrid orange smoke began to fill the car. He would remember Steve’s slack face and the way the man’s clothes were smoking as he lugged him out of the car before tumbling down on the grass beside the road. Despite the heat from the flames Steve was cold to the touch and eerily still; when Danny jabbed his fingers on the Lt. Commander’s neck to search for a pulse he would come up empty. Usually he woke up from the dream at this point drenched in cold sweat, shaking badly and he gulped in large breaths of air to get rid of the taste of black smoke on his tongue.
He needed confirmation that Steve was alive and frustration burned red hot when he was blocked every step of the way. The doctors had said that he would not be able to move from his bed until his injuries stabilized. At one stage they read off a list what exactly they were, and he vaguely took notice of the fact that he had shrapnel in his legs and a broken arm and leg but the thing he had to worry most about was the damage to his ACL. Until more extensive tests could be done they wouldn’t know the extent of the damage to it. His attending physician Dr Archer had warned that he might need to rely on a cane for the rest of his natural life but that was the least of his worries.
“Doctor, please.” Danny found himself begging emphatically, “I need to know…how is Steve, has he woken up?”
“I’m sorry Mr Williams,” the physician replied before heaving a sigh. “I am not his attending physician, but from what I hear-”
“Please,” Danny cut across, hating himself for being reduced to beg. “I’m not interested in what you’ve heard, I’m interested in just the facts. Now what do you know about Steven’s condition?”
“No, he hasn’t woken up. But from what I heard from Dr Freemont, who is his attending physician,” the doctor had added that last bit in after a furious glare from his patient. “The Lt. Commander has not regained consciousness yet but preliminary x-rays reveal that there has been some trauma to his spine. We don’t know if there is any permanent damage yet.”
The doctor’s answer, while providing a perfunctory answer to his question left him with more questions than answers. When will Steve wake up? Given what he had heard, will things be the same again? How much have they changed? Danny hated not knowing; it was a core part of his personality that he had to know everything that he could about a situation. The fact that Steve was still in limbo seriously rankled and sunk him into a deep angry mood. At first the anger was directed outwards; he lashed against anyone and everyone who had come his way including Chin and Kono. But slowly the anger turned inwards when he realized that it was misguided and pointless. He could have a volcanic eruption but it would not help things because Steve would still be prostrated on that hospital bed, his condition unknown.
As the pristine sky in paradise gradually darkened, the bright blue melding into a mixture of dark navy and orange across the horizon, the anger diffused to be replaced with a despairing sense of hopelessness. It overtook his soul and more than once he found himself shutting his eyes, willing to believe that once he opened them that the sheets under him were not the standard issue white cotton, but the scratchy ones from his foldout sofa bed, that the cloying scent of antiseptic was the result of having cleaned his kitchen and the soft beeping of the monitors were sounds from a television show. Every time he reopened them, he would be faced with that white ceiling, and a small part of him would shrivel and die as reality came crashing down on his shoulders.
Chin and Kono came by almost everyday after work to give him updates on cases and current happenings inside the Palace. The Governor was extremely displeased at the collateral damage surrounding the car crash but more anxious about Steve’s condition but her wrath was mollified by the fact that they had caught Bobby Fontaine and closed down his syndicate operations on the island. The perp was slowly rotting in a holding cell in Oahu Prison as he waited for his trial. Danny took the news they had, confused as to his emotions. He was supposed to be happy that they had apprehended Fontaine but why wasn’t he? Justice had been served and he would be off to jail faster than one could say ‘breach of natural justice’ but he was left feeling miserable and anxious. His unhappiness clung around the room like a velvet curtain, and he was sure that Chin and Kono picked up on the vibe. They tried to make their words into a soothing balm by focusing on Rachel and Grace but if anything that compounded problems, because it reminded him exactly how far away his little girl was at the moment. He had spoken to her a few times on the phone and then to Rachel, who assured him that they would be on the first plane back to Oahu so that Grace could see her Danno.
He also grabbed the sleeve of whoever had come by, asking desperately for any news of McGarrett. Each time though, he was politely yet firmly rebuffed with the standard answer that McGarrett had not woken up yet. Having had enough, he finally demanded to talk to the doctor overseeing Steve’s treatment, a Dr Freemont.
“You must be Commander McGarrett’s partner,” the doctor said knowingly as she paused by the table at the end of the bed. Seizing Danny’s medical file up, he began to peruse the file, his green eyes scanning down the page. Seemingly satisfied, she threw the chart back down before leveling her gaze on the bed-ridden detective. “I have to say, your tenacity is refreshing. A threatened subpoena to get me down here to talk?” She walked over to the lone chair by the bedside and sat down.
Danny’s arms itched to move and punctuate his words, but given that they were both set in heavy casts right now, it was not an option. He sighed before forcing himself to start in a markedly calm tone. “Doctor, I have been trying to get word on Steve’s condition for the past,” he glanced at the clock on the wall, which had a small date display. “Four days. No one is willing to tell me anything more about his current status. I am willing to do whatever it takes to find out if Steve is alright, and that includes using all powers at my disposal!”
Dr Freemont raised a hand to placate the injured detective. If anything her lack of response made the man shut up. “I understand. Your partner is seriously injured and you want to find out if he is going to be alright. Dr Archer mentioned that you had asked about the Lt. Commander.”
As quickly as it had come, the irritation at this woman disappeared to be replaced with a deep-seated tiredness. “Has he…has he woken up yet?” Danny asked in a timid voice. He swallowed thickly, anxious to hear her answer.
The ticking of the clock was offensively loud in the deathly silence of the room and the pause as Dr Freemont considered Danny’s question was interminably long. She looked down at the file in her hand pertaining to a Steven J. McGarrett. Quickly flipping the pages inside, she focused on the medical report stating the ex Navy SEAL’s condition. Broken bones…internal bleeding…several nasty gashes that had to be sutured immediately upon arrival and required IV broad-spectrum antibiotics to prevent infection…
The doctor wasn’t aware that the more she read the file, the further her lips pressed into a prim line. She might not have been aware, but Danny was. Leaning forward on the bed, his throat clicked as he swallowed before he broke the silence. “So Doc, is he…is he going to regain consciousness anytime soon?” He prompted, as he eyed her expectantly.
She met the detective’s gaze. “No,” the physician admitted softly as she closed the file. “We don’t know when he is going to wake up.”
There was another pause as Danny absorbed this information. He was expecting them to have an answer; the fact that they didn’t have one really scared him. Given all the advances in diagnosis technology the unknown posed a greater fear and risk. It must have been bad if the doctors had no idea what was wrong with Steve. “Wh…why don’t you know?” He managed to keep the thread of anger out of his voice but it took a lot of effort. Unconsciously, his hands grabbed onto the sheets and twisted them into sweat soaked knots.
“Commander McGarrett suffered an intraparenchymal hemorrhage in the cerebellum part of his brain.” Dr Freemont sighed before she continued again in a different vein at Danny’s blank look, “He had a bleed in his brain after the accident you were both involved in. He had lapsed into a coma following substantial intracranial pressure from the increased blood surrounding the brain tissue, which we have managed by performing a craniotomy. He hasn’t awoken following the procedure.”
At her words Danny huffed an annoyed breath and threw the bed sheets back. He began to rip the small nodes from the monitors off his chest and his arms, finally sliding the blood pressure measurement cuff off his left arm. Gritting his teeth, he swung his legs over the side of the bed and grabbed onto the small table next to the bed.
“Detective Williams, what are you doing?” Dr Freemont asked as the machines began to beep rapidly. She made a move towards him to try and get him to remain on the bed but he pushed her away. Her eyes trailed to his heavily bandaged lower legs. The twin red spots in the bandages were slowly expanding. “Don’t do that! You shouldn’t move, you’ll cause more damage to yourself!”
Sweat dotted his brow as he groaned shakily, the movement causing a wave of dizziness and nausea as he tried to place pressure on his right leg gingerly. The tenderness was overwhelming as fresh pain stabbed at his knee – the same one with the previously torn ACL. Swallowing hard and steeling himself for worse, he was supremely dismayed when he felt gentle hands push him back down on the bed. The effort of sitting up greatly strained him and he closed his eyes as he took several large, deep breaths. He sank back into the pillows before he opened his eyes blearily to look at Freemont.
“I need to see Steve,” he finally ground out as he scrunched his eyes shut again. He tried to push against the gentle but firm hands that kept him in place on the bed. After a few more breaths he opened his clear blue eyes again to glare at the doctor. He growled as he felt the sticky press of the nodes for the monitors being reattached to his chest and the blood pressure cuff being slid around his left bicep again. He struggled weakly against the doctor as she firmly tightened the cuff. “I have to see Steve, right now!"
“Please calm down! You’ll tear the stitches in your legs!” Her eyes widened as the monitors began to race. It was obvious that the detective was greatly disturbed and upset at the moment at having his request to see Steve refused.
It wasn’t that she was refusing because of a mean character. The fact was they had removed an extensive amount of shrapnel and had managed to stitch the area together again. He was expected to remain immobile until the stitches could be removed, because any pressure on them might cause them to split and bleed. They had managed to suture the artery in his leg after they removed the shrapnel but given his precarious condition it was better to not take any chances. Dr Freemont grimaced as she caught sight of the rapidly expanding red spot particularly on Danny’s lower left leg. Reaching out for the panic button on the side of his bed, she pressed it briefly.
“Stitches can be re-sewn again!” Danny roared as he made another attempt to push the doctor aside. He growled again in frustration as he got tangled in the wires. From the far corner of the room he could hear the glass door sliding shut before a nurse raced into the room. “I need to see McGarrett right now!”
Quickly catching sight of the uncooperative patient, Nurse Keoki glanced at the doctor who barked. “Get me 0.1ccs of diazepam stat!” The nurse nodded her head in understanding before she quickly dashed out of the room again.
“No! No drugs! I don’t want any drugs…only want to see Steve…” Danny moaned as he struggled. However with each passing moment his protests got feebler and feebler until they died out, before he flung his head to the side as he pulled in large breaths. He was tired, washed out and all he wanted was to see Steve! Tears trickled down his face as memories of seeing Steve’s soot covered face amongst the flames and orange smoke surfaced again. The memory was so palpable that he could feel the dead weight of his partner as he tumbled to the ground, the stench of fresh earth filling his nostrils. Choking back a long repressed sob, he turned to bury his head in the side of the pillow as he scrunched his eyes tighter in a feeble attempt to ward off the memories. “Steve…” he mumbled, half muffled by the pillow as he began to sob quietly.
Finally satisfied that the patient was not going to resume his struggling, Dr Freemont let go and used this opportunity to slide the O2 monitor around Danny’s finger. She cast a glance at the monitor again and was alarmed at how high his blood pressure was. He was clearly upset, and needed rest. At the sound of rapidly approaching footsteps the physician turned around to see the nurse come back with the requisitioned drugs. Heaving a sigh, she grabbed the medication off the nurse before breaking the seal of the packaging and taking the cap off the needle.
“Now I will be giving you something to calm you down a bit, Mr Williams,” the physician said as she sought out the IV line. Carefully inserting the needle into the IV line, she quickly depressed the plunger and stood back to observe the monitors for a few moments. The detective was extremely upset and she hoped that the sedative would help him get some much-needed rest. Moving forward, she laid a hand gently on his shoulder. “Don’t worry, you will be able to see your partner when you wake up.” Turning towards the door, she nodded briefly at the nurse before the two women left the room, leaving the detective to the turbulence of his thoughts and memories.
The dark haired patient’s heart monitors began to flat line as the alarm at the nurse’s station went off. Three nurses and a doctor came rushing to the room before the door was slid violently to the side as they barged collectively into the room.
“We’ve got acute tachycardia!” the doctor bellowed before he pulled the patient’s robe apart and ripped the sensors off the man’s chest. “Get a crash cart in here!” He ordered to the nurse standing next to him. With a quick nod, she scurried out of the room to get the requested item, praying that they would be able to help that Handsome Lt. Commander of the Five-0 task force.