Steve was beginning to believe that everything was ok. They had extracted the US hostages, eliminated the hostiles and were nearly back to base camp. The team were moving slower than they would have liked but it couldn't be helped. One of the hostages, a US intelligence officer, had been tortured and was finding it rough going.
"Just a bit longer, Jason," Steve urged. "Another half hour and we'll be safe."
"Talk to me, Steve, tell me stuff to keep my mind of the pain." Jason was as gaunt as the others, half starved and desperate for water. But his wounds were deep and required almost constant attention. Steve slung an arm around the shorter man, supporting his weight.
"If my husband saw me now, he'd go mad. Yell at me, call me an idiot. He's kind of over protective like that." The young SEAL couldn't help smiling at the mental images of hnowDanno.
"Is he in the Navy too?" Jason asked, breathing hard.
"No, he' a photographer. Damn good one too." Steve continued to talk about Danny and their life together, anything to keep the injured man's mind off his pain.
"Sir, base camp is just over the next ridge," one of the others reported to Commander Joe White.
"We'll take a short break here, let the civilians catch their breath before we tackle the ridge," White decided. The communication's officer scurried to his side and whispered urgently to him.
"Shit!" Jason hissed. Steve instantly turned to help him, noting the bandage was bright red with fresh blood. Quickly rewrapping the wound, Steve couldn't help overhearing the sharp words Commander White snapped into the radio.
"We're nearly back to camp, it will have to wait til then. I can't have afford for him to go charging off."
A sick, slimy feeling slid down Steve's spine, settling low in his gut. White only ever got that tone when there was bad news in somone's future. He thought back to how he hadn't been able to reach Danny before they began the mission. He had assumed that they just kept missing each other. Now, he worried something else was going on. White saw the tall young man looking his way and dropped his eyes. That slimy feeling crawled up Steve's throat.
"Right, let's move. We're going to try going faster so I hope you're all rested. Move out." White firmly refused to look at Steve, focusing on the terrain instead.
Jezabel paced the hospital corridor, rubbing her hands over her face. Kono appeared beside her with a cup of coffee, beautiful face as tired and stressed as Jez's own.
"He's in recovery. Doc should be out any minute," Jez sighed. "If this graft doesn't take he's going to need extensive surgery."
"Have they located Steve yet?" Kono asked, sinking into one of the uncomfortable hospital chairs.
"Not that I've heard. He could..."
The scream of alarms drowned her out. Doctors and nurses rushed passed them, charging into the recovery suite.
"No..." Jezabel gasped. "Danny!"
Kono leapt up and grabbed the tattooed woman but was dragged with her through the doors. The hospital staff were clustered around one bed, working frantically. The erratic beep of the heart beat monitor screeched around the room. Jez and Kono clung to each other, praying. As they watched the doctors, the monitor went flat.
"Steve, a word," Joe White called, disappearing into the command tent. When the dark haired man entered, he was concerned to see all the senior officers standing there, facing him with sad, compassionate eyes.
"Sir?" he asked, barely able to speak past the lump in his throat.
"I have some bad news, son. Seems, while we were gone, your husband was involved in an accident."
The room began to spin alarmingly as Steve listened to the Commander explain. He heard how Danny had been driving to college when he'd been side swiped by a truck. The blond had crawled away with minor injuries but the the gas tank had exploded, showering him in shrapnel. Black spots swirled in front of Steve's eyes and his knees sagged.
"It's very touch and go at the moment," White sighed.
"Easy, son. Here, sit down."
Folding into a chair, the tall man gazed around the room.
"I need to go home."
"We have a chopper waiting to take you just as soon as you're ready," White informed him. The commander was very fond of the Williams-McGarretts and he was deeply destressed by the noews of Danny's accident. The look on Steve's face just about broke his heart.
"Two minutes, Sir. I just need to grab my things. Danny will go mad if I leave my gear behind."
Joe White watched Steve stride out of the tent, a concerned frown on his face.
"We managed to get Danny's heart going again and he's stablized. For now all we can do is wait and hope there is no sign of infection."
"Thank you, Doctor. Can we see him?" Jez asked.
"You'll have to wear sterile gowns, gloves, masks and booties."
"That's fine. Thank you again."
After they had suited up, Kono and Jez slipped into the ICU room, staring at the small, heavily bandaged figure on the bed.
"Oh, Danno," Jezabel choked, tears blurring her vision and steaking down her face. Kono stood at the foot of the bed, sobbing.
"If you die, I'll kill you," Kono gasped, curling her gloved hands into fists. "Do you hear me, you fucking drama queen?! Now wake up!"
Jez pulled the smaller girl into her arms, letting her tears soak into her gown.
"He'll be alright, he's too damn stubborn to give up without a fight. Come on, little brother, don't turn me into a liar."
Steve stared blankly out out the chopper's window, watching the blues and greens blur together. He had called Jezabel, who had informed him that Danny was stable but still unconscious.
"I think he's waiting for Prince Charming," she had said quietly. "Hurry home, bro, we need you."
When the chopper landed, there was a car waiting that whisked him straight to the hospital. Jez met him at the front entrance, red rimmed eyes evidence of the last few days. They fell into each other, silent tears pouring down their faces.
"Hey," she rasped, wiping her eyes. "Glad you're back. They moved him from the ICU to a private room. Follow me."
Steve couldn't find any words, his entire body too choked with the burning need to see his husband. When Jez paused in front of a room, she turned to him, eyes serious.
"Doctor said there'll be some scarring on his back but the graft has taken well. The delayed shock of the accident, surgery and a bad reaction to the drugs, caused his heart to stop in the recovery room. He's fine now but I thought I should warn you."
Shocked at how close he'd come to losing his beloved husband, Steve stepped into the room. Danny lay on the bed, a small, pale shape, covered in wires and heavy bandages. Sitting next to him, Steve lifted his hand, kissing the slightly reddened flesh.
"Baby..." he choked, tears flooding his face. " Danny, come back to me."
Leaning over the comatose blond, he pressed a soft kiss to Danny's chapped lips, whispering gentle endearments and pleas into his mouth. Slumping back in his chair, Steve let his head rest on the covers, promising any deity that might be listening his complete devition if only Danny would wake up.
"S...Steve?" The voice was raspy, dry and cracked. Jerking upright, Steve saw the most wonderful sight in his life. Sleepy blues eyes blinked at him, glazed with pain meds. Smiling even as fresh tears marred his face, Steve feathered kisses over Danny's cheeks.
"I thought I'd lost you," he sobbed, spooning ice chips into his beloved's mouth. "You're not allowed to scare me like that."
"Why should you have all the fun?" Danny rasped, a small smile on his face. "I'm sleepy. Don't leave, 'kay?"
"I won't, I promise."
"Good. Love you."
"Love you too."