Lou and Kono had barely pulled their doors shut, when Steve threw the Silverado into gear, and tore out of his parking space outside the Iolani Palace
"Kono, what's his position?"
"Hold on a sec." Kono sat awkwardly in the rear of the truck, one foot out stretched, pushing hard against the back of the passenger seat in front of her. She tried to brace herself, while tapping away on the tablet in her hand. "Got him. He's heading west on the H1. He's eight minutes ahead of us."
Lou huffed loudly. "We ain't never gonna catch him in this. Man, you gotta get yourself some new wheels."
Steve shot Lou an angry glare before he looked up to check his rear view mirror, which was full of Chin on his motorcycle. A chorus of sirens could be heard in the distance, and it wasn't long before they were joined by half a dozen HPD cruisers. Steve punched the call button on his steering wheel. Again, the recipient's cell continuously rang until ending on their pre-recorded message. Steve cut it off, as the first word was spoken.
"Answer the damn phone, Danny."
"Take it easy, McGarrett." Lou's grip on the interior door handle tightened, as his boss weaved the truck through the busy Honolulu downtown traffic.
Steve never responded, instead hitting the call button yet again. This time Danny picked up on the third ring
"Where's my backup?" His abrupt greeting.
"Stand down, Danny." Steve all but growled the words.
"Not gonna happen."
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Danny's car cut through the traffic with ease. Vehicles moved aside to let him by, the Camaro's headlights flashed and its sirens blared. He kept a safe distance of at least four or five cars between himself and the black 4WD he was pursuing
"What the hell do you think you're doing? Drop off Grace at cheerleader practice. That's what you said."
Danny rolled his eyes at Steve's statement.
"We've been after these guys for weeks. When the call came in, I was at the right place at the right time, Steven. I'm not letting them get away."
"Danny, no one's gonna let them get away. We can track them on traffic cams."
"Like I said before, not gonna happen.”
"It's called desk duty for a reason, buddy. Now give it up."
"So, I guess I got it wrong, and you're calling from your office, huh? You know you can't catch me in that brick on wheels."
"You're not wrong there." Lou weighed in on the partner's argument.
"Lou, trust me, your SUV's not any better." Danny's remark didn't hold any heat.
"Don't knock it. It's practical."
"In Chicago, maybe. I wouldn't mind the ride I'm chasing. Range Rover Sport."
"On our pay?" Lou griped.
"Hey! If you two have quite finished. I gave you an order, Danny. Last time I checked I was still your superior."
"You had to check to see if you were still my boss?" Danny giggled. "I don't recall you hitting your head when I landed that plane."
"Smart ass. And you crash landed, Danno." Steve corrected.
"Not funny, Steven ."
"Are you wearing a vest?"
"What'd you think, Einstein?"
“Humor me.” Steve retorted angrily.
"You're a stubborn son of a bitch. You know that, right?"
"Well that's the pot calling the kettle black."
"I'm not happy about this." Steve now sounded despairing.
"You're negative attitude is showing again."
"Yeah, and what'd I say about that?"
"You wouldn't. You love having me inside you too much."
"Whoa. I'm gonna pretend you didn't say that. You two have issues. Kono don't encourage them." Lou interrupted, sounding affronted by Danny's remark.
Kono sniggering loudly in the background could clearly be heard through the hands free speaker.
"Don't engage them, Danny. HPD are on their way."
"Not my first rodeo, babe."
Danny ended the call as the perps hit the exit ramp, heading for the harbour. He barely corrected the steering, as the car fishtailed wildly. Resigned to the fact his backup was a long way off, he closed the gap on the vehicle firmly fixed in his cross hairs. He winced as motorists swerved out of his way, honking their horns as the chase sped through red stop lights.
The Range Rover turned sharply, and Danny cursed under his breath. He pulled on the handbrake, and spun the Camaro around the corner, its tires kicking up dirt and debris as the road surface changed from blacktop to concrete. They were now heading toward the end of one of numerous berths along the dock. The road ahead was littered with trucks and containers. After dodging a number of obstacles, Danny lost sight of his quarry. He skidded sideways, bringing his car to a halt alongside the edge of the pier.
Adrenaline surged through his body. All he could hear was his own heavy breathing, and the deep throaty rumble of his pride and joy's engine. He was about to pull away when he caught sight of something black in his peripheral vision. Craning his neck for a better look, he had a split second to realize he was in trouble. The SUV bore down on him, smashing into the passenger's side of the car. The noise of scraping metal and squealing tires made his heart race, and Danny floored the accelerator. But it was too late.
He felt the car tilt like some absurd carnival ride. The ones Grace liked. The undercarriage grated loudly on the edge of the dock. In mere seconds, Danny's world turned upside down. The seatbelt cut sharply into his stomach and shoulder as it took his weight. His inverted perspective briefly disorienting him. He had little time to take a deep lungful of air before water engulfed him. The previously calm sea now rippled and bubbled, as the Camaro sank beneath its surface.
The water seemed to rush in from every conceivable point at a frightening speed. Danny swallowed his fear, knowing he had to get himself under control - and fast. Seconds counted now. His burning lungs didn't help the situation as his body consumed what little oxygen it had left. Frantically, he struggled to find the seat belt release. After several attempts the latch broke free, and he untangled himself from the restraint. His head bumped into the roof, which was now the floor.
Dazed, he reached out and grasped the head rest, then twisted his body around in the cramped space, pushing himself upright. Eyes darting around in a frenzied attempt to find air, an object floating above caught his attention. Breaking the surface, he gulped greedily in the small pocket of air. It was then he recognized it - Charlie's Captain America figure. The thought of never seeing his children again forced him back into action. Taking a deep breath, he ducked his head back into the water. With the windshield behind him, he lunged his leg back with all his might, using the seat to steady himself. He quickly realized the glass wasn't going to break, and he was running out of time and options. He reached for his gun out of instinct, but it wasn't there. Panic began to consume him. Danny changed position, and kicked at it with both feet. Nearly out of his mind, he pounded his fists against the side window.
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Steve pulled over, and watched Chin and the cruisers pass by.
"I've lost him." Kono blurted out.
Steve immediately hit the redial on his cell. Without ringing, it went straight to Danny's voicemail.
"Something's up." Steve slammed his foot down hard and drove toward the harbour.
It wasn't long before they crossed paths with the black Range Rover, Chin hot on it's tail. Satisfied that his man and HPD had things under control, Steve continued along the berth where Kono had last seen Danny's signal.
Kono chewed on her bottom lip. "He stopped over there."
She pointed to a spot by some empty boat moorings.
He parked his truck, and the three teammates climbed out. They surveyed the surrounding area, all coming up empty. Steve stood, hands on hips, and sighed deeply. Totally at a loss to where his friend had disappeared to, his face dropped, and he stared at the ground. Two wide, black marks, glared back at him. His gaze followed them over the dock's edge. He squatted down, and ran his fingers over the marred surface.
"What is it?" Lou walked over, and stood next to him.
Steve jumped up, and pulled off his tac vest. "This is fresh rubber."
He then undid his laces and kicked off his boots. Instantly realizing what had happened, Kono followed suit, toeing off her shoes, and shedding her vest. She handed her gun to Lou.
"Steve, you can't. Let me." Kono protested.
Steve ignored her objection and grabbed a crowbar from the flatbed of his truck.
"Lou, call EMS." Their boss’ tone and expression told them all they needed to know. He may not have been cleared to swim or take on any other type of physical exercise, but with Danny's life at stake, he was doing this. To hell with the risk.
Lou had barely taken hold of Steve's sig before the ex-SEAL dove off the edge of the pier, closely followed by Kono.
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Danny felt like he was being consumed by a raging inferno, and he was sure that at any moment his chest would explode. The metal shell of his beloved car groaned as if in pain, and he wanted to scream. No way was he dying this way.
The weight of his clothing restricting his movements, Danny clawed at the water, legs thrashing wildly. His life was ebbing away, and he knew it. His eyes stung, as he battled to keep them open. A fucking plane crash hadn't killed him, but this just might. Steve - the idiot - he'd be able to hold his breath for ten minutes. He wanted to giggle at the thought of part of him living hopefully long after he died. Keeping his best friend alive.
Then, he saw it. Somehow, the footwell still contained trapped air, and Danny could have cried. Except his triumph was short-lived. After drinking in the precious oxygen, he watched that lifeline vanish into the ether as the water filled every last inch of the Camaro. Soon it would have him too. Holding his last breath, he leaned on the driver’s side door, hand on the release, and used his final vestiges of strength to push against it. It moved ever so slightly, but Danny knew deep down it was too little, too late.
The silence became deafening as he slowly lost his grip on life. It wrapped around him like a blanket. His arms and legs were lead weights, and an inky darkness filled his vision. He couldn't blink it away. He wanted so badly to see just a little more, but there was nothing left for him to do. Powerless to hold on any longer, Danny instinctively took a breath, only for his lungs to fill with liquid. Death now his only salvation.
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Steve swam down to his partner's car. He passed over it, his legs brushing the undercarriage. His heart seized in his chest when he saw the doors still shut. The driver's one was slightly ajar. He sank down next to it, his feet hitting the bottom. The sight that greeted him shattered his heart into a billion fragments. His best friend's lifeless body floated inside.
A hand squeezed his shoulder, pulling him back to the task at hand. Steve nodded to Kono, and then wedged the iron bar into the gap, thrusting his body against it. The door slowly opened, and Kono wrenched it back just wide enough for her boss to reach in. The water had become murky, as their desperate movements caused sand to billow up around them. Steve released his white knuckle grip on the crowbar, and in the limited visibility leaned into the vehicle. He slipped his arms under Danny's limp ones, interlacing his fingers in front of his partner's chest, and heaved him out through the opening. Kono held Danny's legs, moving them clear of the door frame.
Steve broke the surface, gasping for breath. Adrenaline his only fuel, his body protested at the exertion. Helping hands freed him of his precious cargo. He looked up to see a number of dock workers scaling the service ladder. They hauled Danny's dead weight up onto dry land. Steve barely noticed Kono help him follow his best friend.
Steve clambered back up onto the dockside. After momentarily stopping to catch his breath, he pushed up from the concrete onto unsteady legs. A hand latched onto his upper arm - Kono. She was the sole reason he remained upright. Without giving her a second look, he pulled away and staggered to his friend's side. He dropped down hard onto the solid unforgiving ground, a grunt of pain escaping his lips. Kneeling next to Danny, Steve placed his hands on his friend's chest, one over the other, and using his body weight, he pushed down hard.
"Come on, buddy. Breathe." Steve choked back a sob as he continued compressions.
The ex-Navy SEAL was fatigued to the point of collapse, Kono gently nudged him aside, and took over his ministrations. Steve ran his fingers through Danny's wet hair.
"Breathe, Danno. Don't you die on me." Steve was rewarded with a gargled cough.
Danny's body convulsed, and he choked up water. Kono forced him onto his side and rubbed his back. "That's it Danny. Bring it all up. You're doing great."
"EMS are almost here." Lou dropped some towels and a blanket down next to Kono. "Here. I found these in the truck."
"Thanks, Lou." Kono gestured with a nod of her head to their boss.
Lou picked up one of the towels and draped it over Steve's shoulders. "You should really get out of these wet clothes."
Kono stripped off Danny's shirt, and Steve pulled the blanket over him. He stopped momentarily when his gaze fell on the large scar running across his partner's midsection, under his rib cage. He'd looked at himself in the mirror on many occasions. The shape made him think of a Mercedes car emblem. He thought it befitting, knowing his friend's love of cars. He made a mental note to tell him later.
"He's right." A weak voice rasped, and a hand pulled on the hem of Steve's shirt.
"Hey, good to have you back, buddy." Steve patted Danny's arm.
"You're gonna drip all over the ambulance, babe." He tugged at the sopping wet material, again.
This time Steve took off his shirt. “Are you happy now?”
Satisfied, Danny smiled back.
Steve’s mind drifted, once again, to the stark reminder of how close they'd come to losing one another. He flinched slightly when cold fingers traced over his own matching scar. He looked down to see his best friend's shit eating grin.
Lou cleared his throat. "Geez. Come on sister, let's see what's keeping this bus. I can't watch these two any longer." He dragged Kono to her feet.
"I think it's kinda sweet." Kono swooned.
Steve pushed the blanket to one side, and tentatively ran his hand along Danny's stomach, emulating his friend's action.
"They don't get us, babe." Danny weakly batted his partner’s hand away.
Steve looked up, and laughed. "No one gets us, Danno."
~ the end ~