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H50 Fic: The Eleventh Hour 2/13

January 27th, 2011 (09:21 am)

A/N: Thank you so much for the response to part one! And here begins the heart of the plot, which is never what I feel best about writing, but you can't have a fic of this length without something tying it together so hopefully it works :)

Previous parts here.

 

HOUR TWO

Steve always knew where he was.

Over the years, he'd come to recognize it as the rare gift that it was. Even during his time in the Navy, when he was continually on the move and had missions that sometimes took him way off the map and away from anything familiar, he always instinctively knew where he was. He knew when he was in a barracks in South Korea. He knew when he was at a Naval base in the Philippines. He knew when he was in Catherine's bedroom during leave. He knew when he was at home, tucked up in his father's house, during the few times he made the sojourn home.

He knew if it was safe and if it was dangerous. Hell, he usually even knew the weather and if he needed to pull his gun right away or if a smile and a good morning kiss were in order.

Steve just knew.

And right now, he knew he was in a lot of trouble.

Before he opened his eyes, in the split second when consciousness was still coming back to him, he knew that he was tied up in the warehouse.

No, not tied up. Handcuffed. Handcuffed to a chair, seated upright, and the entire damned thing had been a trap he'd walked right into.

So when he opened his eyes and saw the kid with the gun, it wasn't that much of a surprise.

The kid was jittery, shifting from foot to foot. A first timer, from the looks of it. Steve didn't recognize the face.

"Nice of you to join us, McGarrett," came another voice.

The kid jerked his head to the side, and Steve followed his gaze and pressed his lips into a grim smile. "Blaine," he said coldly.

It should have been his first guess. It would have been his first guess if he'd had the time to guess at all. This entire case had started no more than two hours ago, when he first got the file. He hadn't even taken the time to go through all the details or brief the team on all the ins and outs. They were still investigating. The kidnappings and confrontations were supposed to come later.

Andrew Blaine, however, clearly had different ideas. Sauntering up, Blaine had a gun of his own, a revolver strapped visibly to his waist. It was much smaller than the kid's rifle, but just as deadly. Especially in the hands of a guy like Blaine.

The other man smiled, revealing a white row of polished teeth. His hair was equally well manicured, parted and gelled. The dress shirt was something Danny might covet, with its crisp collar and gleaming buttons. Of course, that one shirt probably cost more than all of Danny's wardrobe combined, so it was really hard to say.

The thought tripped Steve's senses and he remembered another piece of the puzzle. He hadn't been searching this warehouse alone. Taking his eyes off Blaine, he spared a moment to look over his shoulder and he caught a glimpse of his blonde partner at his back, handcuffed and still unconscious.

"I must say, capturing you was almost disturbingly easy," Blaine continued, coming to a stop a few feet shy of Steve. He gave the former Naval officer a discerning look. "The cop, I didn't expect much of, but your file suggests you're much better than you are. You must have gotten soft after you left the Navy. Though, as the governor's handpicked leader against crime on the islands, you still have a little room for improvement, don't you think?"

Steve fought back the embarrassment. There was a time to reevaluate his tactics later. Right now, he needed to ascertain the situation and start devising some kind of exit strategy. "What do you want, Blaine?" Steve asked stiffly, his eyes narrowed in on Blaine.

Blaine's smile widened and he gestured affably. The kid behind him shifted on his feet and swallowed. "What makes you think I want anything? I'm an escaped convict," he said with feigned innocence. "I'm going to watch my back."

"If you were just interested in protecting yourself, you would have killed us outright and not stuck around to worry about the mess," Steve replied flatly.

Blaine seemed to consider that. "When you put it like that, it is a rather tempting offer."

Steve lifted his head. "So why didn't you?"

Blaine crossed his arms over his chest, tapping at his gun absently in its holster. "You're really going to ask that? You? Of all people?"

The fact that he had been the one who exposed Blaine the first time around had crossed his mind, but there had been nothing in the case file to suggest that Blaine was holding a grudge. At least, not a grudge that he would act on. He had considered the possibility, of course, which was why he'd wanted to jump into the investigation so quickly. Steve liked to think of his cases as done deals, sealed irrevocably when he deemed them done. Blaine's escape was creating a rather unpleasant loose end, and nothing in the case had stuck out to him the first time around that made him think it would come to this.

Blaine, however, had been busy in the time since they last saw each other, and Steve didn't like the implications of this already.

Steve worked his jaw and considered his options. Blaine was toying with him still, which made sense. Blaine was a highly trained man. His orchestrated escape from prison approached genius levels, and if he'd taken the pains to capture Steve and Danny alive, there was still a bigger endgame in play. Steve had simply assumed that Blaine wanted his freedom and the money he'd pilfered years ago.

There was clearly more to it than that.

Steve's eyes flickered from Blaine and back to the kid, who watched the interaction uncertainly. Steve nodded toward him. "Who's the kid?"

Blaine glanced quickly over his shoulder with a dismissive shrug. "I forget you haven't met Malcolm," he said. Then he gestured to the kid, stepping aside to give Steve a good view. "McGarrett, this is Malcolm Barnes."

The name registered. This kid was the owner from the warehouse. His notion that Blaine's sale of the property had been somewhat less than legitimate, and seeing the kid in person, Steve was even more certain in that assertion. The kid looked hardly old enough to be out of high school, much less capable of affording the high price tag on the property. This kid either had all the wrong friends or some kind of problem that compromised him entirely.

"Malcolm's already met you, of course," Blaine continued. "He's been watching you quite nicely for the last hour. Which, I must say, an hour? I didn't hit you that hard, Lieutenant. Or, wait, it's Lieutenant Commander now, isn't it?"

"I'm working for the governor now," Steve said shortly, trying not to notice the throbbing in his skull. He worked his fingers in the cuffs, finding them without much wiggle room. "So are you just going to make me guess why we're here?"

Blaine shrugged. "I'm here because of business with my good friend Malcolm. You're here on some foolish investigation. It's something of a happy coincidence, I think."

Somehow, Steve doubted that. This had been an elaborate set up. Well-planned and even better executed. But the why was still something of a question. If Blaine wanted his money, holding them hostage wouldn't do him any good. Which meant that this wasn't about the money. Or not just about the money. It was about Steve himself.

He lifted his chin, meeting Blaine's eyes with a new air of defiance. "This is revenge?"

Blaine's eyes darkened and his smile turned cold. "It's a lot of things, McGarrett," he said. "After all these years, I would have hoped you could see more shades of gray."

"I see gray just fine. But what I see right now is a escaped convict with two of the governor's task force in his custody so he'd better make a move and make it quickly before he gets caught."

The humor returned to Blaine's eyes. "I forgot how bullheadedly brave you could be. You're the one handcuffed and you're still making threats. Not very smart, you think?" He nodded back to Malcolm. "Especially since the kid's got a twitchy trigger finger."

On cue, Malcolm swallowed, his gun shaking in his hands.

Steve looked back at Blaine. "So why don't you tell me what this is all about?"

"Maybe there's nothing to tell," Blaine suggested banally.

"You would have killed me by now," Steve returned harshly.

Blaine frowned. "And miss out on all this fun? No, you're still useful to me."

"Fine," Steve agreed, wriggling his fingers with new vigor. "Then let Danny go."

Blaine's eyebrows went up. "But Detective Williams hasn't even joined the party yet."

"You don't need him," Steve reiterated, more forcefully this time.

Head cocked, Blaine started walking. "Again, you are in no position to tell me anything," he said, and meandered closer to Danny.

Steve pulled at his cuffs, trying desperately to move.

Blaine smiled at him with pity. "That's cute, McGarrett," he said. "I had no idea you could be so loyal."

The sarcasm was not lost on him. Steve jerked again, face twisting angrily. "Loyalty is for those who deserve it," he said vengefully.

Blaine endured the barb with a vague humor as he sidled closer to Danny's still recumbent form. "Such as Detective Williams here? You haven't been partners too long, but you do have an impressive track record."

"I swear to God, Blaine," he hissed, trying to kick his feet out without much effect. "If you touch him-"

Blaine blinked innocently. "Touch him? You mean, like this?" he asked, then he poked Danny playfully in the shoulder.

Danny didn't twitch.

Blaine's smile turned malicious. "Or maybe like this?" he offered, and reared back his hand, slapping it hard against Danny's face.

Steve cringed at the impact and resisted the urge to curse as his partner's weight shifted and there was a groan.

Stepping back, Blaine looked down in satisfaction. "Detective Williams," he said. "How nice of you to join us."

There was more movement at his back, and Steve could just make out Danny's head rolling loosely on his shoulders. His partner groaned again. "Damn," he muttered, his voice sounding a little hoarse but strong enough. "I feel like I just got pummeled by a steam roller. Or maybe a bulldozer. Something big and ridiculous and..." Danny's voice trailed off and his movements seem to still for a moment. "We got knocked out, didn't we?"

"Nice detective work," Steve quipped dryly.

"Oh, so you're going to blame me for this one, too, huh?" Danny asked, and Steve felt him shifting at his back. His voice gained momentum. "Wasn't this your lead? Your case? And now here we are, handcuffed with two guys pointing guns at us."

"Only one is pointing a gun, and it's not even at us," Steve observed.

"Oh, okay. So we're going to split hairs now. I'm not seeing how the lack of pointing makes us any less screwed."

Steve collected a breath and held it for a moment.

For his part, Blaine chuckled. "I'm not sure which one of you I pity more."

"Yeah," Danny said, in full ranting mode. "And who are you again?"

With a cordial incline of his head, Blaine smiled. "Andrew Blaine."

"Right," Danny said. "I should have guessed that. Must be the blow to the head, slowing things down a little bit. But now, ah, that we've got that squared away, maybe you'd like to tell me why we're handcuffed here?"

"Maybe your partner would like to tell you," Blaine said.

"That assumes I want to talk to him right now," Danny said.

Steve rolled his eyes. "Blaine's looking for something, but he hasn't told me yet," he reported.

"What, and he thinks we know?" Danny asked.

"I'm counting on it," Blaine said with hearty assurance. "Or it really might not end so well for you."

"You mean since it's going so well right now?" Danny said. "But that still doesn't explain how you knew we'd be here. I mean, how long were you going to hang out here and hope someone showed up?"

"I do my homework, Detective," Blaine explained, walking back toward Malcolm. "I knew who was heading up this investigation."

"So this was a trap for me," Steve concluded plaintively.

Malcolm twitched a little, clearly nervous at the revelation, but Blaine just lifted his chin with a sneer. "I know how you're trained, McGarrett," he said smoothly. "I was just like you, after all."

"Until you got greedy," Steve said. "We're trained to protect our country, not steal from it."

Blaine laughed. "You really haven't changed, have you?"

From behind him, Danny was starting to get restless. "So, wait, you two know each other?"

Steve didn't take his eyes off Blaine. "We served together in the SEALs," he confirmed. "But then Blaine started skimming drugs and turning them around on the side. It got him a court martial and prison time."

Danny would probably want to know that Steve was the one who had turned Blaine in to begin with, but Steve wanted to keep the conflict to a minimum while they were handcuffed and had guns on them. Just in case.

"Of course. Served in the SEALs, skimming drugs, court martial and prison time. And you didn't think to tell me this before?" Danny asked and Steve didn't have to see his partner's face to know the look that was on it.

"It wasn't relevant at the time," Steve said evenly, because he didn't really want to talk about it and it really hadn't been relevant at the time, at least not from Steve's point of view.

"Wasn't relevant?" Danny sputtered with expected melodrama. "You take a case with an old friend-"

Steve knew how it sounded. It wasn't even hard to spin, and Steve was sure it would have come up eventually, but he hadn't counted on it being while they were handcuffed together in a warehouse. He hadn't made any efforts to hide the connection, but he'd been trying to figure out the details of the case before he even had a chance to consider that he was a part of this to begin with. "We were never friends," Steve said shortly, vainly hoping to spare them all the tirade that he was fairly certain Danny was just collecting steam for.

"-an old coworker, then, whatever," Danny clarified. "And you don't think you should let me know?"

"Aw, McGarrett, I'm hurt," Blaine said with mock pain. "We were rather close until you blew the whistle on me."

Steve winced. He should have known that he wouldn't be able to keep that morsel under wraps. In his defense however, he was close to a lot of the guys he served with in the SEALs. That was the nature of the business. Serving in extreme conditions brought people closer together; friendships were a convenient form of survival.

Still, when Steve had learned about what Blaine was up to, it hadn't been hard to turn him in, which was why their so-called friendship really hadn't been a pressing issue on his mind.

Somehow, though, he was fairly certain Danny wasn't going to see it that way. Physical pain was easy to endure but Danny's over the top responses to minor glitches in the plan were something else entirely.

Not to disappoint, Danny's head tipped back and he groaned. "You were the one who busted him?" he asked.

Steve didn't know if he wanted to apologize now or order Danny to just shut up already. Not that either would do any good. He glanced at Blaine, who was observing with detached amusement. The kid in the back still looked uncomfortable, and Steve could see a sheen of sweat starting to break out across his forehead.

"And you're just telling me that now?" Danny asked hotly. "I thought I warned you about making personal vendettas all the time."

"This wasn't a personal vendetta," Steve explained, as calmly as he could. He let his eyes drift from Malcolm to Blaine and then over his shoulder. He couldn't see much of Danny, but he could see enough to know the blonde was fully aware and alert and ready to milk this situation for all it was worth. When it came to Danny, Steve couldn't be sure how much was genuine emotion and how much was simply some emotional defect, but for now, it was buying them much needed time.

Blaine laughed, and Steve turned his attention back to their captor. "Maybe not for you," he said. "But I promise you, this was personal for me from the very beginning. Imagine my good fortune to not only break out of prison but to know that the one person I wanted to talk to was the one person who would come right to me when this all went down."

At his back, Danny shifted, his head moving backward, brushing Steve's. "So not only do you make everything a personal vendetta, but you inspire them in others," he continued. "Just when I think you can't be any more dangerous for my health, you go and prove me wrong. Here, maybe we should just tear my other ACL right now and get it over with. Go on. Do it. I've already used my deductible this year, so it won't cost me a dime."

"Does he always talk this much?" Blaine asked, head cocked thoughtfully.

"He's just getting started," Steve said grimly, and he worked his fingers in his handcuffs again, shifting just enough to see if he had any leverage whatsoever.

"You know I could do you a favor," Blaine said, stepping closer with a menacing gleam in his eyes. Steve stopped his efforts, stilling when he realized what Blaine was really talking about. "Shut him up for a bit."

"Hey, hey," Danny interjected quickly, hands twitching his bonds. "I already get stuck with this guy as a partner. On a daily basis. Do you know what that's like? You don't think I'm punished enough?"

Blaine actually seemed to consider that. "And now I'm really not sure who I pity more."

"Me," Danny said with confidence. "Me, me, and me again. Would you like to hear about what he did to me on the day we met?"

Steve wasn't sure who was insulting him more. Danny usually had his best interests in mind, but Blaine actually had valid reasons to be angry with him. Well, as valid as any criminal did. Danny's logic was simply incomprehensible nine times out of ten and his partner's rationale in this line of dialogue would perplex him more were he not so focused on getting out.

Which was the only thing this back and forth was good for. The more time they spent on the preliminaries, the more time Steve had to plot an escape route. Getting knocked out and handcuffed went against his better notions under any circumstances, and his desire to rectify that was pretty pressing.

Not to mention the fact that Danny's endless stream of words would eventually stop being a distraction and just get him hurt. They weren't there yet. They still weren't at the heart of the matter. If Blaine had taken the time to handcuff them this way, he wanted information. Steve didn't doubt that violence was on the table, but it was just the means, not the end.

Blaine offered Danny an indulgent smile. "Maybe another time," he said. "I'm afraid we do have other business to discuss."

"Business," Danny said. "You mean why you knocked us out and handcuffed us here?"

"I do apologize for that, Detective Williams," Blaine said with saccharine cordiality. "This really has nothing to do with you."

"It never does," Danny quipped.

"So what is it about?" Steve finally interjected.

Blaine turned his attention back to Steve, eyebrows raised. "I'm surprised you haven't figured it out yet."

Steve forced a smile. "I'm a slow learner."

"I can vouch for that," Danny chimed in, completely unhelpfully.

This time, however, Blaine did not seem to follow the distraction. Instead, he wet his lips, eyeing Steve critically. "Make a guess," he said.

Steve rolled his eyes, twisting his wrists in futility. "What's the point in that?"

"Good fun," Blaine said without hesitation. "I've gone to all this trouble. Please, be a sport, Lieutenant Commander."

"You didn't handcuff us to have fun," Steve said. "If this was about revenge, we'd be dead by now, no questions asked. You want information. So ask your questions."

Blaine actually looked bemused. "What, and you'll tell me what I want to know?"

Steve shrugged. "Depends what it is," he said. "What I've been up to-sure, no problem. A tip on good local pizza-I can do that."

"I didn't break out for pizza," Blaine said, the humor in his voice gone.

"I didn't realize criminals needed a reason," Danny muttered. "I mean, it's prison. You want to get out. That's the point, isn't it?"

Blaine's eyes flickered distastefully at Danny. "It is unpleasant, Detective Williams," he said. "And there's so much time to think. You're supposed to reflect on your wrongs, pay your debt to society. But I found it so much more interesting to think about how it all went wrong. I had a good thing going, you see. I was careful. I knew how not to get caught."

"You weren't that careful," Steve asserted.

Blaine chuckled. "And you weren't that good," he said. "Don't flatter yourself, McGarrett. I didn't bring you here because you were somehow my arch-nemesis who felled me."

Steve's eyes narrowed, his mind working. This was personal, but it wasn't that personal. This wasn't about the fact that it was Steve who blew the whistle, but about what Steve knew to make that call.

"Felled," Danny repeated. "I'm not sure I support the sentiment, but totally dig the vocabulary."

Blaine's gaze didn't waver as he honed in on Steve even more. "You got lucky with some information, and you used it against me. But it wasn't your information."

"It was a lot of information," Steve said. "Once we started kicking over rocks, all the dirty details came out."

"You were the one who blew the whistle, McGarrett, but I know you didn't figure it out on your own," Blaine said. "You had someone helping you. Someone gave you a tip, and I want to know who betrayed me and cost me everything."

The answer actually surprised Steve. "You want to know my source?" he asked plainly.

"What, you going to knock them out and kidnap them, too?" Danny sniped.

Blaine ignored Danny, focusing in on Steve. "Whoever told you about me, didn't tell you everything," he said. "I think whoever tipped you off told you just enough to take me down and snag some for himself."

"That's an interesting theory," Steve said guardedly.

Blaine's smile was forced. "One I can prove once you tell me the name."

Blaine had played his hand, and laid it out. Steve knew what Blaine wanted. More than that, he knew the answer to Blaine's question. Steve had had his share of assignments, and keeping track of the ins and outs of his fellow SEALs hadn't been one of them. He'd been cordial enough with Blaine, and if he had to be honest, he had never suspected Blaine as a criminal at all. That was the problem with people who were well trained in the art of deception-they could play it, even against people they called friends.

But when someone from inside the Navy had brought Blaine's activities into question, Steve hadn't been opposed to checking it out-and the whole fabric of Blaine's operation had come undone pretty easily with the intel he'd received. With all the dirt on Blaine and the supply line they'd managed to cut off, the investigation had closed pretty quickly, with few questions asked, even concerning the lingering missing funds. Steve had never had much of an active role in prosecuting Blaine-once he had the details from the source and confirmed their legitimacy, he'd turned it over and his part was done, and Steve hadn't thought about it until now.

Now, however, there was clearly a lot more to it. Worse yet, Blaine's theory actually made sense.

If the source was the leak, then Steve would handle that. But telling Blaine was not an option. Steve liked vigilante tactics, but he had no desire to let Blaine loose to commit more crimes.

Besides, giving Blaine what he wanted wasn't going to change their situation for the better. In fact, it would only hinder their position. Once Blaine got the information, there was no guarantee he wouldn't just kill them right then and there.

The trick to a hostage situation was to vie for power. When you didn't have a gun, you had to hold onto your value.

Steve's value existed in knowing the answer but not sharing it.

Decision made, Steve shook his head. "The case was a long time ago."

There was a flash of hatred in Blaine's eyes, but he stood back, straightening himself. "This could get messy very quickly, McGarrett," he said slowly. "For you, and your partner here."

"Messy makes it difficult to talk," Steve pointed out.

Blaine tapped the gun in his holster absently. "So does a bullet to the brain."

"I vote talking, no mess, no bullets," Danny chimed in. "Seems like a win-win all around."

Blaine regarded him coolly. "I would agree, Detective Williams," he said. "Perhaps you just need some time to consider the full gravity of this situation, McGarrett. Or maybe just to jog your memory."

Steve smiled. "Maybe these cuffs are cutting off the circulation to my brain," he said, giving the cuffs a shake for good measure.

Blaine didn't look impressed and turned his eyes to Danny. "Maybe you can try to talk to sense into him, for all our sakes," he said. "Malcolm and I will be in the other room. The view is clear, gentlemen, and I may have been in prison, but I don't doubt that my aim is still good enough to drop either of you from that distance."

Danny nodded his head. "Lovely," he said. "Though I have to say, Steve doesn't really listen to me. Steve doesn't really listen to anyone. He has a logic all his own."

"Pity," Blaine said. "Just remember that this polite request is only my first tactic and it is by no means my most enjoyable."

"That's great. That's just wonderful. Really reassuring, thank you," Danny muttered as Blaine turned and headed toward the office space. Malcolm jumped to follow, his steps uncertain as he trailed behind Blaine. "He wants me to change your mind. As if I've ever been able to change your mind. Or even make sense of your mind. And all this assumes that you even have a mind to change and aren't stuck on some weird army robot mode."

Steve tugged at the handcuffs, rolling his eyes. "It's the Navy. Especially in this case, I would think you could get that right."

"Oh, I'm sorry, the Navy," Danny corrected. "As if it matters what branch of the military service we're talking about when we're being held hostage."

"It might," Steve replied, trying to be helpful.

"It might," Danny repeated. "It might? Are you serious? It might? No, don't answer that, I really don't want to know."

"I wasn't going to answer it," Steve told him.

"Are you trying to annoy me?"

Steve rolled his wrists, feeling how far they could go before the metal cut into his skin. "Would it matter?"

Danny sighed, shaking his head. "No, probably not," he said finally. After a moment of silence, he continued. "Do you know who he wants to find?"

"Maybe," Steve said.

"That's not very definitive," Danny said.

"The less you know the better," Steve told him.

"Wait, wait, wait," Danny said, and Steve could feel him turn in his bonds. "Are you trying to protect me?"

Steve made a face. "It's the only logical tactical move in this case."

Danny snorted. "Logical tactical move, my ass."

"Trust me," Steve said.

"You mean like I was supposed to trust you in checking out this warehouse?"

Steve shrugged, looking around it. "I was right. It was a lead."

"It was a trap," Danny clarified.

"So definitely a place of interest," Steve concluded.

Danny shook his head again. "I hate you," he said. "I hate you so much."

As problematic as the predicament was, Steve had to grin, struggling with his handcuffs yet again.

NEXT

 

Comments

Posted by: Flute (sgflutegirl)
Posted at: January 27th, 2011 08:55 pm (UTC)
H50 - Steve/Danny - Beer

Love this! The banter is perfect. Things are not looking so good for the guys. Can't wait for the next chapter.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: January 29th, 2011 01:23 pm (UTC)
danny steve bust

Thank you! And all I can say is that things will get worse before they get better :)

Posted by: Flute (sgflutegirl)
Posted at: January 29th, 2011 05:50 pm (UTC)
H50 - Steve/Danny Look

I'm looking forward to it! :-)

Posted by: ratherastory (ratherastory)
Posted at: January 28th, 2011 02:43 am (UTC)
Danno (Seriously)

This keeps getting better and better! And Danny really doesn't know when to shut up, does he? I half-expected Blaine to shoot him in his other knee. :/

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: January 29th, 2011 01:24 pm (UTC)
danny gun bw

Like I said, once Danny starts talking in my head, he rarely shuts up, so I'm glad it reads okay :)

Thanks!

Posted by: serenity_pen (serenity_pen)
Posted at: January 29th, 2011 03:00 pm (UTC)
The boys water background

AAgghh! You're torturing me...knowing you have this complete but that you are going to post it slowly....it's maddening. The banter is terrific and the pacing is good. I'm anxiously waiting for more!

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: February 2nd, 2011 03:45 pm (UTC)
danny and steve work together

LOL. I'm not posting TOO slowly. Twice a week seems reasonable. To me, anyway :)

Thanks!

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