Danny Williams doesn’t look around, doesn’t pay attention or take heed of the cordoned-off zone around him and his partner. He’s trying not to let the warmth of the sun and the breeze get to him. Back home, folks would call this a warm summer’s day.
Bad things happen in the summertime too, Danny knows. That’s the reason why he doesn’t comment on the tropical weather being inappropriate for occasions of this magnitude.
He also doesn’t check his watch. He pointedly avoids finding out the time, because that would just increase anxiety, and there’s been enough of that for one year today, thank you very much.
Yet again, once again, we’re all counting on you, McGarrett, Danny thought. Don’t let any SEAL machismo or hairbrained schemes get in the way of Kono taking the shot we all need her to take. If you do, I’ll make sure I come back as a choking ghost.
In Danny’s experience, when someone has a death wish, you help them through it. You get them help. But its harder when his partner is not close to the one surviving family member he has left, when said partner can pull strings with the highest authority in the State, and said partner is trained to kill eleventh-five ways with a sore pinky.
But Danny has never said quit. Not even when he’s called Danno. Occupational hazard, that.
It was irrelevant that this was Chin kneeling beside him. Danny would have been here, equally immovable, for Kono, and even for McGarrett. For every single one of them, Danny would be willing to trade places and take the bullet - or, in this case, detonating collar - so they wouldn’t have to.
He’d rather not die. But even more, he doesn’t want to lose someone else.
“There is no way we’re letting you die,” Danny tells Chin as they wait for Kono to shoot the bastard.
“Nothing you or I can do,” Chin says.
“Hey! Don’t go getting resigned on me, partner.”
“Yeah him too. Thing is, I consider you both my partner. I’d include Kono too, but you’d probably kill me,” Danny said, keeping his voice conversational in that serious-and-not-entirely-serious manner he could summon at times.
“At first, yeah,” Chin said. “Right now…”
“Right, the exploding collar. We’ll have that off you in two shakes.”
“You’ll excuse me if I don’t count the seconds.”
“Why would you do that?” Danny asked. Keep him talking. Don’t let him sit alone in his own mind. “And you really wouldn’t kill me?”
“You hurt Kono, I won’t be the only one killing you,” Chin said. He was silent for a few seconds, and before Danny could say anything else, Chin said, “You really consider me a partner?”
“You think I lied to you in the bar? I’m hurt, I’m really seriously hurt,” a claim contradicted by his voice and his expression. “Ask anybody - even Rachel - one of the things I never ever lie about, is having somebody’s back.”
“Good to know,” Chin said. “So, when’re you going to get to safety with everyone else, partner?”
“If I wanted safety, I wouldn’t have followed Grace all this way. Hell, if I wanted safety, you think I would’ve become a cop?”
“Not a tradition in your family?”
“We’re masons. Lowercase. We make bricks, not conspiracy theories.”
“Glad to help.”
“You want to help? Get three blocks away. Anything goes wrong, I don’t want -”
“Hey, you listen to me,” Danny said. “I’m staying right here. If anything goes boom, and I’m not saying it will, McGarrett can hold a séance to tear me a new one.”
Chin chuckled, careful not to let his throat move too much. “Now that’s an image.”
“You serious, though?”
“No idea if there are any on the island,” Danny says. “But I’m sure Steve can have a medium airlifted in.”
A smile. “He would,” Chin agreed. “But I meant about me being your partner. We’re all friends.”
“My partners are my friends,” Danny said, suspecting he had just stopped Chin from saying something else. “And pretty much all my friends are my partners.”
“Or your daughter.”
“Or my daughter.”
Danny looks at him funny. “For being honest?”
Contrary to what he knows his team must think about him, Danny isn’t hopeless around languages. He’s from New Jersey, a land full of even more languages than Hawaii.
And he remembers what his third partner once said, after they had settled a domestic disturbance. Danny had explained one of the terms one of the couple had used pejoratively. Ezer knegdo, a helpmate opposite you. His partner had looked at him and said, “That’s us, right? We’re partners. Thick and think, we help each other, no matter what.”
The kid’s words echoed and reinforced Danny’s views on what partners did for one another.
Most people in Hawaii these days saw how he was around McGarrett, and assumed they were together. Understandable, since few of them see him around Chin-Ho and Kono, because if they did, they might think he was a player - that he had relations with all three of them.
Danny has a damned good reason for taking them to task if they do something he thinks is bone-headed, or if they don’t think something through. He doesn’t want to lose someone else.
He’s already lost far too many. And in a worse way than he’s lost his marriage and his daughter.
Meka was not the first partner Danny has lost. He’s lost too many for most people to count; most minds would have gone numb after two. Danny never forgets any of them, not a one. With each passing partner, he strives harder to keep his next partner from going bye-bye too.
He knows Amy’s aware of that. Knows Rachel is even more aware of it. Tries not to dwell on some of the things Rachel said in moments of irrationality before their divorce - ‘you take better care of your partners than you do your own wife!’ as just one example.
He’s mentioned to McGarrett how he felt having to inform a family of an officer’s death. Danny never said the rest of the story: that the first one he was involved in, was to break the news to his partner’s wife.
Nothing is going to happen to McGarrett and Chin and Kono -- not if Danny Williams has any say in it.
The lights go out.