"We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone.
Only through our love and friendship we create the illusion that, for a moment, we are not alone..."
— — —
What is the worst thing that can happen in life?
How much of bad things can one person handle?
Is it right to say that, if submitted to extreme circumstances, people are far more resilient than they think they are?
Is it true that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger?
Right now, the quiet figure occupying one of the chairs in the waiting area of the Queen's Medical Center can't think of an answer to any of those questions. Or think at all.
Whatever thoughts that may cross his mind will eventually lead to an overreaction and he just can’t handle it. He doesn’t have the luxury to start over-thinking things and creating a fuss over something that he doesn’t even know yet…
Because he doesn’t know.
Problem is, the “not knowing” thing is driving him crazy.
It’s hard. More than that, it is almost unbearable but he needs to keep doing it. He needs to keep fighting all the obscure and dark thoughts that are threatening to creep up on him despite the fight he’s putting up. He needs to hold it together. Not for him, and certainly not for the small crowd that had came for him. Hell, no.
He needs to be strong for his better part. He needs to be strong for his–
“Mr. and Mrs. Williams?”
Danny was bluntly and roughly pulled from the dark place that he’d been standing for the past six hours to the sound of his name being called.
“How was it?” he asked suddenly. “How was the surgery? How is she?”
The words rolled out of his mouth in a rush; he needed answers because he was going bananas with the lack of words from that goddamned hospital staff. He felt like he was about to lose it…
Surprisingly enough, Danny hadn’t freaked out when Sergeant Lukela called to tell him that there had been an accident involving kids from Grace’s school; they were leaving the Museum and some stupid creature (to say the very least) that was involved in a pursue lost control of his vehicle and ran over five children that were on the sidewalk. On the sidewalk! And Grace Williams was one of the victims.
Back then, Danny had drifted to a deep state of obliviousness… Right now, that sense of numbness that kept him from completely freaking out was fading.
“Tell me how my daughter is?!” he demanded, nearly yelling.
Danny didn’t even notice when Steve tried to talk to him, unsuccessfully trying to tell him to be calm, or when Kono and Chin stood by his side and he hardly acknowledged Rachel and Stan holding onto each other (neither one tried to correct the doctor saying it wasn’t Mrs. Williams anymore, it was Mrs. Edwards now).
All those people that were filling that small waiting room were part of Danny’s life, sure. They were his very own supportive and crazy extended family but, right now, he couldn’t deal with them. He loved them all dearly but they were almost invisible to him now… like figures on the background, and he wasn’t paying attention to the background – Danny had his eyes focused solely on the center and his center, at this moment, was the middle aged surgeon, wearing blue scrubs and a tired looking expression.
“During surgery, your daughter experienced cardiac arrest for a couple of times,” the doctor began and Danny’s brain shut off again. He wasn’t processing any of that shit. “We were able to get her back with CPR and…”
What the fuck was the problem with that woman?! He didn’t want to know what happened during those six hours! Well, that wasn’t true… he wanted to know but after she answered his damned question.
He was to yell at her to cut the crap and just say it when he saw… Even though his brain wasn’t holding any of what she was saying, his trained eyes didn’t miss the sudden change in the woman’s expression – he’d seen that expression before… more than he dared to remember and it was not good.
“The damages were too much…”
No. If she said…
“I’m so sorry.”
She said it.
And she didn’t stop there.
“We did everything we could…”
As the doctor said those ominous words, the atmosphere in that room was suddenly ice cold.
No one could believe this was happening. How could such thing be real? It couldn’t be real. Because Grace Williams couldn’t be dead. She just couldn’t.
How could this happen to a little girl that had turned ten just a month ago? How was it possible that, one minute, she was smiling and spreading her never-ending joy and the next… The next…
Rachel was inconsolable – not that anyone expected differently. She was a mess of tears and sobs and incoherent words and Stan didn’t even try to shush her because it was impossible; she lost her child…
What can anyone say that might possibly make her feel just a little bit better? How to comfort a mother who just learned that her sweet little daughter will never grow up to be a ballerina or anything else she could choose to be? The answer is as simple as it is brutal: you don’t.
Because it won’t get any better, regardless of what you say or do…
Danny wasn’t much different, though. Except for the frightening lack of tears, words and reactions of any kind, the girl’s father was the image of pain.
The blonde detective was stunned. He refused to believe that he would never see the light of his life ever again. Because that’s what Grace was; she was the most beautiful and brightest part of his entire existence. She was his life and now…
How was Danny supposed to endure his long and exhausting days without that silver lining? How could he keep going, pushing things just a bit further so he could get through the darkest of his days when his Monkey didn’t get the chance to do the same?
Just like that, in a matter of seconds, Danny’s solid ground turned into quicksand and he was being dragged down. His once bright world tuned into pitch black.
Danny didn’t see it when Stan had to hold Rachel to keep her from ending up on the floor. He didn’t notice when Kono, who was right next to him, sniffed and the tears silently fell from her dark eyes. He didn’t see it when Chin reached out to his cousin. He didn’t see it when Steve rubbed his face, though always keeping an eye on him…
Danny didn’t acknowledge the world anymore – he was numb again. He was not thinking, hearing, reacting at all. He was trying so hard to understand, even though there was nothing to be understood. Not really.
So Danny stood there, unaware of his surroundings, unaware of the world and its people. He just stood there, until he couldn’t bear it any longer and his legs took him somewhere he didn’t quite know where it was, he just knew he couldn’t stay there…
Steve and Chin exchanged a worried look when the blonde figure that had been behaving like a statuesque made of ivory up until now, suddenly shifted and bolted outside the room.
The two of them knew that Danny wasn't okay and that, even though he could use some time alone, he shouldn't really be alone. Not at a moment like that.
"I got him," Steve muttered as he followed Danny's steps from a distance.
Danny kept walking and walking until the point in which walking wouldn't do it anymore so he started running aimlessly.
The sun was almost setting, the sky was painted in orange and Danny was a lonely figure to add to that poetic image of a sunset in Hawaii, even though there was nothing poetic about his life at the moment.
He ran until the muscles of his legs were sore and burning and he needed to force the air down his lungs, and then he kept going; the physical ache that he felt worked as a neutralizer to the great sorrow that he was feeling inside.
Danny ran and ran and ran some more until his legs finally gave up, just like everything else and he broke. He felt his world collapsing but he didn't care. He'd lost everything so what was the point of caring anyway?
So, there he was. On his knees. On a beach that he couldn't quite name. Tears pooling in his eyes and, soon enough, they were falling like an endless waterfall. And nothing else mattered. Not now, not ever...
Steve followed Danny all the way since the blonde left the hospital. He tried to call out to Danny every now and then but he wouldn't answer; Steve doubted he was even listening...
Danny ran for over three miles before he finally stopped. Steve slowed his pace as he saw his friend falling to the sand of the beach and he decided to give him a moment when he saw his body trembling, softly shaking — he knew Danny was crying.
It bothered Steve to the bone to see Danny like that. So vulnerable, so small, so frail... Steve knew that no words would comfort him but he wish he could say something, to do something to ease his pain.
Danny's hurt was hurting Steve. And when the troubled blonde spoke to him, his shaken and weak voice made Steve's heart ache.
"I know you're there," Danny whispered as he let his hands fall on his lap.
Steve took one step towards Danny and felt his heart sinking when his friend didn't move a muscle. He just stood there, rooted to the spot on the sand he'd been knelt for minutes now.
Steve stopped once he was next to Danny and, bringing himself down to one knee, he placed a hand on the blonde's shoulder.
Danny's body trembled beneath his touch and even though Steve knew better than to take the blame for Danny's tears that started to pour once again, he still felt a wave of sadness take over himself as he stood there, completely aware of the onslaught of emotions that was washing over his partner. His best friend.
Despite his major efforts, Danny was incapable of controlling the violent explosion of hatred and searing pain that shot through his entire body and further along, reaching the depths of his soul... Danny was overcome with grief for the tough and huge bereavement he'd suffered.
"Why G- Gracie? Why m-my dau- my daughter?"
Each and every sob that escape from Danny's mouth opened a crack in Steve's heart — and he could only wonder how devastated the other man was feeling... And when Danny finally raised his head a little bit and his eyes bore into Steve’s and the former SEAL felt his heart stop beating in his chest. The pain that was showing in those oceanic blue eyes was too much.
"I... I don't know, Danno," he said softly as he sat on the sand, right next to Danny.
Steve was desperate to help Danny, to give him more than "I don't know" but he couldn't. He was helpless — and he hated that so much.
"She... she was so— so young... So..." Danny whimpered as he brought his hands up to cover his face.
When he saw Danny's body start to violently shake again, Steve's reaction was instant and came out naturally. He reached out, wrapped his arms around Danny and held him tightly, bringing the blonde closer to himself. He couldn't take the pain away from Danny, but he could at least hold him together when it was clear enough for even Steve to tell that he was falling apart.
As he felt the strong pair of arms around him, Danny didn't fight or tried to push Steve away. His world had just blew itself to pieces and he was feeling so lonely that, when he felt that bit of comfort that was being offered, Danny allowed himself to be held as he leaned against the broad chest of his partner.
Right there, on the beach, in Steve's arms, Danny cried his eyes and heart out. For several minutes, tears streamed down his eyes, soaking the front of Steve's shirt.
Steve could feel his shirt getting wetter and wetter with every sob that ripped through Danny's weak body and, instead of pulling apart, that sensation only made him tighten the embrace around the smaller body that he had in his arms. He even let his hands run slow and soft traces up and down Danny's back.
For a long time, Steve didn't say a word. What could he say that wouldn't be a flat lie?
That it was okay? Sure it was okay for Danny to cry and to let it all out... but things weren't okay. Things were the exact opposite of okay.
That things would be okay? That was also a lie. Because things wouldn't be okay. It would never be okay, no matter the time... Eventually, it would be easier to think of this day and not feel the overwhelming pain, but that was as far as things would go.
Then, it occurred to Steve something that was not a lie and he softly whispered on Danny's ear, "I'm here..."
Ever so slowly, Steve noticed that Danny's body wasn't convulsing anymore. He felt the violent shakes start to subside, giving place to a ragged breathing pattern that was the smoother reaction that Steve witnessed the whole day.
With every second that passed, Danny was becoming more and more aware of everything. His whole body was aching; his legs from running, his head from crying, his heart from the loss...
"I lost my everything," he whispered to himself. "I'm alone now..."
But Steve heard it.
They were still tangled together when Danny heard Steve's voice speaking directly to him, in a soft tone. "You're not alone, Danno."
Danny blinked a couple of times and, only then he became aware of the fact that he had been holding onto Steve's shirt tightly. He only vaguely remembered been desperately searching for something to hold onto while his world veered out of control...
The proximity shocked him at first but, along with shock, came something that slightly resembled comfort. It was unusual, but it also felt a somewhat familiar... Danny couldn't name what or how he felt -- it was something else.
Carefully, he let go of the black and completely wet fabric and slowly pulled apart, creating a small gap between him and Steve.
"I know you can't replace your loss and I'm not asking you to try to do so," Steve began, still keeping his arms around Danny.
Danny heard Steve's voice, but he didn't look in his eyes, or moved any further for that matter. He didn't push Steve's hands away or tried to stand. He just sat there, immobile.
"But don't ever think that you are alone. What about Kono? And Chin? And Rachel and Stan? They're there for you, Danno. I am there for you. I mean, I know we might not be as great and lovely as Gracie... but we'll always be there for you, buddy."
Steve needed Danny to understand what he was saying. He had already told Danny before -- that he wasn't alone -- and, even though he meant it now and then, he needed Danny to believe his words. Because Steve was vaguely familiar with the situation that Danny was now...
When his father was murdered and he went back to Hawaii, Steve thought he'd have to face that tough ordeal alone, but then something happened... Danny happened. Even though they were strangers by that time, Danny had been there for Steve. And Steve would do just the same for the blonde because he cared about him. Deeply.
Danny's whispered words hit Steve's ears and it sounded more beautiful than the most harmonious song he'd ever heard.
"Ohana," Steve said in agreement.
Finally Danny raised his head and his puffy red eyes met Steve's and then he knew. He knew that that man, Steven J. McGarrett, whom was often a pain in Danny's ass, was also his God-given solace...
To say that it was hard to bear the loss of his daughter was a huge understatement. Grace's loss was brutal. Vile. The weight of such pain was overwhelming to its maximum; it was like his world had been engulfed with darkness and coldness and it had taken all Danny's will to live... or so he thought.
Right there, in Steve's arms, Danny could almost see the glimpse of a silver lining. He could almost believe that, some day, he would smile again... Right there, Danny believed Steve's words.
"I'm- I'm not..." he told himself, still slightly dubiously.
"You're most definitely not, Danno," reassured Steve.
With one finger, he brushed a strand of Danny's blonde hair back before closing his arms around his body and pulling him closer to him once again. Welcoming warmth spread through his body when Danny willingly snuggled up to his embrace and Steve placed a chaste kiss on the top of Danny's head.
Danny had lost his life, his will to live... but he had gained something else to keep him going.
That island wasn't an island anymore, just like those arms weren't just another pair of arms anymore...
Steve's arms held a lingering promise of redemption.
Steve's arms were full of hopes and maybe even dreams.
In Steve's arms, Danny had found purpose. A new (and unexpected) purpose in life.
And his beloved little Gracie, that now belonged to Heaven, would now be a part of that island, which she had loved from day one...
Hawaii would be where Grace would rest forever and it would also be where Danny would stay forever.
The island had stopped being a "pineapple infested hell hole" to become Danny's home.
Along with Steve McGarrett.
Steve, who had been his loyal partner up until now, was now something else... He had become Danny's island of hope in the middle of a sea of despair...
Danny would never forget that day. The day his world turned upside down.
The day he lost everything he ever lived for and everything loved the most... but hadn't lost his ability to love.
— — —
"Lights will guide you home and ignite your bones and I will try to fix you."
Fix You ~ Coldplay