Awaiting My Last Breath Awaiting My Last Breath
By Famira Damaris

Disclaimer: I don't own Pearl Harbor or anything to do with movies! Blah!
Author's Note: I know I didn't like the movie that much, but seeing it another time made it a bit more bearable: enough to make me write a more serious fanfic. ^_^; It takes place just after the Doolittle Raid: however, Danny doesn't die immediately: he's not shot through the chest, as in the movie. This is basically an angst/fluff fic from Rafe's view, some different lines from the movie, and stuff. I hope I'm not portraying Rafe as big and dumb, rather a bit clueless (consciously: subconsciously, he knows what he wants) on his emotions and stuff (his vocabulary should be fine: it's his associations with reading and letters that's screwed up). Angsty in the beginning, but fluffy ending maybe…other stuff I need to say…don't remember if Red was in Rafe's bomber or Danny's, so he's now in Rafe's. It basically starts after the bombing of Tokyo: recaps a bit of what happened, and then changes.. I'll try to keep the dialogue similar (such as I'll be using the word "Japs" for Japanese, merely because you here it a lot in the movie, and it's probably a word that Rafe and the others would think). R mostly for language, as I happen to think that "fuck" isn't PG-13 level.
[...]'s are thoughts, italics are for emphasis (or sounds), \…\'s are for subconscious stuff or remembered conversations. Anything that it completely in italics is a flashback (don't know if I'm going to put one in though: if it is, it'll be in another chapter – I'm only planning this to probably be two chapters long, at most, but it's pretty long, though not a 40+ page thingie).
Things to look for: general angst, mixed with lots of sappiness and fluff: this is probably the most sappy, corny story in the whole Pearl Harbor category O_o'. Almost all of the stuff that's in \...\'s are snippets of conversations between young Danny and Rafe as children). There's shounen-ai (romantic boy\boy relationship). You don't like it, then don't read it. In fact, screw off, if you're so afraid of it! As for all you people that're tolerant, feel free to continue on. ^_^;
___________________________________
___________________________________

Awaiting my last breath
The mirror calls my name
It's showing me the way
Into the dark
The bridge appears
I jump into the dark side
And hear the voice it's cold as ice
"Welcome to reality"

Where am I now?
Darkness surrounds
Can't go forward
Can't go back

- Blind Guardian "Lost In The Twilight Hall"

Awaiting My Last Breath

We were running on empty tanks. I kept my hands on the controls – even though I was wearing gloves, I had a feeling that I had such a tight grip that my knuckles were probably white by now. I gritted my teeth – I could see the shoreline approaching. We should make it, but the ominous sputtering and clanking from the plane was giving me my doubts. [Come on, come girl, you can do it] It was practically a chant, that, one that I repeated mentally to myself in the past hour. I could hear Red stuttering in the background, as I shouted back, asking how much fuel there was left.

None. I hated to say it, but we were screwed.

I wasn't particularly worried about myself. I mean, I was worried, but I was still more concerned about the others in the bombers, especially Danny. I ground my jaws together, focusing on steering the plane toward the mainland, banishing the confusion of thoughts regarding Danny and Evelyn. We couldn't die – Danny couldn't die! He had a kid to be coming home to, a future! [Dammit, Rafe! You'd better do something!] I shouted at myself. Stupid, yeah, I know, to think that I had complete control of the situation. Yeah right. I wish.

"Rafe! W-we've got nothin' left!" Red bellowed. "And engine one's g-g-going to die!"

I drew in sharp intake of breath, glancing over to my left. The clanking had been the left propeller, as it struggled to turn. [You bastard, don't give in on me now!] I cursed, my heart leaping into my throat as I saw the propeller slowing down. I moved my hand down, hearing a groan from the bomber as the engine stopped, and rerouted the power for a brief second to the propeller. Red stuttered nervously, his hands dancing along the controls, trying to help. The engine reluctantly started again, coughing as it began to spin again. The aircraft, which had been leaning drunkenly, righted itself.

I found myself glancing over at Danny's bomber again. I don't know why I kept looking, didn't know what I kept expecting to see. He was flying close, almost on my tail – I could see his lean face clearly. His expression was closed – he knew as well as I that we probably wouldn't make it. I felt a moment of anger [Dammit, Danny! We're probably going to die here! You shouldn't have come – what's there to prove?] Danny still was my best friend - despite the fact that Evelyn had apparently chosen him over me; I didn't want anything happening to him. I let the anger fade away, trying to focus on flying the B-25.

Someone shouted something about making a landing in the ocean. I replied that it was out of the question. The dark mass of the land in the deepening twilight was approaching, cliffs rising up out of the choppy water. We were soon flying over the dark land.

The radio between the bombers crackled with Danny's voice, "Rafe, where're we gonna land?" He was hiding his emotions, but I could detect the undertones of fear.

"We're gonna try those nice little rice paddies right o'er there, Danny, so keep your pants on!" I reassured him. I definitely didn't feel as confident as I sounded, but what the hell could I do? We were flying alone: Colonel Doolittle and the other bombers had separated from us during the attack on Tokyo, and suddenly everyone was expecting me to be the leader. I damned my luck to hell then – I had just realized I was going to be responsible for my friends' lives.

"We're right behind you, Rafe," I winced at the trust in Danny's voice, but didn't reply.

I steered the shuddering B-25 down, toward the green farmland flashing below us. The dark green and brown blotches of the rice paddies rose up to meet us. I had been so focused on bringing the bomber down, that at first I hadn't noticed the white flag on the ground.

"Japs!" Red gasped, recognizing the banner.

I heaved up on the controls, trying to pull the aircraft up from its descent. It coughed, roaring in protest, and I knew we were going to crash-land. I spoke into the radio as the bomber dipped again toward the rice paddies, warning the others that we were in enemy territory. The ground was racing up toward us.

"-out of the nose! Get out of the nose!"

Oh fuck. Fuckfuckfuck.

I had a second to brace myself, still trying to angle the B-25 up, before it ploughed itself into the ground. The world became a jumble of chaos, sound, and pain. I vaguely remember being thrown roughly against the restraints, feeling as if my arms were going to tear themselves from their sockets, the shrieking of the metal hull being torn apart.

We careened to a bone-jarring stop. I seemed to have stopped thinking, as I unbuckled myself automatically, moved on instinct. I heard myself barking orders to the others, crawling after them through the shattered remains of the aircraft after them. I was moving in a daze, unable to concentrate on anything. I was the last to drop out of the bomber onto the ground, glancing about. Everyone seemed alright, despite the nasty bruises.

"We've gotta get outta here. The patrols are gonna be comin' after us," I heard myself say. Weird - I didn't sound as if I had just escaped dying in the clunking metal deathtrap of the B-25.

They'd come a lot quicker than I had expected.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

The Japanese soldiers had us boxed in. The crew and I were returning the fire as best we could. We were holding out, the hulk of the B-25 serving as protection, the shots from the rifles pinging off the twisted metal. I remember jamming another magazine into my gun, tossing the spent one aside. Through the smoke from the downed plane, I could see more men rising up from the shadows, and joining the patrol. I knew, with a sinking feeling, that we'd run out of firepower before they did. Strangely, all that came to mind was an image of Danny with one of those typically doomed expressions of his. Funny, considering it was probably more likely that I was the one that was going to be doomed here. Sucked to be me, didn't it?

"-we're boxed in!" Someone was shouting into a radio. It could have been me, but I wasn't sure. I briefly wondered who they were talking to: I had completely forgotten about Danny and his crew, didn't think that they were close by.

I was leaning over to get another magazine when the air exploded. Quite literally exploded. We were flattened as the ground just yards ahead erupted in a shower of dirt and mud, bullets digging themselves into a trail of gunfire that was quickly leading to the Japanese beyond. I looked up in time to see the dark blur of a B-25 roar overhead, guns blazing, monstrous in size. It was descending rapidly, and I could only watch in frozen horror, my mouth almost hanging open in a gape of shock.

…Danny…!

The bomber slammed into the ground, a pillar of dark soil shooting up on the impact. Even from where we were, small bits of debris rained down on us. Fire was springing up from where the plane had crashed – I blinked at seeing the first flickers, and it struck home. Danny. Danny. Danny had been on the plane! I was on my feet and stumbling toward the crash site like a mad man.

"Danny!" I screamed. Slipped. Nearly fell on wet grass. The others were shouting at me to wait, to hold up. I ignored them, plunging through the tall plants, having a hard time seeing. Danny. Oh God, Danny…a man rose up from the brush, shouting something in an alien language as he brought a rifle to bear. I felt my arm shoot up, snap off a shot at the boy's head, fire at another that had popped up from the right, "Danny!"

I could hear a loud groan, as I approached the remains of the B-25. My heart was leaping against my chest, making it hard to hear. All I could think of was Danny. Danny's face, my memories of him, all the cruel things that I had said and thought at him these past days…I hadn't meant any of it, but he couldn't have known…the fire from the wreckage was in merry little embers, lighting everything with an eerie orange glow. I nearly tripped again, staggering as I lost my footing. The others caught up to me then, and I remember someone had righted me – I had come close to planting my face smack-dab into the charred ground. I hadn't noticed: as it was, I had barely noticed the wounded Anthony, must have muttered something to him, as I passed him by in my search for Danny.

I didn't have to look far for my friend.

\…Danny…\

He was lying face-up on the ground, his dark eyes narrowed almost shut in pain. Dirt was marring his face, the unruly mess of black hair sticking together in clumps – whether from blood or from sweat, I couldn't say. I was on my knees in an instant, torn between vast relief and anguish. I was breathing raggedly, as I looked down at the young man that I had practically shared my whole life with. I passed a hand over his forehead, smoothing back the ebony strands.

His eyes fluttered open, at first focusing on a spot beyond me, "I…I've…made…better landings." It sounded like it was torture for him to talk.

I made an attempt to grin weakly, and failed. Danny grimaced, his skin looking deathly pale under the dirt.

"Th-t-there's…som," he swallowed, and tried again, his voice wavering, "somethin'…in…in my neck, I…"

Gingerly, I pushed away the collar of his jacket, and nearly bit my tongue at what I saw. A nasty hook of black metal was stuck in the side of his neck: it jiggled at every breath. A trickle of blood was running down his skin, welling up from around the wound as the metal dug a bit deeper as he talked. I blinked away the tears that I knew were forming involuntarily.

\…"Friends forever, 'kay, Rafe?"…\

"We've got t' get it out, Danny," I said, my own voice quavering, "Jus'…jus' hang on, y'hear?"

"I'm not…gonna make it…" Danny made a strange whimper, looking up at me. I fixed my blue eyes on his clouded brown ones, as if I could will him not to give in.

\…"How long's 'forever', Danny?"…\
\…"I dunno. Pretty long, I reckon"…\

"Sure! Sure you're gonna make it! Don't say that," I replied, with more force than I had intended. I held a hand over the jagged hook of metal, "I'm gonna take it out, 'kay?"

"F-fire away," he choked out. I tried to ignore the fear and pain I could hear in those words, the trust.

\…Stop looking at me like that…\

Reaching down, I took a hold of the strip of meal. It cut into my skin, Danny making a strangled moan of pain as the steel started to slowly slide out of his neck. I held my breath as I pulled it out, wincing as the expression on Danny's face twisted into agony. [Dammit, I'm sorry, Danny!]

\…Always the one in pain, weren't you?…\

"…Hang on, Danny," I breathed. Another tortured gasp from my friend. The metal strip was almost out. I glanced over at Danny. His handsome face was drawn in an expression of agony, and I felt like hitting myself for making him hurt. I positively wanted to beat the living crap out of myself, for feeling so useless.

\…"You're my best friend, y'know that?"…\
\…Some best friend. I can't even help you…\

Another choking groan, as the metal piece slid out. I looked down at Danny, tears making it hard to see clearly. I tossed the steel away, putting my hand over the neck wound in an effort to stem the blood. I didn't hear the crunch of boots on the ground, didn't turn around to see what Danny's clouded wide brown eyes were looking at over my shoulder. So as it was, the blow to the back of my head was a complete surprise.

Whump!

I toppled over, blinded by the furious pain in my skull. I hit the ground next to Danny, out of breath and on the verge of passing out on the spot. Yeah, I know, I'm supposed to be big and strong, but hey – getting clobbered upside the head with a rifle butt isn't something I'm trained to take in a sitting, y'know? Not to mention I'd just crash-landed the B-25, and gotten tossed around like a rag doll. I went down, as there was an explosion of Japanese voices, stars bursting in my vision. I rolled over groggily, seeing boots stomping past. The voices of my friends rose up, lost in the frenzy of barked orders.

\…Danny…Danny…\

I was passing in and out of consciousness. Around me, was a flurry of activity. A glimpse of Danny being lifted roughly to his feet, shooting me a worried glance. Another of Danny flanked by two soldiers, forcing a wooden yoke onto his broad shoulders. I could feel fury raging through me, anger, as I watched his wrists yanked back and tied to the yoke with a wire. I was on almost shaking, seeing red as I lay on the ground.

Dammit, so helpless…Danny…why was I sittin' here, doing nothing?

\…Why doesn't anyone protect you?!…\
\…Why aren't I protecting you?!…\

I shifted onto my stomach. I was ignored for the moment, the soldiers attending to those on their feet. My rage was reaching a peak – my hand inched out, toward the gun that I had dropped. I didn't particularly remember when I had dropped it. The thing was, it was nearby, close at hand. I tensed, expecting to be shot by the Japanese any second. God, I wanted to kill someone. Those damned assholes were hurting my Danny! My companion. My best friend.

I rolled over, snatching the gun from the dust. I snapped off several shots, the two men holding Danny toppling to the ground as the bullets hit them. I turned on my back awkwardly, training the weapon on one that was about to return fire, a bloody little hole appearing in his neck. He flopped down, as the rest whirled toward me. I raised the gun.

Click. Clickclick. Click.

Shit.

Of all the irony: I was out of bullets. I looked up, just in time to see the two remaining Japanese level their rifles at me. The world seemed to almost stop – once again, I did nothing, only watching in shock as the leader of the little group, an officer, started to pull the trigger.

At that moment, a furious cry tore through the air. A dark shape hurtled past, throwing itself into the officer. The bullet dug itself into the plating of the downed B-25. I watched with wide eyes as the shape – Danny – straightened, in front of me.

…Danny!

The bullets hit him. He staggered from the impacts – as he stumbled, I observed with a sort of morbid fascination that there were holes in his jacket, one over his stomach, two in his legs, that somehow he was still standing. All this had passed in a matter of seconds, yet it seemed like years. Other shots roared through the air – Red and Anthony had gotten a hold of their own weapons, and were fighting back. Like in a dream, the two enemies dropped to the ground slowly, like feathers. I stared as my friend before me took a step backward, falling, falling…

Reality slapped me in the face.

"Danny!" I screamed, as he collapsed onto his back. He was gasping as I gathered him into my lap, choking. The fires from the crash were giving his face a sickly pallor. I tried to still his shaking with my hands, untying him from the wooden yoke.

Those dark eyes met mine, "I…I can't…ca-can't make it…"

"Yes, you can!" I cried. As if I could refuse the fact that my best friend was probably dying: as if it was problem that could be ignored, could be kept to oneself, away from others, "Dammit, yes you can, Danny!"

\…Alone…you're leaving me…\
\…What happened to "forever", Danny?…\

Danny coughed, grimacing. God, he looked like he was in so much pain - he was holding onto consciousness by his will alone. His hands were clenched around my right in a death-grip.

"S-sorry...Rafe," Danny mumbled.

I leaned down, my eyes stinging violently, as he continued.

"Gonna…leave y'all. Shoulda-shoulda been…a-a better…friend."

"Rafe! Rafe, I t-t-think the Chinese are c-comin'!" Red shouted. He was staying several yards away with the others – no doubt to give us breathing space or something. I turned back to the shuddering young man in my arms, knowing that tears were spilling down my cheeks and not caring if they were.

"Don't go sayin' that!" I protested. He felt so small and fragile in my arms – nothing like the man that had been almost as big as I, as tall as I. The shivering had stopped, as I clutched him to me.

"S-so cold…"

"Jus' hang on, Danny," I said. I tried to put hope into my voice, "The Chinese are comin'. We can get you all patched up, so hang on, y'hear?"

A strangled laugh met this statement. Danny trembled with his pain-filled chuckles. He probably knew as well as I that he most likely wouldn't survive. We'd been both been taught in the military that stomach wounds were usually fatal: though not immediately, but extremely agonizing.

"My legs're sh…shot," he was speaking through gritted teeth, "An'…y'expect me to wa-a…walk?"

"We're not gonna leave y'here." I growled, my voice barely audible. The idea of leaving my best friend alone to die suddenly terrified me – I don't know why.

Danny didn't reply, and for an earth-shattering moment, I thought he was dead.

"Danny? Danny!"

The once luminous eyes flickered open, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

"Rafe!" I looked up. Just beyond the light cast from the flames, I could make out several figures standing. Anthony was gesturing at me, glancing every now and then at the group of people.

"What?"

"The Chinese're here. I guess they're gonna take us to their village or something." And unspoken, he said that we had to get going, that the Japanese would come if we sat here any longer.

I regarded Danny. Leaving him was out of the question: I swore that I'd rather die myself than leave him behind. I wasn't thinking only of Evelyn's baby either…I couldn't put a finger on it, my sudden devotion to him. A mixture of remorse and rage overwhelmed me. Angry that I couldn't do anything for him, guilty for being such an asshole to him, taking him for granted all my life. Sure, I'd "protect" him, ever since we were kids…but I'd only been thinking of myself.

"Danny, we gotta go." I said.

He only grunted. [I'm gonna have to move him…] Muttering an apology, I carefully propped Danny to a sitting position, hunching over and draping his arms around my neck. It had been years since I'd given anyone a piggyback: of course, I wasn't doing this for fun – this was the only way I could think to carry him. Was I worried that I'd make his wound any worse? Not particularly.

I think it was pretty obvious to both of us that he was going to die here. It was just a matter of when.

No matter how much I tried to refuse this knowledge, it kept staring me in the face. Danny most likely wouldn't see the dawn of tomorrow and I would. The others probably had figured this out. Despite the logic of it, I couldn't bring myself to leave my friend behind…I wanted to be close to him. To say how sorry I was? No, it something more. I didn't know at the time what it was: only later would I figure it out.

\…I'm a fucking asshole…\

Danny weakly clasped his legs around my waist, hooking them through the crooks of my elbows. He was barely conscious, and I could feel his heartbeat fluttering against my back. He was being one hell of a trooper: he was hanging onto life with a tenacious grip. I blinked away the tears, taking in a deep breath as I strode over toward the rest of the crew and the Chinese farmers. The collection of men and women spoke among themselves for a moment, and then as one started across the rice paddies, down the dusty trails between them.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

We struck out in a line behind them, Anthony leading us. I lagged, ending up in the back as we trooped through the increasing twilight. Danny was extremely heavy, and I was struggling under his weight. The Chinese were chattering quietly: none of us understood a word they had said. I was at least a dozen feet behind the others, still keeping up. Red was silent, his pop-eyes looking about frantically for a sign that we'd been found, that we'd have to make a stand, gripping the Japanese rifle in his hands. The tension between the crew was almost solid, all of us jumping at every little sound.

As for me, I was walking with my head down. Danny had apparently lost consciousness sometime during the solemn trip, and I was brooding: basically cursing myself for being such a heartless bastard, thinking of all the things I should have told Danny, doing a little self-introspection. Taking little note of the land or the others ahead of us. I was very aware of the wet spot on my back and arms – Danny's blood seeping from his wounds into my clothes.

"…Rafe?" Danny mumbled into my shoulder blades.

"Yeah?"

"No…no hard feelings, right?"

I almost started crying again. About Evelyn? Hell, at the moment, she was the least of my worries.

"No. Danny, it'd probably be better if you didn't waste your energy talking."

"D-don't bu…bullshit me, Rafe," I could feel him take another tortured breath of air, "S'not…gonna matter. A...at least, it wo-won't in a few hours."

I trudged on. Told him I didn't like it that he was suddenly so pessimistic. This brought a dry laugh, forced up from him.

"Jus' typical…of you. That's…what I liked 'bout you, Rafe. O…optimist."

"'Like'. You're not dead." I replied, finding it hard to speak evenly. Yet.

I could feel the fine hairs on Danny's head tickling the nape of my neck, as he nuzzled his face wearily into my back.

"…Will be. A-Ain't gonna change a thing..."

\…"Aw, come on, I don't go back on my promises, Rafe"…\
\…"Alright, I'm takin' your word for it, Danny"…\

"Don't talk like that, Danny"

"I…" Danny paused. I had the feeling that he wanted to say something important, something regarding me, but he cut himself off. " – Nev-nevermind." Even more quietly, "...Ain't gonna change a thing."

\…"Forever" isn't going to last very long…\

I was silent for a second, gathering my thoughts. I was confused – every time I had thought I had everything straightened out, something would happen that would turn everything upside down. I thought I would break down at any moment. Of all the people that had come and gone in my life, Danny was the closest. He was everything to me – family, brother, partner, rival – and the thought of losing him was driving me crazy. I hadn't known how much I cared for him before, "Danny…"

No reply. He'd passed out again. I swallowed, and continued my trek, staggering under his weight. Every now and then I would mumble some type of encouragement, however empty. Sometimes I would talk: about the old times, about the future. I even told him about Evelyn, the child she was bearing. That he would be a father. Everything poured from me, as I babbled. My fears, my hopes, my dreams, my doubts. Everything. Anything to try to keep his mind off dying.

All this, however, would fall on deaf ears.

It was when we arrived at the village, that I had made the discovery: Danny Walker was dead, his eyes closed as if he were sleeping. He'd died as I was carrying him. I hadn't known he was dead until we got there, when I had turned my head around to tell him, and noticed that he wasn't breathing, nor was his heart beating. He was still warm – he couldn't have been dead for very long.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I think time stopped for me at that point. I couldn't go forward, couldn't think of a future without Danny. I couldn't seek safety in the memories of the past – all consisted of Danny, and it was agonizing to have to think of him. I didn't know where I was: when I returned to Evelyn, I think everyone thought I'd went cuckoo.

Maybe I did. After all, my best friend had died. He'd meant more to me than even Evelyn. Made sense.

I know I'm crazy not right now. The others still think I am. Everyone's probably wondering why I'm writing this account: seems like I wouldn't want to remember it, that it's a nightmare to be buried. They're no doubt wondering who the hell I'm talking to as I write this, why I'd suddenly laugh at something for no apparent reason. Why I'm so much happier now. A bit confusing, I know. I know all of it sounds crazy. But why should I go into detail any further?

A promise is a promise. A friend once told me "forever".

Forever it is, then.

-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

I set my pen down. It's only been a year or so since World War II's ended: I'm not even thirty yet. Which means I can stay up all night if I want. I stretch, my muscles and tendons creaking in protest. I just finished my personal account – nice to get it out of the way. I try not to write when the others are awake: I first see to it that little Danny is tucked into bed, and Evelyn's sound asleep before coming here. She gets so worried when I start talking and laughing with "no one", that I just wait until she's out like a light.

I love Evelyn. She means a lot to me, but…

"Finally finished?"

I nod, leaning back from the oak desk and tipping back the chair onto two legs, "Yeah."

"Hey, I'd be careful if I were you." A faint chuckle, "One of these days, you're gonna just tip right back and crack open that head of yours."

I make a face, but I set the chair down on all four legs. Can't have my brains messing up the carpet, now can I?

"Sure, sure, fine. Don't really like the idea of bustin' my head open anyway."

A ghostly pair of muscular arms wraps themselves around my neck, despite the fact that I'm sitting down. All I can feel is a slight cold sensation – a bit strange to see parts of pale hands disappearing into my collarbone, but I'm used to it. Still, it's one reminder that we're separated by boundaries, how limited we are. I close my eyes, flicking a rebellious strand of dirty-blond hair up with a puff of breath. We are silent: not one of those awkward ones, but a comfortable silence, reserved for close friends.

I crane my head up to look at my visitor. Translucent brown eyes meet mine, and I'm awarded with a warm smile. I grin back, raising my hand and laying it on my shoulder. I pass right through his arm, but he understands the gesture. I look out the window – it's raining right now, a soft drizzle. I'm thinking right now, of many things, mostly about him.

"Rafe?"

"Yeah?" I say. I feel a whisper of cool air as he moves away, rounding the chair and "leaning" on the desk. I drop my hand back into my lap. He looks exactly the same: still has that we're-doomed expression, the same unruly black hair, the same roguish grin. Exactly how I remember him. He'll probably look the same until the day I die.

"You're not upset or anything?" He pauses, looking down at his feet as they pass right through the carpet without a sound, "I mean, we've always been friends, always will be, right?"

"Right." I return. "Jus' like you said yourself."

A barely audible sigh of relief from him, "It must be hard. The others can't see me, can't hear me. They think you're ol' Crazy Rafe. I jus' want to make sure you don't choose to go early. You've got a family, after all."

"I'm hardly suicidal." I grin, "I'll grow up into a old man with Danny and Evelyn, so don't worry about a thing, y'hear?"

"Jus' making sure, Rafe," he crosses his arms across his chest – I can see the oak finish of the desk right through him, "Hey, how old's Danny?"

"He's two."

"Man, it jus' 'bout shocked the livin' beejezus outta me to find out that I had a son," he gives me a wistful half-smile, his dark bangs hanging across his eyes, "Sometimes I wish I could speak to them, Rafe. Except for you, I'm alone – you're 'bout the only person I can talk to..."

I try to comfort him: "We'll all be joining you at some point, Danny."

"Yeah. I know. I'll be waiting for you."

I nod in understanding. I had been a shattered man when I had returned from China: it was when I was reunited with Evelyn, that I had realized the feelings that I had for Danny. I think he had already known, even during the Doolittle Raid. I, of course, hadn't the slightest clue then. I make a small sound of contentment: I've a comfortable life, no longer agonizing so much over Danny's death. Why should I, when he visits me practically every day? Even if we can't touch each other, we can still talk. Of the past, the present, and the future: I'm actually happy, and I think Danny is too.

Besides, we both know that one day I'm going to be reunited with him. Forever.

I stand up. It's late, and I should probably be getting to bed. I want to talk to Danny more, but it's almost three in the morning. The ghostly figure of my friend steps out from the desk, seeing that I have to leave. He doesn't want to go any more than I, but he sees the necessity of it – if Evelyn wakes up and finds that I'm not in bed with her, she'll most likely throw a fit. We exchange glances: we know the same woman almost as well as we know each other.

We embrace. I hold out my arm, wrapping them around the nearly transparent body: I'm careful to keep them from passing through his figure. He silently returns the gesture, a cold sensation on my neck as he places a hand on my neck – otherwise, I feel nothing, no sensation of flesh. He's pressed against me – I can see him distinctly, see the fine strands of hair on his head – but I might as well be hugging air. Still, we hold each other in our arms, as best we can.

"I'll always be at your side." Danny whispers. I smile at this. From life unto death.

\…Awaiting my last breath…\

Fin
>>>>>
Well, the sappiness level is running pretty high. This is my first serious fanfic for this category. Don't know if anyone will like it: feedback would be greatly appreciated. Don't know if the shounen-ai factor is noticeable (some people might argue there is none, but I'm intending there to be slash). Danny's actually the coolest character in "Pearl Harbor" (*shivers* Man, was Rafe a twit: the result of a bad script, I suppose, because you can see the actors acting as best they can. Blame it all on Randell Wallace. -_-;). I took an idea from Wyna Hiros's fanfic Corrosive Tears: the use of present and past tenses. I don't know if this fanfic is any good or not…well, can't say that I didn't try. ^_^
Anything else that I need to say? I could try to make this multi-chapter, if people gave me suggestions or something – otherwise, I'm keeping it at this length. It's really long-winded, I know, but I couldn't think of any way to break it up. Yes, it's pretty sappy that Danny returns as a ghost: but instead of just watching Rafe and the others, I wanted there to be a bit more interaction – never thought Danny as a character would just sit and observe. Man, it would have been cool if "Pearl Harbor" had a shounen-ai relationship instead of that idiotic love triangle *sighs*. Oh well. These are primarily fictional characters, so I don't want the lectures about the movie, like I've seen in some other reviews. Lessee...got some flames. Got a good laugh. Day looks a bit more positive. Looking back at this fanfic...still surprised at the sheer sappiness (so campy! ¬.¬).
I just returned from Anime Expo...serious ass-kicking there! I really wanna go back: buncha people dressed up and I finally saw "X: The Movie" and "Akira"! The best animated movies...^_^ And it was cheap! Only $45 for four days. Fun. And I got to see someone cosplay as a Transformer and as Wing Zero Custom.
And now for some shameless self-promotion: *gets onto knees and grovels* Please click on my author name and read my other fanfics! *gets off knees* There. That's all I wanted to say. ^_^
Suggestions, feedback, reviews, whatever, feel free to send to shampoo_famira@yahoo.com or AIM me at S Duo Maxwell 02. Flames will be burned and mocked relentlessly. Thanks for reading! ^_^