Crashing the plane into a group of Japanese soldiers seemed easier than the struggle of staying conscious now. Danny felt as if his eyelids suddenly weighed as much as lead, and the rest of him felt even heavier. He hoped that maybe if he could keep his eyes open, he'd gradually be able to move to moving his fingers, and then his arms, and then the rest of him. To his dismay, the only thing he felt then was a sharp pain in his neck.
Gunshots rang out, and all he could do was hope that his friends weren't the ones being shot at. Then came shouting, and he thought he heard his name being called. He tried to shout, but all that came out was a feeble croak.
"Danny." Rafe was in front of him now. His best friend was covered in mud and whatever else, his expression anxious, but otherwise he seemed fine.
"Rafe," Danny's voice came out hoarse, and he tried to make a move to get up. Another sharp pain prevented him from getting very far. Rafe said something he failed to comprehend.
"I got something in my neck," Danny told him, clenching his teeth as he tried to keep from crying out. Rafe murmered softly and tried to get the piece of debri that had lodged itself into Danny's neck. It hurt so much Danny felt the need to spit out every curse word he knew. The tugging stopped briefly, and Danny caught sight of a soldier creeping up on them, gun ready. Before he could give any warning, Rafe was knocked to the ground and they were surrounded. The Japanese were shouting at them in their foreign tongue, and Danny felt metal jab against his temple. Realizing he had a gun to his head, he automatically squeezed his eyes shut, sucking in and inhaling what he thought were going to be his last breaths of air.
Danny was yanked off the ground by the Japanese soldier, and his arms strapped into some kind of big clunky form of handcuffs that went over his neck. The pressure of the wood hurt against his wound, but the rush of adrenaline somewhat eased the pain. He looked to his best friend, on the ground, blood trickling down his face, trying to convey one last apology through his eyes to Rafe while the soldier started to tug at his binds and he was forced to follow.
The sound of gun shot rang, and then another. Danny saw the soldier who had a hold on him drop dead into the grass. He turned and saw Rafe, gun in hand, firing at another soldier who dropped dead as well. Rafe aimed again, but when he pulled the trigger, all he got was a faint click. The soldier who had been his target pulled his rifle up and aimed at Rafe, but Danny pushed forward in a last minute effort to save his friend and hit the soldier with the wooden contraption he was bound too.
His triumph was short lived however, when he felt a sharp sting in his lower back, and then his shoulder. He stumbled and then fell, his face meeting the cold mud. There was more shouting and gunfire, chaos around him. Danny felt helpless with his cheek pressed into the mud, unable to use his arms that were held tightly in their constraints. All he could do is lay there and hope for the best while he slwoly felt the life draining out of him.
Rafe pulled his hands from the ties and flipped Danny over. Danny watched Raye's eyes as they surveyed his own shaking form. He heard Rafe curse under his breath.
"Hold on now, Danny, hold on now—"
"Rafe, I'm not…gonna make it," he breathed, knowing the time for him to go was emminent. He even found himself wishing death would come sooner and just get it over with.
"Yes you are, You hear me?" Rafe insisted, taking Danny and shaking him by the shoulders a little, a wild look in his eyes, "You're all right, you're gonna make it."
Danny felt tears spill over, clouding his vision.
"Listen to me you can't die. You know why? 'Cause you're gonna be a father," Rafe told him, his voice cracking at the last word. There was a pregant pause at the confession. Danny was frozen. Father? What had he done? The whole situation had been jacked up as it is, and now he found he'd actually messed things up even more and gotten Evelyn pregnant. As if her life had not beeen complicated enough as it was. He exhaled deeply, Evelyn's pretty face flashing through his mind. He remebered taking her on the plane at sunset, surrounded by deep oranges and pinks of the Pearl Harbor sunset, her laugh filling the cockpit when he surprised her with a barrel roll. He wanted to grab onto that image, hold it, use it to pull himself back up, but he couldn't. It broke his heart.
"You're gonna be a daddy. You're gonna be a father," Rafe repeated, bringing Danny back to the present, "Please…" Rafe looked at him hopefully, and Danny' heart hurt even more now, more than any other part of his aching body. Danny felt his throat tighten with tears. He struggled to keep them back. He felt Rafe pull him close, like he was trying to hold onto him, keep death from taking him. Danny took a deep breath, making sure his next words would be clear, and then spoke:
"Now you are," he whispered to Rafe, looking at his desperate and frantic, dirt-smudged face, matching it with a calm expression, trying to assure him everything was going to be alright. In his heart, he knew everything would turn out alright. He knew that in exchange for his life he'd helped his friend, his brother, and he hated to leave Evelyn, pregnant with a child, his child, but he knew Rafe would be there for her. It will all work out, he told himself.
His mind at peace, the world faded to black.
There was a low murmuring, like a heart beat, thumping softly and somewhat unrythmically. It gradually got louder, until it was recognizable not a a irregular heart beat, but in fact voices. Danny heard voices, but it was all still black. He always pictured heaven being a little.. brighter.
Danny started to believe that maybe he hadn't gone to heaven. Maybe his last few weeks had screwed up his record he guessed God had been keeping and instead he had gone to Hell.
A loud laugh out of the blue startled him, and Danny found he could open his eyes. He squinted, trying to see clearly. The world was a blur, or wherever he was anyway, was a blur of dull colors, mostly grey. He squeezed his eyes shut and blinked them, trying to adjust his eyes.
Where in the hell am I? Danny wondered, when he heard another booming laugh. It kind of hurt, considering his head was throbbing. He made out a low, metal looking ceiling. He tried to lift his head and look around, but his body was aching, and felt to heavy to move.
"He's comin' around, boys," he heard someone say, a low, gruff grumble of a voice.
"Danny? You awake?"
Danny recognized Rafe's voice. Danny groaned inwardly.
"Don't tell me you're dead too, Rafe," Danny mumbled, a great sinking feeling in his chest, "I die trying to save you and you go and get yourself killed anyways… Typical." Too think that all of his efforts had gone to waste.
There were mutlitiple chuckles that once again surprised Danny and Rafe's face came into view, all smiles and bandages.
"I'm not dead, Danny, and neither are you," Rafe told him, "Look here-" and then Danny felt a good pinch on his arm and he flinched.
"Ow, Damn it," Danny lifted his head even though it felt like it was on the verge of exploding, "You didn't need to pinch me, I could have figured it out." Despite the confusion, and the irritableness he was feeling, Danny couldn't help smile. He thought for sure he was dead, and that Rafe had died as well. He tried to get up, hoping to figure out just exactly where he was, but Rafe forced him back down.
"Stay down, you still need to rest a bit. We're on our way back now," Rafe told him, and then Gooz came into view as well. Gooz seemed pretty alright, besides a thick bandage over the left side of his head and a couple cuts and bruises here and there.
"Hey there, partner," Gooz nodded at him, a little smirk on his face, "You almost got us killed with your little kamikaze stunt." Danny gave another little, somewhat painful smile.
"Glad to see you're alright, Gooz," Danny said. Looking between the two of them a couple of times, he then added, "How long have I been out?"
"Three days," Rafe supplied, "You sort of woke up a couple times but I don't think you had a clue what was going on. You were talking gibberish."
"Three days..?" Danny's eyes widened at this piece of information. How could he have been out for three days? He didn't remember anything back after he checked out in China.
"Yeah, and we'll tell you all about it when we get back," Rafe assured Danny, nudging him back down. Danny hadn't realized it, but he leaned forward a bit, "Now you get to sleep. You still need more rest."
Danny suddenly felt drowsy at the mention of sleep. He briefly wondered how he could sleep for three days and still be tired. He must have been roughed up pretty bad. He tried to keep his mind active by thinking of how he was going to talk to Evelyn when they got back. He remembered what Rafe at told him, when he'd been on the verge of death, about him being a father. The simple thought was exhausting enough to tip him over the edge into sleep.