This is my second story from episode 1.06. It's definitely one of my favourites, mostly for that wonderful car chase, but also the scene where Danny tries to comfort Kono in her office. I think it's lovely, it really shows the bond between them. And what he says about cops being meant to save the day, but sometimes being unable to, made quite an impression on me.
I really hope I don't offend anyone with this story, but this is my interpretation of why Danny might have said such a thing.
If Danny is in his mid thirties now, he'd have been in his mid twenties when 9/11 took place. If he graduated from the Academy around that time, it's possible that he, and others, would have been called to the Towers.
So as Kono remembers the friend that she's lost, Danny does the same.
The story follows straight on from the end of the episode. I'd like to dedicate it to all the victims of 9/11, and their surviving families.
Among the crowds of people who were waiting for them, he was the last person that Kono expected to see. At first, she thought it was a trick of the fading light. But no. Standing alone on the beach, tellingly distant from everyone else, it was definitely him. That bright blue shirt, and mop of blond hair, were unmistakeable.
Kono frowned, as surprised to see him as she was curious. He had no reason to be here. He certainly wouldn't have come voluntarily. He hated the beach.
She'd left her phone behind, too, while she'd taken part in Ian's paddle out, and - damn it! The first, sacred rule of being a cop – you should never be unreachable. Less than two months out of the Academy, and she'd broken it.
Sprinting up to him, Kono's mind jumped to the most obvious reason for why Danny was there – her explanation and apology tumbling out so fast that she didn't notice how much they'd startled him.
"A new case already? I'm sorry, Danny, I left my phone here, so if you've been calling me…"
"What? Oh no, no, it's okay, it's nothing like that," he assured her, smiling, rather awkwardly, as he held out her towel. "No, I just… well, I know the last few days have been rough on you, with losing such a close friend. I've lost special friends too, and… well, I just wanted to see if you were okay."
She must have reacted with something more than a smile, since he grinned sheepishly back at her – reminding her that, beneath all the city boy bravado, Danny Williams could be endearingly sensitive.
"I – I mean, I know how strong you are. Hell, you could kick my butt back to Jersey, but… well, um…"
"I'd never do that, Danny," Kono finished for him, smiling now as she linked her arm through his. "For one thing, you're too good a friend. And it's a looong way back to Jersey."
"Yeah, tell me about it," Danny sighed, absently rubbing his knee while he stared out across the ocean. As if being a haole wasn't bad enough, now he was a haole with a handicap – and he silently hated it.
He was so far from home, so far from his family, and… well, it had been his decision to leave. Now he had to live with that decision and, however hard it was, find a way to make the best of it.
Access to Grace, however short and stressfully fought for, helped. Three already special friendships were making it easier too.
Remembering that one of those friends was grieving for her own loss, and remembering why he'd come, Danny pushed his own pain aside – smiling at her, resting his hand on Kono's shoulder while he nodded towards the crowd around them.
"So this ceremony… you do this for all surfers?"
Caught off guard 'yeah, now I know how Steve feels', Kono finally smiled back and nodded – leading him to a nearby bench so he could rest his knee, and where they could talk in private. He'd made such an effort to come here. He didn't deserve the stares that unjustly ostracized him. So it filled her with pride, and relief, when he returned them unflinchingly, defying their disapproval.
Hugging his arm, making it clear where her loyalties lay now, she finally answered his question.
"Yes, it's called a paddle out. You take the ashes into the ocean, where all surfers belong, and form a circle with your boards. While the priest offers prayers, the ashes are scattered, and… well, then you cheer, as loud and long as you can… you don't grieve for the person's death, you celebrate their life, and yours."
"That sounds beautiful. Celebrating life, that's what a memorial should be," Danny agreed – pausing for a moment, collecting his thoughts as he watched the sunset, before he quietly continued.
"Those… um, friends I mentioned, they… well, we graduated from the Academy, just before 9/11. I lost three in the Towers, two more soon afterwards from… well, injuries… illness, other, um… stuff."
Another pause as he quietly remembered – his next words still soft with ten years worth of pain.
"I think every cop in New York lost a friend that day."
"Yes, I remember watching the memorials with Chin. I'll never forget those pictures," Kono said quietly, glancing across at him - surprised, and touched, that he was sharing something so personal to her. It made her next question just a little easier to ask. "Have you been back there since?"
"Every time I go home. After my parents, it's the next place I go," Danny admitted with another of those slight, almost shy smiles. Unclipping his badge, he studied it for a moment, then quietly shared its personal significance.
"Every time I put on this badge, Kono, I remember them, and… yeah, that's important. It's vital. However you do it, in whatever way, you… well, you have to remember the fallen. Honour their memory…"
"…and carry on living for them. That's something Ian would say," Kono finished for him – her turn now to make a quiet admission as she smiled up at a friend who'd become equally special. "I wish you'd known him. He'd have really liked you, Danny. You're… well, so much like him."
She'd meant it as a compliment. A broad smile told her that he'd accepted it.
There was so much else that she needed, wanted, to say. A gentle squeeze on her hand told her that he understood.
"Yeah, I bet you have some stories to tell about him," Danny grinned, giving her a brotherly hug – settling back with her to enjoy a truly glorious sunset, and a few hours of precious, mutual healing.
"And I can't think of a better time than now to hear them. So, how did you meet?"