Danny stood looking out over the ocean. The case was over; Sally was safe; Walter was now on his way to jail to pay for his crimes. And he was…he was…alone. His world had shattered around him - his dreams, his future with the woman he loved wiped out in a cold calculated act of violence caused by one man's selfish greed. The only thing that had kept him going was the burning need to find Jane's killer. With that completed, what did he have left?
Kono had asked him if he was okay. He had lied – he told Kono that he was tired. Was it a lie? He knew he was tired but he did not feel it. In fact, to be honest, he felt nothing. He was numb. He bit his lip and looked up at the sky as he wondered about his lack of emotion- he should be feeling something, shouldn't he? Anger? Grief? Maybe even relief that this had finished. The man who had murdered the woman of his dreams would now be punished for his crime. Maybe the numbness was better than the pain. He wasn't sure; he wasn't certain of anything anymore except for the fact that his world and dreams had shattered around him.
"McGarrett to Williams. Danno, come in….Danno, come in."
The sound momentarily startled him. He could hear Steve's voice calling his name over the radio. Each call of his name from his boss and closest friend sounded a little more worried, a little more concerned that he was not going to answer. He sighed and turned, walking slowly back to his car. Opening the door, he slid in and reached for the mic. "Williams." He responded, silently surprised his voice sounded so calm, so normal.
"Did you get Gregson?"
"Gregson's in custody; Sally's okay; the kids are fine." He reported neutrally as he started the engine and pulled out of the parking lot, heading back to the Palace and a life without Jane.
Picking up his mug of coffee, Steve McGarrett walked slowly out onto the lanai and stared out across the Palace grounds. He would never admit to anyone that he was watching, waiting for Danno's car to turn into the driveway, anxious to check on the well-being of his closest friend.
The initial report from Danno from the scene worried him deeply. He had reported Gregson's capture and reassured him that Sally and the children from the School for the Blind were safe. The report was concise, professional, clinical, giving away no hint of how he was feeling.
Steve sighed and took a sip of coffee. Kono had told him of finding Danno standing back and watching as Gregson clung precariously to the edge of the cliff that was preventing him from falling to his death. He wondered just how hard had it been for Danno to stop himself from allowing Gregson to fall? How difficult had it been for his youngest detective to reach down and save the life of the man who had murdered his girlfriend? Had the thought of an eye for an eye crossed his mind? Just how close to Jane had Danno become? The questions quickly filled his mind increasing the desperate need to see his friend.
The sight of the black LTD pulled him from his thoughts as he watched Danno's car move towards the parking lot before rocking to a gentle stop opposite the Palace stairs, not moving away from his vantage place he watched the younger man alight from his car and slowly walk up the stair towards the entrance.
Stepping back into his office, McGarrett placed his coffee mug down on his desk as he hurried towards his office door, wanting, no needing to meet Danno as he entered the office to check on the younger man's wellbeing. He groaned and muttered a curse as the phone rang as he reached the door. With a frustrated groan, he turned and hurried back to his desk, snatching up the receiver and barking an impatient, "McGarrett' at the person on the other end of the phone.
He only half listened to the grateful 'Thank You' he was receiving from the headmistress from the School Of The Blind for saving Sally Gregson's life and keeping the six children safe. Outside his office he heard the outer office door slam close and heard Jenny greet Danny as the younger man entered the office. With a quick but polite, "You're Welcome', he managed to end the call, slamming the phone back down on the cradle on his rush to get out of the office.
Entering the anteroom, Danny headed straight to his cubicle, intent on getting the paperwork done. He knew that Steve would want a written report of Gregson's arrest on his desk yesterday. Every detail of a police arrest needed to be documented immediately after the event. Reaching for a sheet of paper, the young detective grabbed a pen and began the report.
Stepping out into the outer office, he saw Jenny glance at him before returning her attention back to Danny's cubicle and sadly shaking her head, a wordless message to him that she was worried over the mental state of the youngest detective. He nodded his understanding as he walked to the open doorway of the small cubicle and silently watched the detective sitting inside. Danno sat motionless with a pen in his hand poised over a sheet of paper. The younger man's mind was obviously far from the paperwork he was attempting to do.
"Go home, Danno." Steve said gently. "There's nothing here that can't wait. Go home, Aikane and get some rest."
Danny jumped at his Boss' voice, surprised to find McGarrett standing in the doorway. "I'm okay." He murmured, returning his attention back to his report.
"Go home, Danny." Steve ordered again more firmly. "That's an order and not a request."
He watched as Danny nodded and pushed the sheet of paper away before he rose silently from his desk, collecting his keys and coat and heading towards the door. Grabbing Danny's arm as he passed, McGarrett said softly, "Go home and get some sleep, Aikane. I'll bring dinner over."
Danny nodded woodenly but did not say a word as he slowly brushed past and left the office for home.
The apartment was dark and seemed so empty as Dan entered and closed the door. He sighed and looked around. It was as if his home was mirroring his soul. Not bothering to remove his coat, he dropped his keys on the table as he moved through the darkness drawn to the bedroom and the one physical thing that could remind him of his pain. He hated the numbness that had enveloped him, the emptiness that had replaced his soul.
Sitting down on his bed, Danny opened the bedside drawer and reached inside with a shaking hand, withdrawing the small velvet box hidden within. He kept it clutched tightly in his fist, his fingers refusing to lift the cover and show him the small link he still had to Jane.
His eyes burned with unshed tears as he stared at his closed fist remembering the last time he had held this box in his hand. He had slipped it in his pocket the morning of the charity auction. He had planned to surprise Jane at the auction, had planned to go down on one knee and ask her to be his wife but the case had gotten in the way. He had cancelled the lunch date to work believing that he could propose at dinner.
His fingers tightened painfully around the box as he remembered the urgent phone call from Steve requesting he come to the tennis club. He should have realized than by the tone of his Boss' voice that something was amiss, that something had happened to Jane. It wasn't until after he saw the sheet covered body, after he saw the look of pity on Steve's face that he knew his world had shattered around him and his dreams now lay in shreds at his feet.
He had tried to outrun the truth, had desperately wanted to believe that someone had made a mistake, that the still form under the sheet was not the woman he intended to marry but his head knew better and his heart broke on the hillside. He slammed the fist that held the box onto the bed in frustration- He had cried then –"Why? WHY can't I cry now?" He screamed at the world, the heart wrenching words echoed around him almost as if mocking him.
"When we lose someone we love, sometimes our pain is so raw, so deep that we can't cry, Danno." Steve's soft voice from the darkened doorway startled the young detective and Dan hurriedly tried to bury the tiny box into the blankets as he turned and faced his closest friend. "Jane was important to you, wasn't she, Danno? More important than anyone else you knew?" Steve asked quietly as he slowly walked towards the devastated man sitting on the bed, watching him warily. "That's why you didn't mention her name to us like the other women you dated. She was special, extra special, wasn't she?"
"I loved her Steve from the very first time I met her." Danny whispered, his fingers brushing against the box that sat hidden beside him on the bed. "It wasn't that I wanted to keep our relationship a secret. I just wanted to keep her separated from the lowlifes that we deal with everyday." He added softly, his chest tightening with every word.
Steve nodded in understanding, as he sat beside his friend on the bed, placing an arm around Danno's shoulder in a silent show of support.
"I tried to protect from the evilness of the job but I never saw the danger that was so close. I should have realized that Gregson was a potential suspect - how many times have we arrested someone for murder where greed was the motive?"
"Danno, you had no way of knowing Gregson was a…" Steve tried to gently interject.
"I shouldn't have canceled our lunch date." Danny continued never hearing McGarrett's words. "If I had than Jane would have been safe. It's my fault that she's dead. I put my job in front of the woman I loved…Oh, God, it's my fault that Jane is dead!" He cried, clutching the small box to his chest as he began to rock forward and backwards on the bed, his body shaking with each heart-wrenching sob as scalding hot tears began to flow down his cheek.
Pulling the heartbroken man whom he considered as a kaikaina more than just a friend into an embrace, Steve murmured quiet but firm denials, assuring that Jane's death was not Danny's fault.
"I was going to propose. I wanted her to be my wife!" Dan sobbed in Steve's arms. "I should have gone with her. I should have made sure she was safe…I should have…" The words faded away as the sobs turned into hitched gasps of breath as the physical and emotional toll of the last few days finally caught up with the bereaved young man. McGarrett sat, holding the now sleeping man in his arms for a few minutes longer before gently laying him down on the bed. In the soft glow of the moonlight, he noticed the small velvet box in Danny's limp hand. He carefully placed the small box back into the open drawer before he pushed the drawer quietly closed. He did not need to look inside the box. He already knew what it contained. It held the now shattered dreams and hopes of the sleeping man on the bed.
He sighed softly before he turned and gently covered Danny with a sheet before he sat down on the edge of the bed and watched the younger man sleep. He knew the next few days and weeks were going to be the hardest. Danno was going to need all the support and love that he could get and he, Danno's boss, friend and 'big brother', intended to be there each step of the way.