A.N. – Hawaii Five-O belongs to CBS. No copyright infringement is intended.
If you pay attention to the timeline in the episode "The Young Assassins", you will realize that after Stanwood killed Kurt Metzger, Danny spent the night alone in that powder magazine. His rescue did not occur until the following morning. Kurt's quotations are taken directly from the episode.
Thanks to "Tanith2011" for beta reading this story.
Atheists in Foxholes
Danny's terror-filled scream tore apart the silent darkness and echoed off the cold damp walls of the powder magazine. At once, he knew what had happened. For the third time that night he had succumbed to a brief fitful sleep, his exhausted body temporarily winning the battle against his strong willed mind that insisted he remain awake. And for the third time, as soon as he had slipped from consciousness, the awful event replayed in his dream exactly as it had occurred that afternoon.
The sound of metal scraping on metal alerted them that the door to their prison was being unbolted. Danny and his friend, Professor Kurt Metzger, stood close together, shoulder to shoulder, ready to face what they very well knew could be the end of their lives. The heavy door opened to reveal Stanwood, his face contorted with rage. He raised his pistol and aimed it directly at Danny. Then a split second before pulling the trigger, Stanwood cruelly shifted his line of fire and instead shot Kurt dead center in the chest! Shocked and grieved, yet powerless against the group of terrorists, Dan could only stand and watch for the few short minutes it took for Stanwood and Mike to drag Metzger's lifeless body from the magazine and re-bolt the door, sealing in the doomed detective for the night.
"No!" Danny repeated in a lower tone of voice, trying to drive away the terrible reality.
Abruptly jarred from sleep, Danny wearily shook his head and attempted to control his labored breathing. He wiped the beads of cold sweat from his forehead on the sleeve of his now dirty dress shirt. "Kurt…Kurt, I'm so sorry," Danny confided to the empty darkness. "I got you into this…I never thought that…" The detective's voice wavered then trailed off as tears burned his eyes. His thoughts drifted back to the previous afternoon. He had picked up Kurt at the university to discuss the professor's research in relation to the current case over lunch at a fine harbor side restaurant. Linen tablecloth and napkins, fine china, polished silverware…even a vase with a single rose had graced their table, which looked out on the sparkling Pacific on a picture perfect afternoon: a stark contrast from his current accommodations. At least you had a proper last meal, Dan thought. He drew his knees up and hugged them close to his body. He couldn't seem to shake off the chill that penetrated his clothing and his heart. Nor could he ignore the stench of blood, mildew and stale gunpowder that enveloped the magazine.
Having no desire to doze off again, Dan rose and stretched his cramping limbs. Then he paced back and forth, only covering a short distance so as not to collide with walls he couldn't see. Mostly out of habit, Dan checked his watch. In the near total darkness, the fading luminescence of the timepiece was now almost non-existent. Squinting at the face, he read a quarter after two. There were still several hours to endure in his solitary confinement before his scheduled execution in the morning. Execution… Kurt's sober statement returned to Williams' mind: They have nothing to gain by keeping us alive. It was the truth and it wasn't pretty. Danny had already studied every square inch of his prison in search of some avenue of escape. There was none. The walls were thick concrete; the door, solid steel. The only windows were high, just below the ceiling and too narrow for him to fit through even if he could reach them, which he couldn't. Danny knew that it would serve no purpose to lose control and slip into despair, so he did his damned best to fight it. "Think, Williams, think!" he demanded aloud as he paced, running a hand through his damp curls. What would Steve do? What is he doing right now? Steve…
The thought of his boss, mentor and friend conjured feelings of regret for words not spoken. Did Steve know how grateful Dan felt for everything the man had taught him? For believing in him even when he did not believe in himself? For saving his career and his life on more than one occasion? Dan began to feel a glimmer of hope knowing that Steve would be looking at every angle and calling in every available officer; the head of Five-O wouldn't rest while one of his men was under threat of death. If anyone could think of a way to free him, Steve could. Was there really hope? What was it that Kurt had said? Interesting, isn't it, how the reality of fear can twist itself into an illusion of hope. "An illusion of hope…" Dan repeated as his heart fell. Steve doesn't even know where I am. How's he going to find me by morning?
Adding to his growing despair was the fact that Danny knew very well the official Five-O policy in such hostage situations: no deals. It would make no sense to try to negotiate with these terrorists. And he knew that Steve would never compromise in matters of law and order, not even to spare the life of his protégé and close friend. Not even to save my life. The realization sent a sudden chill down the young detective's spine. No deals! Danny could hear the words in Steve's own voice. But he felt no anger, only sadness. He stopped in his tracks and wearily sank down to the cold floor of the magazine. In the silence, he could feel and hear the blood pulsing in his ears as his heart raced. Steve… If I don't make it out of here alive, what will that do to Steve? Dan surmised that the head of Five-O would be overcome with guilt and grief. He had seen it before in the big man when other officers had been killed in the line of duty, and it would be all the worse since Dan was Five-O, part of the inner circle. Damn! Danny cursed his situation and all its ramifications: there were many and he had nothing but time to think about them. Steve, this is all my fault; my carelessness! If I had only locked my car, Kurt would still be alive and I wouldn't be here! His anguish and guilt grew like a wave.
Dan checked his watch again, but it was useless. He could no longer read the dial in the darkness. The inability to gauge the passage of time sparked a renewed sense of loss of control and with it, helplessness and hopelessness. He sat in the nothingness and listened to his own breathing as the minutes ticked by all too slowly. There had only been one other time he had felt this close to his own death. He had been lying for hours, bleeding on a cold hospital floor from a bullet in his gut. But he hadn't been alone then and the intense pain of his wound had served as a major distraction. In some ways, his current circumstance was worse since now all he had for company were his own thoughts and there were far too many of those. Dan started to think about his life and it seemed all too short. He released a long, deep sigh. "Oh God…" The petition to the Almighty slipped from his lips seemingly of its own accord, his voice shaking.
Aunt Clara had insisted that he attend Mass when he was young, but it never really took. Dan wasn't even sure if he believed in God, not that he had ever thought much about it. Steve believed, but never attended church. Probably didn't have the time. Chin was a faithful Catholic, Mass every Sunday and sometimes during the week. Maybe it came with the roles of husband and father; Chin certainly set a good example for his family. But men didn't normally discuss topics that were as deeply personal as faith. Dan had once heard the expression 'there are no atheists in foxholes'. Now he fully understood its meaning. He tried as hard as he could to remember his childhood instruction in prayer: confess, ask, trust – leave it in God's hands.
Danny took a deep breath, opened his heart and prayed: God, this was my fault and I take full responsibility for Kurt's death; please forgive my carelessness. If it's possible, please spare my life. If I must die, don't let Steve suffer with guilt and grief. I accept whatever you choose for me.
Letting go of his burden somehow soothed the condemned detective; he felt his body physically relax and his mind fill with peace. Before he knew it, Danny had once again slipped into a deep sleep. Just as before, the dream returned.
The sound of metal scraping on metal alerted them that the door to their prison was being unbolted. Danny and Kurt stood close together, shoulder to shoulder, ready to face what they very well knew could be the end of their lives. The heavy door opened to reveal Stanwood, his face contorted with rage. He raised his pistol and aimed it directly at Danny.
But this time, just as Stanwood shifted his aim, Danny looked at Kurt and their eyes locked together, just for the instant of time before Kurt's death. What Danny saw in Kurt's expression amazed him; he saw calm acceptance, friendship and forgiveness in the older man's tired eyes. The deadly shot rang out.
Danny awoke with a start, but now with a new bravery and determination he didn't know he had - the power of forgiveness and grace. He raised his head from his crumpled suit jacket that had been his pillow, sat up and stretched. As he got to his feet, the first rays of dawn filtered through the small dirt encrusted window of his prison. The sound of metal scraping on metal signaled Stanwood's return. Danny stood straight and strong and faced the door.