AUTHOR: Alex
RATING: PG-13?
DISTRIBUTION: HD and Gorilladust
DISCLAIMER: The following is a work of fiction. Any statements
regarding any person, place, or other entity (real or imaginary) is
the sole responibility of the author of this work of fiction. I
don't own anyone or anything mentioned in this story. This is a
work of fiction and does not represent the thoughts or actions of
anyone mentioned herein.
DEDICATION: The family, friends and fans of Dan Snyder. RIP.
SUMMARY: "The hockey rinks in heaven have perfect ice. There is no
such thing as a dull skate, and the tape on the sticks and shins
fits perfectly. Rest peacefully Dan, I hope we can play together
someday." - unknown
NOTES: I am sorry if writing about this offends people. This is just
what I do to cope with difficult situations... I'm sorry for your
loss, Thrasher fans. Please don't take this as a slight or an insult
to the memory of Dan Snyder. My thoughts and prayers are with the
families, friends and fans of Dan Snyder, as well as Dany Heatley.
Regardless of whether or not you think Dany Heatley made a mistake
and acted recklessly, I think he needs our thoughts and prayers.

May angels lead you in.
Hear you me my friends.
On sleepless roads the sleepless go.
May angels lead you in.
May angels lead you in.
May angels lead you in.
And if you were with me tonight,
I'd sing to you just one more time.
A song for a heart so big,
god wouldn't let it live.

- Jimmy Eat World, "Hear You Me"

Would you know my name if I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same if I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong and carry on,
'Cause I know I don't belong
here in heaven.
Would you hold my hand if I saw you in heaven?
Would you help me stand
if I saw you in heaven?
I'll find my way through night and day,
'Cause I know I just can't stay
here in heaven.
Time can bring you down, time can bend your knees.
Time can break your heart, have you begging please,
begging please.
Beyond the door there's peace I'm sure,
And I know there'll be no more
tears in heaven.
Would you know my name if I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same if I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong and carry on,
'Cause I know I don't belong
here in heaven.

- Eric Clapton, "Tears In Heaven"

--

Have you ever felt invincible?

Have you ever felt so totally indestructable, that you feel like
you're floating on air? Like nothing can hurt you? Nothing can touch
you?

I have.

82 days out of 365 I do. 82 days out of 365, nothing and no one can
touch me. During those 82 days out of 365, I'm a god among men. A
man among boys. A hero.

Untouchable.

Indestructable.

Invincible.

And then comes the 365th day, when I come crashing down back to
earth. When I realize I'm just as human as everyone else.

Being invincible is kind of like a perpetual high. I'm so full of
adrenaline, I can't even feel myself anymore.

I feel like I'm in heaven, with my head in the clouds.

--

I first become aware of my surroundings as I'm being moved - shifted
onto a hard surface.

A liquid fire burns in my lungs whenever I try to take deep breaths,
and the pain in my jaw intensifies as I try to speak. I realize then
that I can't speak.

And my knee. I don't even have to look at it to know something isn't
right. I just feel it.

There are no words to descibe it.

The pain pounds through my skull like a hammer, and I let out a weak
whine, like an injured puppy.

The people who put me onto the flat, wooden board strap me down with
belts, and suddenly I'm being moved again.

From the outside black of the sky to the inside white of ... of an
ambulance.

My eyelids begin to feel heavy, and I allow the sleep to claim me.

--

I wake up and I'm in a tiny white room. I move my head slightly, and
there's a black screen to my right, beeping in time with my
heartbeat.

I try to open my mouth to call out to someone - anyone - but my jaw
is clamped shut, held in place with wires.

The fire still burns in my lungs when I breathe, so I try not to
take deep breaths. And it isn't like I ican/i take deep breaths
when I can't open my jaws.

A figure is slumped in a chair next to my bed, and I try to make a
sound, so that they'll wake up and tell me what the hell is
happening to me.

The figure stirs slightly, opening its eyes.

"Dany, you are awake?" flows the smooth, river-voice of Ilya,
fraught with worry. His face bears worry lines I've never seen
before.

I manage to mumble something that sounds like, "Yes. Tell me what's
going on?"

Ilya sighs, pulling his chair closer to my bedside. "Dany, you...you
were in accident?" he says, softly, his words falling on my head
like rain drops.

'Accident?' I ponder this, slightly, but thinking hard sends slivers
of pain through my sinuses, so I give it up. "What about Dan?"

Ilya's expression shifts from one of concern for me to an expression
of sadness. And regret. "Dan... Dan is not good," he says, softly.

"What happened to him?" I insist, through clenched teeth.

Ilya furrows his brow at me. "Ya ne ponimayu... I do not understand?"

I fling out an arm, stiffly, groping for a pen. I grab Ilya's hand
in mine and turn it over so that his palm is facing up. I scratch
into his palm, 'What happened to Danny?' and let my hand drop to my
side.

Ilya stares at it for a while. "Danny has brain injuries," Ilya
sighs. "He is in a coma."

Suddenly, it hurts even worse to breathe. It feels like someone's
started a forrest fire in my lungs. Smokey the Bear, preaching,
iOnly you can prevent forrest fires,/i pops into my head
suddenly. I start to cry.

"Don't cry, Dany. Shh, don't cry," Ilya whispers, taking one of my
hands in his. "Shhhh... Don't cry... There's nothing you can do now.
We must pray for Dan's recovery. That is all we can do right now."

"It was my fault," I mutter, through my teeth, as Ilya strokes the
back of my hand. "My fault."

"Dany, don't - " he begins, but I pull my hand from his, halting him
mid sentence.

"Don't what? This is my fault, Ilya. All my fault." I can tell from
the bewildered look on Ilya's face that he doesn't understand a word
I've just said, so I take his hand again.

'Have you ever felt invincible? Like nothing bad could or would ever
touch you? That's how I felt that night, Ilya. I felt
indestructable. I felt like I was a god. I was wrong.'

Ilya looks down at his arm, as my words snake up his wrist and over
his forearm. He sighs, heavily. "I have felt this way many times,
Dany." He licks his lips, pulls down his shirt sleeve. He reaches
out and brushes his fingers through my curls. "It was an accident.
Just an accident."

--

Suddenly, I'm not in the hospital room anymore. I'm walking
through this lush, beautiful green park. There's a marble water
fountain to my right, and I pause to look into the pool. Goldfish
stare up at me with big black button eyes.

It's perfect.

I sit on a stone bench in front of the fountain, and marvel at how
my knee doesn't hurt anymore, how it doesn't hurt to breathe, and
how I can talk again.

The accident was just a nightmare, a bad nightmare that's over now.

"Dany."

I look up to see Dan standing in front of me. "Hey... You're ok," I
exclaim, breathlessly, leaping to my feet with relative ease.

Snyder beams, pulling me into his arms and squeezing me. "I was
worried about you, Dany," he says, his voice a whisper of air. He
sounds far away, even though I'm holding him in my arms right
now. "I woke up and I didn't know where I was. The first thing I
thought about was you, and if you were ok."

I give him a squeeze just to feel that he's real, I feel him
underneath my skin. I'm relieved. "Thank God we're ok, Dan... Do you
remember what happened?" I ask, as we separate and stand by the
marble fountain.

He shrugs. "Not really... I just remember we were driving down
Lenox, listening to your new CD with the top down," he says, softly,
a smile playing with the corner of his lips. "I couldn't even hear
the music we were laughing so hard. The wind was tangling through
our hair..." Dan pauses.

"And then what?" I ask, a clutch of fear tugging in my chest.

"I don't remember... I do remember we were flying...flying through
the air. And all I could see were the stars against the sky, and how
inky blue it looked. It was beautiful." Dan says, smiling
again. "Before I blacked out, all I remember thinking was, 'It's so
beautiful out tonight.' "

"And now we're here..." I mutter, shrugging my shoulders.

"It's nice here," he says, softly, touching the back of my hand. "I
feel at home here."

"I dunno. It's pretty and all, but I would miss
Atlanta too much. I
would miss hockey too much," I say, taking his hand in mine and
squeezing it.

Dan won't stop smiling. His teeth are so white - blindingly so - and
the smile won't leave his face. He looks ethereal. "I like it here.
I think I'll stay."

"What about the team, Dan? They're going to need us," I exclaim, in
shock.

"They need you more than they need me," he says, lightly, and he's
right. But still. "I want to stay."

"Dan, you have to come back with me. I can't leave without you." I
whisper.

He shakes his head at me. "You'll have to go your own way, Dany.
You'll be just fine without me." He slips his hand out of mine and
takes a step back, and he begins to go dull, like an old family
movie.

"Danny, wait." I try to grab him but my arms go through him. "Danny,
wait for me.
BR
--

I open my eyes and Ilya's standing over me again.

But this time it's different. His eyes are spilling over with tears,
and his nose is running.

"Ilya? What's wrong?" I ask through clenched teeth. "Ilya?"

"Dan, I have bad news," he hiccupps. "Last night, Danny...Danny...
He passed away last night. He's gone."

"No." I feel like my heart has been ripped out of me. This is a
mistake. I was just with Danny. We were in the garden, next to the
water fountain I was just WITH him I had just SEEN him Danny isn't
dead he's not. My thoughts run together, and Ilya can't stop
crying. "NO."

"It's true," he cries, wiping at his eyes with the sleeve of his
shirt. "Danny has gone to God. He is an angel now."

"You're wrong," I whimper, unable to fight back the onslaught of
tears that overwhelms me. "You're wrong."

Ilya gathers me into his arms and we cry together. "I'm sorry Dany,
I'm so sorry."

"Oh Danny," I breathe into Ilya's soft neck, "I'm sorry."

--

They bury him on a Friday, and it's raining so hard. It's like God
is crying for Danny Snyder.

The doctors don't want me to attend the funeral, but I have to. I
need to say goodbye to Danny.

The priest says some nice, but bland things about Danny, and I
think, 'You never knew him. How can you talk about him like he's
just another number?'

I sit in front, in a folding chair, with my crutches across my lap.
Ilya is beside me, barely able to contain himself. His shoulders are
shaking so violently, but not a sound is coming out of his mouth. I
reach out and take his wet, tear-stained hand into mine and he
buries his face into my shoulder.

Dan's girlfriend sits up front with his mom and dad and brothers in
this tight little circle, and they're all holding hands and crying.

I'm on the outside looking in.

The priest drones on about Dan, about his tenacity, his fight, his
attitude. It all feels so empty.

"Like grass they flourish for a day. In the morning they sprout
afresh; By nightfall they fade and wither."

How many times have I heard that at a funeral? Don't they come up
with new material? Do they keep recycling the same eulogies over and
over?

Danny is special. He deserves better.

I failed him.

The priest continues on. "To every thing there is a season, and a
time to every purpose under the heaven. A time to be born, and a
time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is
planted; atime to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down,
and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time
to mourn, and a time to dance."

I don't think anyone is even paying attention to him anymore.

He didn't know Danny like I did.

And then it's all over. The priest is done talking, and his parents
lead his girlfriend to where the coffin is. Graham and Luanne are
holding her up; I don't even think Katherine's feet are touching the
ground.

Mrs. Snyder grabs a handful of dirt in her hand and drops it over
the sleek mahogany coffin. "Good bye, my angel," she whispers, her
voice carried on the wind. "May we meet again some day."

Dan's brother Jake throws a handful of dirt onto the coffin as
well. "I'm going to miss you, Danny. You were - are - the best."

Somehow, it's my turn to go up to Danny.

I bend down as best as I can, so that only Danny will hear me. "I'm
sorry, Danny. It should have been me, not you. You deserved better
than this... I'm so fucking sorry. I wish it had been me. I'm going
to miss you. It's like a hole's been ripped out of my heart, Danny.
You were the best of us - you always were. You're the best, Danny.
You're going to be missed. God might have himself another angel, but
we're missing our best friend."

A hand is on my shoulder, and I turn around, leaning forward on my
crutches. "Are you going to be ok?" Ilya asks, even though we both
know I won't be. Not for a long time.

I nod. "I'm going to be ok."

He offers his shoulder to me, and he helps me away from Danny, and
they begin to lower the coffin into the pit in the ground.

"What a horrible, horrible week," he sighs.

"I'm so sorry, Danny." I close my eyes, closing off the tears before
they can fall. "I can't imagine him in that box in the ground, Ilya."

"Danny isn't there," he says, softly. "Danny is here." He touches
his fingertips to my heart. "And here." He points to the sky.

I look up, into the glare of the sun, and I imagine that Dan Snyder
is smiling down on us.

--

end.

mneh.

Alex the scumbag