Tears of Joy
Clea burst through the cold darkness of the East River, and into the gentle breeze of the surface. She had no time to take in the fresh air though, as much as she wanted to. She needed to get Stephen to dry land and make sure he was okay.
She made her way to the shoreline, paddling with one hand while the other firmly grasped the waist of her mentor.
Luckily, Stephen's cloak was not only waiting for them when she reached the shore, it helped her pull him out of the water and lay him on his back. Not that it surprised Clea; the cloak didn't seem to like anyone other than it's Master. Still, she was thankful all the same.
She may have even thanked it if the situation weren't so dire!
He just lay there, lifeless.
Clea bites her lip, nervously. She grabs his shoulders and shakes him violently, feeling the panic starting to set in.
"Stephen! Wake up!"
This couldn't be happening, she thought! This has to be a dream right!?
Not long ago, they were fighting demons in another dimension. The next, Stephen was telling her to take them home using her own sling ring. Then a giant, slug monster came out of nowhere to attack them and...she panicked.
She made a portal that took them back to New York and they jumped for it. Two problems, though. Not only was the portal at least one thousand feet in the air, Stephen's cloak had also gotten separated in the scuffle. Next thing she knew, she found herself falling...until she hit a surface that felt like cement...the water.
But Stephen Strange was not like other men, she reasoned. He'd been murdered thousands of time by her uncle, only to resurrect himself over and over using the Eye of Agamotto's power. He'd been snuffed out by a Titan wielding all six infinity stones, only for that same power to bring him back sometime later.
And that's not even counting all the near encounters with death he'd had since becoming the Sorcerer Supreme, or even the accident that ended his previous career.
Surely a fall from that height wouldn't kill him.
So why was he not responding?
"Dammit, Stephen Strange!" she yelled. "Say something!"
It was no use, though. He just continued laying there, still as a brick.
Clea felt her breath growing heavier by the second.
This wasn't happening again! It couldn't be. She already had enough blood on her hands as it is. How could she even begin to forgive herself if she forced herself to add his to the pile?
This man who gave her hope when no one else could.
This man who took her in and befriended her.
This man whom she called Master in public, and lover in private.
This man whom she loved with all her heart and soul.
That's when she felt something tap her shoulder. It was the cloak. She looked up and saw it was pointing at his mouth, confusing her. Until she remembered something.
She leaned over and listened for any signs of life.
His mouth wasn't moving, unfortunately. Yet there was a soft whistling she could hear coming through his nostrils.
"The water! He must have swallowed some!"
Clea beamed brightly. At last, she could rest easy knowing she hadn't drowned her mentor. Besides, Stephen had shown her months ago how to revive someone who'd swallowed water. It was easy!...Now if only she could remember what to do.
Clea growled angrily.
"Dammit! I can't remember what he showed me!"
That's when the cloaked intervened, again. She followed it's every move,watching it press down on Stephen's chest, then showing her to breath into his mouth. It was that simple.
For the first time in a while, Clea relaxed. She placed her hands on his chest and started the compressions. The cloak kept its ends on her hands, releasing them when she'd pressed down thirty times. She moved to his mouth and breathed into it deeply. Once, then twice, before returning to her compressions.
She did this for two minutes straight. Until finally...
Her face lit up! "Stephen!" she thought.
Of course, she wasn't expecting a blast of water to the face, but she didn't mind. When she opened her eyes, she was glad to see his open, albeit, dazed blue orbs staring back at her.
Clea didn't say anything, not at first. She was so over come by all kinds of emotions she didn't know what to say. She felt like laughing, she felt like crying.
Seeing him smile gently, though, as he often did when they were alone made her settle down. And suddenly, she was crying.
Only they weren't tears of sorrow. For once in her life, they were tears of joy.
"Oh, Stephen!" she cried, pulling him into a hug. "Thank Vishanti!"
She cried against the nape of his neck, while she wrapped his arms around and embraced her.
"I'm so sorry...," she said. "I panicked...And I almost killed you..."
She felt his trembling hand caress her cheek.
"But you didn't, did you?"
She looked up at him...and smiled. He of all people knew of her past, of her sins and transgressions. Yet he chose not to give up on her, taking her on to be his apprentice and help her become the person she wanted to be. She couldn't help loving him for that.
"We are going to have to work on your landing, though," he said.
"Good," he replied, doing his best to repress the smirk forming on his face. "Now, let's go home."
They rose to their feet.
Once the cloak had firmly perched itself on its Master's shoulders again, Stephen used his sling ring to open a portal back to the Sanctum Sanctorum. He took her hand into his own, making her smile grow wider.
"I could probably use a shower, huh?" he asked.
"Oh, I don't know," she said, playfully. "You smell fine to me."
He smirked. "Very funny."
She laughed, sarcastically.
They share a brief kiss before entering the portal back home. Though not before Clea wrapped her other arm around his, head against his shoulder while a big grin settled on her face.
She couldn't help it, though. It's not everyday you get to save a Sorcerer Supreme.