Author's Note: This idea came to mind while watching the finale, actually. I think it's kind of necessary, and uh, I'm not sure what else to say other then enjoy and please let me know what you think. Oh, and this is a one-shot.

Notes: This definitely has finale spoilers. It takes place during the last scene, with Nathan and Haley, and for those of you who haven't seen it and don't want to know what happens until you do, you don't want to be reading this.

Summary: He had to get back to her. No matter what happened, Nathan had to find a way back to Haley. One-shot. Takes place right after Episode 3.22, The Show Must Go On.

Swallowed by the Sea

He had to get to her.

No matter what happened, Nathan had to find a way back to Haley. He had to protect her - like he'd always promised he'd do.

There was no way this could be it! This couldn't be the end. There was too much he wanted to do, so much he wanted to see. So much he needed to see.

Haley was still screaming. As much as he wanted to block her voice out, he couldn't. His heart was breaking more and more every second; just as hers was. He felt underwater for his wrist, now empty. The crackerjack bracelet had simply swum away, never to be seen again.

He couldn't help but wonder if he shared a similar fate.

Tears filling his eyes, he yelled for help. It was to no avail - he knew this. No one could hear him. No one was coming.

"Haley!" He shouted, water filling his mouth, and forcing its cruel way down his throat. He choked violently, inhaling the last bit of oxygen he could, before going completely underwater.

He banged at the sides of the limousine, searching for an opening somewhere, anywhere.

"Nathan! Please! Come back, come back!" Her sobbing voice filled the space around him, cloudy and uncertain.

He kicked at a window, hoping that it would burst open, and he'd be set free. It didn't work. He was just tired, and running out of breath.

Come on, Nate, he scolded himself mentally, Stay awake, Nathan. Stay awake.

It was hard. Too hard. His body was weakening. He had no strength.

He heard a sound. Muffled voices that he could barely make out.

"Lucas! Lucas, please help!"

"Where's Nathan, Haley?"

"He went down, and then didn't come back up!"

Nathan felt himself begin to slip away. His body began to sink; his eyes began to close.

He realized then that he was drowning. That he was going to die.

And all he could do was think about her. And how somehow, it'd save him.

"Hi, is Haley James there?"

"Yes, this is her. Who's calling?"

"Nathan Scott."

"Uh, this isn't her."

His mind was spinning.

"It's for you."

"Stop."

"Just don't say I never gave you anything."

He heard a splashing sound; underwater kicking.

"Marry me."

His eyes shut completely.

"So, I'll say it again. I could hold you in my arms forever.."

"I could too, but.."

"So why can't forever start today?"

Behind the lids of his eyes, everything - everything - suddenly flashed before his eyes.

"Always and forever."

"I'm not a wife! I'm not even a senior!"

"Isn't that something only really cheesy couples do?"

"Because! Nathan, he didn't mean anything to me, okay?"

"If you want to go, go. But if you do, we're done."

"I love you."

"I'm just not sure this can work."

"Haley? Will you stay with me tonight?"

"Marry me, again."

He had to get back to her.

No matter what happened, he had to get back to Haley. He had to tell her that he loved her, and that she was everything to him. That, no matter what happened, he'd protect her.

Always and forever, right? Wasn't that what they always told each other? He could barely remember. All he could envision now was her face.

He had to see her. He just had to.

However, Nathan couldn't open his eyes. He couldn't move.

And as his body sank, and his heart stopped, and his fairy-tale life shattered, he could not shake her from his mind.

"Nathan, don't!"

"I love you."