Hazy Waters by AndromedaMarine
Author's Note: Written at the request of and for the title prompt given by sparklyshimmer2010.
I've been down here too long. The blackness invades my vision, causing small stars to erupt everywhere. It's gorgeous, it really is, but now my head is pounding. Through the hazy waters I look at and examine my burned hands. Even though I'm underwater the spark was strong enough to hurt me. My lungs are burning and screaming for relief, but I can't see any way out. I swirl around – I can't remember which way I came in. The hazy...waters... My head snaps up – I can't die here, not now. I have to tell John I love him. Frantically I start off in one direction, but the water wins... Faintly I hear a splash and a large, blackish mass moving toward me... It can't be help – they don't know where I am... It's probably...going...to eat...me... Goodbye, John...
John dove into the water that flooded the last section needing to be explored. He knows Elizabeth is down there; after Rodney presented the problem she'd disappeared, knowing she was the only one who could do it. God, Elizabeth, you're going to kill yourself. He knows exactly where he's going; the whole thing was laid out in blueprints that the Canadian had dug up. The water is frigid, not a good thing for Elizabeth considering the time she's spent down there. For a moment he thinks about why Elizabeth took the initiative, and didn't wait until someone else did. There – there she was – the red – thank you, Elizabeth, for wearing a color I can see underwater – just hanging in the water. She wasn't moving – ah, wait, he saw a finger twitch. He swam towards her, through the hazy water and didn't waste a second grabbing her and taking her back.
John heaved Elizabeth out of the water. She didn't breathe, she didn't move. He knew that water was in her lungs – which isn't a good thing – so he tightened his hold around her middle and she coughed up water. Still nothing. He started CPR. His hands shook as he pumped down on her chest, beating the life into her. John placed his mouth over hers and breathed out. She was still lifeless. He started the cycle over – and she coughed. He tilted her so she could spit the extra water out.
She was shivering. The colonel pulled her close to his body, at this point not caring about rules and regulations. He rubbed her arms and distantly heard as Keller and a medical team came rushing down the cluttered hall. She was taken away from him – he, the one who had saved her – he, the one who would have been very lost and confused if he hadn't been able to save her. And then they were whisking her away. He was in a daze that was just about as hazy as the waters were. He glared angrily at the water and realized he was shivering too. He followed the gurney as fast as he could, his legs stiffening from the cold.
I'm cold... When I breathe it hurts... Wait – if I'm breathing and I'm cold then...then that means I'm alive! But I feel like hell itself has spat me back out. Ooh, bad analogy. Hell doesn't have any water... I can feel my hair on my neck – it's quite uncomfortable and I can't move my arms yet. There – I think I just moved a finger! Triumph! Now my head is hurting again – but at least I can breathe. I vaguely remember something coming towards me in the water. Then after I remember something warm pressed over my mouth...and warmth at my back... John. John saved me. I can tell him...that...I... I'm sleepy...
"Luckily you performed CPR when you did, colonel. If you'd waited any longer she wouldn't have made it." Dr. Keller spoke quietly a short distance from the hospital bed. "She'll need a day or two before she's strong enough to be on her feet again." She squeezed John's arm and left. He was still wrapped in a blanket.
John sat next to Elizabeth's hospital bed. For them it had become sort of a habit over the years, starting when that nasty Iratus bug attached itself to his neck. He cringed at the memory, and unconsciously ran his fingers over the scars that were still there. That time, his heart had stopped too. And when he woke Elizabeth had been by his side, the diplomat present, but it was her, just the same. Five years and it was still habit.
He looked at the bandages wrapping her burned hands. He couldn't hold them like he wanted to. Damn malfunctioning Ancient generator. He smoothed her hair instead, arranging it so he could see her eyes more clearly. The hair was still wet, remnants of the hazy waters that had almost taken her away from him, and vice versa. The colonel smoothed over the skin on her arm, his hand moving until it reached the bandages and then went back up again. He continued this motion lazily, almost unconsciously. He watched her face.
That tickles...cut it out... I'm trying to open my eyes so I can tell you to cut it out with them, but – wait, I think I just saw something. Black hair. Yes, most definitely someone with black hair. John. John's the one who's tickling me. I try to lift my arm and I succeed in lifting my – ooh. My hands hurt.
"Elizabeth?" John asked, his eyes searching Elizabeth's face for a response. He rested his hand on her wrist, the other one brushing her hair away again. "Lizbeth?"
The woman opened her eyes, with difficulty, and coughed. "John?" she asked in a tiny whisper. "Am I alive?"
"Yes, Liz, you're alive. I got you back." He would never admit it, but right about then he had wanted to cry. "I got you."
She coughed again, blinking heavily so she could see him more clearly. "Sorry," she said with a small smile.
"Don't be. You turned it off."
"But..." she tried lifting her hands.
John leaned over and kissed her temple. "Small price compared to this." Then he lightly kissed her lips, not so hard she couldn't breathe, nor so light she couldn't feel it. "Love you," he whispered into her ear, and let his lips linger on the skin of her cheek as she fell asleep again.
John was right. The burns on her hands were a small price compared to them.