Disclaimer: I do not own the following characters, but you knew that already.

This is the sequel to "Breathless", part two of three. However parts one and two can stand alone as part three has slash overtones that not everyone may agree with.

My thanks to Dizzy-Dreamer who beta'd this and did a wonderful job.


Save Maddie—

He jerked at the steering wheel but the impact had lodged it down and pinned him fast against the seat.


Save Maddie—if it cost him everything else—save—

DiNozzo. Pulling on the door, then smashing the windshield. He was there. Jethro reached over and pushed Maddie at him. The message was clear.

Save Maddie

DiNozzo did, kicking his legs, dragging Maddie towards the surface. Jethro tried to get free, to pull the steering wheel away from his lap to struggle upwards. But the oxygen was gone, and without oxygen the strength was gone. So instead he watched DiNozzo save Maddie.

And then he let go.


Someone unkind, very unkind, yanked him back. At least Kelly had a smiling face as she faded. No tears this time.

Jethro knew from the slow and painful process of the inhale that he was alive. It was work to get air back into his chest, pulling at threads and then a cold breaking rush. Jethro lay on his back breathing; soft fingers in his hand.



Thank you. Jethro didn't even know whom he was thanking. Anyone. Whoever.

Someone stepped over him, a dark shadow, shuffling away.

Maddie smiled at him. She looked like Kelly smiling.



Tony had saved Maddie. He could see her now, being dragged away from the heavy bottom water, DiNozzo, the strong fist that had cracked the glass. Jethro pushed himself up and held his hand out to Maddie. She stood and hugged him, crying a little, still smiling. He held her and stroked her hair. A little bit, selfishly, incredibly, he felt like someone had given him a small piece of his old life back.



Jethro looked over and saw the little black speck of the gun. Two lumps; bodies, with a couple of DiNozzo's bullets each, And Tony, sitting with his head between his knees. Soaked. Shivering.

That's how heroes look. Breathless.

People, lots of people—paramedics, back up, police, Ducky—were going to start arriving soon. Jethro pulled away from Maddie a little and looked at his senior field agent.

"DiNozzo." he called. "Tony!"