The characters and concept are not mine. No infringement is intended.

Story assumes a familiarity with the Mission Impossible series (not the movies), particularly the 1988 version and assumes, at a minimum, that you know the characters' names. Or, you know, just take a risk and go in blind. I think you'd muddle through somehow.

That said, for the four of you out there who may actually read this… we invite you to consider contributing to or supporting our tiny fandom. Our yahoo group is located here:

groups(dot)yahoo(dot)com/group/Mission_Impossible_1988/

We have fic and we have cookies.

If you haven't seen the show and would like to be introduced to the characters, you can read an adaptation of the pilot episode "Killer" listed under my author name. It's campy but it's fun.

Finally, click on DocII in the Mission Impossible section for more fic, or join the yahoo group to find more snippets in the files section.


Surface

by aja


They dumped Max first. Drummed the butt of a gun against his head and tossed him over.

"No!" Nicholas jerked forward and took a heavy hit across the chin. He rolled with it but hit the deck hard, full body contact.

Grant yanked at his tied hands in frustration and stared over the side. Max had his head above water, slopping his arms and legs about in slow motion, but there was a sinking feel to the movement, like the first moments of the Titanic going down when everyone maybe thought things might still somehow turn out okay. "Max," he called, then louder, "Max."

Then behind him. Nicholas. A kick to his ribs and a sharp cry.

Grant swung around, tied hands balled up helplessly in front of him while a gun was shoved under his chin. He found the black eyes of Gomez staring close at him - felt Gomez's low, throaty laugh creep right into his face. A rough hand patted his cheek, cupped under his jaw and dragged it higher. "Tell me, what is it you were going to do?" Gomez asked, jaunty Cuban accent thick on his tongue.

Grant said nothing.

Gomez let go his chin and turned away. "You come for this dog, eh?" he said to Nicholas, nudging him with his toe, laughing again. "You come to rescue him and didn't think we'd be ready for you?" He reached back again and shook Grant's face, bruising his jaw as he gripped it.

Nicholas glared up from the deck, mouth closed, eyes darkening. He flattened one hand under him, muscles flexing up to his shoulders.

"Nick," said Grant. "Don't."

Gomez laughed louder, winked at Grant like they were sharing a joke, then swung another kick into Nicholas's gut.

Nicholas grunted and flipped, breathing heavy as he rolled back to his elbow, maintaining his glare.

"Guess what?" Gomez said, hunkering down to his level. "Guess what I am going to do." He waited, like Nicholas actually would. "Do you know what I am going to do? I am going to let you have him."

Nicholas glanced at Grant then stared back at Gomez warily.

"That's right. You, Mr. Rescuer, can have him." Gomez stood. He looked over his shoulder and nodded.

Abruptly, one of his men moved forward, shoved a rifle lengthwise across Grant's chest, and pushed. That's all it took. Grant toppled, crashing over the side and upside down into the water. Salty wet flooded into his nose. He swallowed on an inhale, taking water as he tried to get his feet working and kicking towards up. Just as the surface shimmered silver above, Nicholas smashed down over him, sparking another crush and spin and fight for air. He fumbled his tied hands up and down, and kicked his legs. Fire was growing in his chest, a cottony weightlessness stuffing itself full behind his eyeballs.

Then his wrists pinched and something pulled, looped between his tied hands, and wrenched him through the suction of water.

There was a reverse splash and gasp of air.

He coughed and sputtered - found his forehead pressed to the soaked sleeve of Nicholas's shirt, bound hands hooked high on Nick's shoulder. He dragged air into his lungs, fists clenching in his teammate's collar while the dull judder of an inboard motor hummed away from them.

"Grant, are you okay? Grant?" A hand melded under one of his armpit, lifting him higher.

Grant steadied his legs into rhythm and drew another rough huff of air. "I'm good," he breathed, the stuffed-cotton feeling finally easing down. "I'm okay." Grip still locked tight, he looked around, and around. "Max," he said urgently.

Nicholas's head spun. "No. Oh no," he said. "Damn it, he was just here."

Grant kicked back from him, working his bound limbs awkwardly. "I've got it," he coughed, water lapping at his chin. "I'm upright."

Nicholas let go of his shirt, breathed deep, and dived under.

Grant waited. He kept a steady back and forth rhythm with his feet. He tried to see below the surface. After a moment, he wagged his right foot harder, turning himself in a half circle.

For as far as he could see there was water and more water. Nothing but water.

The ripples around him began to ease and settle.

The sky shimmered purple-blue.

He wagged back the other way and twisted his wrists in the rope.

Come on.

He waited, waited, and felt a sick pit growing in his stomach. He peered down into the shadows and saw nothing.

The ocean had gone still.

Come on. Come on. He wrenched harder on his wrists, splashing just to make movement.

A dark breath ran deep into his lungs.

Finally, the surface rippled. Bubbles of air rising up to it. A wash of displaced water swished around his ankles and suddenly they were just there. Both of them. A too-weak surge through the surface. Max's head lulling as he coughed and gasped in dazed slowness. Nicholas grimacing and hunched as he panted, arm looped shakily around Max's chest.

They both looked bound to go back under at any second.

"You scared the hell out of me." Grant kicked closer. "Nicholas?"

"It's okay," he grit out. "We got him. He's breathing."

Grant twined the front of Max's t-shirt between his fingers. "Max? Max."

Max's eyes fluttered—open, closed, open. A thin line of blood dripped down his forehead, caught with the salt-heavy seawater in his eyebrow and washed it red.

"Max. Stay with us, pal."

Max made a small sound that might have been Grant's name and then a cough, but that was it. His head drooped back, crown resting on Nicholas's shoulder. He continued the furious beating of his eyes.

Grant sighed tightly and caught his gaze up with Nicholas. He could see below the surface how Nicholas had his free arm wrapped around his ribs, and was bracing himself while his feet peddled in time.

"I'm alright," said Nicholas, noticing him noticing.

Silence settled about them, spreading thin through the air, leaving nothing but the sound of labored breathing and lapping water.

"So," Grant said, voice empty sounding in the expanse of space, leaching out the casualness he was trying to force. "I've been meaning to tell you… thanks for the rescue."

Nicholas drew a shuddery breath, but his pained face flashed a smile as he laughed. "You're welcome." He shifted his arm across Max's chest, gripping tighter as he kicked. "However, something tells me... we might still be in trouble."

Grant grinned recklessly. "Don't know why you'd think that." His legs were burning.

Max made another sound, maybe Nicholas's name this time, Grant wasn't sure.

The atmosphere turned serious.

"We have a plan?" he asked.

Nicholas worked his chin up, keeping Max balanced in front of him as he moved an arm below the surface and drew a knife up from Max's pocket. "First part of the plan is to get you untied."

Grant reached for it, taking careful hold with his slick fingers. He opened the blade with his teeth then handed it back to Nicholas who held it as still as he could while Grant sawed his ropes on it, spreading his arms gratefully when they finally snapped free. "And the second part?"

"The second part of the plan," Nicholas panted out, "is to stay together and stay on the surface. And the third," he said, staring around at the ocean, voice dropping low, "the third part depends on a little help from our friends."


:D