The shivering bundle of fever and nightmares shot up, erupting into a coughing fit.

"Shhhh …" – strong hands appeared out of thin air to rub circles around his aching back. "Easy there, Arielle – you swallowed half of the lake."

"You … we … we made it?"

"Looks like your plan worked." The hands urged him back under the blankets.

"The 'clear-Loch-Ness' rubbish?"

"No, the 'go-and-get-dumdums' rubbish."


"Would've been a piece of cake if you hadn't decided to play captain Nemo."


"Never mind, I …"

Shaky breaths, trembling fingers sneaking over his head.

"I've got you in time."