Title: Experience is A Harsh Teacher

Author: Claddagh

Pairings/characters: Chandler/Kent

Rating: PG-13

Spoilers: None

Disclaimer: Not mine, never mine

Summary: No amount of courses can prepare you for having the lifeless, body of your 24 year old DC in your arms.

It had been a fairly standard case. A murdered wife, Husband nowhere to be found, history of domestic disturbances and abuse. The evidence was there, the team just had the task of finding said husband.

They'd found him standing on a walkway directly above the Thames, leaning casually on the railing, a 9mm handgun being tossed, almost carelessly between his hands. He was looking out to the river, his expression blank. The team had approached him cautiously, aware of the armed officers situated slightly further back, ready to intervene if needed.

There had been calm conversation to begin with, Chandler using all of the diffusing and calming techniques he'd learned during his abundance of courses. Eventually, despite the DI's (and the rest of the teams) best efforts, Mr Mason had snapped, initially shouting at the officers, before hazardously aiming the gun in their direction, clearly not used to pointing a firearm.

As Chandler was the detective closest to the enraged man he seemed to be the main target. The rest of the team slowly backed away, save for Kent, whose eyes continued to dart between his DI, Mr Mason and the Gun.

The second Kent heard the metallic click of the firearms safety being flicked and the slight change of Mr Mason's stance, suggesting he was aiming the gun properly, with purpose and intent at Chandler now, the young Detective dashed forward, ignoring the cries from his colleges.

He grabbed the other man's forearms with both of his hands, pushing upwards so that the gun was pointed to the sky. In the struggle three shots were fired, each one making a small dent in the young man's hearing capabilities, leaving behind slight high pitched whistle.

The skirmish didn't last long, after the gun was fired the young man managed to knock it out of Mr Mason's hands, but a mere second after this he was grabbed harshly by the shoulders as both men overbalanced from their struggle and went straight over the railing, falling about ten feet before landing with a loud splash in the ice cold, filthy water of the London Thames.

The remaining team had rushed to the railing, Chandler reaching it first, to find out if they could see their youngest. After a few tense seconds where nothing, not even a ripple crossed the surface of the water, Chandler made his decision, quickly ripping off his coat and toeing off his shoes.

He had followed his DC into the water before anyone could stop him, his fear for his college overriding any that he had about the ramifications of being submerged in the disgusting water. The cold hit him like a punch to the face, but he immediately dove underneath the murky surface in search of his DC.

Chandler had to surface briefly once he ran out of air, only to be greeted by the shouts of the rest of his team and of the armed officers. He didn't understand any of their words though, his ears and eyes were full of water and his heart was beating far too loud to hear them. He dove under again, his clothes heavy and cold against his flesh from the water.

It took him a minute of blind searching through the muck, unable to actually see anything, but eventually his fingers closed around a clothed forearm. He was sure that it was Kent. If it wasn't he would just dive back down again and again until he did find him.

With maximum effort and minimal progress Chandler managed to drag the limp form to the surface, gasping in relief as the pale, unconscious face of his youngest DC came into view.

He pulled Kent to his chest, the young man's back to him and slowly, in a laboured way started to swim backwards towards the bank, dragging the dead weight of Emerson Kent with him. It took a few minutes, as progress was slow and the weight of the two men were almost too much for Chandler to take, being briefly submerged a number of times as his strength failed him.

After a minute of grunting and groaning as he dragged Kent's deadweight onto the muddy, sandy Thames bank (with the hurried help of Miles and Mansell who had appeared seemingly out of nowhere), Chandler gave an exhausted sigh.

Then his heart froze as it registered in his mind that Kent wasn't moving, nor did he appear to be breathing. He did however, have watered down blood running down the side of his face from a small cut just on his hairline (probably what had knocked him unconscious in the first place). His skin was a dull grey colour, while his lips were tinged with blue.

"Oh god." the DI muttered, coming to keel in the mud beside his DC. With his heart racing he placed two fingers under the young man's chin and tilted his head back, lowering his own head to Kent's lips, waiting with bated breath to feel a flutter of air against his cheek or a slight rise of the slim chest. Neither happened.

"He's not breathing…" Joe muttered to himself, ignoring the horrified gasp that came from Riley, who had both hands clasped over her mouth, her eyes already filling with tears. The only reaction that Miles and Mansell had to this statement was a significant worried glance to each other. Chandler didn't notice.

With no hesitation he once again tilted the young mans head back, opening his airways, and gently pulled Kent's mouth open with his thumb. Chandler took a deep breath, before pinching the young man's nose closed and lowering his mouth to Kent's.

This wasn't the situation he'd imagined touching his lips to Emerson's.

Before he exhaled he adjusted his mouth over the young man's, attempting to get a good seal, preventing any air from escaping. His actions were almost textbook.

Two exhales later (and two slight rises of the pale chest beneath the sopping wet clothes) Chandler lifted his head and took another deep breath, before placing the heel of his left hand on the hard area of Kent's sternum, then laced his right hand over the left.

For a split second Chandler hesitated, scared of hurting his DC with the chest compressions, but quickly dismissed the idea. Technically Kent was dead, the situation couldn't get any worse, even if Chandler broke a rib trying to bring him back.

The DI then began the 30 chest compressions, his jaw clenching tighter with each one, trying to hold in his emotions.

No signs of life.

Once he reached thirty, Chandler let out a frustrated growl, before returning to the two breaths.

No sounds nor sights registered in the DI's mind, not the splashing of the murky water along the bank, not the sirens of approaching police cars and ambulances in the distance, especially not the quiet sobs coming from Riley, or the definite shimmer of wetness in Miles' eyes. He didn't even care that a search was beginning for Mr Mason, who hadn't been pulled out of the Thames yet.

Three more cycles of two breaths and thirty chest compressions left Chandler exhausted, but as he counted frantically in his head he wasn't even aware of the words were escaping his mouth.

"Come on Emerson. Don't do this. Please wake up. Please…"

Chandler felt a hand land on his shoulder, and immediately knew it to be Miles.

"Joe…" His voice was unusually weak. "it's not working. He's not coming round."

"That doesn't matter" Chandler shouted "You don't stop until paramedics arrive!" He shrugged off Miles' hand almost violently and continued his actions with slightly more force, refusing to even consider what his DS had been suggesting with his words. He wasn't going to let Kent go without a fight. Kent wouldn't let him go that easily.

One more cycle left him even more worn out, and when he began the chest compressions he barely had the energy to provide the adequate force.

1... the depth of compressions…2...a third of the depth of the chest…3...two compressions per second…4...5...6-

The sudden cough and heave of the chest from underneath his hands made Chandler jump in fright. A few unintelligible, disbelieving noises escaped his lips as his eyes jumped to the young man's face.

Kent's eyes were clenched closed, but his mouth was slightly open, several coughs and a small stream of water escaping from between his lips. He then began to gasp and take in several rattling, painful sounding breaths, gulping in oxygen into his water-filled, previously unused lungs. He then began to struggle slightly, confused and obviously in pain.

"Oh my God, Sir, you did it!" Riley cried, her smile wider than they had ever seen it.

Chandler dared to smile for a second, before putting his arm around the young man's shoulders and gathering him into his arms and to his chest, supporting Kent's upper body as he convulsed with the sudden life surging through him.

"Well done Emerson. Well done Kent. Just breathe, come on, big deep breaths." Chandler muttered into his DC's ear, feeling the young man shiver against him from the intense cold.

It was another few seconds before Kent opened his eyes, and when he did they were unfocused, watery and bloodshot from trauma. Despite this they were alive and bright, something that Chandler had been terrified that he would never see again.

The kid in his arms continued to cough and convulse weakly, his body trying to adjust too quickly, while Chandler pulled him closer to his own body, resting his chin on the messy, curly, black mop of soaking wet hair atop Kent's head.

The entire team turned around to look as the ambulance pulled into the area, the paramedics quickly jumping out.

While the others were distracted Chandler turned back to Kent, and pressed his lips to the young man's temple. It was hardly a kiss, more just resting his lower face against the cold flesh, but still it felt comforting and made it even more real in the DI's mind that Kent was alive and breathing in his arms.

"You're so stupid Emerson. You shouldn't have done that, you almost got yourself killed." Chandler admonished, his voice low and breathless.

A quiet laugh escaped the shivering young man in his arms. "But… I… d-didn't, T-Thanks…to y-you."

"Thank all of the first aid courses I've done."

"N-No. It wasn't t-them." Kent shook his head, his teeth still chattering. "It was you."

Chandler smiled self-consciously at the young man, enjoying the moment where both men realised that they had indeed saved each others lives today.

Then the paramedics reached them, and Chandler was forcefully pulled away from Kent by the rest of the team, allowing them to do their job and tend to Kent's head wound and other injuries. He answered their questions with a small sense of pride, knowing that for once his stubbornness and persistence had paid off, allowing him to bring back his young DC, even when everyone had been telling him it was too late.

It's never too late. Experience had taught Chandler that.