There's no key. A lock, implacable and impenetrable, but no key, and no way to break through the steel door. Not in time, anyhow.

Nick's hands are raw from trying, and his heart's raw from lying to Cody, telling him how close he is to getting them out. Cody, so still and pale on a pallet at the rear, a pallet made from Nick's jacket and sweater.

Nick's cold, but he doesn't care - for Cody's comfort he'd give up more than heat. What terrifies him is that it might not help. Cody's not bleeding now, not anymore, but he's lost so much blood already. He needs help soon, now, or it's not gonna matter if they get out or not.

Nick rams the door a final time then drops back down at Cody's side, strokes the cool pale forehead of the best friend he's ever had. "You still with me, big guy?"

"Always." Cody's mumble ought to be unintelligible, but Nick hears him. His eyes fill with tears at his own inadequacy, at the unfairness of this, of Cody helpless and dying in this stark metal tomb while he can do nothing but watch.

"I'll get us out, babe. I promise, it's gonna be fine. We're gonna be fine."

Cody turns tired, bloodshot eyes to Nick's face, and somehow, somehow, he's smiling. Nick can't ever give up, not while that light is in Cody's eyes. He turns back to the door, but Cody's hand closes on his wrist. Cody's grip is frighteningly weak, but it holds Nick fast.

"Cody?"

"Don't fight anymore, Nick. We're already fine, right? We're together."

Nick doesn't even try and fight the tears. He takes Cody's hands, holding them tight, staring into his eyes. He's lightheaded from lack of oxygen or terror or both. But Cody's right, however much Nick wants to deny it.

"I can't let you go, man. I can't. I can't..."

"Then don't, Nick. Don't fight. C'mon. Stay here with me."

When Nick lies down beside him, Cody's heartbeat strengthens, his color deepens. Nick feels it, lying beside him, listening to him breathe. Willing him to keep on fighting, keep on being.

Nick dare not move away, not anymore, in case any change is the crucial one. That's why he misses the first clangs and bangs from the door, why the first he knows of rescue is Murray shaking his shoulder, shouting his name.

And Cody, still breathing. Still with him.

"We made it, babe. We both made it. We're still together."

Cody's barely conscious now, beyond speech, beyond movement. But Nick hears his answer loud and clear, regardless.

Always.