Note: This story is by the fabulous Dorinda! I am just posting this for her as she continues to resist the shiny allure of livejournal. :) --astolat
Title: Sinking, Rising
Fandom: I Spy (TV)
Notes: For the classic Eggbeater Challenge: exactly 500 words and an eggbeater.SINKING, RISING
Kelly surfaced and shook his wet hair from his eyes. Now they just might be in trouble. The water was too cold. The crevasse walls were too high. The rope—though at least there was a rope—was barely out of reach.
"Wake up, will ya," he said, shaking Scotty, who floated far too quietly on his back, slipping further away with every degree of body temperature he lost.
"...get a job in the morning..." Scotty answered.
Kelly nearly went blind with the fear that that would be the last he'd hear. He shook Scotty again, sharply. "Don't you sink! Hear me?"
Kelly let him go to float on his own for a few more perilous seconds. He concentrated, and started kicking hard, each leg circling inward, powering him in a ferocious tread, up, up, straining, arms reaching—
—to grab the rope. He wrapped his legs around Scotty and started hauling them both out.
Scotty clung to him, mumbling against his soggy shirtfront. "...impressive."
"Learned it in water polo," Kelly managed.
"Quiet." Another hand up. "I was." Again. "Dating a pearl diver."
After a pause, Scotty said: "...f'you climbed alone... have a better chance."
"...go for help."
"Shut. Up." Kelly pulled fiercely, his eyes blurring with adrenaline and effort. "I've. Got you. You ain't. Going anywhere."
"...that a threat?" But he stayed alive all the way to the top.
The next time, Kelly couldn't rise high enough, wasn't strong enough, so Scotty drowned. His eyes were open and staring as he sank. And the time after that, same thing. Again and again, relentless, failure and loss and the end—not just the end of Scotty, but the end of everything. You failed him. You lost him.
Kelly woke, a gasp strangling in his throat. He was actually honest-to-God shaking. How long since a close call had done that? He was getting old. He tried to breathe quietly, settle down.
But his blanket drew back, and Scotty's warmth climbed in beside him. "You keep dreaming," Scotty said.
"I'd noticed," Kelly replied, rubbing his face.
"Kicking around." Scotty snorted softly. "The amazing sleeping eggbeater."
Kelly tugged some of the covers back from his bed-hog of a partner. "You're just jealous of the pearl diver."
"Dream on," Scotty said. "So to speak."
They shifted and nudged and stuck their feet out from under the blankets and adjusted for errant elbows, and finally they couldn't get any closer. It was quiet, and warm, and Kelly closed his eyes. Saw Scotty drowning. Opened them again.
"Hey." Scotty reached out, and Kelly'd been wrong, they could get closer. Scotty's arms steadied him, pulled him in, locked him tight. This, right here, was the safest place he'd ever known.
He couldn't say anything. One for the record books. He just held on.
"Hey," Scotty said again, his lips to Kelly's ear. "I've got you. You ain't going anywhere."
Kelly laughed, suddenly breathless. "Is that a threat?"
It was a promise.
Thanks to Arduinna and PFL.