Lingering between semi-consciousness and death had never been one of Jack’s favourite places to be. When it’s also underwater, that’s even worse.
Jack never thought he’d die by drowning. Well, maybe once while in the flooding corridor of that mothership, but not on some simple meet and greet. Who would have thought the natives would have such a mean streak?
All he can see is blue in all directions, not that he knows which direction is which. He can thank those little poisoned darts for his current state of underwater vertigo. Even if he could figure which way was up, the poison is gradually weakening him and he’s not sure he’d even be able to pull a breath if he could now. Add that to the fact his hands are tied behind his back and it’s looking very much like it’s going to be goodnight my someone, goodnight.
The blue is calming. It encloses him now. A barrier between this life and the next. It’s a little murky, so he can’t see that far, and he can just hear the muted tones coming from the surface. Noise, chaos, that’s all that’s left for him on the surface. The blue is calm.
There’s shadows now in the water, vague shapes that darken and dance in the water. He should be afraid, but he’s not. Drowning would have been simple. Too simple for Jack O’Neill. Nope, fish food looks to be the winner. He knows this is payback for all the days he’s spent during the last 45 years tormenting fish with his fishing pole and O’Leary’s pricey bait up at the cabin. He never even caught any of those damn fish.
Irony is Jack’s constant companion.
He can feel the gentle currents in the water now, lulling him to sleep. He closes his eyes.
Two strong hands grab his arms, holding him tight. Abe Simpson’s tattoo flashes through his mind before he realises fish don’t generally have hands, or fingers that dig into his pitifully limp biceps. Not on Earth anyway. Jack opens his eyes and a Daniel shaped blur appears in front of him. Squinty eyes and pouty lips. Daniel doesn’t belong in the blue. He doesn’t need to die.
But Daniel’s eyes are sharp, dancing across his features. Taking in the sight of a dying man Jack thinks. And then Daniel’s pulling him up, or what he assumes is up, towards his body, something solid in this sea of blue nothing. Daniel is warm, Daniel is real. Hands, arms, chest, all against his own. Tangible, real. Too bad he’s drowning.
But then Daniel’s lips lock onto his, suction, forcing air into cramped lungs. Daniel fills him with life, and their lips slide against one another in a new but familiar dance. His lips are soft and powerful, giving Jack his breath.
And for once Jack doesn’t question, just receives. He lets Daniel bring him to life, hold him up and feed him oxygen. He wants to touch, give something back, but his hands are still tied, not that he could have moved them all that well anyway.
Before he knows it, Daniel is pulling away. He’s smiling at him. A soft smile, and Jack can’t tell whether it’s in reassurance, or something more. Then they’re moving, rising to the surface. Daniel’s arm is wrapped around him, while the other reaches for the sky. Jack is still in their kiss. He doesn’t notice that they’ve broken the surface of the water, except when his lungs are suddenly filled with air. They suck it in just fine without him while he’s still off in la la land.
But now Daniel is in front of him again, holding his head above the water, so gently when compared with the tight grip he held under the water. Almost cupping his jaw, Daniel angles to hold Jack up from behind, treading water until Jack’s breathing calms down. “I’ve got you, Jack” Daniel almost whispers in his ear as he brushes Jack’s damp hair off his face. Jack can’t reply just yet, so he reaches back to touch Daniel with his still tied hands. His fingers brush Daniel’s thigh in thanks. Daniel shivers.
They slowly make their way to the water’s edge, away from the cliff face from which Jack was thrown. Precise, powerful strokes through the water bring them to the shoreline and Daniel drags him from the water just as Sam and Teal’c run up to help them. Together they get Jack on the beach and free his hands. Daniel steps back while Sam checks him out.
But Jack’s eyes stay locked on Daniel’s. Lost in the blue calm.