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“I hate to say this, Mr. Reese,” Finch said, looking around the cabin of the yacht as thick, acrid smoke seeped beneath the door and rose up into the air, hanging above their heads, “but we might be in trouble.” They lay on the floor of the cabin, arms bound behind their backs and ankles tied, Reese bleeding from a gash in his forehead while the crackle and roar of the fire below filled the room. The floor was starting to get hot. Absently, Finch wondered if they’d cook to death, suffocate from the smoke, or be blown up when the fire reached the fuel tanks.

“I told you you didn’t need to come with me,” Reese said, sounding far too calm for the situation, and it stirred a momentary, irrational anger inside Finch. They were going to die, and he sounded like he couldn’t care less. Then Reese sat up, the ropes falling away from his wrists, and he flashed a cheeky smile at Finch as he began to untie his own ankles. No wonder he didn’t sound concerned.

“And let you have all the fun?” Finch replied as Reese freed him and helped him to his feet.

“Stay back and stay low,” Reese said, moving toward the door. Finch pulled out his handkerchief and held it over his mouth and nose, crouching as low as his injury would let him, but it didn’t stop the smoke from stinging his eyes and making his chest hurt. Reese touched the door and jerked his hand back. “This isn’t good,” he said, taking a step back. It was the only way out of the cabin, though.

Reese kicked the door, the lock shearing off a with a squeal of metal, and dropped to the floor as a ball of flame rushed into the room, licking along the ceiling as it consumed the oxygen. Reese scrambled to his feet, grabbing Finch by the arm and pulling him out into the narrow corridor, fire rippling over every surface, the carpet melted, the wood paneling blackened. Finch coughed, choking on the smoke, and followed Reese blindly.

At the stairs, Reese stopped and shoved Finch up first, the flames licking at the legs of his trousers as he hobbled up, the steps creaking and groaning beneath him. Finch emerged onto the deck, roiling black smoke pouring up into the sky all around him, making it impossible to see which direction the shore was. He stopped, waiting for Reese, and whipped around as a great groan and crash issued up from below deck. The stairs had collapsed.

Dropping to his knees, Finch leaned over the opening. “Reese? Are you all right?”

“I’ve been better,” Reese replied, his voice rough and hoarse, strained by the smoke. “Get back.” Finch shifted to the side as Reese grabbed the edge and hauled himself up, his face red and streaked with soot. He pulled his legs up, his shoes smoking, a large section of one leg of his pants singed black. He collapsed on deck, coughing and gasping for breath, but almost immediately shoving himself back to his feet and grabbing at Finch’s arm.

“C’mon,” he rasped. “Gotta get off this boat.”

Finch followed him to the closest railing. “How far to shore?” he asked.

“Don’t know,” Reese said. “Just jump.” Finch stepped up on the wooden rail, but hesitated. “Jump; now!” Reese shouted, and Finch felt a strong hand in the middle of his back.

“Wait,” he said, but too late. Reese gave him a shove and he plunged through the smoke toward the water below, his body stiffening as he drew a desperate breath and grabbed on to his glasses. He hit the water feet-first, the impact sending a shock of pain up through his body and he cried out, a swarm of bubbles escaping as water filled his mouth. The cold water crushed in on him, his suit restricting his movement and weighing him down, making it feel like he was trying to swim though molasses. Panic filled his chest, a crushing blackness that wrapped around him, dragging him down-

A strong hand grabbed one flailing wrist, then the front of his shirt, and Finch reached out, clinging to the muscular arm. The pressure in his lungs was terrible, a burning ache that gnawed inside his chest and he couldn’t stop the desperate gasp that rose up in his throat. Breath escaped and water rushed in. Darkness pulled him into a silent embrace.

The next thing Finch knew, someone was kissing him. He felt vaguely disconnected, no sounds, no smells, no sensations, other than the lips pressed against his. Then he felt air fill his mouth, sliding down his throat, trying to fill his lungs, but they were already full. He choked, gasped, and felt the lips withdraw. Hands rolled him onto his side, a hard thump against his back sending a flood of water spilling from between his lips. The peaceful quiet was shattered as he drew a rasping breath, coughed, and vomited seawater onto the sand, his body aching, shaking with cold. His chest hurt, his head hurt – everything hurt.

“Finch, are you all right?” Reese asked.

Slowly, Finch rolled himself back onto his back, his eyes fluttering open to a blue sky smudged with clouds of black smoke. He drew several more agonizing but much appreciated breaths, and nodded his head.

“Yes, Reese, I’m fine,” he said, his voice thin and raspy, his throat feeling like he’d swallowed broken glass. He started to ask where they were and how they got there, but the words were unexpectedly stifled by Reese’s lips against his own. Startled and confused, Finch placed a hand against Reese’s chest, frowning as he pushed him away. “I’m breathing on my own now, Mr. Reese,” Finch said. “You can cease the mouth-to-mouth.” He thought he saw a flush under Reese’s dark skin as Reese glanced away.

“Just making sure, Finch,” Reese said as he helped Finch to his feet.

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  1. managerie76 permalink

    “Just making sure, Finch,”


  2. I like this one:)

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