“WHAT?” Steve can barely hear Diana over the sound of walls and furniture creaking and crashing to the floor. “WHICH WAY NOW?” She repeats. Honestly he has no idea.
He’d been dragged, only half-conscious on the way into the rig, and it’s a large enough structure to lose your way if you aren’t paying attention.
The floor buckles beneath them and she falls into him. “You don’t know, do you?” She accuses. She grabs his hand and makes for the nearest stairwell.
By the time they realize it is blocked with a collapsed wall, the way down is flooded. Steve slams his shield into the obstacle, creating a hole for them to climb through.
He pushes her ahead of him before she has a chance to protest.
When he reaches the top of the stairs he feels cold air and saltwater on his face. He accepts her extended arm as leverage to pull himself up to the platform. She is waiting for direction.
She still thinks he got here on his own, and has a means of escape in mind. He’s pretty sure she’s figured out there’s more to his story; they both have very good senses of direction.
No time for that particular discussion right now. He points to the remains of a platform four levels below, at water-level, where a small cutter is tied off.
Diana nods, grabs him by the waist, and they take a fast if semi-controlled head-first dive towards it just as the skies open up. Gray sky peels itself back, revealing darker gray sky.
The rain stings. He tries to hold Diana’s hair back from her face so she can see where she’s going.
She’s having a hard time moving in a straight line, and he wonders if it’s the storm or if she’s hurt. Wind tosses them around as if they were kites. “One kite,” he thinks.
He almost laughs at the trench irony—at least they’ll drown together, if they're not slammed into the concrete and steel.
He makes a mental note to try a little harder not to fall back on the stereotypes he grew up with about women drivers when he’s this stressed—or ever. He certainly knows better.
There is no time to be astonished at how much 1930’s sexist street-humor his brain’s got tucked away. The squall shoves his thoughts all over the place.
He leans his weight toward their target to help her navigate. It seems to work. The boat’s right in their line of sight.
Then there is a blast of hot air, and a sound whose force sends them zigzagging across the sky. The impact of their heads against the water feels like solid ice.
It is several seconds after the world fades from black nothingness to gray sky and fiery, angry sea. He claws his way a few meters to where Diana floats, unconscious.
He waits until he has her securely by the waist, is sure she’s breathing. There is a bloody gash at her hairline, where she must have hit some floating debris.
Then he looks around for any kind of floating object; that cutter would be especially nice if it’s still in one piece. He curses to himself as the some wreckage floats off in the distance.
“That looked a lot like half of a small boat,” he thinks. He makes for a flat-looking object that will hopefully hold their weight.
He can barely see straight through the smoke billowing past them, and his body is numb.
He looks down every few strokes to make sure he still has a grip on Diana, and that her head is still above water.
By the time he makes it to a promising piece of exploded rig, his lungs burn and his limbs are nearly stiff.
He uses what’s left of his strength to wheeze enough oxygen into his lungs to lift Diana onto the flotsam. It begins to sink.
He pulls her off again and hugs her to him as he treads water, looking around. “God Diana I’m so sorry,” he tells her, even though he knows she can’t hear him. The spoken apology takes effort.
He recalls his mother, and the way she would talk him through breathing during his asthma attacks as a small boy. “Fill your belly with air.
Fill your whole chest up like a balloon,” she would tell him. He’d wanted Diana to wear his helmet once they’d found it, but it was too big and she couldn’t see through the mask.
He should have insisted once they got outside. At least she might be conscious. If nothing else, she would probably be able to see a little better than he can right now.
He searches for a more promising flotation device—one that will at least support her weight, which isn’t much even soaking wet. “I’m so sorry, sweetheart. I’m so sorry, my angel.
” Talking is breathing, so he keeps up the apology, tells her about his plan to keep Bruce out of the equation altogether, that half-way to Concordance’s base they intercepted him.
He keeps swimming further away from the rig, anticipating secondary blasts.
A length of solid metal pipe floats by and he grabs onto it, thankful for its buoyancy.
He lets go of the effort of swimming, gives himself a chance to take some shivery breaths and listen for Diana’s breath, take her pulse.
Their presence automatically makes him breathe a little easier. The next time a flat object floats by he grabs it with his feet and jimmies it underneath them.
The solid pipe is what keeps them afloat, but at least something partially supports them now. “So where next, Princess,” he says. His teeth chatter and he can’t feel his lips or cheeks.
“I think we might both be out of a job at this point. You think Tony’ll hire us as security guards?” His speech slurs. “Because I don’t want us to end up moving in with your mom.
” He spits out some seawater. “Crap, Diana, I’m losing my mind.” He forces himself to keep talking. “’S’okay, my angel. You sleep. I’m gonna keep an eye on you and make sure you keep breathing.”