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Ian flew out of the water so quickly; he overshot his landing. Rising into the air, he almost hit the ceiling of his living room before coming down hard on his feet. The words he'd been chanting in his head now moved to his lips. "No, Sunny, no, no, no!" His voice broke on the words.

Sonora was unconscious to it all. Her head lolled to one side, and one limp arm draped over his.

Dropping to his knees, he carefully laid her on the floor. Quickly, he tapped the communicator that had been implanted in his jaw since he was a child. "Dad! Mom! I need you!"

Ian tipped Sonora's head back and listened for any sign of breathing. His own quick gasps were all he could hear. With immense effort, he slowed his breathing. If he was going to help her, he needed to get himself under control.

He brought his mouth down on hers to siphon the water from her lungs. It had no effect. Still, she lay limp and lifeless. Again, he drew water from her, spitting it onto his living room floor. 

Ian heard the stomp of feet as his family approached and entered his dwelling. Relief covered their faces when they saw their son was unharmed. But it quickly turned to concern when they took in Sonora's limp body and their son's pleading eyes.

"Father, mother, help me please," Ian begged as if he were a boy again. Tears came to Aleena's eyes, and a hand covered her mouth, as she saw her son's distress.

"I can't lose her! I can't-" his voice broke as he turned back to Sonora. Ian put his hand to Sonora's hair and stroked it. I've just found her. Tears trailed down his face as the ache in his heart overtook him.

Jorah lowered himself to the floor beside Ian. Reaching out and clasping his son's shoulder, he said, "Try again, Ian. Sometimes humans are stronger and more resilient than we give them credit for."

Ian's hands shook as he gathered her up in his arms again. His pained soul praying this time it would work. Once again, he drew water from her. Still nothing. Slowly, Ian lowered his head to Sonora's as he rocked her in his arms.

Cascadia and Talise looked on. Though shocked and confused over their brother's feelings for a human girl, they could not deny his pain. Nor could they withhold information that may help save her life.

"When I was in Rome last summer," Cascadia hurried to say, "I saw a human pulled from the sea. They did things differently than us. They banged on her chest and then when she coughed they turned her over."

Talise agreed. "I've seen the same thing."

"Do what you have seen to her!" Ian ordered as he quickly laid Sonora flat on the ground. His sisters settled on the floor beside her. Cascadia pressed on her chest as she had seen them do on land. Talise patted the girl's face.

When nothing happened, Ian ordered. "Push harder!"

Cascadia argued. "I'll break her!"

He pleaded with her. "She's already gone. You can do no more damage. It will work or it will not."

Cascadia strengthened her efforts, and after a couple of compressions, Talise leaned down and listened. "Something is happening."

An anxious sigh escaped Aleena. "Try drawing the water from her now, son."

This time  Sonora erupted into a fit of coughing, then she vomited the water from her lungs. Ian turned her, so she lay on her side, one of his arms holding her upper body up off the floor. Sonora wrapped both her arms around his one, clenching it with both hands, as she expelled all the water.

Ian wondered how so much water could be coming from the puny lungs she must have. He could feel her efforts as if they were his own. He did his best to soothe her, pulling her long, wet hair away from her face and stroking the length of her back. Twice he bent and lightly kissed the back of her head, unable to stop himself, and hoping in her distress, she wouldn't notice. Finally, she lay quiet and exhausted against him.

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