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Blake's memories continued.

He had estimated that he would have his work done by noon. He would follow his wife as soon as he had finished. Knowing everyone in this section of Atlantis depended on him, he did his best work. But he worked like a madman, his unease showing in every frenzied move he made. His imagination ran wild as one dangerous scenario after another came to mind.

Finally finished, he ran down the empty hallway to the sea door and dove through. Taking the first vehicle he came across, he slammed it into high and kept it there. The water's resistance beat on his face and chest. He hunkered down behind the console as best he could but did not slow down. He needed to get to her.

The closer he got, the tighter their bond became. Argos felt the warm connection slide around him and connect much the same way as when she wrapped her loving arms around him. Her smile, her light laugh, it was all so close.

A white-hot flash of pain shot through him. It paralyzed him. Everything became eerily calm and quiet. The ever moving ocean seemed, suddenly, empty and still. So still. Only a flowered hairband shuttered through the undersea current. Hers.

Argos watched it drift through the sun-filtered water toward him as if it were a plea for help. His heart thumped hard against his chest as his body chilled and hardened. Suddenly released from his immobility, he frantically raced through the water. Only to come to a sudden halt a moment later.

Above him floated an anchored fishing boat, its tether between it and the shallow ocean floor. Argos' heart sank. This was a dangerous area for Atlantians. If careless, they could be seen by humans when crossing here.

His Intended's escort had been careless.

Bodies floated in front of him, their hair and clothing slowly rippling with the movement of the water. Atlantians. His people. His eyes darted from one to another. Grief building with the sight of each one.

Not her. She was not there.

Argos's eyes darted through the seascape. There! A diver held her in his arms. Another hovered beside them, watching. A large silver spear protruded from her side as if she were some rogue fish.

She still breathed, or tried to. He could tell that from here. She felt he was here and slowly turned her head to look at him. Her wide, pain-filled eyes were all Argos saw; he swallowed the hurt in the back of his throat.

The divers watched her as if she were a piece of flotsam they were playing with. They had heard rumors of a fish people but had always thought them to be old wive's tales. To actually be holding one was something they never imagined would happen. Still, she was disappointing them. They thought she could breathe the water, instead, she seemed to be choking. It never entered their minds to bring her to the surface or to share their oxygen. If they had known, it was unlikely they would have done so.

Before Argos could move, the diver reached down and twisted the spear in his Intended's side. Argos felt her agony as if it were his own. His legs and arms drew up as if to protect himself.

With interest, the divers watched her. Watched her pathetic struggles against them, against the pain, against her impending death. They watched her gasp simply for a breath, a single breath, in a sea that wouldn't give her one.

Argos raced to them. One diver raised a speargun, but it had not been reloaded. Argos grabbed the thick, silver rod from his hand and smashed it on the side of his head. It was enough to stun him. Enough time for Argos to grab the long, straight-edged knife the diver had strapped to his calf and plunge it into his body.

The diver holding his wife let her go and backed up, hands in the air. Argos swung a strong punch, and the man sank.

His wife floundered in her attempt to get to the top of the waves. Argos rushed to her, raising her as gently as he could to the air. She sputtered and choked. Argos put his mouth to hers and pulled to clear out her lungs.

Once she could breathe, he anxiously scoured her. The spear in her side was her only wound, but it was a critical one. He turned her to examine it, prodding her as carefully as possible.

Her tears splashed against him and ran over his shoulder in the water they floated in. She shook her head the tiniest bit.

His Intended laid one lovely hand on his face. She knew her fate, even if he hadn't faced it yet. "I have loved you so. My soul bound with yours is the most beautiful thing I have ever felt. It has been beyond words, beyond expression." A sob escaped her as she imagined what he would be facing in the decades to come. "You can do this. Take solace in the things you can."

Argos grew cold on hearing her words. A wail rumbled deep within him and made its way through him until it erupted, "No!"

"I am so sorry we did not have more time." She closed her eyes, and her body eased. And if possible, she became more beautiful in death than she had been in life.

Argos pulled her tight against him. His mind was blank, refusing to take in the events of the last few minutes.

He heard only the lap of the ocean around them, the smack of it against the side of the fishing boat. Beyond that, there was only silence, as if the whole world mourned her passing.

Argos wasn't sure how long he stayed there, he only knew that if he moved, everything would change. If he moved, she would no longer be with him. Their bond had broken but as long as he could still see her, touch her, put his head to hers, then he could pretend it was still there.

Other sounds gradually came to him, the mourning call of the seagulls, the sad moan of a whale and the small comforting whistles of a couple of dolphins who had come to comfort him.

Another rougher sound made Argos raise his head. The diver that had held her, that had shoved the spear deeper into her body had surfaced. He was trying to make it to the boat.

Argos watched the man who had murdered his love. The man struggled to get on the back of the boat. He shot a quick glance over to Argos.

"Hey man, we didn't mean any harm. We didn't know." The man's voice trembled slightly. "We were just...I mean, what are you, man?"

Argos calmly kissed the top of his wife's head, then he pulled a large piece of debris from the Atlantis vehicle closer and gently laid her on it.

The instant he did, he raced to the man with a speed that would rival dolphins and leapt into the boat. "So you kill them? You kill her?" he roared.

The man backed up until he hit the wooden cabin wall. "It wasn't me, man! It just kinda happened. We saw them down there. It nearly scared my breakfast right out of me! We'll get this all cleared up on land. I'll head over there and--,"

As the man talked, he fumbled for a weapon. A rack beside him held several loaded spearguns. "Let me go, man! I didn't do this! I swear. I won't tell no one about you! Let me take the lifeboat—"

Both men swung their gazes to where it should be. The spot was empty.

Argos put his large hand to the man's shoulder and shoved it hard against the wall. "I guess you are out of luck," he growled.

Furious in a way that was incomprehensible even to himself, Argos's focus narrowed to himself and the man. His big hand rose to cover the side of the man's face. He struggled against Argos only to find he had no chance in this fight.

Argos pulled his head forward and slammed it back against the wall. The man's face went from bargaining to truly frightened. Argos roared a string of curses at him. Good-for-nothing people, raper of the seas, scourge of the ocean.

Then Argos slammed the man's head again and watched him slide to the floor.

He dove for the other diver and threw him up on the boat. Still wrapped in the nightmare, he boarded the boat again, searching for what he needed.

Finding a gas can, he poured its contents down the entire length of the boat, until every drop was gone. Then he set it ablaze.

Then, grief raw and burning hot as the fire above him, Argos went to her. He lovingly gathered her into his arms and took her home, knowing it was the last time he would do so.



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