One last breath and then it would be over; one last faltering gasp for air, almost a whimper as he felt his body starting to dissolve into its molecular parts ready to be torn from one world to the next. He let his mind go free, let the last of his cares float away like leaves on a gentle, autumn breeze, focusing on an image of clear blue skies as death closed in around him.
Dancing on the edge of ascension, he heard the whisper of a familiar mind brush across his, filled with grief amid the urgency. Unable to deny or resist, he reached out to touch this mind, stilling the turbulent thoughts and drawing it towards him. Light flooded his darkness and he slammed back into his body as fresh oxygen filled his lungs.
Later, as the Puddlejumper floated just beyond the field of wreckage that had once been the Midway station, John fitted the headphones and closed both his eyes and the bulkhead door, and took a deep breath. He shut out the cacophony of sharp voices from the back of the jumper, concentrating instead on just one voice drifting through the background hiss from his MP3 player; an echo that filled his heart with joy and his mind with visions of fresh chances, a voice that had for one moment stopped the universe from turning.
After the medical check, he found Rodney standing at the edge of his favorite pier, staring out across a slowly darkening sky and sea. They stood shoulder to shoulder for a while as the stars came out above their heads, increasing the stark contrast of light and dark across cheek and jaw as John reached out and turned Rodney to face him.
Their first brush of lips was like Springtime, full of awakening and joy, silently whispering, I know you, and John breathed in the sweetness.
As they moved into each other's arms, the kiss deepened into the lazy heat of summer days, deep and passionate, whispering, I want you, hands moving possessively to have and to hold. The fire of urgency and passion gave way to a deeper, richer sensation that burned in Autumn reds and golds, whispering I need you, until he felt the wintry coldness of the night as they parted with Rodney's warm breath against his face. Yet, as John looked into awe-filled eyes he could see the promises written there that this was just the beginning and not the end, and a final inner voice whispered, Never just as a friend to me. You've always been so much more.
He took one more breath, breathing in the scent of Rodney before leaning in for another kiss.