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Last Breath

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It was just another normal day in Eureka, with only four months remaining until the Astreaus Mission was set to lift off. Candidates were still going through the selection process but everyone at GD and Eureka was dedicated solely to creating or working on projects that would aid or benefit the mission in some way. On this bright sunny morning Dr. Henry Deacon, Zane Donovan and Dr. Douglas Fargo stood in the middle of the Rotunda discussing the latest test run and simulations of the FTL device.

"If we could find a way to increase the power by just 6% then we wouldn't need to hold to this weight limit of 250,000 tons that we've set for ourselves, "Henry said as Fargo took the notepad and frowned as he looked over the latest projections they had run.

"Yeah but to come up with even half of that we'd need more energy than the State of New York consumes in a year," Zane countered. "We're tapped out as it is."

"Keep in mind that these projections are based solely on estimates of the payload,"Henry pointed out.

Fargo sighed aloud. "If only we could find a way to allow the FTL drive to allow a jump directly from the ground, instead of having to resort to the rocket we wouldn't be further limited to the amount of thrust necessary to get all of this stuff into space"

"Fargo, all of our data suggests that the force of the FTL moving that much mass is so massive that were it to happen within our atmosphere it could cause a rupture, a backlash so massive that could cause a black hole within our very sky. The vacuum of Outer Space is the only place where that kind of force can be safely absorbed," Henry explained.

"We'll," Zane said nonchalantly, "we'll just have to make sure that we fix that in the next design," as he and Fargo shared a grin.

Henry chuckled and then pulled up the engines schematics on his tablet. "The engine core is peaking in the simulations at 80% of what we had expected. Its overheating before we can truly get it up to speed. We need a better type of lubricant to keep the engine from overheating before we reach capacity."

"Well if we can't find a traditional synthetic that we can use to insulate the core we're going to have to manufacture something," Fargo said as he looked over the schematics on his own tablet.

Zane nodded, "I have some ideas on that. Its something along the lines of a super pressurized coolant but it's-"

"Donovan!" a sharp voice said booming across the rotunda. The three men and several others in within ear shot turned to look at the owner of the voice who was striding across the rotunda.

Zane smirked as Jo approached them with a scowl on her face. "Hello usually comes first Lupo."

The greeting seemed to make her falter slightly and her scowl deepened. "You want to tell me why you're here instead of in your lab?"

"I'm sorry," he said, grinning as he crossed his arms over his chest, "did we have a breakfast date Jo-Jo?"

Jo poked him in the shoulder, making him wince as she answered. "You signed for a level two combustible element this morning for the NLWP's lab. You know," she said as she poked him again, "that protocol dictates that you must remain within 20 feet of that material at all times-"

"-unless." he interrupted, getting annoyed, "you sign it over to another scientist," he quoted, "which I did."

"Another scientist who appears to have wandered off, and left your experiment running unattended," she answered, hands on her hips.

"Then why aren't you off harassing him," Zane asked his voice edging quickly towards annoyance as he unconsciously mirrored her stance, his hands on his hips.

"Because you signed for it," Jo said exasperated, "so its your problem, and you're the one that I get to harass. So move it," she said pointing towards the lab in question.

Without a backwards glance at their colleagues they continued towards the nearest exit arguing and grumbling at each other the entire way.

Henry shook his head bemused while Fargo gave an audible sigh as he rolled his eyes. "Do they really think that they're fooling anyone?"

Just then Carter walked into the Rotunda and spotting them gave a quick wave and walked towards them.

"Morning Sheriff," Fargo said, "what brings you here?"

"Uh, Damage control," Carter said with a lowered voice. "Have either of your seen Zoe this morning?"

"She's home," Henry asked surprised.

"Yeah," Carter said slowly, "apparently she decided to surprise us and come home for the long weekend. Apparently she wanted to surprise Zane too. She left me a message this morning that she'd meet me for lunch after she stopped here."

"Jo and Zane just walked off together," Fargo said gesturing towards the exit just as his phone beeped that he had a message. Pulling it out he sighed at it, "and she and I are supposed to be heading over to the aquatics lab for a demonstration by Dr. Rivers."

"Look," Henry said, "I'll catch up with you all later," and nodding to Jack added, "Good Luck." before he walked away.

Fargo began strolling towards the NLWP's lab and Carter hurried to follow him. "So, is Zoe still interested in Zane," he asked conversationally.

Carter put his hands in his pockets and shrugged. "I don't know. She was all Zane this and Zane that when she was home for the summer, but I don't know if they were actually dating, or hooking up, or whatever they call it these days. She normally talks to Jo about that sort of thing, but-"

"Yeah, not the sort of thing Jo was probably looking to talk about with her," Fargo said.

"Let's just hope that we find them before Zoe does," Carter said worriedly.

"Either way Sheriff," Fargo said, "she's going to need to find a way to tell Zoe about what's going on between her and Zane."

Carter looked at Fargo with a wry grin. "Do you think that they even know that answer themselves?"

Meanwhile in an empty lab near the NLWP's section Zane and Jo were oblivious to anything around them as they kissed passionately, bodies pressed against a wall, breathing hard as their hands roamed frantically where ever they could reach.

Jo broke away first, trying to calm the feeling that she always got whenever they started kissing like this.

He spoke before she could, rubbing a thumb over her bottom lip, "Why is it whenever we argue all I want to do is kiss you until we can't remember why we were arguing in the first place."

"Because," Jo said as she tried to catch her breath, "you don't want to hear the lecture that I'm going to give you about leaving a-" but was silenced as he captured her mouth again in a deep kiss.

He broke away from her mouth and kissed a trail of kisses to her ear so that he could nip the soft lobe enjoying the way she shuddered when he found a sensitive spot. "I think I just like seeing how flustered you get whenever I get my hands on you," he teased and resumed his kissing. "Have dinner with me," he asked again.

Jo shook her head, "No."

"Come on Jo," he said, a little annoyed. "Sometimes I think the only reason that you kiss me is so that I won't ask questions about the other-" but was interrupted as Jo kissed him again.

He turned his head away and caught her chin in his hand forcing her to meet his look.

"Neither one of us is looking for anything serious here," Jo said, trying to keep her gaze level.

He held her gaze, trying to convince himself that he could wait until she admitted her feelings first. "I'm not going to be satisfied with that answer forever," he told her.

She pushed away from against the wall and tried to walk past him, but he pulled her back into his arms and kissed her again.

Neither noticed the young woman standing at the entrance to the lab who had witnessed their exchange and was now staring at them both in shock.

"Jo," Zoe said aloud, causing Jo to spring back from Zane in shock.

"Zoe," Jo said hoarsely as she realized just what her friend had witnessed. "This isn't-"

"-what it looks like- cause you do know what I think it looks like," Zoe said angry as she walked further into the room. "I thought that you were my friend."

"Zoe.." Zane began, but she cut him off with a wave of her hand and continued with her anger directed at Jo alone. "I can't believe that you would do this to me," she said incredulous as she paced restlessly from side to side. "Pilar, sure, but you? Jo, you're like my sister!"

"Zoe, this sort of just happened, and I..," frantically she looked back and forth between Zoe and Zane struggling to keep her composure.

Carter and Fargo walked into the lab at that moment, realized what was going on and with equal shares of uncomfortable grimaces they walked into the lab.

"Zoe," Carter said as he came into the room, "when did you get home?"

"Somewhere between when Jo stabbed me in the back and when Zane ripped out my heart," she said as she glared at her two former friends. She turned around to face her dad when she realized that he had made no noise of surprise at her words. "Did you know about this," she asked her dad.

Carter opened his mouth to speak then faltered as he couldn't lie. Fargo merely looked down at his shoes, trying not to make eye contact.

Zoe's eyes narrowed in fury, "Did everyone know about this," she asked now furious. Not waiting for an answer she stormed out of the room.

Zoe stormed off, and Jo unable to look at Zane murmured to Fargo that they were going to be late getting to the aquatics lab for their morning appointment. Zane watched silently as Jo left, clearly able to see the misery on her face, and mad that he was unable to do anything about it.

Carter sighed and shook his head. "I'd better go talk to Zoe," but Zane tapped him on the shoulder.

"No, let me. She should be mad at me," he admitted. "Jo tried to warn me but I just figured that she'd get over the crush, eventually." He cleared his throat uncomfortably, adding, "We -uh, nothing ever happened, you know, between Zoe and me last summer."

Carter crossed his arms over his chest, looking back at Zane. "Really."

Zane scratched his head clearly uncomfortable. "I, uh, well we went out a time or two but I was mostly doing it to mess with you."

Carter frowned but said nothing waiting for Zane to continue.

"When I first arrived in Eureka, you gave me some advice about Jo that kind of backfired. I was pretty mad about it, and wanted to mess with you like I thought you had with me."

"You need to fix it," Carter said, but clapped his hand on Zane's shoulder, "if you want to be with Jo."

Zane nodded down the hallway towards the door where Jo and Fargo had left. "She could probably use someone to talk to as well."

Carter nodded thoughtfully, "I'll head over to the aquatics lab and catch Jo once she's done with the demonstration. What are you going to tell Zoe?" he asked as Zane moved to leave.

Zane sighed and shoved his hands in his pockets. "The truth, or as much of the truth as I can tell her," and with a shake of his head he walked out.

Less than a half hour later Zoe was pulling her car into the Aquatics lab parking lot. As she climbed out of the car still fuming she heard the loud thrum of a motorcycle engine approach and she turned as she saw Zane pull into the parking lot and park just behind her car.

She waited for him to take off his helmet before she spoke. "What are you doing here," she said anger making her voice quaver.

"I pulled up your gps coordinates on my phone, I needed to talk to you."

"Well I don't want to talk to you," she said as she turned and walked towards the lab doors.

Zane quickly moved until he was in front of her, forcing her to stop in her tracks. "Then you'll just have to listen."

Zoe crossed her arms over her chest and stared moodily at him.

Finally facing her Zane sighed and thrust his fingers through his hair as he tried to find the right words to say. "Zoe, I know that you are upset."

Zoe huffed, "Biggest understatement of the year. I flew home to spend the weekend and see my boyfriend and I find him with his tongue down my former best friends throat."

Zane shook his head slowly at her, "Zoe, we weren't dating. We were just hanging out, as friends. I thought that you understood that when you went back to school."

Tears shimmered in Zoe's eyes as she willed them not to fall. "I thought that you liked me, and that you were just, I don't know, didn't want to do the whole distance thing."

Zane walked over and leaned wearily against the bumper of Zoe's car. "Zoe, why do you like me?"

Zoe crossed her arms over her chest and frowned.

"I'm serious, what is it that you think that you like about me?"

Zoe rolled her eyes. "Duh, cause your smart, and you're good looking."

Zane nodded, "Yeah I'm smart, and looks, well I've never had any trouble getting girls to look at me, but they rarely look beneath the surface. I want to be more to someone than a good looking smart guy. I would want someone to see the flaws in me and still want to be with me."

"You don't think that I could do that? Cause I can think of a few flaws right about now."

Zane shook his head. "No. Today when you should have been mad at me, you went straight for Jo."

Zoe's scowl deepened. "You are defending her, when she knew, she knew beyond a doubt that I had feelings for...," and she trailed off and looked away.

"You're right," Zane said quietly, "and I apologize that you found out that we were...seeing each other like that."

"Please," Zoe said, as she turned back again and glared at Zane. "You honestly expect me to believe that? Jo doesn't do feelings. She doesn't do relationships."

Zane nodded slowly staring off at the parking lot, "People can change," he said softly.

"Well I still think," but she was cut off by a sudden rumbling, and then a violent tremor that shook them both to their knees. As they hit the ground they could hear a distant rumbling sound and then all was still.

"What was that," Zoe said as she rose shakily to her feet.

Before Zane could answer the air was filled with the sound of sirens as warning lights on the exterior of the lab began to flash and a small group of people ran out of the main doors.

They both ran for the doors as they heard a computerized voice announce that there had been an explosion in the lab, sub level 3.

Zoe turned to Zane, fear in her eyes. "My dad's supposed to be in there"

"So is Jo," Zane said as they turned and ran towards in the doors and down the hall searching for the nearest elevator.

As the doors closed Zane pressed the button for the to descend, but an error message came up on the navigation screen. "It says that the elevator won't go to the sub floor," he told Zoe and pressed the button to proceed to the mid section.

Zoe kept dialing her dad on her phone, but shook her head. "He's not answering."

"Try Fargo," Zane ordered as he tried Jo, but neither of them received an answer. As Zane studied the navigation screen he pointed to a part of the map. "There's an observation room here that we should be able to use to access the lab. There might be a way that we can access the sub floor from there."

"How do you know that," she asked incredulously.

Zane eyes flicked guiltily over to Zoe, silently willing the elevator to move faster, "I may have uh, gone out with Dr. Rivers a time or two."

Zoe's face grew thunderous as she glared at him. "God, you are such a guy."

Zane was saved from answering as the doors to the elevator opened and they both bolted and ran towards the lab doors. Throwing open the doors they stopped in their tracks, stunned at the site that met their eyes. The room was a modest 20 x 30 foot space with floor to ceiling windows at the far side which afforded a view of the entire aquatics lab sub-floor which was about 20 feet below. The windows were now completely smashed and glass shards covered the floor along with debris from the lab. Several nearby consoles had been knocked over. As Zane went to the nearest terminal trying to get power to it, Zoe walked over to look out at the lab and gasped.

Zane, hearing the noise moved to join her and was stunned at the sight. Where there had once been a several contained pools with small 10 ft waterfalls the room was now like a bubbling writhing ocean upon which debris littered the surface. Zane noted the levels of the water and murmured to himself, "The water's rising."

Zoe spotted movement at the far corner of the lab coming out from one of the corridors and she gave a shout as she pointed. Swimming towards them with a small dark haired woman in tow Carter and Fargo battled the debris out of their paths as they tried to find refuge.

Zane ran over to a nearby wall panel and wretched it open.

"What are you doing?" Zoe asked.

"Emergency protocols," Zane said as he found the switch he was looking for. There was a whooshing noise as an emergency ladder extended from the right side of the window and stopped as it reached the water's surface.

Zane returned to the wall and cupped a hand to his mouth as he shouted. "Carter, swim for the ladder."

Carter looked up, caught sight of the two of them and nodded as they swam towards it, Fargo struggling to keep up behind them. As Carter reached the ladder he moved the woman into a fireman hold and began moving up the ladder, with Fargo only a few steps behind.

"We need help down here," Carter grunted, as he made his way up.

"We have a call into the main building at GD, and chances are the system sent out a signal when that blast occurred," Zoe said as she went over to the nearby desk,

"What the hell happened," Zane asked as he helped Carter haul the prone figure through the open window.

"No time to explain," Carter said as he helped haul Fargo into the room. "Zoe, see if you can find me, some tools, a plasma cutter, or something, anything."

"What's wrong," she asked, as Carter looked at Zane.

"Jo's trapped down there."

Zane quickly stood and walked towards him. "Where is she?"

Carter pointed towards the corridor that they had just swam from. "About 30 feet down that hallway there's a small control room. Jo's pinned beneath some debris."

"You just left her there," Zane asked angrily as he began to remove his shoes.

"She told us to go get help," Carter said annoyed, "and Dr. Rivers needs medical attention."

"If I can find a plasma cutter I can get her out," Fargo said as he frantically ransacked the lab looking for tools.

"There's a storage area just down the hall," Zane said as he finished removing his shoes and took off his sweatshirt. Its just past the lifts. You should find what you need there." He turned back to Carter, "Get help here fast," and then turned and dove out the window and into the rising water below.

Zoe yelled his name out in surprise and shock as she ran over to join her dad at the window as they spotted Zane surface and swim towards the corridor.

Zoe turned to her Dad, "We need to get the water turned off, where is it all coming from?"

Carter made a face and looked towards the woman on the floor, shaking his head. "I don't understand it, but Dr. Rivers compresses the water molecules so that they are...super condensation...compression...," he tried, fumbling for the right word.

"Condensed," Zoe offered.

"Yes," Carter said pointing. "That's it, in order to store it all they condense it down and when the ion... er, something, are removed then it returns to it normal size."

Zoe's face drew tight with alarm. "So you mean that the water isn't coming from anywhere, its regaining its original mass? How much is in here?"

Carter looked back out over the enormous lab, his face grim, "Enough to turn the whole town into Lake Eureka."

Fargo ran back into the room, breathless but holding up several items in his hand. "I found a plasma torch, and a couple of emergency breathers," he said as he set the items on the counter near Carter and walked over to the computer console that Zane had managed to fire up.

"What are you doing," Carter asked as he walked over to see the screen.

"There should be an emergency protocol that will shut down the system that's pumping out the radiation. That's whats causing the ion molecules on the water molecules to break away. If I can turn that off then we can get the water levels to stabilize but,"

"I hate it when you say but," Carter asked.

"But I'm going to need Dr. River's help to shut off the radiation levels. If I do it wrong I could inadvertently cause all of the ion bonds to instantly break and then-"

"We'd be riding on the front of a huge Tsunami, yeah great."

"At the very least I could make it worse," Fargo said as he ran through the various software on the screen looking for the system schematics.

"Ok," Carter said nodding, "Zoe, I'm going to need you to help me get-" but stopped as he turned and realized that Zoe was gone. Then he noticed that the tools that Fargo had brought were missing, and he ran over to the window. He spotted Zoe's blond head as she swam through the water heading towards the same hallway where Zane had headed.

Zane resurfaced taking great gulps of air as he looked for the room that Carter had mentioned. He nearly passed it with all of the floating debris, but he managed to pull himself up the stairs to the room's entrance. Water was flowing from the stairs at a steady rate, causing a waterfall like effect. Pipes along the hallway had burst and from them additional water poured like open faucets. He squeezed himself past one large wall panel that looked like it had been ripped apart in an explosion and entered the control room. The large central hub, docking station had toppled over and now lay against the wall, and as he moved into the room he saw that Jo was pinned between the wall and the metal framework of the fallen station. At the sight of her lying immobile he felt himself begin to panic and he waded forward in the calf deep water calling her name. He knelt next to her as he reached her side, and she stirred and turned her head towards him. She had a size-able gash along her hairline that trickled blood steadily down her face that he wiped away with his fingers as he gently held her face.

She stared at him blearily in confusion, "Zane?"

He pressed his hand over the cut trying to stem the flow of blood. As she winced, he swore under his breath. "You may have a concussion. We need to get you out of here."

"Carter and Fargo both tried," Jo said dazedly, "They couldn't move the beam." Zane ignored her and stood, walking around the structure trying to find the best place to lift. He got hand holds on one of the cross beams and tried to life, but the structure was solid and it didn't budge.

"Is Dr. Rivers ok," Jo asked, her voice slurred.

"I didn't stick around long enough to find out," he said looking for another place to grab hold. This time he wedged his shoulder beneath the frame and tried to use his body to lift the metal, but it still didn't budge.

"Listen to me," Jo said thickly, "you're going to need to get reinforcements to get me out of here. You need to go back and work with Fargo and Carter to get help."

"I'm not leaving Jo," Zane said as he tried lifting again.

"They are going to need help," she insisted. "If we can't get the water levels under control then Eureka is going to flood with this synthetic water. Turning it off is more important right now."

He looked down at his feet and swore. The water was already well above Jo's waist. "The water is rising too quickly. We don't know how long it will take help to arrive. We need to get you out of here now."

"Zane," she said wearily.

As he tried moving the frame again he muttered, "Don't the Rangers have some sort of motto about not leaving a man behind."

He rummaged around the room looking for anything that he could use as leverage but gave up and went back to trying to move the frame with sheer force. As he struggled to shift it, he tried to catch his breath.

She grabbed his hand, forcing him to turn to look at her. "I'm not going to get out of here in time," she said the water lapping just below her neck. "You need to go and help Fargo stop the water and save the town."

Zane moved round the frame and knelt at her side holding her face in his hands. "I'm not leaving you," he emphasized and then he leaned over and tenderly kissed her on the lips.

Neither of them noticed Zoe who had emerged from the water and stood in the doorway taking in the scene. Unsure of what to do, she cleared her throat causing Zane's head to whip around as she held the tools aloft. "I brought a plasma torch," she said as Zane leapt towards her, taking it from her outstretched hand. Quickly returning to the frame he began to cut at the cross beam that had Jo pinned in place.

Zoe moved further into the room and knelt down in the water next to Jo, a worried expression on her face.

"I think she has a concussion," Zane said as Zoe gingerly felt the growing lump and gash on Jo's forehead.

Jo tried to focus on Zoe's face. She reached out with her free hand and grabbed Zoe's elbow and struggled to hold on. "I am so sorry Zoe," she began. "I never meant for you to find out like this."

Zoe tried to shrug it off, "You can tell me about it after we get you out of here."

Jo squeezed the young woman's arm and tried to shake off the increasing dizziness that she was feeling. "No, we might not have a later. I need...I need to tell you about 1947."

"I think she's starting to hallucinate," Zoe said worriedly as Zane glanced up and gave a worried look down at Jo. The water level was just below her chin now.

"I still need a few more minutes," he said as he jumped down from the top of the frame and moved towards the second piece.

"Here," Zoe said as she realized she still had the emergency breathers, and handed one to Jo. "They only have about 20 minutes of air in them so work fast."

Zane handed it back to her. "Stay with her and make sure she stays conscious. As soon as I cut through this I'm going to bend it back and I'm going to need you to help pull her free."

Zane bent down to Jo's side again, gingerly touching her face.

Jo frowned at the breather he held out for her. "But I need to tell her," Jo protested. "She needs to know about the other you."

Zane shook his head frowning. "Now we're telling everyone," he asked quietly.

"She needs to know," Jo said.

"Know what? Zane what is she talking about," Zoe asked.

Zane cupped Jo's chin. "When we get you out of here and you're safe in the infirmary, then you can tell her," Zane promised.

"I hate the infirmary," Jo muttered, which made Zane chuckle as he gave her a brief kiss on the lips.

"That's my girl," he told her as he fit the breather into her mouth and turned it on.

He looked back up at Zoe, who had turned her head away, embarrassed by the obvious display of affection and then went back to work with the plasma cutter.

Zoe knelt down next to Jo, holding her own breather in hand as the water began to creep steadily upwards. She felt underwater and grabbed Jo's hand and gripped it in her own. "I'm going to squeeze your hand, and then I want you to count to three and squeeze mine back. Just concentrate on your breathing and the counting ok," she said waiting for Jo's nod as she put her own breather in and let the water slowly creep up to cover their heads.

The water swirled around them as they began their coordinated hand conversation as Zane continued to cut through the last bar. The water was beginning to encroach on where he was cutting, and was already up well above his waist. As he finished cutting the last section he pulled back on the beam using all of his weight to try to shift the section that was pinning Jo. He felt the metal give an inch, and then a little more as he continued to pull.

Beneath the water Jo felt the bar pinning her in place move and she gestured to Zoe as she tried to wiggle free. A large section of the platform shifted and fell with a muted thud to the floor, as Zane suddenly ducked beneath the waters surface, planting his body against the wall next to Jo and using his feet as a fulcrum pushed back enough of the frame to allow Zoe to help pull Jo free.

As they broke the surface Zane took deep lungfuls of air as he swam over to Jo and tucked an arm around her to keep her afloat. Zoe took the breather from her mouth as she tread water.

"Are you doing ok," Zane asked Jo as he tread water along side of Zoe.

Jo shook her head and then winced at the movement. "My arm," she managed, "I think I dislocated my shoulder."

"Can you last until we get you out of here," Zane asked her.

Jo shook her head slowly, her face taunt with pain.

"She probably didn't feel it with that frame pinching off her circulation," Zoe offered.

"Do you know how to set a shoulder," he asked, but she shook her head.

"I'm not strong enough to set it." She gestured to the frame that was still sticking out above the water. "Bring her here and I'll show you how." She pulled herself up onto the platform's frame and grabbed onto Jo' s waist and help Zane haul her out of the water. They positioned Jo to sit on one of the cross beams that was just below the water's surface and Zane used one of the lower bars to stand upon. Zoe braced Jo against her and gestured Zane towards Jo's injured shoulder. "You need to get a grip below her elbow and hold onto her upper shoulder with your other hand.

Zane did as he was told, then looked at Jo's clenched face. "Is this going to hurt."

"It can't hurt more than it does now," Jo managed between clenched teeth.

"In one fast and hard motion you need to pull her arm down while keeping her shoulder in place. Do it hard," she cautioned him. "One swift move until you feel the shoulder move back into joint."

Zane took a firm grip and a deep breath and then yanked down hard on Jo's arm. Jo let out a yell as a sickening audible pop was heard.

Jo's head fell back weakly onto Zoe's shoulder and her eyes started to flutter. Seeing it, Zane grabbed onto her head pulling her back upright and towards him. "Jo...Jo, he said louder, "I need you to stay awake, ok, stay with me." Her head lolled forward and he caught it in the palm of his hand.

Her eyes fluttered again but she managed to keep them open as she focused on his face. "When did you get to be so bossy," she asked wearily.

"I learn from the best," he said as he stroked her face with his thumb. He pulled her back into his arms, keeping her injuring arm against him. "You ready to get out of here," he asked the both of them.

Zane handed the breather that he'd taken from Jo back to her and gestured for Zoe to put her's back in.

"But what about you," Zoe asked as she looked back at the deep water they were going to have to swim through.

"I can hold my breath," he told her. "I need for you to swim ahead and make sure the path is clear. Then once you break the surface go for help. Hopefully Fargo will have gotten the medical team here and we won't have far to go."

Jo pushed the breather at Zane's chest. "We can share it," she told him, but he shook his head and handed it back.

"No, you shouldn't be trying to hold your breath with a concussion. You could black out. We're not going to risk it."

Jo's eyes narrowed and she opened her mouth to argue but Zoe touched her on the shoulder. "He's right, and either way, we need to get out of here," she said as she gestured to the rising water.

"We'll be right behind you," he told Zoe and then watched as she disappeared beneath the water swimming towards the door.

Jo took the breather from her mouth and pressed her lips softly against Zane's. At his questioning look she said, "For luck."

He pulled her back to him and gave her a quick but heated kiss, then pulling back said, "We are so going to talk when we get out of here."

"So get us out of here," Jo said as she put the breather back in her mouth. With a nod that she was ready, Zane took two deep breaths and on the third he plunged them beneath the water's surface and began to swim them both towards the main hall.

They found Zoe swimming at the mouth of the hallway, waiting for them so that she could lift a large piece of debris out of their way. Once they were past, Zoe used strong strokes to swim back out in front as she raced towards the light that was the aquatics lab's main sub floor. Zane followed, with one arm holding Jo close and the other pulling himself through the water as he too raced towards the surface. It was deeper than when they had left and Zane felt his lungs burn as he held his breath the last few feet as he clawed his way to the surface.

As they broke the surface Zane greedily pulled air into his lungs as he struggled to keep Jo above water. He turned his head right and left until he saw that Zoe too had surfaced and was already swimming towards the ladder. He turned his head back to the woman in his arms and gently removed the breather from her lips. "You alright," he asked softly as he brushed wet tendrils of her hair away from her face.

She nodded stiffly as he kissed her forehead. "I'll be better once we get the hell out of here and make sure that the whole town won't be surfing home tonight."

He laughed as he propelled them slowly towards the ladder. "Funny," he said with a grin, "but you are still going to the infirmary."

They reached the ladder and heard Carter yell down, asking if they were ok.

As Zane bade her to get a grip on the ladder, Jo grimaced and then used her good arm to haul herself upright. "Its just a day at the beach Carter," she hollered back up at him.

Zane pulled himself out of the water and caged his body around Jo. "You think you can climb," he asked.

Jo turned back and cocked her eyebrow in disbelief, as she used her good arm to start hauling her body up the ladder.

Laughing, he caught up so that he was pressed against her. "That's my girl," he said as he nipped her ear and followed her up the ladder.

They made slow progress but managed to climb up to the top and grabbed Carter's hand for assistance through the open window.

Pulling Jo to him in a quick hug Carter gave Zane a quick nod of thanks over her head. He helped Jo sit on a nearby chair next to a conscious but still dazed Dr. Rivers who Zoe was tending.

Suddenly Fargo gave a quick shout of joy and he jabbed his fist into the air victoriously. A sudden whoosh could be heard as several pumps were heard activating in the room below. Carter and Zane looked out of the window and saw several whirlpools forming in the floor as the water level began to drop. They shared a look with each other as they commiserated on their close call.

"Nice work Fargo," Carter said as he looked back at the still celebrating Chief.

"You're telling me. Her subject notes and logs were pass code protected. It took me forever to crack it."

"Did she use some sort of encrypted code?" Zane asked as he walked back over to stand by Jo.

"Worse," Fargo said. "The title of her favorite movie. The password was 'A river runs through it'. She's got a really weird sense of humor." and still shaking his head he walked over to join Zoe in overseeing Dr. Rivers.

They were swiftly joined by several members of the security and medical teams who had been dispatched to restore order in the lab. Jo immediately began to give orders to the members of her staff. "I want a grid search of the entire facility to be completed, floor by floor, and I want to get a clear documented view of everything that's been damaged," she said in her loud booming voice as she struggled to stand and oversee the effort. But as she stood, Zane picked up up and into his arms as he made his way towards the entrance, gesturing to the nearest medical technician.

"Chief Lupo has sustained injuries and needs to report to the infirmary immediately," he said as he gave Jo a firm look.

"Zane," she said her tone a warning as she tried to struggle in his arms.

"Don't even think about it Lupo," he said, his own voice edging towards annoyance. "You are going to get checked out and that's final."

Carter stood and watched them argue as they walked out of the room and he could still hear them arguing as Zane strode down the hall. Shaking his head at the sense of deja vu, he turned back to see Zoe staring wistfully at the doorway. Frowning at the fact that his daughters feelings had been hurt, he walked towards her. He waited until the medical technicians had moved out of earshot and bent down towards her. "You ok," he asked quietly.

Zoe looked up at him briefly and nodded, looking back down at her hands. "I just don't understand. I thought that they hated each other all this time and now," she said with a gentle wave of her hands, "I just don't know what to believe anymore."

With another glance at the now empty doorway, Carter wrapped an arm around his drenched daughter and gently steered her towards the exit. "I think that I may have an idea about what changed," he said slowly as he made up his mind. "There's something that I've been wanting to tell you for a while now," he said in a low voice, "and it started last founders day, when Allison, Fargo, Henry, Jo and myself found ourselves accidentally sent back in time to 1947."

 

Several hours later Jo lay on one of the infirmary beds as she stared impatiently at the ceiling tiles. She'd undergone Allison's fussing and subsequent muscle therapy which was even now finished. Her shoulder still ached but once cleared she could get back to her job while she tried to figure out just what she was going to do with the mess that she had made. Zane had left her to go and find Allison to see if she could be sprung. The last thing she wanted was for Zoe to come in and make a scene.

She sighed and stared vacantly at the holes in the tiles wondering how it had all gone wrong. The same place place it always did, she finally admitted to herself with a sigh. Relationships were already minefields for trouble. Hadn't her relationship with Zane previously proven that? She dared a quick glance but Zane was still deep in conversation with Allison and they didn't look like they were in a rush to get her out of there just yet. Staring at Zane's back she allowed herself a selfish moment to study him. He'd surprised her today with his rescue. It wasn't often that she needed rescuing even with all of the worse case scenarios that happened around town. She was usually the one riding in to save the day. But today he'd done a fair bit of saving the day, her own anyway. Her heart clutched painfully for a moment as she remembered the look on his face when he had told her that he wasn't going to leave her, and then again later when he promised her that they were going to talk later. She closed her eyes briefly at that thought. These days they didn't do a lot of talking. One of them might start to try but the other, usually herself, she admitted, found other ways to change the subject, usually to one that involved getting them naked. But lately more and more she had found Zane looking at her, as though he were waiting for something, like he expected something from her. Allowing herself one last unguarded look at him, she turned her head away and found herself looking into Zoe's startled eyes as she stood in the doorway of the infirmary.

Jo tried to shutter the emotions that she knew had been in her own eyes and stifled another heated curse as she swore at herself for not paying attention. Zoe glanced across the room towards Zane and Allison and then made her way across the room to stand at Jo's bedside.

Jo tried to sit up, how could anyone arm themselves against the emotional bloodletting that she knew that she was in for if they were lying down. In for, and deserved she reminded herself as she looked into Zoe's tearing eyes.

"Zoe, I'm so sor-," but then her breath was lost in the suddenness of the fierce hug that Zoe was giving her. Automatically Jo's good arm came up and hugged Zoe back who then let out a sob and hugged Jo even tighter.

Concerned, Jo tried to push Zoe back until she could see her face. "Hey, I know you're mad at me, I'm sorry."

Zoe turned until she was sitting on the side of Jo's bed. Her blond hair Jo could see was now slightly mussed, and her eyes were red from the tears. She sniffled and brushed the tears off her cheeks, and said in a low quiet voice, "Mad at you? You should be mad at me!"

"I should," Jo asked confused.

"Its like the first rule of being girlfriends, never covet thy friends man."

"Zoe, I'm sorry about that," Jo said, but Zoe shook her head and cut her off.

She glanced up looking around the room to make certain that no one was nearby, and then she said in a really quiet voice, "I know everything."

Jo's heart skipped as she realized the implication and she quickly glanced around the room herself to make sure that no one was listening. Turning back to Zoe she murmured, "Zoe I don't know what you think you know but-"

"Dad told me," Zoe said cutting Jo off. "He told me everything." She gave Jo a half smile. "Weird huh? He was afraid that I would freak out, and I did, a little, but he told me everything." She nodded, looking absently at the linens on the bed lost in thought. "It answers a lot actually. Him and Tess and then Allison. His sudden attitude change towards working with Dr. Fargo. And you? You guys were ok, but you weren't that tight. We were better friends than you and dad, and suddenly when you get hurt he has you move in with him? And then Zane," she said her eyes widening and she looked over across the room at him. "Dad told me what happened right before ...1947," she mouthed quietly. "He said that you don't talk about it, but that for a while you wore his ring on a chain around your neck for a while." Her eyes teared up again, "And then while you were hurting and grieving for him, I was making cow eyes and flirting with him in front of you."

Jo grabbed Zoe's hands and tugged on them gently. "Hey, its ok. You didn't know. You couldn't. We couldn't risk telling people, did your dad tell you why?"

Zoe nodded and wiped away another stray tear from her cheek. "Yeah, but still I can't believe that you guys are keeping this huge secret." She glanced over at Zane who she noticed had suddenly become away of her arrival. He noticeably stiffened and with a nod back at Allison began walking towards them. "Dad said that Zane knows."

Jo nodded and grimaced. "Fargo told him," but then she shook her head. "It doesn't matter," she said quietly her voice resigned. "We're just...," and she faltered, and closed her eyes at her sudden fatigue, "I don't know what we are."

"Don't tell me that you don't think he cares," Zoe said mindful of Zane approaching. "You didn't see the look on his face when he found out that you were in danger, and I know what I saw when I arrived in the room."

"We've always had good chemistry," Jo said forlornly, "that's all this is."

"Wrong room," Zoe said with a half smile. "When you were pinned, I saw the way he looked at you Jo, how scared he was. I also saw how you were looking at him just now. You have feelings for him, I know it." She glanced up and saw that Zane would be within hearing distance in seconds, "He never looked at me, or hell any other girl in town like that. He has real feelings for you. You owe it to yourself to decide what you are going to do about it."

Jo glanced up at the sound of Zane's quiet footfalls and found herself on the recieving end of one of Zane's thoughtful expressions. He searched her face for another moment and then nodded to himself and turned to Zoe. "Ladies," he said with a half grin, "Am I missing anything over here?" He tried for his usual carefree self, but it felt short of the mark and they both heard it.

Zoe turned back to Jo and gave her hand a quick squeeze as she shook her head. "Nothing terribly interesting," she said as she sniffed back the last of her tears. "I promised dad that I'd get back quick so that we can have dinner. He wants to have Allison and everyone over while I'm home from school." She sent a quick glance towards Zane before turning back to Jo. "You'd both be welcome to join us," she said, almost shyly.

Jo smiled, and brushed a hand over Zoe's hair. "Maybe a rain check before you go back? I'm exhausted, and I have a ton of paperwork to get to about this explosion."

Zoe nodded and smiled. She leaned in and gave Jo and gentle hug, mindful of her shoulder and whispered, "Talk to him." With a quick awkward glance at Zane she quickly hurried from the room.

Zane watched her leave with a frown on his face and he sat down on the opposite side of the bed, much like Zoe had just done. With a glance at her face, he reached over and gripped her uninjured hand in his. "You ok?"

Jo stared down at their twined hands and nodded. "Carter told her everything," she said quietly. "Now she's in danger like the rest of you."

Zane pulled on her hand until she looked at him, "You don't think its better that she knows the truth? Speaking from experience," he said quietly, "I know that I felt a hell of a lot better after I knew." She opened her mouth to argue but he shook his head. "Even with the danger, I would want to know the truth. He stared at her another moment before continuing. "You don't know what it was like, suddenly seeing all of these little pieces of your world suddenly not fit anymore."

She cocked her head to the side raised her eyebrow quizzically making him smile. "Ok maybe you do know. But it was just as bad on this side too. Watching you act differently towards me, towards everyone and wondering why. I'd say something to you just to see if you'd respond like you had in the past and you'd just give me this look. He caught her chin in his hand and held it. "That one. Like I'd hurt you somehow or like you were expecting me to say something different. After a while I wondered if I was losing my mind." He cleared his throat, "And then after the ring, and then when I kissed you, I swore that I really was losing my mind."

Jo looked away at the mention of the ring, and he cupped her head in the palm of his hand and waited until she turned to look back up at him. He stared at her face for several long minutes and absently rubbed her cheek with his thumb. Feeling out of her depth, Jo reached up with her other hand and rubbed the fingers that traced her face.

Zane took a breath and dropped his gaze back to their twined hands on the bed. "Allison said that you're free to leave. Do you," he started, and then taking another deep breath looked up at her face. "Do you want to go and get dinner...with me?"

Jo tilted her head to the side, moving into the warmth of Zane's palm and considered Zoe's words. Lifting the corners of her mouth she gave Zane a small smile. "I'm starving," she admitted.

Surprised but pleased by her response he smiled back at her. He stood up from the bed and offered her a hand getting out. When she accepted it he kept it in his as he gave a quick wave towards Allison and they headed towards the infirmary doors.

Feeling smug and more like himself, he leaned closer to Jo's ear. "So what date do you think this would actually count as, The first, or is it like our 2 year anniversary. I can never keep up with how time travel affects dating," he asked in a quiet murmur.

She gave him a quick glance and with her free hand smacked him across the chest. He laughed at the movement, and moved his arm around her waist pulling her closer against him. "We can argue about it over dessert," he promised her.

She bit her lip to try to hide the grin, but as they left the building they did so with hope blooming.