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Been through worse

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"Javier you can't tell me there's no way around."

"It's fine, John, come on."

John looks at the running current, very uneasy with how he can't see the bottom of the river. Javier's already ahead of him, having hopped halfway the big rocks leading to the other side. He stopped on the biggest and flattest rock to urge the other man on.

John cursed and made the first step, a cold sweat ran down his spine.

"Don't worry, amigo, if you fall I'll catch you." Javier says, probably trying to come off as teasing but John only hears sincerity.

"I ain't planning on falling." John snaps and takes another, more brave leap. The rock is slippery and for a moment he loses his balance. Javier huffs a laugh but John's heart jumps into his throat. He looks up at the ceiling of branches and leaves, where sunshine streams through. Maybe if he just thinks of other things.

On the next jump he lets his attention falter, he feels like his soul leaves his body and only hears Javier's panicked call before getting submerged in the freezing cold water. It's deep enough to feel endless, the strong stream pulls him right along as he struggles to the surface.

He tries to cry out but water fills his mouth as he gets tossed with the water, up and down again. He flails, tries to kick for the floor while panic surges in his veins. The struggle tires his muscles fast, he tries to grab for something, anything. He bumps into a rock but he only slips off of it and feels it break his skin.

Then he hears Javier again, then a splash. Strong arms come around him and he's pulled back up.

"Swim." Javier says very shortly as he kicks them towards the shore, John wants to argue that he clearly can't, but paddles with his already weak limbs. Finally, what feels like a miracle, John feels ground under his feet and he kicks so hard it sends them both against the shore to scramble out rest of the way.

John falls on his back in an exhausted heap and pants out the adrenaline as his poor heart beats out of control. His limbs feel like jello, trembling uselessly by him. Javier crawls next to him, wet hair dripping on John's face as he cradles it between his palms.

"Mi amor, I'm so sorry - please forgive me, john -" He rambles and searches for any kind of anger with his scared eyes. As an effort to assure him he isn't mad, John smiles lopsided, eyes squinted at the man above him. "Fuck, you're some kind of prince charming ain't you? Swoopin' in like that." He grunts and sits up with a dry cough. Javier hurries to comb his hair out of face and lands a quick kiss on his shoulder.

"'M sorry, I really didn't think it was that bad. Believe me?" Javier says.

"I've been through worse, uh, that was kind of stupid." John feels his face heat up at the fact that he had actually slipped off of rocks that Javier had crossed just fine.

"You know I've only heard Arthur tease you about it, and Dutch saying it was the only way to keep you under control." Javier continues as if to lighten the mood. John sees that he feels guilty.

Suddenly he feels terrible as well, this trip was something Javier had been so excited about, just the two of them, and John had gone and ruined it by his stupid inability. He shivers as the wind picks up and cools the wet clothes stuck to his skin. "John, are you okay?" Javier asks gently like talking to a spooked horse.

John shakes his head violently to splatter water everywhere then gets up abruptly to tear off his shirt. Javier looks at him first baffled, then intrigued at the show of skin. John still has energy pumping all over his body and he's determined not to let this ruin their day, so he offers Javier his hand.

"C'mon Escuella, lots to do."