The pressure from the water surrounding him was enormous and despite all his attempts he just couldn't draw a breath. Which was way up? He definitely knew which way was down. His mind said go one way but his body disagreed.
His arms and legs were heavy from the constant exertion he was subjecting them too and he knew without a doubt that his time was nearly up. There was only so much oxygen his lungs could hold. Gasping and spluttering, they burned with the effort of staying under water for far too long.
He could feel hands grabbing at him, trying to pull him in different directions, and he tried his best to resist.
He forced his eyes open, desperate to get his bearings, but they stung from something in the water. He was terrified now, and, even though he could make out a light just above his head, he was unsure whether to swim towards it or simply let himself sink.
This was it all or nothing.
He drew forth one last burst of energy and forced his legs to propel himself towards the light. With a final kick, he broke the surface and sucked in a chest full of air. Nose streaming, eyes stinging, he knew he was crying and he didn't really care.
Suddenly he became aware of others in the water with him, all thrashing and struggling to make their way to safety. He could hear their anguished cries and see the fear in their eyes. Adrenaline pumping, he splashed with more determination than he thought possible, trying to keep his head above water and search for a familiar face in the crowd.
He was frantic now. He could hear someone calling his name, but his eyes stung and there were so many people.
"Danny," the familiar voice called out, "over here!"
There at the edge! He kicked his legs with every ounce of strength he had and determinedly worked his way through the throng of crying bodies.
"Daddy! I couldn't see you. I don't want to do this anymore."
Jack plucked his bedraggled son from the shallow end of the toddler's pool and quickly wrapped him in a warm towel.
"Now, Danny, we've discussed this already. I won't have the new pool installed until I'm sure you can handle yourself in water and swimming lessons are the only option."
"I'm sorry, Mr O'Neill, Daniel's a quick learner but he panicked and bolted before I could get to him. " The swim teacher climbed from the pool and laid a worried hand on Daniel's shoulder. "You okay now?"
Daniel closed his eyes, placed a well-loved thumb in his mouth, and rested his head against Jack's shoulder.
"Don't worry about it, Suzy, Daniel has a long history of going off on his own but this is one place where he has to listen to what he's told. You understand me, Danny?"
Daniel nodded, and closed his eyes.
"I think he's had enough for one day, Mr O'Neill."
"Yeah, let's get you home and dry, buddy. Maybe Teal'c can help you get your water wings."