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Rescue Me

Guest Jen

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Story Title: Rescue Me

Type of story: Short/Medium - Two-shot

Main Characters: Geoff & Aden

BTTB rating: T

Genre: Romance/Angst – Slash

Does story include spoilers: Yes (outside Aus)

Any warnings: Implied slash

Summary: He’s not sure when it happened. One minute he’s sitting on the side of the boat, feeling the waves knock at the sides, the next Aden is on top of him. He’s got his hands firmly grasped on his shoulders, squeezing so tightly that all the muscles in his upper body suddenly tighten.

Rescue Me

Part 1

He’s not sure when it happened. One minute he’s sitting on the side of the boat, feeling the waves knock at the sides, the next Aden is on top of him. He’s got his hands firmly grasped on his shoulders, squeezing so tightly that all the muscles in his upper body suddenly tighten.

He remembers Aden trying to fix the motor. Swearing and muttering under his breath while he fiddles with a screwdriver amongst all the nuts and bolts. Geoff doesn’t even know what was wrong with it. Apart from the fact that the boat wouldn’t start.

It is no secret that Geoff has never been good at anything mechanical. When he was little he had no desire to pull apart his toy truck down to the wheels just to try to put it back together, instead he would spend hours collecting up all the stuffed animals that both he and Annie owned, sitting them on the floor of his room and talking to them. He didn’t have to talk to them about anything in particular, mostly it was trivial stuff anyway, but when the door to his bedroom was closed it felt as though he was in his own sanctuary. His teddy bear had just the same problems that Geoff did, and he did his best to nut out a solution, verbalising this as helpful pieces of advice to his furry friend. One thing became abundantly clear, Geoff only wanted to help. It was in his nature. But on this particular occasion his only attempt to be helpful had been futile.

Geoff, while he may not have been considered a ‘mechanical’ guy, did consider himself practical. Yes, there is a difference. While they were still tied to the dock, Geoff was still extra cautious as he crossed the deck and retrieved the instruction manual, located in a cabinet just under the steering wheel. Geoff flips through it, his eyes glazing over complex figures and numbers until he reaches a word he recognises. Starter motor.

Aden just rolls his eyes in a way that indicates that Geoff’s helpful advice can be shoved up his arse, along with the manual. In a moment of frustration he snatches the bound A4 sheets of paper and tosses them overboard. Geoff looks on in horror as the pages soak through and the waves tumble over the top of their only guide. Geoff attempts to glare angrily at Aden, but Aden just scoffs and turns back to the still dud motor.

“You can go in and fetch it if you like?” Aden suggests smugly.

Although he won’t ever admit it, he knows Geoff won’t be able to resist. Geoff has always been one to play by the rules, whether it is at rugby, in school, or even just in life. He is the perfect model citizen. He goes to church regularly, and is probably closer to God than Aden is to the freckles on his face. Aden can see the dilemma Geoff is now facing.

He’s standing awkwardly looking from Aden, who is smirking merrily, out over the side of the boat, where the pages are now being tossed about by the ocean. If he dives in after the book, Geoff knows he is practically handing Aden the rights to tease and provoke him for the rest of his life (or at least as long as they are on this boat together). But he hates the thought that if they do somehow end up at sea and something goes wrong (even more so than now) that they won’t even have the trawler’s handbook as a guide. They would have to use their own brains and initiative to get out of the situation, and Geoff is quietly confident that he would be useless on both accounts.

He sighs begrudgingly and peels off his jumper and t-shirt. He can feel Aden’s eyes on his chest and despite the fact that a cool breeze has picked up, feels a certain heat radiating down his spine and flushing his face. Geoff quickly turns around, and before he has time to second guess himself, he launches his body off the side of the boat and into the water.

Geoff remembers how cold the water was. There were no clouds in the sky, but the sun didn’t appear to be out either, so the water was chilly to say the least. He had to paddle hard and fast, keeping his legs moving at all times so that he didn’t run the risk of losing too much heat in the water. He remembers the health class he had on hypothermia. He also recalls the pleased look on Aden’s face when Geoff, shivering violently, attempts to read the pages of the wet manual. He hears Aden sigh contentedly as Geoff blinks in disappointment at the typed font that is now so smudged that each of the individual characters are no longer distinguishable.

He is still mad at Aden when he feels his toned body lash out at him. He doesn’t even remember what he said or did to make Aden lose it like this, but Geoff is pretty sure that it is somehow his fault. However, despite the fact that Aden is taller than him, and more solidly built, his own instincts to defend himself kick in. In retaliation to Aden’s hand grappling for access to Geoff’s neck he uses all the force in his upper arms and one leg to push Aden away.

He doesn’t realise straight away what has happened, apart from the fact that Aden is no longer lying directly on top of him. Geoff pulls himself into a sitting position, resting his hands on the side of the trawler. He lets out the breath he was holding and slowly stands up. His legs wobble beneath him, and this time he is not sure whether the rocking of the ocean is entirely to blame.

It takes a moment for Geoff to take in the scene before him. Everything looks the same as it did before. The screwdriver which Aden was using is lying beside the motor, a power cable running parallel across the deck. But one thing becomes apparent. Aden is nowhere to be seen. Panic suddenly surges through Geoff’s body as he scans up and down the boat for any sign of him. The deck is empty and Geoff does a full circle, glancing over his shoulder and turning on the spot. It is then he notices him. Peering over the edge of the boat, he sees him.

Aden, lying face down in the water, not moving.

It’s the second time Geoff has had to rely on instincts alone. Tearing off his jumper and shirt for a second time he tosses them to the side and dives in. He almost doesn’t feel the cold water snapping at every exposed part of his body as he swims frantically over to Aden’s limp body. Without even thinking he has forced Aden onto his back and pulled him back towards the boat. He’s not sure how he manages it, but somehow he gets both himself and Aden up and over the side of the trawler.

Geoff sprawls himself over the floor of the deck, taking deep breaths, trying to relax the panic pounding in his chest. Exhaustion wants to engulf him, thinking that his job is finished. Aden is now back on the boat – that should be it. He opens his eyes one at a time and looks over at the spot where he dropped Aden’s water-logged body. He’s still lying there, in a heap, not moving.

“Aden?” Geoff asks, quietly at first. He sits himself up, tucking his legs underneath his body and kneeling on the hard, wooden floor.

It is only now that he realises Aden’s pale face. All trace of colour is gone and his lips have a purple tinge. His eyes move away from his face down his strained neck, to his chest. At first Geoff is sure that he is breathing. He was certain he saw him move. But now, finally blocking out the rise and fall of the trawler on the sea, he realises it is not Aden moving at all. While the water may be surging up and down, Aden’s chest is not.

“Aden!” Geoff shouts at him, launching himself at the still figure. He leans over, closing his eyes in an effort to block out all the surrounding noise. Suddenly the beating of his own heart sounds like a base drum and the evening breeze is whistling through his ears and he can’t hear anything. But there is nothing coming from Aden. He pounds his hands down on his chest, forcing his ribs to expand and contract. He repeats this action like he has seen the lifeguards do on the beach, hoping that he is somehow making a difference.

He stops, releasing his white knuckles away from Aden’s torso. Still nothing. Geoff’s eyes once again fall on Aden’s lips. They are distinctly blue now due to the lack of blood. Without second-guessing himself Geoff leans forward, pressing his own lips down on top. As he blows his own air into Aden’s mouth, he closes his eyes, trying to focus all his energy into these breaths. Pushing the oxygen from his own mouth into Aden’s he feels as though he’s giving something away. Something personal and intimate, that in any normal circumstance he would think twice about doing. Something, that once it’s gone, you are never getting back. He breaks his mouth apart momentarily, sucking in another breath before pushing his lips down on Aden’s once more. This time it is different. There is more resistance. He forces the last of the air out before lifting his head.

He watches in awe as Aden’s chest rises and falls, and then rises and falls again. Instantaneously, Aden is spluttering, his eyes fluttering open and he’s rolling on his side, heaving up sea water. He coughs, his whole body shaking, taking intermittent ragged deep breaths. Geoff watches intently, his eyes never leaving Aden’s chest as he breathes on his own, lying back exhausted on the deck of the trawler.

Geoff finally allows himself to relax slightly. Aden is now sitting up, wrapped in a cotton blanket Geoff found stowed in one of the below deck cupboards, his knees pulled tightly up to his chest. He’s still shivering, but the intensity and frequency of his coughing fits have subsided. They are both sitting in the main cabin of the trawler, and while there is a small seat running along the side of one of the walls, they both choose to sit on the floor.

“Maybe you should go to the hospital,” Geoff suggests.

“I’m fine,” Aden replies in a hoarse voice, followed by another cough.

“Just to be sure,” Geoff urges.

Aden shakes his head, a couple of stray water droplets leave his hair and spray in Geoff’s direction. Despite the fact that he is now talking to Aden, Geoff can’t bear to look at his face.

“You know,” Geoff says, still avoiding eye contact, “When I pulled you from the water, you were ... you know, dead.” Geoff’s voice cracks, the final word rising in an inflection, like it was a question. But there was no question about it.

“Thanks,” Aden replies. Geoff just nods solemnly, burying his hands deeper into the pocket of his jumper in an attempt to keep warm.

There is a nudge at his feet. Aden has stretched out his leg from beneath the blanket and has prodded him in the side. Momentarily forgetting that he was avoiding Aden’s face, Geoff looks up. His eyes immediately catching Aden’s mouth, this time a pale shade of pink. He stares as it moves forming Aden’s praise,

“I mean it. Thanks for looking out for me.”

“It’s no problem,” Geoff sheepishly replies.

“I guess I kind of owe you now,” Aden says with a slight chuckle. This sends him into another coughing fit, making Geoff stiffen in his sitting position.

“I guess you can look at it that way,” Geoff replies once Aden has recomposed himself, “If you want.”

The two lull into silence. Geoff’s eyes never leaving Aden’s mouth, watching as he takes each of his breaths in and out, his lips slightly parted. Absent-mindedly Geoff licks his own lips, the taste of sea salt lingering.

He suddenly remembers the feeling of his lips on top of Aden’s, the way his mouth appeared to be just the right shape to cover it completely, without letting any air escape. The contrast between his own soft, warm tissue with that of his cold, chapped counterpart. It worries him slightly that he can recall the exact feel and texture of those lips, even when there are more important things he should be thinking about.

The only thing that distracts him from his reverie is when Aden suddenly moves. Geoff’s eyes lose their glaze as he refocuses on Aden’s action. Mirroring his movement, Geoff stands too.

“Well, are we going to take this thing out or not?” Aden asks.

“Are you serious?” Geoff says incredulously.

Even after everything that has happened, Aden still wants to take the trawler out on the water. Every fibre in Geoff’s cold and wet body is telling him that Aden must be suffering from some sort of after effect of the accident in order to suggest something so ludicrous. But he meets Aden’s stare, and his eyes are so eager, that Geoff doesn’t have the heart to tell him no.


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Rescue Me

Part 2

Aden cuts the motor and the vessel is quiet once more. Immediately Geoff thinks something must be wrong. He has quickly become accustomed to the notion that silence is not a good thing. But for the first time in this entire expedition, Aden looks comfortable.

He heaves a sigh and looks across at Geoff who is standing awkwardly to the side. Geoff pretends to be engrossed in the function of all the knobs and dials that surround the steering wheel, squinting as if he is trying to decipher them all.

“You know, the view is better out through the window,” Aden comments.

Geoff looks up, his eyebrows tight-knit in concentration.

“I think we may be getting low on fuel, maybe we should think about heading back,” Geoff replies, ignoring Aden’s previous statement.

A small smile creeps onto Aden’s face as he points to one of the particular indicators along the dash. He taps his finger against the plastic plating covering the reading.

“We’ve got practically a full tank,” he says.

Geoff looks away, now taking in the scene out the front window. The horizon is a deep shade of orange as the sun begins to set. The sky above, becoming a deep shade of navy and the first stars beginning to twinkle in far outer space. The small cabin in which they are both standing suddenly feels very claustrophobic and Geoff has to make a conscious effort to ensure he keeps breathing in and out.

He can feel Aden’s eyes on him, watching as he grapples with the lump forming in his throat and the headache he can feel coming on. He can feel his cheeks burning and quickly turns, leaving Aden at the wheel.

Geoff stands at the stern for a moment. Closing his eyes he takes in a slow, deep breath of the fresh, salty air. The boat sways beneath him, but Geoff has now become accustomed to the motion that he relaxes his knees into the momentum. It seems incomprehensible that this afternoon could go from one extreme to the other so quickly. They were arguing, then they were fighting, and then he was saving him. With his mouth. Unconsciously Geoff finds himself biting down uneasily on the corner of his bottom lip.

He doesn’t realise that Aden has followed him outside and is now beside him until he speaks,

“It’s peaceful out here.”

“Mhmm,” Geoff mumbles, nodding in agreement.

“I’m glad we came out today. Something’s changed.” He says it so certainly, that Geoff sneaks a glance in Aden’s direction. He’s not watching Geoff, but staring out into the distance. Looking at nothing in particular, but everything at once.

Geoff wonders whether Aden has been having similar thoughts. That somehow he knows what he has been imagining. He tries formulating a question in his mind to ask Aden this, but struggles to find the appropriate words. Just as he was about to open his mouth and take the plunge, Aden continues,

“I was mad for a moment. That you rescued me,” he clarifies, “But then I saw how you were staring at me.” Geoff feels the temperature suddenly rise around him. Although he is no longer wet, he shivers. “I didn’t think anyone would worry about me ever again ... after Belle.” He says her name with such reverence, almost as if she was someone not real.

“Was nothing,” Geoff mumbles, his voice barely audible.

“You saved me. It’s that simple. Even after I was an arsehole to you and everyone else, you put my needs ahead of your own. The only other person who has ever done that for me, was -”

“Belle,” Geoff finishes.

Aden nods, looking over Geoff.

“I miss her so much.”

“Me too.”

Geoff hears Aden let out a breath and a stream of words all at once. He cannot make them out, and realises that he’s not supposed to. He was talking to her. Geoff contemplates turning and giving him some space, but realises he doesn’t want to leave. He likes standing there; the water lapping at the hull of the trawler, Aden standing beside him, the wind swirling around both their bodies.


He turns to face Aden when he hears his name,


“Do you ... do you think she’s you know ... out there?”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re the religious one,” Aden says with a shrug, “What do you believe happens after you die?”

Geoff’s breath gets momentarily caught in his chest. He forces himself to swallow while Aden shifts uneasily beside him, closing the small gap between them.

“Um ...” Geoff begins, “Belle was a good person. She’ll be in heaven.”

“But will she ... ?” Aden struggles with his next question.

Geoff has a feeling he knows what he’s trying to ask,

“She’s fine. She’s more worried about you,” he lets himself smile at the thought of her watching their exchange from somewhere above.

“I know,” Aden says with a sigh.

There is another silent moment as they stand there. Both of their eyes drift up from the horizon to the dark sky. Geoff steals a glance at Aden in the moonlight, he face dimly illuminated. He notices the indents under his eyes, the dampness of his hair and the curved shape of his lips. He can’t help but stare once more as he speaks in a hushed voice.

“I’m jealous.”

“Of me?”

“Yeah. I’m jealous that you can believe all of that,” He tears his eyes away from the sky and locks them with Geoff, “I want to believe that it will all be okay, but I just can’t. I don’t have anything to believe in.”

“Believe that Belle loved you.”

Geoff can see the ache in Aden’s blue orbs as he takes in what has just been exchanged. He nods, but doesn’t look away.

They are standing so close, face to face that once again Geoff feels as though they are breathing the same air. Both inhaling and exhaling in unison, as the boat slowly moves beneath their feet. Geoff is compelled to keep breathing as long as Aden does. If Geoff stops, then they both stop. If Aden stops, Geoff is the one that can bring him back. He is the one that rescues him. This is how he can help.

Aden finally breaks the moment. Pulling his eyes away from Geoff, he takes a step away from the edge. Geoff follows too, stealing one last glance out over the ocean which is now almost black.

It is only when Geoff checks the clock above the window in the captain’s cabin that he realises how late it has become. It dawns on him that although time may have ceased to have importance while they were out on the boat, it kept ticking by.

As they pull the boat into the wharf, Geoff leaps off the side, rushing to tie the rope from the trawler around the mooring anchor on the dock. He sees Aden break a small grin as he watches as Geoff struggles to tie a suitable knot to keep the boat from floating away with the current. He finally manages to loop the rope around enough times, and with enough twists, turns and pulls such that the boat remains fixed on top of the water.

“Nice,” Aden says in approval.

Geoff sheepishly smiles as he waits for Aden on the wharf. Aden stands on the edge of the boat, a good foot higher than the top of Geoff’s head, staring down at him.

“I mean it, you know,” he says, “I owe you. What do you want?”

Geoff knows exactly what he wants, but it isn’t something Aden can give him. Geoff wants tonight not to be a one off. He wants to be there for him, unconditionally. He wants Aden to know that he will always be there to rescue him. Geoff feels like he is the one that owes Aden, not the other way around.

He settles for the simplest answer he can formulate,


Aden stops for a moment and Geoff thinks he might be mad. He prepares to walk back home alone, but Aden replies,

“I think I can do that.”

They walk back to the house in perfect silence, allowing all the noises that the night brings with it, to circulate around in their heads. It doesn’t even occur to Geoff that Aden might have somewhere else to go. It is just a given, he is coming back to Irene’s with him.

As soon as they walk through the door, both Annie and Irene look up eagerly. Relief washes over both of their faces as they see the boys enter the kitchen.

“Thank goodness you’re alright,” Irene says, “We were starting to get worried when you hadn’t come home for dinner.”

“We thought you might have drowned each other,” Annie pipes up.

Even though they have spent the entire afternoon together, and now much of the night, Aden’s voice in this context, so strong and sure, catches Geoff off-guard.

“Nah,” Aden says dismissively, “Geoff and I kissed and made up.”

He shoots Geoff a look and Geoff quickly averts eye contact.

“Look Aden, love,” Irene begins cautiously, “It’s okay, if you want to stay, for a couple more nights.”

Aden catches Geoff’s eye, knowing full well what his answer has to be. Geoff would not let him out of his sight after the day they have had, and if he is honest with himself, he doesn’t want to leave Geoff just yet.

“Thanks, Irene,” he replies, letting out a relieved sigh.

All the lights are off, except for the small one that radiates from inside the fridge as Geoff pulls the door open. He pulls out a carton of milk and a glass from the overhead cupboard. Pouring himself a drink he takes a sip, allowing the cool liquid to run down the back of his throat. He drains his late night beverage and begins to tiptoe back to his bedroom. He stops however when he is almost halfway across the living room and turns.

He places his hand carefully onto the doorknob and eases it open on its white hinges. The door creaks slightly and Geoff sucks in a breath. Slowly Geoff pokes his head into the darkened room. Allowing his eyes to adjust for a moment he searches the room, before allowing his gaze to land in one particular spot.

The covers are piled up high, while his figure is curled into a ball. Geoff makes out the shape of Aden’s head resting on Belle’s pillow and allows himself to breath easily once more as he sees Aden’s chest rising up and down, perfectly in time to his own.

Geoff stands and watches for a moment, completely still in the darkness. Finally he pulls the door closed and pads back to his own bed, finally allowing himself to fall into his own land of dreams, content that Aden is already there.


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