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While The World Is Spinning

Guest Jen

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Story Title: While The World Is Spinning
Type of story: One shot
Main Characters:
Aden, Geoff
BTTB rating: T(L, V/D)
Genre: Hurt/Comfort, Angst
Does story include spoilers: No
Any warnings: Mild language and violence.
Summary: It’s possibly the end of the world as they know it, and the last person Aden wants to rely on for back up is a guy who gives up a football scholarship ‘because God told him to.’

A/N: Secret Santa Present for Bobby Forever Missed. Merry Christmas!



While The World Is Spinning – Apocalypse AU (Aden/Geoff; Secret Santa 2013)

There is another almighty crash and Aden jumps back from the small window he was previously trying to peer out. The only source of light is through that window and the sky is such a deep orange that it’s like everything inside the bait shop has been put through a sun burnt filter.

They’re trapped and Aden had thought that he might have been able to see out and figure out a plan of escape. He doesn’t know how long they’ve been stuck in the bait shop. His phone is completely fried and there’s been no reception since the first lightning strike and all they’ve been hearing is intermittent blasts.

Geoff has been no use.

He’s cowering in the corner away from the window, on his knees. He keeps rocking backwards and forwards with his hands clasped in front of his chest, his mouth moving as he murmurs a continual stream of prayers under his breath.

It’s possibly the end of the world as they know it, and the last person Aden wants to rely on for back up is a guy who gives up a football scholarship ‘because God told him to.’

The window was no use and if he’s going to make a break for it he can’t wait for Geoff to get permission from The Big Guy Upstairs, so he needs to be armed. Looking around the bait shop, Aden spies a small crate in the corner covered in a tangled rope. He goes over to it, starts hauling things out into the open. He finds broken fishing lines and tangled lures, and other useless crap that’s been stored up over time.

From behind, Aden hears Geoff’s voice; it’s timid, a little shaky as he asks, “What are you doing?”

“I don’t know about you, Bible Boy, but I want to get out of here,” Aden replies harshly.

He reaches into the bottom of the crate and his fingers touch on something hard, a little jagged and Aden pulls out a small fishing knife. It’s barely been cleaned properly, rusting along the scratched blade, but it’s a start, and Aden shoves it behind the belt of his pants.

“You – You’re going out there?” Geoff ventures, and when Aden turns around again he sees that he’s finally getting up from his knees.

“No, I’m painting my fingernails,” Aden snaps, “Of course I’m going out there.”

“You can’t,” Geoff tells him.

“Really?” Aden retorts, taking a step towards Geoff, and his hand finds its way to the handle of the knife. “You going to stop me, Bible Boy?”

Geoff’s eyes flick down to Aden’s belt and Aden tilts his head a bit, daring Geoff to go on. He watches him swallow, and if the sky wasn’t the colour of a glowing fire, then he’s sure Geoff’s skin would be as white as a sheet.

Aden turns back to the crate, kicks at the discarded netting and wire, wondering whether he can turn any of the leftovers into some sort of more substantial weapon.

“Can I -?” Geoff starts and then stops, while Aden continues to find small bits and pieces from past fishing trips. He takes a steadying breath, squares his shoulders and says, “I’m coming with you.”

Aden’s hand pauses over a hook that’s attached to a small, multi-coloured plastic fish, a lure of sorts, and he turns back to face Geoff.

He raises an eyebrow skeptically. “Are you?”

Geoff nods.

It started like a nothing more than an overcast day; the sky being covered in a thick layer of cloud, wind dropping to virtually nothing, before the first bang of thunder. But this wasn’t an ordinary storm. With every crack of lightning a fire would start; any building or person that was hit was instantly killed, and Geoff doesn’t know how two teenage boys are the only ones to survive.

They’d taken cover in the bait shop – the closest place of shelter from where they were on the beach – and it wasn’t long before both of them realized that something was wrong. Geoff doesn’t believe in the Apocalypse or anything like that; that’s fantasy, science fiction, made up by people who want to feed and fuel fear. He trusts God to keep them safe, wonders if this what his Pop used to tell him about – the message behind his ritualistic bible lectures about sinners and judgment and eternal damnation – the Second Coming.

And he figures that God must have a sense of humour if, in this time of trial and retribution, he traps Geoff with the one guy who outright hates his guts.

The air is hot and sticky, filled with moisture, and both of them are beginning to sweat in their tin box of a protective shelter, and Geoff knows their reprieve cannot last.

Aden shrugs. “Suit yourself. But don’t think I’ll be holding your hand. It’s every man for himself out there.”

“I don’t need you to hold my hand,” Geoff says, hoping he at least sounds confident, even if his insides haven’t stopped shaking. “God will be my guide.”

“Are you serious?”


“The freaking world is practically self-imploding and you’re still holding on to some fantasy that God exists and is going to come down on his magical cloud and save you?”

“It’s not like that.”

“Then how can you still believe in all of that stuff?”

For once, Aden doesn’t sound like he’s angry. If anything, his tone is curious, and he’s stopped rushing around the bait shop, and is just taking Geoff in.

They aren’t that different in size by comparison, but in that moment, Geoff is the one who seems bigger than Aden. In the face of possible death – the likelihood of that actually happening is increasing exponentially as the seconds tick on – his faith isn’t wavering. Aden can’t understand it.

“You have to believe in something,” Geoff replies honestly.

All at once there is a loud bang and both boys startle, eyes immediately darting towards the window. The glass rattles against the sheer force and then the rain starts. It sounds like frozen peas being tipped onto a metal tray and Aden is the one who makes his way back towards the window. As he looks out, his back to Geoff, he swears under his breath.

“What is it?”

Aden looks over his shoulder at Geoff. “Acid rain.”

“What?” For the first time, Geoff rushes over to the window and Aden steps aside, allowing Geoff room to look. The rain is hitting the glass in horizontal sheets, the force of it alone would cause serious bruising to anyone who was unlucky to be caught in it. Let alone the damage it would cause if it was actually made of acid. “How do you know?”

“Hear that?” For a long moment, both boys hold their breath, listening to the sound of rain on a tin roof. But it’s not just the sound of water, there’s a crackling, something that tells both the boys that this isn’t ordinary rain. Aden looks upwards towards the ceiling. “It’s corroding the metal.”

Listening closely, Geoff hears the cracking and popping above them. It reminds him of the sound that his cereal used to make as a kid, after he’d added the milk. Back then he used to stoop his head down, hold his ear up his bowl – as close as he could get without dunking his ear in milk – so he could hear it perfectly over Annie talking or Pop riding the tractor out the back. But the sound that currently fills his senses is one he wants, more than anything, to block out.

Suddenly, there’s a distinct creak and in a flash the both jump to the side as a giant crack spreads down the middle of the roof, right above where they were standing.

“We can’t stay here,” Aden says, in a rush and he’s back to quickly rifling through any of the leftover fishing equipment that Mr Stewart has left lying around. He is pulling apart a fishing rod, snapping the spool off the end and bending the other end to make a hook and looping it through his belt buckle.

“I want to go to the farm,” Geoff tells him.

“This isn’t a field trip,” Aden replies harshly, “We’re not on some leisurely Saturday afternoon picnic, you can’t just decide to go to the farm.”

“Annie is there,” Geoff says determinedly, “I have to make sure she is okay.”

“What if she’s not, huh? What if she was at Irene’s or decided to stay late at school? What if –” Aden slams his mouth shut, cutting himself off, but it’s too late. Geoff knows what he was going to say. He’s not dumb, he can fill in the blanks; What if she’s dead? What if you go there and it’s all for nothing?

When they’d first got to the bait shop, they were both panting and spluttering, but even with his heart beating and head whirling, Geoff had hauled himself up onto his knees and started to pray. He prayed for Annie and Irene and Leah and Sally and Lucas and Tony, everyone in Summer Bay. And by the time he had finished, he’d calmed down enough to open his eyes and see that Aden was with him, so at least he wasn’t alone. But the idea that his prayers are being ignored or falling on deaf ears – that his entire belief system has been for nothing – is not an idea he wants to toy with. He can’t even entertain the notion that Annie isn’t out there waiting for the storm to be over and for him to find her.

Geoff looks up at the crack in the tin roof of the bait shop. Liquid is starting to leak through the hole, dripping down the inside of the walls and if Aden is right, if it is acid, then they can’t risk touching it. It’s only a matter of time before it eats through more of the roof or the walls and they are completely exposed.

Aden is practically ransacking the place; tipping over boxes, throwing knick-knacks off shelves, hauling open cupboard doors and drawers and grabbing knives and blades and tucking them into his belt and pockets.

“Where are you going to go?” Geoff finally asks, when he doesn’t think his voice is going to betray him. Because even though the thought of being the only survivors is terrifying, what is even worse is the possibility that he might be left alone.

Aden’s got his back to him, hunched over, and for a moment he doesn’t answer.

“Does it matter? We stay here we’re screwed, if we run we could get fried to pieces. It’s like – what’s the point?”

“I don’t know if there’s a greater meaning behind all of this –” Geoff begins, and he hears Aden scoff under his breath. “But you can’t just give up.”

“Who says I’m giving up?” At this point, Aden turns around. He’s got his belt loaded with sharp objects, and he stares back at Geoff, who takes a step back. “I just think it’s stupid to try and pretend that we aren’t in serious trouble and if anyone makes it out of this alive it’ll be a miracle.” His mouth quirks up into a lopsided smirk, “And I know how you’re a fan of those.”

Geoff considers this for a moment. “It’s not about miracles. If we were able to survive, then what’s to say that we are the only ones? I believe that Annie is still out there, and Irene, and everyone else. We just have to get back to them.” He thinks carefully, and then adds, “I know you’re scared.”

“God, you’re so frustrating,” Aden complains, “Why do you always have to act like the hero? I’m not some freaking damsel in distress!”

“I know that,” Geoff replies, eyes flicking to the ground, trying to deflect some of Aden’s anger.

“You clearly don’t! I don’t need saving, and I don’t need you trying to protect my feelings. There’s no one out there, so the sooner you get that through your thick skull, the better.”

Aden storms straight past Geoff, dodging around the scattered fishing gear and bait supplies. He crouches down behind the door – the only way in and out – like a tiger hunting out prey.

Geoff takes a deep breath and surveys what Aden has left. There’s not much, but Geoff sees it out of the corner of his eye on a top shelf that Aden has clearly missed. He takes down the spear gun and examines it for a moment. It’s in good condition even though it hasn’t been used recently, and he props it underneath his arm, before moving closer to where Aden is squatting.

Looking through the miniscule gaps in the wooden door Geoff notices the darkness. There’s no sun, no golden hue as there was before, everything shadowed by a mute shade of grey.

Aden tears his eyes away from the door and glances over at Geoff. He notices the spear gun in Geoff’s grasp and raises an appraising eyebrow. “You sure you can handle that, sweetheart?”

“I’m really happy for you, Aden,” Geoff says, “Even in the face of the most terrifying situation you’ve ever been in, you still manage to be an arse.”

Aden narrows his eyes. “Just keeping it real, Campbell.”

“Why? What are you so worried about?” Geoff probes, “What is it that you are so scared to admit? Because I get the impression that this whole ‘tough guy’ thing is just an act.”

“You don’t know jack, Campbell,” Aden replies and he goes back to staring at the back of the door.

“Really? Then why is it that I’m the only one you seem to pick on? I know you don’t give as much crap to the other guys at school. Is it because of the football scholarship?”

Aden actually laughs. It’s harsh and jarring, considering the situation. “If you think this is about football, then you are seriously more deluded that I originally thought.”

“Then what is it?”

There’s another shocking bang and for a moment the entire bait shop illuminates, and in that split second both boys lock eyes.

It’s crippling fear to the bone.

“You’ve got something worth fighting for,” Aden confesses in a rush.

Geoff blinks back at him. “What?”

“You’ve got people who give a rats ass about whether you get out of this hell hole or not. This could be the end of everything, and all I keep thinking is: who cares about me? I’m pretty sure the last thing I said to my dad was that I hated him, and who knows where the hell my brother is.” Aden shrugs. “You’ll be missed. Shame I can’t say the same for me.” Aden glances down at his knife and pulls it out to inspect it carefully. He looks up, sees the blank, confused expression on Geoff’s face. “I’m not saying I’m going to roll over and just die, or anything. But it’s all pretty futile, isn’t it?”

“Aden –” Geoff begins, when Aden suddenly holds up a hand, silencing Geoff’s reply.

The storm has stopped.

There’s no spitting on the tin roof, no banging against the walls and no loud bangs of thunder or cracks of lightning.

They go quiet, listening to the sudden quietness of their surroundings. It’s unnerving that after the great cacophony of noise that’s been haunting them for what seems like hours on end, for everything to suddenly stop, is more frightening than any noise that could be made.

“What do you think is out there?” Geoff whispers.

Aden looks back at Geoff blankly; he doesn’t have an answer.

He feels the hot tears prickle behind his eyes, but Geoff knows that he can’t lose it. Not when Aden has just confided in him that he doesn’t have a family looking out for him. That even if they do make it out of this alive, Aden will be left on his own. The thought that after this is all over he might not even have a home to go to, is not a thought he wants to entertain.

Suddenly, there is a low creaking sound and Aden snaps his head back towards the door, but Geoff takes a bit longer, trying to place the direction of the noise. It’s growing louder, the sound of something approaching, when Geoff feels the vibration below him.

Aden grabs him by the arm, yanking him hard against the wall of the bait shop just as the whole building tilts on its side.

Both boys are breathing hard and Geoff is surprised his heart hasn’t beat out of his chest. He stares in horror as the floor where he was just crouching next to Aden has suddenly disappeared, sinking into the ground.

“We can’t stay here any longer,” Aden states, eyes glued to the lopsided floor.

“We need a plan,” Geoff says, barely noticing that Aden still has his fingers gripping tightly to his bicep.

“I’ll give you a plan,” Aden says, “We make a run for it. If you hear anything, you just keep running. If it starts storming again or there are zombies, you don’t stop. Got it?”

“We can go to the Diner, it’s close and might have food, and if we are lucky we might be able to find someone else.”

“We go on three, right?” Aden says, and Geoff nods. “One … two … three!”

Aden retches the door open on it’s hinges and bolts out of it, Geoff right on his heels.

They run, feet pounding hard and fast on the ground. Geoff has to dodge over a broken tree, it’s thick stump lying in his pathway. He barely registers the way the ocean has receded, sand going on for miles where the sea used to be. There’s a smoldering fire to his right, just glowing embers, the blaze dampened by the moisture hanging low in the air, residual from the rain.

His breath is shallow, rattling in his chest so that he barely hears the crack from behind. It’s only when he hears a piercing scream that Geoff comes to a halt, and against his instinct to run and keep on running, he turns back.

A crevice has opened up right through the pathway where he was running away from the bait shop. It probably runs straight under the dilapidated building, and Geoff is piecing together this as the cause of the rocky foundations. He looks around for Aden, to point it out, but he is nowhere to be found.

“Aden!” Geoff calls, but he gets no reply.

He knows what they agreed, that they would run and not go back, and Aden was in front of him. He was leading the way out of the bait shop, Geoff knows this, but something in his stomach clenches and against his better judgment he runs back towards the giant hole in the earth.

He skids to a stop and peers over the edge, looking down into the dark crevice.

Lying, motionless at the bottom of the hole, is Aden.

“Aden!” Geoff screams, but his voice only echoes off the side of the rock and as Geoff tries to get closer, he finds that the ground is unstable, rocks crumbling beneath his sneakers. He drops to his knees, leans as far over the edge as he can, and calls again, “Aden!”

Slowly, Aden begins to stir. He moves his wrist and then his head, before his eyelids flutter open and he stares up at Geoff.

Aden’s head is pounding, his whole body shaking from the excruciating pain of the fall and as he blinks his eyes open the first thing he sees is Geoff’s concerned expression staring down at him. His hair is stuck to his forehead with sweat, grey clouds act as a backdrop and he registers a crack of lightning behind his head, the bright white light, momentarily illuminating the sky.

He groans as he slowly sits up, his body protesting, announcing every aching muscle and potentially broken bone as he hears Geoff’s continuous stream of jumbled words and phrases. “Oh god, Aden. Aden, are you okay? I don’t know – The ground is too unstable; I can’t come down. Oh my – What can I do? Please, tell what I can – Are you sure you should be standing up?”

On wobbly legs, Aden stands, looking up at Geoff. He uses one hand to grip at his side – he’s definitely got a couple of broken ribs in there – and through gritted teeth, bites out, “I’ll climb out.”

Geoff nods, “I can help, I’ll do anything. Tell me what to do.”

“I can’t –” White lights dance in his line of vision, blood draining from his face and if the world wasn’t already tipping on its axis, Aden is sure the ground is being swept out from under him.

“Aden! Aden, you have to tell me what to do,” Geoff keeps babbling above him, but Aden can’t focus on him. He can’t focus on anything except the burning in his side, the way it feels like his insides are being sliced apart and he looks down at where his hand is gripping his side in an effort to dull the pain, and that’s when he sees it.

In his sudden fall he’s landed on that old fishing knife he tucked into his belt for protection. It’s pierced his side, and is now sticking out, and every movement he makes feels like someone is taking a hot, burning rod and skewering his insides.

Aden tries to focus on breathing, even though he sees his shirt starting to turn crimson in colour.

“I don’t know what I can do,” Geoff is still calling down to him, voice becoming more panicked the longer Aden doesn’t reply. But he’s frozen; heart pounding in his ears, and it takes every ounce of strength to look back up towards the sky. “I don’t have a rope, and you’re too far down to reach.”

“The – bait – shop,” Aden breathes out.

He sees Geoff glances across the top of the crevice, back in the direction from where they had just run. He considers it for a moment, before looking back down at Aden who has gone alarmingly pale. He knows something is wrong, even if Aden hasn’t said anything, and the longer he stays down that hole, the worse he is going to get.

“I’ll be back.” Geoff says, “I promise,” and then he disappears from Aden’s sight, taking off at a sprint, back towards the bait shop.

Another shot of blinding pain shoots up Aden’s side as he slumps against the side of the crack. He doesn’t know if Geoff will come back, doesn’t blame him if he doesn’t. Aden hasn’t exactly done anything to make Geoff’s life easier. It was never about anything Geoff did personally, but the fact that he was everything Aden wasn’t. He was optimistic and loyal and had an unwavering belief in something that he couldn’t touch, taste or see. Aden had been burned too many times to simply blindly follow without looking for the fire.

What Aden thought was naivety, Geoff saw as faith. He believed in the good of people and love conquering all, when Aden’s life had been nothing but evidence to the contrary. He didn’t hate Geoff exactly, just thought he was kidding himself if he could look Aden in the eye and say that God was going to take care of everything, and Aden resented him for his certainty. Particularly, from where Aden is slumped against the side of a pit, it is looking more and more likely that whatever ‘God’ Geoff believes in, is pretty pissed at everyone on earth.

And for a while, Aden wanted nothing more than to crush that belief. To show Geoff all the reasons why the world doesn’t hold his same values and he just needed to get used to it. But, is that really Aden’s job? If Geoff can get out of this alive, get back to Annie and Irene and the rest of his friends and family, then it’ll be a miracle. And maybe out of that, Geoff will make this town a little bit less sh-tty for everyone else to live in. Just because Aden is bitter and twisted, doesn’t mean Geoff needs to be as well.

Geoff tries to run as fast as his legs will take him back to where Aden is trapped, but he’s now carrying a long, thick rope, spear gun still tucked under his left arm, and he has to watch every step he takes to make sure he doesn’t trip or fall as he dodges around the uneven ground.

When he reaches the opening, Geoff drops his supplies and stares down into the hole. Aden is on his side, legs having given way from underneath him, and Geoff calls out, “I’ve got a rope! Just hang in there!”

Aden doesn’t reply and Geoff tries to squash the panic as it rises up inside him. He sets to work. In the state Aden is currently in, if just drops the rope he won’t be able to stand, let alone climb out of the hole. If Geoff abseils down the side himself then they’ll both be stranded at the bottom. He’s running out of options, when there’s another crack of lightning above him.

The sky is becoming dark, the sunburnt red of earlier in the day bleeding out into an angry, bruised purple and he seems to be running out of light. Geoff hasn’t seen the sun for hours, doesn’t know whether it’s early evening or midnight.

The best chance Geoff has of getting Aden out is if he can hoist him out. He knows the ground is unstable but it’s the only shot he’s got. Geoff stabs the end of the spear gun in the ground, a few metres away from the edge of the crack. The ground sinks, the rocks crumbling to make way for the protrusion, but the spear stays upright. He pushes the gun down further into the ground, gives it a wiggle to make sure it won’t fall over and then starts to wind the rope around it.

He ties a knot in one end and lets the rest of the rope coil at his feet. He then takes the other end and makes a loop, the kind his Pop taught him to use for wrangling sheep back on the farm. He tugs at the loop, satisfied with his handiwork, just as another flash of lightning flickers above him. Although, this time, is followed by a rumble of thunder and the ground seems to shake under his feet. He needs to hurry.

Peering over the edge of the ledge, Geoff sees Aden at the bottom of the crack. It’s like the whole earth has literally swallowed him up.

“Aden!” he yells, “Aden! Please! You need to wake up!” Slowly, Aden stirs, his head lolling back until he’s blinking bleary-eyed up at Geoff. “I’m going to throw down a rope. All you need to do is hold on tight.”

“Geoff –” Aden’s voice is barely audible, but Geoff keeps moving.

He throws the rope over the edge, and it falls at Aden’s side. He moves a bit, struggles to even sit up, and this may take a lot longer than Geoff originally thought. But, slowly, and with every movement causing him visible pain, Aden gets to his feet.

“Okay. Okay, Aden? Aden, you need to put your foot in the loop. Just slip it over your shoe and I’ll hoist you up.”

The sky cracks again, loud and close, and this time the lightning strikes an already broken power line causing the whole thing to explode, making Geoff jump. Aden is swaying uneasily as he kicks the rope, and looks up just as the first drop of rain starts to fall.

At first, the cool liquid is a relief; something to take away the heat of the fire, the burning smell in the air, but then Geoff feels a raindrop hit his skin, making it tingle.

More raindrops fall, harder and heavier, and with every drop that touches his skin he feels the tingling sensation and looking down, sees the raw burn mark where it landed.

“Acid rain,” he murmurs to himself. He can’t wait any longer, can’t leave Aden down there. He looks back down at Aden, sees that he’s barely standing upright anymore, hasn’t even moved to get the loop on his foot. “Aden! Aden, you need to hurry. I can pull you up you just need to stand and hold on!”

Aden is staring at the rope, arms wrapped around his middle, and he mumbles something that Geoff can’t understand. “Leav’m.”


“Leave me.”

The raining is stinging his skin, dripping onto his hair and eyelashes and he wipes at his face to keep looking down at Aden. “No!”

“Geoff!” For the first time, Aden seems to muster every bit of strength to look up at Geoff and meet his eye. “I’m not worth it. Just leave me! Go find your sister and your family, and leave me here!

Geoff doesn’t realize he’s crying.

“No!” he calls back to Aden, “No, I’m not leaving you! I don’t care if you hate me for this, but you need to stop, and just do what I say! God damn it, Aden! Put your foot in the freaking loop!”

Aden looks stunned, his face withdrawn and he blinks slowly as the rain continues to pour down on them both. His skin is burning from the droplets that hit him, eating holes in his shirt, making him red and raw all over, but that is the least of his worries.

With one sluggish movement, Aden sees the loop in the end of the rope and shoves his foot into it. Geoff doesn’t have time to relax; instead he grabs his end of the rope and pulls up the slack, until Aden is standing at the bottom, clutching the rope to his chest, leaning heavily on it to keep himself upright.

Gritting his teeth, Geoff moves back from the edge of the crevice, and begins to haul. It’s heavy, probably more than he anticipated and his hands keep slipping, wet from the rain, the fibres rough against his peeling, burning skin. The ground underneath his feet is unstable, and he stumbles back as he loses his footing placement in the uneven dirt.

“Aden!” Geoff calls, “Aden? Are you still there?”

He can’t see him or hear him and the only indication Geoff has that Aden is even on the end of the rope is the weight on the other end, dragging him down. But Geoff continues to tug and pull, take small steps back, amid the rain continuing to drip all over him and the heat of the burning pole nearby.

The tension of the rope remains constant, and gradually he begins to see something near the top of the hole. With one final tug, Aden is grappling with leveled ground, dragging himself over the edge and as soon as he makes it out, he’s collapsing face-first into the dirt. Geoff drops his end of the rope and sprints to Aden, dropping to his side.

God, Aden. Aden! Aden can you hear me?” Panicked and panting, with bleeding palms he gently rolls Aden over onto his back, and that is when he sees the wound for the first time. “Oh my –”

Aden’s eyelids flutter open and he’s not really looking up at Geoff, so much as just staring through him.

When he talks, his voice is drowsy, weak and Geoff has to bend over, get closer to him to be able to hear, “My hero.” Aden wheezes a shaky breath, “Not so useless after … all.”

“Aden - Aden, you just need to keep your eyes open. Just keep looking at me,” Geoff coaxes, and before he realizes it, he’s got one hand cupping Aden’s cheek, the other holding his wrist.

“’s a miracle,” Aden slurs. “Geoff –”

No,” Geoff quickly cuts him off, “Just no, okay? We did not get this far for you to just give up.”

Geoff doesn’t let go, not when the rain stops and the clouds part and there is finally some sun peeking over the horizon. The ocean begins to ebb and flow in a regular rhythm and Geoff hears voices calling out to them.

Aden slips in and out of consciousness, and every time he opens his eyes his surroundings are different. First, it’s the grey sky, then the inside of a brick building, people bustling about, he registers the sound of crying, comforting sounds being murmured nearby, then a dark room, where he’s lying on a fold out bed, a blanket draped over him. But each time one thing stays the same; Geoff is hovering over him, hand around his wrist or carding his hair until he finally blinks himself awake.

The quiet is unnerving and Aden’s first instinct is to panic. His mind whirls with the possibility that he’s dead and alone and left in darkness for eternity, but then he hears a shuffling noise to his right and he turns his head. He sees the outline of Geoff’s body, curled up on the floor, asleep next to his bed.

Geoff stirs, scrubs at his eyes and as soon as he looks over, his eyes meet Aden’s. He’s immediately upright, scooting closer to the bed.

“Hey,” he whispers.

“Hey,” Aden murmurs back. He tries to move, but his side protests and Aden uses his fingers to lightly touch the bandage wrapped around his abdomen. “You saved me.”

“You called me Geoff,” Geoff replies, a small smile playing on his lips.

“Don’t get too cocky, Bible Boy. It’s not a good look on you,” Aden says around a yawn before he’s drifting off again.

They have to rebuild in more ways than one. There are holes to fill, buildings to prop up and people to miss. Aden hobbles around helping out where he can and Geoff admonishes him for doing too much when he’s still healing. It’s different to the way things were before, something has shifted between them, but while the world keeps spinning they’ll keep going too.


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