Bandom: The Tragically Hip
Pairings: Gordon Downie/Paul Langlois
Word Count: 1,140
Summary: An AU in which Gordon is the keeper of a lighthouse off the north/eastern shore of Lake Erie, and after a particularly dangerous storm, Paul finds his way ashore.
Author's Notes: I'm posting this here because I need a not-locked version for xmas_rocks! Don't mind me! :)
Gordon’s feet were soaked through to his socks and the frigid sprays of lake water dampened the hems of his jeans as he walked easily over dark boulders lining the shore. He hummed as he went; the sound a remarkable contrast against the roaring wind, pounding rain and rolling thunder that lingered even after the worst of the morning’s storm had passed. His face seemed perpetually screwed in a scowl against the wind that whipped relentlessly from across the large body of water. Looking out at the lake through squinted eyes, the horizon was barely discernible as water and sky merged together in one endless expanse of gray that made Gordon pull his denim jacket closer around him.
The ominous sounds of the afternoon resurfaced into Gordon’s conscious suddenly as his humming ceased and became a contemplative sound in his throat. His gaze fell upon a single blot of colour amidst all the gray. It was green, and it rocked with the current against the shore, no more than a dozen feet from where he stood.
“The hell is that,” he murmured, struggling over the boulders at a faster pace. He uttered strained curses and grunts when rocks gave out beneath him, and for a fleeting moment he considered leaving it be, but there was a persistent notion at the back of his mind; the notion that what he saw was a person, and he wasn’t turning back on that, regardless of whether he found them dead or alive.
When he reached the green shadow barely floating inches beneath the surface, he paused. Blue eyes darted nervously and calculatedly from his own feet, to the rocks and the waves hurtling themselves against them, and then to the thing – person, thought Gordon, that was definitely a person – he was going to attempt to retrieve. While walking on the rocks came easy, bringing himself as close to the water’s dark surface as the waves would allow could prove to be a challenge.
With all the reluctance in the world, Gordon kicked off his shoes, removed his jacket and slipped his foot into a small crevice several feet below. His fingers found a conveniently placed crack nearly four feet above that. With his arm shaking from the strain and fear of being taken in by the waves, he leaned down.
An involuntary gasp escaped him as his hand broke the surface, half from the cold and in part from gripping the green fabric of a jacket.
“Christ, please still be alive,” Gordon breathed, pulling desperately at the jacket and the man inside it. There was absolutely no way he could lift him out of the water, he thought. Not at that angle. He gritted his teeth, closed his eyes tight and let go of the rock. The current drew him under almost immediately as he was pressed against the rocks, only to be pulled away and slammed into them again, barely giving him an opportunity to resurface. The other man moved with him, without the fighting power.
First, Gordon reasoned, was to get him on his back, get his face out of the water. He lowered his feet and the tips of his toes barely grazed a flat rock beneath him. Turning his own face towards the darkened sky, he sputtered and choked as water filled his mouth, his nose and eyes. With his ears submerged, he heard nothing except the low hum of waves from beneath the surface.
He gasped, and he seized that moment void of water to push off the rock beneath his feet, using the energy to turn the man to face the surface. Despite the change, water still sloshed over his features, and Gordon was having a difficult time holding him up.
A new wave and he lost his footing on the rock. His stomach lurched violently as he was wrenched under, but the current ebbed in time for him to resurface and grab hold of the ledge down which he’d climbed. His other hand groped for the man, and seizing his arm in a strong grip, he brought him closer between slips and persistent, freezing waves. The cold was beginning to hurt, and he wondered frantically how long this man had been in the water. Brief glimpses at a time showed pale features and frigid blue lips through dark, matted hair.
“Hang in there,” Gordon whispered when he finally had the man’s arm around his shoulder. Their cheeks touched, and the stranger’s hair was cold against Gordon’s face as he began the climb.
What had been a reasonably quick descent was made several times longer and considerably more difficult by the added weight. Bruised and bloodied hands and feet, elbows and knees worked desperately towards level ground despite the fact that every muscle in Gordon’s body seemed to scream at him to just let go.
Finally, his hands scraped against sand and gravel. He screamed as he demanded one last effort on his body’s part, and it obliged, if only just. He stood shakily, slowly, swaying on the spot. As he attempted to adjust his grip on the man he dropped him hard on his back, and started violently when a harsh cough escaped him and water flowed from his mouth, down his chin.
“Shit,” Gordon murmured, astounded. “You’re alive...” He grabbed his denim jacket from where he had left it and wrapped it carefully beneath the man’s head, then placed a hand on his neck. His face fell, and he knelt closer, touching his ear to pale and slightly parted lips.
“No... No, you were alive,” he argued aloud, tearing at the buttons on the green jacket. “You coughed, you’re alive. You’re alive,” he told the lifeless man as pulled his face upwards and quickly adjusted his own hands before nearly ramming his lips against the other man’s, pushing air into his lungs, breathing for him. Breathing was difficult even for Gordon in that moment as each breath seemed to quiver and falter when it left his lungs. His hand found the other’s neck, and when he felt no pulse, no breath on his lips he moved to perform the procedure again, but their lips barely touched a second time before there came more water, and the terrible sound of trying to gasp for air and speak all at once.
“Stop it,” Gordon said, placing a gentle hand on his chest. “Can you hear me?”
“Y—Yes,” was the weak, rasping reply.
“Good...” He pushed the man’s hair away from his eyes and lifted him, with much difficulty, considering his recent struggles. “You’re fine now. Just... don’t die again, please,” he breathed, a hint of near-hysterical laughter in his tone as he began up the shore line, towards the modest lighthouse that sat atop a rocky hill.