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Chaos ficlet: Last Line of Defense (1/1)

November 14th, 2013 (05:50 am)
Tags: , ,

feeling: nervous

Title: The Last Line of Defense

Disclaimer: I do not own Chaos.

A/N: The typical stuff. Beta by sockie1000. Fits my hugs prompt from hc_bingo.

Summary: Shaking is the body’s last defense against the cold. It’s an autonomic response designed to generate heat.


“You’re shaking.”

Billy sniffles, rubbing his hands pointlessly over his arms. “Aye,” he says. “We are in a clapboard shelter amidst the freezing tundra during the snowstorm of the century. What did you expect?”

Casey narrows his eyes. “Shaking is bad.”

“Shaking is a natural reaction to being cold,” Billy says. “And I am, in fact, very, very cold.”

It occurs to Casey, even as he flexes his own nimble fingers, which are tucked securely inside his shirt front and pressed against his chest, that Billy is quite cold. Even colder than he’s letting on. Because he’s not just shaking. He’s chattering a bit, and his face is too pale with his lips tinged faintly blue. They got caught in the storm unexpectedly, and they happened upon this shelter by chance. It wasn’t much, but Casey had counted on it being better than the elements.

But the howling winds are blowing hard through the clapboard walls, and even Casey can’t deny the slow creep of the ice as it seeps into his toes and starts to spread up his calves and thighs.

Still, Casey is well versed in surviving extreme temperatures and he’s trained his body to excel even under these conditions. The cold is a nuisance but it’s not worrisome -- yet.

The fact is, though, that they’re in for a hell of a long night -- and maybe then some. There’s no telling how long the storm will last and the darkness of the night will only bring the temperatures lower.

Casey feels an inexplicable twinge run up his spine.

“See,” Billy says. “You’re shaking, too.”

Casey frowns at him, scowling. “Shaking is the body’s last defense against the cold,” he lectures. “It’s an autonomic response designed to generate heat.”

“As long as it lasts,” Billy points out, sounding almost petulant now. “When that energy is expended...”

His words hang ominously and he cups his hands and blows into them.

Casey sighs. Because he’s stuck in a snowstorm. Because it’s freezing cold and their shelter is woefully inadequate. Because Billy’s cold.

“Come on,” Casey says, moving closer to Billy. Their shelter is nothing more than a shed, and there’s no possibility of building a fire and there’s not much space to move around. Even so, he and Billy have taken up opposite sides, and Casey promptly closes the gap.

Billy looks confused. “What--”

Then Casey unzips his coat.

“Why, Casey--” Billy begins.

Casey ignores him and then reaches out, unzipping Billy’s.

The Scotsman yelps in protest. “I’m flattered, mate, but you’re not my type!”

Casey scoffs. “You could only wish I had such intentions,” he says crossly, even as he wraps his arms around Billy and hauls him closer.

It says something that Billy doesn’t actively pull away, and with their bodies pressed together, it’s clear Billy’s more than a little cold. The shaking is pronounced, and the younger man is well on his way to hypothermia.

“You just felt like a hug?” Billy muses, his head pressed against Casey’s shoulder.

Casey grunts, shifting them both to a more comfortable position against the wall. “I felt like not letting you freeze to death,” he mutters.

“By hugging?” Billy asks.

“By sharing body heat,” Casey snaps.

“If that’s what you have to tell yourself--”

“Shut up,” Casey orders. “Or I’ll leave your sorry, shaking ass outside in the cold and save all my precious body heat for myself.”

“This still sounds vaguely dirty--”

“Shut up!

This time, Billy obeys, and in the blessed moment of silence, Casey can feel Billy’s breathing grow steadier, the tremors easing slightly as the Scot seems to pull in closer. After a long moment, Billy says, “You’re shaking, too.”

“That’s because I’m hugging a popsicle,” Casey counters.

“I wish I had a camera--”

“And then hypothermia would be the least of your concerns,” Casey cuts him off firmly.

There’s another silence, this time more amiable. Outside, the wind howls and the snow falls. There’s no telling what tomorrow will bring, no promise they’ll last the night. But whatever fate befalls one of them, will befall them both.

This is a risk; this is a solace.

This is the only option.

“So this is the plan, then?” Billy asks. “Hug all night?”

“It’s better than freezing,” Casey points out.

“No arguments here,” Billy says, nestling just a little closer. “Definitely no arguments.”

Casey doesn’t reply this time, and he feels Billy shudder as a gust of wind slips through the walls. Instinctively, Casey pulls Billy closer, holding him tighter against the storm.

And if he’s warmer, too, then that’s one small detail no one needs to know.


Posted by: sophie_deangirl (sophie_deangirl)
Posted at: November 14th, 2013 10:55 pm (UTC)

LJ would definitely scream because this whole fic is a favorite part. You just do such a MAGNIFICENT job of not only doing the Casey/Billy bromance so well, but you give Casey just delightful sarcastic dialogue!! I get a goofy smile when I read those lines!!!

One stellar fave moment:

Casey scoffs. “You could only wish I had such intentions,” he says crossly, even as he wraps his arms around Billy and hauls him closer.

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: December 10th, 2013 03:37 am (UTC)
billy casey trouble

LOL, I'm a sucker for Billy/Casey bonding so writing these types of fics is always fun for me. I'm always thrilled to have others enjoy it, too!


Posted by: kristen_mara (kristen_mara)
Posted at: November 15th, 2013 11:18 am (UTC)

LOL and awwww - what a hug! Sorry: I mean, what a survival technique *G*

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: December 10th, 2013 03:38 am (UTC)
billy thinks

It's all about survival. Casey will kill you if you say otherwise :)


Posted by: Lena7142 (lena7142)
Posted at: November 15th, 2013 11:49 pm (UTC)

I forgot about this; love it! The snark and the cuddling and the banter... And as I huddle under a heap of blankets, I can only wish I had an ODS member to share body heat with... ;)

Posted by: do i dare or do i dare? (faye_dartmouth)
Posted at: December 10th, 2013 03:38 am (UTC)

I have too many fics.

But hypothermic snuggling will never not be fun to write :)


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