The Alternate Universe Weekly Challenge Thread
View Single Post
05.12.2013 , 09:59 AM |
Continuing the strangest AU I've ever thought up, it's:
Prompt: Planes, Trains, and Thrantamobiles
Characters: Quinn and Vette
Alternate of: NSP
Very long, 2700 words. Ohh, myyy.
Drop It Like It's Hoth
Tauntauns couldn’t break down, could they? Vette was sure the answer was “No” as they were living creatures. Well, not this one. It was broken. So broken it was dead. Just her luck that credit pincher Quinn would insist on taking just the one Tauntaun and wound up breaking it. Or maybe he blathered at it until it died. Either way, this Tauntaun was dead and they were stranded on a sea of ice and snow, with a very angry wind icing their heels. She shivered and rubbed her arms as she hopped from foot to foot. The ever prepared Captain B*stard was setting up the tent, but, if she had the tools, she would have cut open the broken Tauntaun and nestled inside until the damn tent was up. When the damn tent
up he disappeared inside it without signaling for her to come in.
She made her way to the tent and quickly ducked inside, zipping it up as tightly as she could against the wind. The wind, spurned for the last time, whipped and beat at the housing, throwing shards of ice in an attempt to break it down. Its attacks were futile, at least.
Inside the tent, Quinn was busy setting up the thermal blankets and starting a small heat source that gave off no smoke or deadly vapors. It was enough for a few of hours, no more than six, but that wouldn’t be an issue provided they were rescued in a timely manner. Vette was both hopeful and realistic. She didn’t like their odds.
“You’re good at karking up simple things, you know that?” Vette groused as she claimed a sleeping bag and stuffed it in-between the thermal blankets on the floor of the tent.
“I didn’t anticipate the death of our transportation, but I prepared for it regardless,” he replied stiffly. He, too, busied himself with a sleeping bag.
“Ugh,” she sighed. “Can we not sleep so close together?”
“We are not sleeping, we are waiting for rescue and staying warm. Now stop wasting your energy chattering and get comfortable before you freeze to death.”
She grumbled something and settled into her sleeping bag. “Were you able to raise anyone on the comm?”
“I’m trying,” he replied. He settled into his own sleeping bag then sealed the thermal layers around their respective bags. He set the comm unit in front of him and continued to try to raise the nearest base. “I’m encountering massive amounts of interference from the wind outside. I can only assume a storm is coming.”
“We aren’t dead yet.”
“Why the hell did Syla send us here anyway?”
“To prepare for Ilum as I have told you every step of the way,” he replied, shaking his head slightly.
“After this, I want to go to Alderaan. It’s nice and temperate there.”
“We’re going to Ilum after this. I’m sure the chill will still be in our bones. We’ll be fine.”
“If we don’t die.”
“We’re not going to die.”
“We’re going to freeze to death and no one will find our bodies.”
“Be silent, Vette.”
“I hate you, Quinn.”
“Hate me in silence.”
For once, she listened to him. There was no sense in wasting all the energy on talking to him, telling him how much of a useless doof he was or how frozen they would be before help arrived. Best to conserve her energy for something more important, like freezing to death or shivering or freezing to death while shivering. Stars it was cold on Hoth. The wind howled outside and beat the tent with a vengeance that would be fiery were it not cold enough to turn breath still in the lungs to ice. She tried to think of anything that would help her stay warm: hot cocoa, hot toddy, hot body. Mm, hot body. She glowered at Quinn. Not even if she were desperate to get warm.
Two hours later, Quinn managed to raise someone on the comm and send their location. It could take six hours for rescue possibly longer if the weather insisted on being a right bastard.
“Six more hours of this crap?” Vette groaned. “I’m going to sweat to death before they get here.”
Quinn’s head snapped toward her so quickly she was sure he had whiplash. “You’re sweating?”
“Well, yeah, I’ve got all these layers on.”
“You didn’t read the dressing guidelines, did you?” he asked accusingly.
“Imbecile. Those guidelines prepare you for an event such as this. You need to take off the wet layers now.”
“Oh, void, no. I’m not taking off my clothes here. It’s freezing!”
“You’ll freeze faster covered in water.”
“If I’m hot enough to sweat, I can’t possibly – ”
“Shut up!” he snapped. She snapped her mouth shut. “You can and will freeze when the heat source sputters out. You need to remove your clothes and get dry immediately.”
“You want me to strip down to nothing? How is that supposed to help?”
“You need to get dry, the thermal blanket and sleeping bag should take some of the edge off the cold.”
“I’m supposed to have faith in ‘some’?”
Quinn gave her his best “You’re an idiot” face and shook his head. “You have several options: freeze to death like an idiot, take off your clothes and stay warmer than you would with wet clothing on, or take off your clothes and come over here to warm yourself on my body heat. I would prefer it if you froze to death like an idiot.”
“Tell me again why I told Syla not to kill your a*s when she had the chance?” she shot back.
“You’re an idiot,” he replied. The edge had left his voice and his glare. He sighed and started fiddling with something inside of his sleeping bag. “Get over here and quickly, before I change my mind and let you die like an idiot.”
“Do I still have to take off my clothes?”
“Do as I say and live. Don’t and die like an idiot.”
It had to be the most awkward moment of her life. To his credit, Quinn looked away while she peeled layer after layer of sweat soaked clothing from her person and tossed them outside the sleeping bag. Despite the tent and the ambient heat from the small heat source, a layer of ice settled on her discarded clothing. Damn that man for being right. When she was finished disrobing, Quinn shifted closer, unzipped the two bags and zipped them back up at one unit.
“Didn’t know they did that,” Vette said quietly.
“I prepare for every possible outcome,” he replied stiffly.
She inched closer to him. He was lying on his side and facing her, waiting for her to get close enough to hold onto him. She wasn’t sure how this would work and she was very uncomfortable baring her blue bottom to the elements and cuddling up to Quinn. She should just give up and freeze to death. Maybe that Tauntaun was still for rent.
As she got closer, Quinn opened his outer jacket, his inner jacket, and his water resistant tunic. Next time, she would definitely read whatever long, drawn out crap he put in front of her face. She tried not to study his chest for too long lest he comment, but his skin had healed rather well. The scar tissue wasn’t pulled taut over the muscle underneath. He looked good. Not like sexy good, just normal good. Healed good. With a determined huff, she slowly curled against him and tried not to press her chest to him too much. It worked well when combined with her fetal position.
“You’re warm,” she said quietly.
“I have no intention of freezing to death like an idiot,” he replied stiffly.
“I get it already, jeez.”
He made a non-committal noise in the back of his throat.
“You know, I really didn’t expect you to be this warm. You’re normally so cold.”
“Body temperature and personality have no correlation.”
“You call that a personality?”
“Your smart mouth, sarcastic attitude and fiery passion for all things Twi’lek cover just how cold you are temperature wise.”
“It’s why my skin is blue.”
In spite of himself he breathed a quiet laugh. Her lekku twitched as the briefly warm air tickled the top of her head.
“Did you just – did you just laugh?” she asked dramatically. “I think the cold is getting to you, Captain.”
There was no point in admitting the slip had more to do with their awkward situation than a change in personality. It had been a frightfully long time since his last intimate encounter and, no matter how alien she was, Vette was still a naked humanoid female pressed against his body for warmth. He was grateful for the chill still in the air. Not that it mattered much in the long run.
“You know,” Vette started quietly, “if I close my eyes, I can pretend I’m in Pierce’s arms instead of yours.”
Quinn exhaled roughly through his nose.
“That bother you?”
“Should it?” he asked stiffly.
“I wouldn’t think so, but I heard you get all huffy.”
“If you desire to pretend your mate is holding you do so in silence.”
Vette snickered quietly. “He’s not my boyfriend or anything. We just, ya know, hang out.”
“Hang out in silence.”
“What do you have against talking?”
“Everything if you’re involved.”
“My ability to talk saved your skin; be a little more grateful, won’t you?”
“Your ability to talk is hindering my ability to concentrate.”
“Concentrate on what? Trying to stop a certain reaction from taking place? Don’t worry, Quinn, that’s normal when a hot, naked lady is pressed against your bare skin. Didn’t your mommy teach you that?”
“She died when I was four.”
“Will you be quiet now?”
The only noise in the tent was the sound of the wind howling and small pellets of ice beating the surface of the tent. With such silence, Quinn dozed off for a while and happily dreamt of nothing. Vette, on the other hand, stayed awake, unable to concentrate on sleeping while naked and shivering against Quinn. She took the time to study his features as he slept. He wasn’t as relaxed as he was when he was unconscious, but he still looked softer in his sleep than he did when he was awake. And he was definitely more relaxed than he was when he was dreaming. Those dreams. She shivered and not from the cold for once. He never described the dreams, but his screams were enough to tell her they weren’t pretty. Some nights he simply whimpered and soaked his bed with sweat and tears. Other nights… she shivered again. Other nights were brutal. She caught bits and pieces of what was happening as he muttered and screamed and begged. He was reliving Syla’s torture and it was torture. She toyed with him. Vette shivered again. She knew darkness when she saw it. Quinn was an utter coward and a fool, but she couldn’t bring herself to watch him die in such a manner and it didn’t feel right to leave and allow Syla to continue. It would have broken something inside Syla, Vette was sure of that.
The wind continued to howl and Vette continued her vow of silence until the heat source sputtered and died.
“Quinn?” she asked quietly, panic edging into her voice.
“Mm?” he murmured quietly, not quite awake.
“The heat went out.”
His eyes snapped open and he turned his head toward the now dead lantern.
“How long until rescue?”
“Two hours at least,” he replied.
“We’re going to die.”
“Our body heat combined with the sleeping bags and the thermal outer layer should suffice until we are rescued,” he said calmly.
“There’s still the matter of me being bare a*s naked.”
“Your clothes are frozen solid.”
“Please tell me you packed a spare and just forgot about it.”
“I have a spare under layer, but nothing to protect you from the elements.”
“Not for another hour.”
“Whyyyy?” Vette whined.
“The easiest way for me to transfer heat to you is skin to skin. If the process is halted too soon your core temperature will drop over two hours instead of one, leaving you open you to frostbite or frozen limbs.”
“Is there some way to increase blood flow to help me warm up a little faster? I’m still freezing here.”
“There is, but it is highly inappropriate.”
“Oh, stars,” Vette sighed. “Please don’t say sex.”
“Intercourse consumes energy, increases body temperature to the point of sweating, and is an entirely messy process. It wouldn’t be worth it for the brief time it lasts,” he replied stiffly.
“That bad in bed?”
“Wait, if it’s not sex, how is it inappropriate?”
“It’s a form of manual stimulation.”
“You mean – oh, stars. I’m not about to – not in front of you. Ew.”
“As I said, it is inappropriate as the situation is not dire enough for such measures.”
“It’s not like it takes hours anyway.”
“For some it can.”
“Wow, you’re just all sorts of unlucky with your partners, aren’t you?” she quipped.
He fixed her with his best glare and snarled, “If you don’t want to freeze to death naked in a tent, you would be wise to silence that mouth of yours.”
“You’re about to get
on the other side of the tent if you don’t shut up this instant.”
She was silent for a moment. “How the does it help, anyway?”
His glare didn’t subside, but he answered her question with his most clinical voice. “It increases blood flow throughout the body, most notably the skin, which becomes flushed. The flushed skin is the perfect conduit to take absorbed heat and spread it throughout the body, thus heating the subject thoroughly.”
“Have you ever tried this?”
“So you’ve never –”
“Vette,” he said harshly, “shut up.”
“Where’s that spare outfit?”
“In the bag in the corner. Put it on, get away from me, and shut up.”
“But you’re my personal heater.”
“You say that as if I actually will.”
She moved away from his heat source and grumbled something about rude Imperials. He glared at her, but she was too busy worming her way to the corner of the tent without losing too much heat or using too much energy. When she finally had her hands on the pack, she ducked into the sleeping bag and tried to dress herself in the dark. After much struggling and cursing she managed to dress herself in the spare water resistant outfit Quinn had packed. It wasn’t made for warmth, but it was something. Damn was she cold though. After several minutes of intense shivering, Quinn suggested she resume her previous position curled against him. She bit her tongue to keep her mouth from getting ahead of her brain and shifted back toward him. Instead of facing him as she had last time, she turned her back to him and assumed a position she could only label as spooning, though that felt extremely intimate all things considered. He carefully wrapped the layers of his protective clothing around her.
“Thanks,” she said quietly.
“You’re welcome,” he said stiffly.
They were finally rescued four hours later. They weren’t far from the nearest Imperial base, only an hour’s trot by Tauntaun, but it was an hour outside in the blasted elements. Elements that didn’t seem to agree with allowing them to live. They were buffeted and generally harassed by snow and wind, but they made the trek back to base accompanied by the small rescue team. It was no warmer in the base, but they did have hot broth. She was never more excited to see Imperial rations. Quinn left to hail Syla and let her know of the events that had taken place. When he returned, he kept his distance. She tried to engage him in conversation, but a tart reply of “Be silent” made her shake her head and sigh.
Some things never changed.
This was incredibly difficult to write, but, when I finally got it out, it came out in 2700 words. Crikey!
For the record, Quinn said "Shut up" six times, suggested Vette be silent three times, told her to do something in silence four times, called her an idiot seven times, and called her an imbecile once.
I'll probably die if you group with me, but I'll go out with both lightsabers drawn stabbing someone in the face. Probably you, but it's cool. Forever Shenanigans!!
Quick Quinn Quotes
Ninety Seven Percent
Ald, the Silly Sith Warrior