January 2, 2006

Disclaimer: do not try this at home unless you are a pop star have the ATA gene are fictional. Written for Without Me. Many thanks to elynross. Do not archive this story without permission.


"I really, really don't like going on missions," JC said, and then he spat on the floor again, because that gag had tasted like somebody's old socks. His wrists were bruised, and probably his ankles, too, and his shoulder, and just above the knee, and he kept discovering new places as he rubbed his hands up and down his legs and torso and arms, trying to get a little warmer. At least he hadn't sliced anything open, getting free. JC made a mental note to say thank you to Ronon Dex for some of those painful lessons.

He looked around. There was a cot with some blankets that seemed to have lain there for years, and a small metal stove. One window, boarded up. One door, not even locked. JC opened it and saw a black sky, a few stars, and a lot of snow. The cold bit into his skin, and he closed the door again.

JC checked for snowshoes under the cot. Then he checked for wood next to the stove instead. He didn't have his radio and he didn't have his jacket, but he did still have his knife and matches and half a powerbar and two safety pins and a spoon from the mess hall and a handful of kleenex and a button-shaped seedpod and a chunk of amber that he'd picked up on the beach on M4S-782. Apparently the cranky Aratsans hadn't felt he could get up to too much trouble with any of that. MacGyver, not to mention McKay, could probably have built a puddlejumper out of it. JC built and lit a fire. At least the kleenex made for decent tinder.

When the temperature inside the little cabin got to the point where his breath didn't steam if he stood right by the stove, JC wrapped himself in one of the blankets and went outside again and looked around. He had no idea how far away he was from where he'd been checking out the hidden missile launch system the Aratsans claimed they didn't have. He saw a snowed-over fence, a tall snowed-over pine tree, and then just snow and snow and more snow. Stars, two moons, no sign of rescue yet.

JC went back inside and thawed his fingers and toes out. He rummaged some more under the bed and behind the woodpile and found a container of a tar-like substance that some suicidal person had apparently been using to stop a few cracks in the wall right next to the stove.

JC grinned to himself.

He ripped two of the blankets into long strips and smeared tar on them with the spoon as best he could, and carried them outside wrapped in a third blanket. The air was so cold it burned all the way down into his lungs; he put his free hand up to his face and breathed in between his fingers.

Kicking the pine shook most of the snow off the branches. JC wrapped tarry rags around the trunk, up as high as he could reach, and out along some of the lower branches. Then he went around the tree and lit the strips on fire in a couple of places, and in a couple of places more, and then the pine needles caught and he had to jump back.

JC stood and watched for a while until he was pretty sure the fire wasn't going to go out. The pine needles caught fire higher and higher, until the whole tree was a tall torch. JC went back in again and stood next to the stove, which was warmer, on the whole, than standing next to the tree, because he could stand closer without setting himself on fire.

A while later he heard a thump outside. JC wrapped up in his blanket and went out just as the hatch of the puddlejumper opened.

* * *

"Are you really going to wear two pairs of socks to bed?"

"Still cold," JC said, wriggling closer and tucking his head in under Carter's chin. "And I got shot at."

Carter hugged him tighter. "The kidnappers had guns?"

"No, missiles." JC pushed his hands in under Carter's t-shirt. "I guess they thought since I'd already seen them they might as well get some target practice trying to hit the jumper."


"I'm never going on a mission again."

"Well, not without me," Carter said. "I hear you set a tree on fire. And a fence. And a house."

"The house was an accident," JC said and slipped one hand down the back of Carter's boxerbriefs. "And I'm still cold."

Carter grinned at him. "Lemme fix that," he said.

* * *

Objects in motion

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