Title: It's Cauld Out There!
Archive: Jumper Bay, Ancient Database, FFnet, etc, etc
Summary: All Lorne wants is to get back to Atlantis, and perhaps his shirt too.
Disclaimer: I don't own Stargate Atlantis, Carson Beckett, Major Lorne, or their frozen shirtless torsos. Wait, did I just say shirtless?
Spoilers: I think the only thing that could possibly even be considered a spoiler is Lorne's hobby, and I think that's a stretch.
Author's Notes: This was initially written as a fic to keep my wonderful beta, Gayle, warm on those cold wintry nights. She has graciously said that I should share it with the world. I think she just wants more people to write shirtless fics. Tsk, tsk, tsk. Also, it's a travesty that Lorne isn't in the drop down list of characters. I mean, other than the Lorne C2, how are Lornites supposed to find fic? Sad. Ness.
A cold wind swept through the trees, and Major Evan Lorne couldn't help but shiver. It was times like these where he really wished he had taken up a quiet career in painting, tucked away in a warm studio, with a cup of hot coffee, or cocoa, or anything other than snow.
A shirt would have been nice too.
"Why did they have to take our shirts?" The man next to Lorne spat out through chattering teeth.
"I don't know why they let us go in the first place, Doc," Lorne stuttered back. "Maybe they don't want to get blood on their hands?"
"Aye, hypothermia is a much kinder way to go," the Scot muttered sarcastically. "How much further is it to the gate?"
Lorne glanced around the trees, that looked entirely too much like the trees they had passed several minutes to go. Boy, was he going to hear about it if--when-- they made it back to Atlantis. As the military man it was his duty to notice these things. It didn't matter that he and Beckett had been blindfolded after being bushwhacked, or that he was fighting off a major headache from the clubbing he had gotten over the head when the restless natives had been manhandling the Doc. He glanced over at Beckett, not liking how the Scot's lips were starting to turn blue, or that his entire frame was trembling from the cold. Most of all, he didn't like the matted blood on the doctor's head that Lorne was sure had something to do with the doctor's distinct lack of balance.
"Maybe--maybe Sheppard's gotten back to Atlantis by now," he said, catching Beckett before the doctor lost his footing again.
Beckett closed his eyes and muttered a soft thanks, like he did every time Lorne did anything helpful, before summoning up that old Scottish courage and rolling his shoulders back and taking another step forward. Beckett gently shooed the major off. "Don't think I didn't notice you av-avoided my question there..."
"I plead the f-f-fifth," Lorne half-shrugged, half-shivered.
"No amendments out here in P-P-Pegasus," Carson reminded before hitting a sinkhole and stumbling again. Thankfully he caught himself before Lorne had to intervene.
"Yes, well," Lorne trailed off, not sure what he could say in his defense that wouldn't possibly demoralize the doctor worse than their current situation.
"Major," Beckett's blue form shrank as he wrapped his arms around himself, "what would you say if we built an igloo?"
"Yes, I think we have enough ice..."
"Doc, are you feeling okay?"
"And it'll keep out those pesky sea otters."
Lorne's brow furrowed and he quickly closed the gap between he and Beckett, examining the Scot up close. The doctor's eyes were unfocused, but what worried Lorne the most was how flushed Beckett's face was despite the almost blue tinge the rest of his skin was taking on.
"Crap," Lorne muttered, quickly casting his eyes about for some form of shelter.
"Nae," Carson shook his head, "we call it the wildies back in Scotland."
"Doc, I think we need to find you some shelter."
"No igloo. It would, um, take too long to build." Okay, not the greatest excuse he could have come up with, but, damn it, Lorne was beginning to think his brain was solidifying from the cold so he hoped it would sound acceptable to his traveling partner.
Beckett cocked his head inquisitively at the major, and slowly listed to the ground. Lorne dropped down next to him, trying to haul him back up. "C'mon, Doc, we need to warm you up."
Right about now Lorne would give anything for a pocketbook full of matches since they had plenty of timber to start a fire. Unfortunately their friends back at the village had left them ONLY with their pants and boots, and that seemed to be asking a little much.
"Can't we just take a ride with them?" Beckett muttered as he slouched lazily in the snow and squinted at something he saw on the horizon.
"With who--?" Lorne looked up to see a Puddle Jumper landing just beyond the tree line. "Oh thank God!"
Ignoring Beckett's protests he hauled the Scot up, draped one arm over his shoulder, and began marching them in the direction of the jumper, and the promise of warmth...and maybe a shirt. Sheppard and Ronon rushed out to help them. As the Satedan relieved Lorne of his burden, he turned to see his CO trying to hide a relieved smirk.
"What?" Lorne asked, forgetting military decorum. His almost frozen brain caught up with his words and the major added a somewhat respectful "Sir", hoping Sheppard would let it pass as good enough under the circumstances.
"What exactly happened to your shirt?"
Lorne groaned and momentarily considered building Beckett's igloo, just so he would have a place to hide. But he knew the commanding military officer of Atlantis. Sheppard would hound him until he got the whole story and since it would go into the report anyway (unless the major could figure out some way of conveniently forgetting to mention it); he might as well fess up.
"Just kidding, Major," Sheppard lightly slapped him on the back, causing Lorne to stagger slightly before he righted himself. The colonel grinned. "What would you say to going some place warmer?"
"Hell?" Lorne asked hopefully, following his CO to the jumper.
"Would a heated infirmary do?"
"Heck, an igloo would be heaven." That comment made Lorne remember Beckett and the major willed his cold feet to move faster so he could make sure the doctor was being cared for.
"Igloo?" Sheppard raised an eyebrow as he waited for Lorne to climb into the jumper where Teyla had a blanket ready for the frozen officer.
"Never mind," Lorne wrapped the blanket tightly around himself as he sat heavily on the jumper's bench. After checking to make sure Beckett was bundled up, Lorne leaned back, soaking in the warmth as the jumper's hatch closed and the vehicle lifted off the ground. His mind barely registered these things as his eyes closed, and he slipped off into a dreamless darkness.
o O o O o O o
He awoke to a dim infirmary that, true to Sheppard's word, was quite comfortable. He cracked open an eye, not really surprised to see Sheppard sitting in a chair nearby, somewhere in the middle of a thick volume of War and Peace. His mind was a little foggy still, which led Lorne to believe he had either A) received some drugs courtesy of Atlantis's willing pharmacy, or B) caught a cold wandering around the snowy hills of P3X-382, sans shirt. Probably both. Sheppard leaned forward in his chair when he looked up and noticed Lorne's eyes were squinting at him then closed the ridiculously large book as quietly as possible.
"Hey Lorne, how you feeling?"
"One hundred percent, sir," he lied, pushing himself up as he looked around in order to find Beckett since he could hear the doctor, the Scot's brogue becoming not only deeper but louder.
Sheppard simply pointed to the bed on the other side of him, where Beckett was arguing with one of the nurses about something. Lorne relaxed a little but raised an eyebrow at the normally laid-back doctor. Sheppard rose and ambled over the bed, leaning in so he could whisper conspiratorially.
"Just between you and me, I think the Doc hit his head."
Lorne paused. "He did."
"Oh. Right, that would explain the bump."
Lorne pursed his lips. He didn't always get the Colonel's humor, and one of the civilians getting hurt on Lorne's shift was not something he found amusing. Sheppard seemed to notice this, and changed tactics.
"What I mean is he keeps talking about igloos."
"Igloos," Lorne repeated quietly.
"Yep. That mean anything to you?"
Lorne sighed but raised his voice louder so Beckett could hear. "Hey Doc?"
Beckett paused in his long ramble, which the nurse seemed very grateful for, to look over at Lorne and Sheppard. A smile reached his face and Lorne was happy to hear the doctor's voice return to normal. "Oh Major! You're up. Sleep well?"
"Yes," he replied, "you?"
"They won't let me." The doctor almost sounded like he was pouting. "Standard procedure for concussions."
Lorne wasn't sure if Beckett was repeating what he always told his patients or if it was supposed to be a sarcastic comment intended for the nurse. Weighing his options, the major decided to give the Scot some ammunition if the doc wanted it. "Yes well, you are the doctor."
"And sometimes I want some bloody rest." Beckett glared at the nurse at that comment before turning back to the others.
"Concussions suck," Lorne agreed, giving a slight shrug when he realized Beckett wasn't going to fight about it any longer. Maybe he'd forgotten why he was arguing or just decided it wasn't worth wasting his breath since it was his rule.
"I've already promised to remind him of this next time he pulls the sage doctor act on me," Sheppard grinned.
"Really? And what did he say?"
"Something about sea otters." Sheppard shrugged in confusion.
Lorne bit his lip, trying to hold back a smile.
"And do you know why he keeps asking me to build him an igloo in the middle of the infirmary?" Sheppard asked when he caught sight of the slightly upturned lips, at least on one side of his mouth, on his second-in-command.
"That's simple, sir."
"It keeps out the sea otters," Lorne explained sagely as he leaned back into his pillows, drawing the blankets back over him. It wasn't an artist's studio filled with coffee, but it would do. At least until the igloo was built anyway.
A/N: I probably shouldn't mention this, but there is a sequel to this already written. Everyone's fully clothed though, so don't get too excited ;)