Nikko stared blankly at the open suitcase in front of him. It had been near midnight by the time he and the others made it off the plane from Antarctica. So many hours of travel seemed like a blur in the face of everything he experienced. Nikko's body ached and his head felt heavy, but he could not rest. Instead, he found himself contemplating socks and underwear, visions of collapsing ice and bright lights behind his eyes.

They had been so close. Nikko, his father, Calvin, Juliet, Vincent…so close. They touched power in that cavern, a burning connection between his lost mother and the answers that lay just out of reach. It just slipped from his fingers, buried under frozen tundra and DORNA's greed and nothing in the universe was going to resurrect that energy. A cold that had crept underneath his parka during their exploration would not leave his skin. He shivered then shook his head before diving into the suitcase, pulling out some shirts, and walking over to the dresser. Before Nikko put them away, a knock at the door startled him out of his thoughts. Still clutching his clothes, he moved to the door, not sure whether he should open it. A part of him was tired, so tired, and had no desire to talk to anyone. He stood still, waiting for whoever it was to go away.

"C'mon, Nikko, let me in. I can see your light on." It was Calvin. Before he could stop himself, Nikko groaned loudly before opening the door. "My dad let you in this late?"

Calvin assessed him quickly before muttering, "Nice to see you, too."

"Is there a reason for your visit? It's almost," Nikko glanced at the clock, "three in the morning. Some of us need to get some sleep."

"Yeah, I can see you getting ready for bed," Calvin said as he eyed the now-crumpled shirts.

Nikko stuck his full hands behind his back. "Ok, seriously? It's none of your business what I'm doing right now. What are you doing here? Shouldn't you be at home figuring out ways to impress my dad or something? Maybe looking at some old book no one but a geek like you would care about?"

Calvin opened his mouth to say something before closing it and looking as though he were mentally counting to ten. "I'm not here to start a fight with you. I just wanted to talk."

"…Talk," Nikko replied flatly.

"Yeah. I was on my way home when I realized there's something I should have said back there at the Pole."

"What's that?" Nikko visibly deflated and he turned back into the room, giving Cal permission to step inside. Cal moved closer to him, shutting the door as he did.

"I never got to thank you," Calvin said. He waited for some kind of reaction and was frustrated that Nikko wouldn't turn around to face him. This was unlike the boy he knew, who always had some kind of smartass comment he would shoot back, eyes blazing and staring into yours, waiting for the first twitch of annoyance. He was much too quiet and it worried Cal.

"Don't mention it," was Nikko's reply. His voice was soft and Cal had to strain to hear.

Calvin shook his head. "I didn't even say what for."

"The only thing I did was make sure you didn't fall when you got sick. No big deal. It's what we're supposed to do for each other, right?"

"Yeah, but I never did that for you. I convinced your dad to let you drop in the simulator. You could have…should have done the same thing. You didn't. You stopped me from falling." Calvin walked up behind him and placed a hand on his shoulder, "Nikko, you saved me. I'm pretty sure that deserves a thanks, at least."

Nikko snorted. "Now you owe me one. When I'm in that kind of situation you bail my ass, deal?"

"That kind of goes without saying." Calvin squeezed Nikko's shoulder and thought of his next words. "Everything's alright now."

Nikko shrugged off the hand and turned to him. Calvin was gratified to see a look of the old annoyance in place. "Yeah, I kind of noticed that."

"Did you want to talk about it? About what's bugging you?" The questions ground themselves out as if it hurt Cal to ask them. Nikko rolled his eyes.

"No, everything is fine. We're all safe and dandy. You said thank you and everything's all right with the world. Now, I'm going to bed and I suggest you go home now."

"I…you know we couldn't save it. We would've died trying," Cal said softly.

Nikko turned around threw the clothes he was holding at the nearest wall. He didn't look angry, merely resigned. "I know. We're all lucky just to have escaped. That we didn't get trapped. That DORNA never caught us. It just doesn't make it feel any better, ok?" He plopped down on the edge of the bed and stared at the floor.

Calvin, unable to see Nikko act so defeated, sat next to him and grabbed his shoulders. "No, it doesn't. But it'll get better tomorrow."

Nikko tried to pull away. "Oh, spare me—" he was cut off by Cal's warm lips pressed against his. For a moment he couldn't move, the blood rushing from his toes to his face and back down again, to the most inconvenient places. The mouth began to move, trying to coax any sort of reaction. When a tongue reached out and traced his lips to seek entrance, Nikko moaned. He dove into the kiss, fighting for control as they both got to taste each other. Cal's tongue dipped into Nikko's mouth, massaging the hard palate, and Nikko reached up to hold onto Cal's arms, which had moved up to Nikko's face, cradling his cheeks between two, large palms. The room turned into a furnace, the atmosphere pressing against them and their only relief was in the gentle coolness of their lips. Everything felt so soft and firm and Nikko had no idea how to feel, only knowing that he didn't want it to stop.

All of a sudden, it seemed like all the air rushed out of their lungs and they pulled apart, gasping. They didn't look at each other, preferring to scan the walls around them. Calvin rubbed at the back of his neck and stood up. He didn't know what to think. All he knew is that it beat the hell out of the kiss Juliet gave him when he had been feverish and deliriously dreaming. "Uh, yeah…so I said what I came here to say. I should, you know, um, go now." He got up and made a beeline for the door.

"Hey, Calvin," Nikko called out when Cal's hand reached the doorknob. Cal looked over his shoulder back at him. "You're welcome. For saving your life and all."

Cal snorted a laugh. "Great." He opened the door stepped out.

Nikko halted for a moment before saying, "Oh, and wait a second."

"What?" Cal asked, his annoyance beginning to grow.

"If you ever did want to share a sleeping bag…the offer is still open."

A heated flush spread across Cal's face. "Goodnight, Nikko. I'll see you tomorrow." With that, he walked quietly down the hall, letting himself out the front door.

"Yes. You will." He said after Calvin left.

For the first time that night, Nikko smiled.

Fin (??)