Disclaimer: It all belongs to George - I'm just playing in his mighty sandbox ;)

Title: Bared Soles: Three Days of Snow

Author: Jade-Max

Genre: Is "tension" a genre? Short Story, mush

Timeframe: Uh... completely, totally AU - somewhere, sometime .

Characters: Jaina, Zekk.(J/Z)

Summary: Jaina and Zekk are snowed in due to a freak snow storm.

Notes: Cheeky humor, tension, - first kiss ;) Winter 2006 challenge fic

Challenge:

It's Cold Outside

Jaina and Zekk are snowed in due to a freak snow storm. How old they are, where they are, and why they're where they are is up to you.

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Bared Soles: Three Days of Snow

Day 1

White. Clear, pure snow whipped around the two slowly trudging figures as they struggled towards the questionable shelter on the side of the mountain. Long hair, a shade lighter than black, whipped about two toned emerald eyes as they scanned the area in front of them. The blizzard had come from nowhere, catching the both of them unawares and unprepared for cold weather. Zekk shivered, noting the blue tint on his companion's lips and lunged for her as she slipped, going down on her knees in the quickly drifting snow.

"Just a little further, Jay. We can make it."

Jaina Solo nodded, struggling back to her feet from the trip that would have sent her head first into a snow drift if he hadn't caught her. Her jaw was locked to keep her teeth from chattering. She followed him, keeping his hand firmly in hers as much for the little warmth he held as for the need to touch him, to have some link to the world of the living. Her legs were leaden, her body lethargic, and while she didn't say anything, she knew that he knew she was pulling strongly on the Force to continue on.

Zekk cast a glance back at Jaina, concerned, before turning back in the direction of possible shelter. Trust them to be in the middle of a plain at the base of mountains, lost, when a blizzard struck. He trudged forward, pulling her along, bolstering her flagging energy with his own. He scanned ahead, searching for the outcropping that had caught his eyes shortly before the storm had hidden it from view.

There.

Close now.

He picked up his pace, Jaina keeping up only by the virtue of the arm he pulled along. They stumbled forward as a sudden gust of freezing wind hit them from the side, Zekk staggering backwards and then forwards, going down and rolling as he hit the ground. Jaina went with him, pulled along by the hand he hadn't released.

They slid through the snow, rolling to a stop several feet away.

The quiet brought their heads up.

Zekk looked around and silently thanked the Force; they'd found shelter at last. He turned, examining Jaina, and crawled over to her when he saw she wasn't moving. "Jaina?" He fought to keep his teeth from rattling.

Her eyes were slow to open. "Z-Zekk."

He could see her hands were blue, her lips a similar color. Any exposed skin was almost white, indicating possible frostbite. Zekk pulled her into his arms and began to briskly rub her upper arms through the fabric of her clothing. "We made it. I told you we would."

"G-good." Her teeth chattered with cold as she shivered in his grasp.

Neither of them had been dressed for the possible storm. Zekk could barely feel his fingers, but the tingling sensation began to grow as he briskly continued to rub Jaina's arms. She curled into him. She hadn't been wearing a coat and her upper arms were cold to the touch. He at least had been wearing a long-sleeved shirt that had kept the worst off.

Her eyes closed and her head lulled to the side. Zekk did the first thing that came to mind; a survival technique he'd learned long ago. He tugged his shirt open and pulled her close, wrapping the ends about her. Her skin like ice as her arms settled against his chest and he shivered.. She didn't react at first and then curled close, her head moving to tuck under his chin as her arms snacked about his middle to settle in his lower back.

Zekk wrapped his arms about her, rocking back and forth, drawing consciously on the Force to manipulate his own core temperature and keep it from dropping. Jaina continued to burrow closer, turning so that he had to shift, stretching out on the dry floor of the small cave. He could feel every inch of her through her clothing. Very thin clothing, he realized. Her shirt was barely more than a thin t-shirt; her pack with her heavier gear must have been lost.

The wind whistled outside, the snow forming a barrier at the entrance and locking their body heat inside. The cave began to get warmer and Zekk reached down, careful not to disturb Jaina, and pulled one of the four heat sticks from the pocket of his pants. He'd been expecting to need it on chilly autumn nights in the bush or maybe to dry his clothing after a dip in a stream; not in a life and death situation.

He cracked it open and placed it on the ground nearby, ensuring nothing flammable was in the area. The stick glowed, and he knew from experience it would last for just over a day. He only hoped the blizzard wouldn't outlast his supply.

Jaina shivered against him and he could feel the wetness of her shirt sticking to his ribs. He wondered if his next suggestion was wise before he realized he himself was shaking. With the snow melting, their clothing was now wet, sticking to them. "Jaina."

She shifted her head. "Hmm?"

He shook her shoulder a little. "Jaina."

"W-what?"

He hated to disturb her, but didn't dare leave the issue. "We have to get out of these wet clothes."

"S'ok."

Zekk shifted her in his grasp, rolling so she was underneath him, and then pushed up on his arms. Her grip was solid for a moment before the weakness of the cold set in and she released him, dropping to the dry floor of the cave. Her eyes opened slowly as she shivered convulsively with the loss of his warmth. "We have to get out of these wet clothes."

Her eyes drifted closed again and she curled towards the warmth being generated by the glow stick. Zekk could see the steam rising from her. He shook his head, rising to his knees, and proceeded to undo the buttons on her shirt. She didn't react at first; not until he was certain she felt the first breeze across her trim stomach.

His gut clenched. Damn her. This wasn't how he'd pictured undressing her for the first time. His gaze went to hers and the confusion he saw was alarming. "W-what are y-you d-doing?"

"I told you; we have to get out of these wet clothes."

"And c-change in-into w-what?"

"They have to dry, Jay. If they don't, we could both end up with our death of a cold."

"S-safer to h-have c-clothes."

He stopped, his fingers resting on a button just below her breasts. "I'm not going to take advantage of you, woman; I'm just trying to get you warm!"

She laughed weakly. "I m-might take ad-advantage o-of y-you."

He chuckled. "Be my guest. Let's just get warm first, alright?"

Her eyes closed and he knew immediately she'd passed out. He lifted her off the ground and pulled the shirt over her head. He spread it out near the heat stick and then cracked open a second one, grimly telling himself if they didn't get warm now, they'd never need to get warm. At least, if their clothes dried, they could huddle together when the sticks ran out.

Determinedly he set about divesting himself of his outer clothing, and Jaina the remainder of hers. They had to get dry and fast.