by Janete
April 2001

Disclaimers: If they were ours, they'd spend a lot more time barefoot.

Spoilers: Ha! Um... no.

Summary: Hiding out in the Great White North.

Threering: Rictor/Cannonball/Shatterstar

Ratings Note: NC-17.

Authors' Note: Note Jane's subliminal message to Te. It is *her*
Jane sez: I had to.  My Sam muse was threatening to go off and
*leave* me if I wasn't nice to him.  (I didn't make Te help.  She
did it 'cause she wanted to.)

Feedback keeps us warm at night. janestclair15@hotmail.com,


Rictor hates the cold.  They've been iced in here for a week.  Cable's
safehouses are always enough to keep life together, but as a rule,
Rictor doesn't like them, and this one's worse.  Because of the cold.
And the dark.  There are only four hours of daylight right now, and
the snow's this extra person crowding around the house.

Sam is hideously cheerful about it.

Cable ignores it.

Caliban keeps creeping outside to finger the snow.

Domino curled up three days ago with a book and a cup of coffee, and
she only moves to refill the cup or use the bathroom.  Nobody disturbs
her.  It's law.

And Feral's long gone, but her absence still grates, and more so in
the cold. People notice it.  Look over their shoulders for her and
find only windows with ice crawling up from the sills.

There's ice on *everything*.  It's in the corners of the house.
Rictor sat for half an hour yesterday and watched it build on the
scruff of the carpet.  On the windows, it's an inch thick.  Things
left on the sills in the fall are now embedded in the tiny, spreading
glaciers that have long since sucked all the moisture out of the air.

And 'Star is going stark, staring mad without television. Or maybe
that's just Rictor projecting, because 'Star stares at him now.  All
the time.

Silver-white like he just crawled in out of the cold.  Even his hair
seems paler.  Like someone carved out of the cold.  And Ric wonders if
he ever saw snow before coming to their world.  He knows *he* never
did, not until X-Factor took him to New York.  And in New York it was
almost fecal, so polluted it was nothing you wanted to be out in.  He
used to sleep all day to avoid looking at it.

So he doesn't know why he wakes up early in the morning, while it's
still dark.  He pads downstairs just because it's too cold to sleep.
And sees 'Star with his fingertips pressed to the window glass.

It's instinct to creep up quiet.  Shatterstar still turns to him, but
only for a second.  And when Rictor joins him at the window, he finds
himself looking into the eyes of a doe just one photo shoot away from
a Disney movie.

Up almost to her belly in snow, and Rictor wonders whether she's
supposed to be awake at this time of year.  He remembers stories about
caribou running through the arctic all winter, and looks for antlers,
but doesn't see any.  Turns eventually to Star and sees the frost on
his fingertips.  Has to jerk that hand away from the glass.  And Star
jumps like he'd been asleep.  Pulls the hand up to his chest and
blinks at Rictor until Rictor takes him off to make something warm for

Oatmeal. Comfort food for the a.m., the way Tabitha taught him. Like
baking cookies without the baking. Sweet to the point of having no
nutritional value whatsoever, and Star eyes it dubiously. Or rather
does that eyebrow thing that somehow includes eyeing the food,
lecturing Rictor, having an argument, and conceding.

Rictor's just grateful that he doesn't get the same look for sitting
cross-legged in his chair.  The floor's *cold*, and the big woodstove
is just getting going.  Somebody -- somebody like Cable, who's capable
of getting up and doing stuff and then going back to sleep -- stoked
it in the night, but it burned down.  Shivering and sort of nested in
his chair with the blanket he dragged down with him wrapped around his
body and his feet off the door when Sam wanders in, not very awake-
looking and drifting towards the smell of oatmeal.

"More in the pot."

And *bam*, Sam's all the way there again. Cheery smile that makes Ric
*hurt* this early in the morning, but then Sam is exactly the kind of
guy who would be perfectly fine with all of them cramped in a cabin in
the middle of the tundra.

It isn't fair. Guy's supposed to be *Southern*. Ric shakes it off and
makes an effort to actually savor the food he cooked instead of just
shovelling it in. Looks at Star, who's watching Sam serve himself a
bowl with the same attention he would give one of the huge, sprawling
action movie car chases.

And it suddenly occurs to him to wonder whether he's just, maybe,
looking at *Sam*.  Who's wandering around in pajama pants and no
shirt.  Socks, at least, big grey ones pushed  down around his ankles.
A lot of hair in his eyes.

Rictor glares a bit at Sam when he comes and sits down. Doesn't notice
the nipples that are hard little pink points on Sam's too-golden

Thinks about brown sugar.  About the peaches he'd love to be eating if
he could get them any way other than canned. Thinks vague thoughts
about warm beds, maybe even with other bodies in them, keeping him
warm.  Not even sex-thoughts, yet, because he's not that awake.  Just
snuggling thoughts that disturbingly keep involving Sam and Star and
his blanket and the warmth that the stove's just really getting going

Realizes that *he's* the bugfuck mutant at the table with something
almost like relief, and tucks his feet under his thighs more

The day goes, with Rictor coming back to himself from that zombie
dreamland place in the middle of playing checkers with Tabitha, who
has somehow not noticed that her partner wasn't technically brain-live
until just that moment.  Loses spectacularly and finds himself
wandering the house, trying to... something.

Make it feel like less of a bolt-hole, maybe.

It *is* a bolthole, but that's no reason to make it feel that way.
Especially while there's a conspicuous absence of Cable, who's doing
serious and secret things with some kind of Askani machinery and
hopefully at some point he'll use his goddamn telepathy to scream for
help for them.  Before they're here til spring.

Maybe they could get some big, warm rugs and all sleep together in
front of the woodstove.

Caliban could make snow teddy bears, and Ric would be found one
morning curled around one, blue and grinning.

He looks up sometime after dark that could be seven and could be
midnight and notices the absence of female persons.

"Where'd the girls go?"

Sam says, "They decided they were gonna sleep together to keep warm.
Ah think they're consolidatin' blankets."

Suuuure. That's exactly what they're doing. They're cuddling and he
knows it. *Knows* it. All that soft, warm, soft and warmness. And
maybe more than cuddling. Maybe hot, sweaty sex so they'll have to get
even closer later to avoid exposing any damp bits to cold air.

Damn it.

"Sam, how long have we been here?"

"Three days."

*Damn*. He'll have to fake sanity for at least another week just so
they won't look at him weird.

Which means absolutely no suggesting that they go do the same thing.
Preferably with girls, but without's good, too.  Warm would be good.
He's still in his blanket.  He got dressed at some point, but it
didn't make any real difference to how cold he was.  There's this
really nice fantasy he's had about discovering a lot of extra blankets
in a trunk somewhere...

He shivers.  Violently, in a way that's obvious to anybody who's
looking at him though he didn't intend it to be.

Peeks out from under his eyelashes just in time to get the full effect
of the Shatterstar Is Concerned, Perhaps We Should Kill Something
look, which is definitely warming. In exactly the wrong way, because
Star really isn't supposed to look at him like that when there are
other people around.

That's the look for when Ric can just walk right up to him, put his
hand on the man's shoulder, and explain why killing is unnecessary, or
maybe just for the two of them to head out on Ric's bike and, at the
very least, maim something.

But Sam is there, so the best Ric can manage is a shrug.

Sits quietly and stares at his reflection in the window and almost
jumps out of his skin when Sam's hand dives into his blanket and drags
his arm out.

"How long you been this cold, Ric?"

Sam's grip is startlingly warm.  Like he radiates from within or

Which he should have figured out a while ago.  Sam's just *way* too
comfortable in this snow-cave of a world they've fallen into to be
anything *other* than a personal furnace.

"You deaf?  I've been cold since we got here.  I keep saying."  Tries
to pull his hand away but Sam chafes it between both of his own.
Bends after a second and blows on the fingers and that's just *way*
too intimate.  About one step away from a proposition, even if Sam's
staring at his hands instead of his face.  Very close to his knees.

Rubbing up his arms, under his sweater now.  Way past where they
should be, but it's *warm*, and Rictor *needs* this.  Almost whimpers
when hot fingers slide into the insides of his elbows and find the
veins there, warming his whole arm through that contact with the

Over Sam's shoulder, Star's look is very, very brittle.

Which is just. One of those *them* things. When it's quiet enough and
Ric is alone enough that he can think of him and Star as part of a
Them. And he usually can't handle that stuff at all, but there's also
usually something to distract them. Like millions of dollars worth of
property damage to cause. So. He holds out his other arm.

"Baby me?"

"There is nothing immature about the need for warmth."  But there's
something less icy in the silvery eyes as Star shoulders a place
beside Sam, who just grins at him obliviously.

"Plenty of Ric ta rub."

Or not.

Star blinks at him very slowly.  Rictor *knows* the speed at which the
man thinks, but sometimes he drags it out into this long, intensely
visible process, and it's something to see.  But he takes Rictor's arm
and chafes it gently.  And then strokes two fingers up the thin-
skinned inner arm as far as he can with the sweater impeding him.

Rictor knows that if he slides off this chair into someone's lap, it's
gonna be Star's, but Sam's touch just feels so *good*.  Warm like he'd
like to have pressed up against him.  Thinking that maybe the girls
were exactly right.  Warm bodies.  Lots of 'em.  Even Domino's
wandered off to harass Cable, and she isn't probably coming back.  And
maybe if he doesn't sleep alone, he'll be able to *sleep*.  Human
flesh against him warmer than the blanket that keeps surrendering his
body heat to the air outside every time he rolls over.

And for a while, Ric is boiled down to an arm being chafed and
massaged to expert life, and another arm that is somehow connected
directly to his cock. Which is not at all cold. Star is looking at him
again, looking *in* him, which makes him want to look back, need to,
not a thought in his head beyond *warm* and *Star* until Sam presses
his thumb to the inside of his elbow and *pushes*.

Hits a nerve, right there, and works it. One glance revealing the
motion to be mostly hidden by the folds of Ric's sweater.

Sneaky *bastard*.

Very clear, in that moment, that he's being seduced or.  Something.
Obvious from Star at least.  And Ric does, eventually, just slide down
and straddle Shatterstar where he's kneeling on the floor.  Buries his
head in that silver shoulder, one hand outside the blanket and
reaching back half-behind him to keep Sam's touch.

Which slides back towards his wrist and strokes.  Warm and very
*there*, following the translucent blue of the veins down to his hand
and warming the heel of it.  Raises it and cups it and.

Kisses it.

Everything still for a moment, the three of them breathing.  Star
searching for something in his eyes before bending his head to repeat
Sam's gesture.

Star gazing over his shoulder, and he can feel Sam returning the look,
and wonders how he can feel left out while also being molested.  It's
definitely an odd feeling. He can hear the silence outside in that way
he's learned means that snow is falling.

"We should... we could go. Upstairs." Sam.

"Julio..." Edge of pleading in Star's voice that Ric knows is all
wrapped up in how hard Star is beneath him, how Sam is and isn't
supposed to be here for this.

Rictor's decision.  He's only half-hard.  Wants this, but in an achy,
sleepy way.  He's cold where no one's touching him.  Aware that this
thing between him and Star that they haven't put a name to yet is thin
enough to break if he pushes in the wrong places.  But *wanting*, too.
That warmth and the steady, quiet friendship that Sam offers.

Curls his fingers around Star's chin and tries to think.

And Sam makes a decision for him.  Leans in, over Rictor's shoulder,
and kisses Shatterstar.

Short and definite, not enough time for Star to make the decision
whether or not to kiss back. Ric leans in to do the same,
surreptitiously squeezing Star's hand at the same time. Yours, he
wants to say, suddenly *needing* that future not-now time when they'll
be alone, and safe, and for God's fucking sake *warm*.

Star nods and slips his free hand into Sam's curls and pulls him in
for a long, thorough kiss that makes Ric harder, makes him push into
it, lick at them both until they turn on him again, each going for
opposite sides of his throat.

Vulnerable. It's what he's always aware of, has to remind himself that
he *trusts* them.  That there's no greater threat than Star's oddly
delicate teeth sliding across his flesh.  Or the bruises that are
going to result from Sam's hard suck.  Bringing blood to the surface.
And he knows that's wrong, that it should cool him, but cold's not
quite possible against Sam's mouth.

Shatterstar *bucks* underneath him, and he groans, and Sam kneels up
and tilts Rictor's head back and kisses him.  Mouth full-open and
arching him back like hot, soft metal.  Exposed to the air and cold
and wanting and when Sam releases him, Rictor looks at Star and says,

And feels Sam's little neck-clasp and the rasp of a thumb along his

Little want-you touches. Helpless things everyone does when they're
hard, and sure they're going to get it, and unable to wait with their
whole body. *Sam* thinking that.  Wanting that from him.

Star stands first, leaving him and Sam to a sort of dizzy scramble
that makes Sam chuckle out loud before pulling him in for a messy,
friendly kiss that makes Ric smile. Star's hands spread on his back,
pressing and rubbing.

Staring at each other, idly touching as they move up the stairs.

At the door of Rictor's room, Sam steps back for a second and watches
Ric and Star together.  Long, slow look of him taking all the details
into his brain.

Then, quietly.  "Hey.  Are you two already together?"

Rictor's not exactly proud of flinching, but he does it.  Doesn't look
at Star.  "Um.  Kinda."

"You want me not to?"

It's a kinder offer than he expected.  Something very calm in Sam in
spite of the obvious hard-on in his jeans.  Offering to come in or
not.  And Rictor's choice, because Star's apparently determined not to
say anything.  Only to wrap an arm around Rictor's chest and throat
and pull him back, kiss his neck and not look at Sam at all.

"No. I mean... it's OK. Better than OK."

Like discovering the cliff you dove off has no bottom, everything just
keeps getting a little deeper, a little scarier, Star reaching past
him to pull Sam into a hug, Ric squeezed and rubbed in the middle,
blanket interfering not as much as it should. Oversensitized. So
fucking *hard*. Together, the three of them, as they move to the bed,
Ric set down first and Sam stepping back to watch as Star carefully
removes Ric's clothing.

Shivering again, all over, and he can't tell why, isn't sure of
anything beyond the sheet trying to score his back and Star's silver

Naked and open on the bed.  Cold, but he'll be okay for a minute, and
Sam's eyes on him are.  Interesting.  Not like he's seen before.
Bluer.  Darker.  More adult and a lot more *male* than he's used to
Sam being.  Fierce and bright like something immortal.

Star runs a big hand over his chest, just once, and Rictor wonders
whether he's on display.  Star's possession, offered very
conditionally to Sam.

And Sam just watches.  While Star kisses him and strokes him, guides
his legs apart and rubs possessively between them.  Hard enough to
make him moan and cling to Star's shoulders and pull him down onto the
bed beside him. Making out and just waiting for Sam to join them.
Except that when he looks up, Sam's gone.

He half sits up, looks over the arm of Star's sweater.  And sees Sam
coming back with his arms full of blankets, so many it has to be
everything from his bed and Star's too.  Flick of a blond eyebrow at
Star, who squirms out of his clothes and kicks them to the floor.
Little touch on that freckled back.  And then Sam lays the bedding
over them.  Heavy layers, on top and around.  Nesting.

Almost buried.  *Warm* in a way that he's been needing.  And he can
still -- just barely -- watch while Sam peels his own clothes off.

Knows that Star is watching nothing but him, but it's too much right
now to give him his entire focus. Sam is toned, browned with the
sunshine Ric sincerely misses.  Smiling at them in this mix of normal
Sam-thinks-we're-so-darned-cute and Sam-wants-do-us-both-right-here
before climbing under the covers, snuggling up to Ric's other side and
throwing a long leg over Ric's own.  Another of those sunshine kisses
and he can feel Star and Sam's hands tangling together at his groin,
touching and exploring andgripping and teasing him mercilessly.

Star's mouth on his neck, open and wet, messy, dragging kisses on his
skin. Someone's hand cradling his balls now while another shapes and
learns everything there is to know about Ric's cock and he's moaning,
writhing a little, still ridiculously cold in spots but heating up so

Scalp prickling with coming sweat and he wants to make words, say
something, but Sam's tongue is insistent, thick and wet and hot and
wonderful. Sam moans when Ric begins to suck, Star shifts to mouth
Ric's nipples, breathe humid on them and tease them hard.

Decides he loves the shape of Sam's tongue.  Narrow, hard muscle,
slick and warm and *moving* in his mouth, a separate living force
pushing into him.  Swapping spit in a way that's a lot less gross than
it ever sounded when he said it.  Just both of them wet and sharing.
Liquid and sound when Star bites Rictor's nipple gently and he
*screams*.  Hard enough to wake the house except that Sam swallows the
sound and keeps kissing him.

One blunt finger of unknown ownership slides down under his balls.
Rubs at the thin skin there and then slides the necessary couple of
inches to stroke his hole.  And he wants to say this isn't something
he's tried before.  He and Star've spent some very serious time in bed
together, but the best of it was him on top of that silver-pale body
just *writhing* to get them both off.

But there's an even chance that it's Shatterstar doing the touching,
and Star already *knows* that.  And Rictor trusts him.  Implicitly, if
that's the word.  And Sam's taken him a dozen other dangerous places.
Far enough into the fire that Ric should trust him by now.

The grip on his cock tightens and Sam lets his mouth go and suddenly
he's breathing into cold air.  Wanting to make noise.  All of the
snow-stillness bearing down on him and he's the only one even
breathing hard.

"I want ta suck you. Can I suck you?" Sam, wide-eyed and flushed and
eager and just too much for words.

"OK. ah. Yeah..."

Trailing off into a moan as the finger starts to tease a little
harder.  Rough and chafing at the edges of his hole, impossibly good
and flash of Sam's grin and then he's diving beneath the mound of
covers. Wet sounds from below and Ric can't even move his hands enough
to lift and see but he's almost to the point where it doesn't matter.

Cock drooling and Star's tongue all over his chest, whispered Spanish
too low to hear but loud enough to make his heart pound.

Finger back at him, slick now, and Sam's tongue on his cock, Sam's
lips and teeth and a groan from beneath the covers as he sinks down on
it. Takes Ric in and suckles and licks and nibbles and Ric is
thrusting before he knows it.

Star's half-holding him down. Weight on Rictor's chest while he goes
for the throat and mouths it.  Like blindness.  Rears back suddenly.
Red and silver and staring down, flushed along his cheekbones.  Says
something guttural and desperate in Cadre, then brings his head down
and kisses.

His mouth shallow, entirely different than Sam's.  Tongue just barely
teasing at him, a meeting of lips and mouths, soft and open and
somehow wide.  Spreading to around their mouths and across their
faces.  Until Rictor's just twisting madly, trying to get more of two
mouths at once.

Startling shift and *reach* and he feels Star's hand trace along his
belly.  Towards his cock, but just the knuckles touching him, and it
takes him a second to understand that Star's stroking Sam's face.
Some deeper understanding in that.  Of how this needs not to be
impersonal.  Three of them or none, and it would be so easy for Rictor
to lose Sam in this, in spite of loving what he's doing.

Curl of the finger in him, hitting something that makes him choke.
Vaguely aware of the, "Shhhh, Julio.  Gently," that Star whispers.
One arm under Rictor's head and one stroking Sam's face.  Reach of a
big man, which he knew, but it's startling to have his body spanned
this way, would be more so if he were aware of anything other than
*wet* and *good* and *inside* and *StarSamStar*.

There's this little curl of Sam's lips in the second before he brings
Rictor to orgasm.  Sheer joy of it.  Some kind of affection and a
pleasure in his body, and both men hold him while he sobs, quietly,
and spills into Sam's mouth.

Has a few embarrassing moments when he thinks he's just going to pass
out, even with Star shifting and moving him on to his side, hard, wet
cock slipping and sliding over his ass. Sam snuggling up to him from
the front, still smiling but with this edge of desperation that makes
Ric wish his heart was bigger, somehow, strong enough to keep Sam with
them for more than just this one night and whatever other crazy nights
they might have.

He has to be crazy for this cheating/not-cheating, to have a man like
Star, ay, Dios, for his own and still want Sam devouring his mouth
like this, thrusting his cock against Ric's belly and groin while
Star's big hand rests on his hip. While Star slips into his cleft and
fucks him that way.

Promising, torturing Ric back to semi-hardness and licking the sweat
from the back of his neck, nuzzling into his hair and biting at it,
growling into it --

"Ah... Ah'm so *hard*..."

Ric has to take Sam's mouth again, suck and bite at his lower lip and
take in the grunts and moans, thrust back and forth as much as he can
between the two men, Star's cockhead nudging at his hole the most
terrifying and amazing thing in the world.

Wild and possessed now, held tight and *used* for this, for their
pleasure and this is nothing like. This is not. This is so *good*...

Star's holding him, tight and oddly tender, fingers over his heart.
Just scraping Sam's chest with his nails, a secondary tease.  Licking
delicately at the back of Ric's neck, like some mouth not attached to
the body *driving* against his ass.  Never quite in him but always
threatening, and he knows that sometime in the not-too-distant future,
they'll do that properly.  Gets a moment to picture lying on his back
while Star spreads him and mounts him and *fucks* him, bigger and
fiercer and more intense than Sam's careful touch inside.

Hauls Sam in tighter against him before he shakes the fantasy.  Gets a
leg forward and Sam's leg hooks obligingly over his hip.  Foot rubbing
along his thigh less immediate than the hard cock against his hip and
the tight balls behind it.  Tense even against the skin of his thigh,
but he can't reach them until he slides an arm under Sam's.  Gets a
handful of that incredible ass and squeezes for a minute, some
understanding of flesh and the way it moves, then slides his touch in
farther and rubs Sam's balls with his fingertips.

"Ri-ic."  Over-large blue eyes very close to his and wide open.  Wider
as Ric rubs each testicle separately under the soft, loose skin.

Sam's rhythm ragged now, attempting to match Ric's and still be as
fast as he needs until he cups Ric cheeks and leans in close enough
for a kiss, closer until their lips brush and slide against each other
as they rock --

"Put it in me... your finger..."

Husky, hoarse voice, sound scraping over the accent and Star reaches
across them to spread Sam's cheeks, making him flush even harder,
making Ric want it to be Sam in the middle next time, Sam writhing
between them and he's just that kind of hard where he knows he won't
come for a while and wants to relax into it but Sam *needs* him.


Slips his hand between them, gathering sweat and come, smearing it
over Star's hand in a messy caress that earns him another hard thrust,
another layer of awareness of his ass and this is exactly the kind of
crazy he wants, hot and sweating and pushing two fingers into Sam. One
wouldn't be enough and two is tight and Sam cries out and *grinds*
against him.

Wordless plea for more and Ric thrusts and Star thrusts and Sam's eyes
are squeezed shut, jaw clenched and head shaking back and forth.
Sweat-dark curls falling over his face and the taste of his sweat on
Ric's tongue and moving now, together, faster and harder, Star's soft
grunts and their moans. Louder and harder together, Ric's face in
Sam's throat, biting down, pushing and twisting his fingers, *fucking*
him like he wants to fuck.

Like he wants to be fucked.

Soon.  *Soon.*  One day when they get out of here, somewhere south
where they can do this with the air moving around them and hands going
everywhere, feet tangling around his feet without the tangle of
blankets.  He's *hot*, he realizes.  Sweating, and Sam's body against
him is its own particular heat source.  Enough all by itself, and he
shoulders the blankets off, pushes them irritably down to his waist
with the free hand and then pulls Sam tighter against him, *pushes*
back against Star.

Who closes his mouth on Ric's shoulder and mauls him gently.  Thrusts
*hard* and shakes and comes, just wet between Ric's legs, which
shouldn't be as good as it is.  Slick that he wants to add to his
touch in Sam but can't.  Thrusts a bit harder, deeper, and jerks Sam
close against him.  Kisses the man through his orgasm, while he pants
and whimpers and whispers their names.  Both of them, which is...
nice.  More so than he expected.

Long moments just to be there together, held and holding, sweating and
trying to breathe. Ric shifting onto his back, firmly in the wet spot
to end all wet spots and utterly unable to care as Star and Sam switch
back and forth between kissing him and each other.  Tries to focus
enough to study them when they kiss. Sam's dozily cheerful force,
Star's thorough reserve. All that muscle looser now, sated, and the
reserve has broken a little.

Enough that Ric can finally be sure that Star is taking his own
pleasure from Sam, as opposed to just trying to please Ric. Hard to
keep his ego in check around the man sometimes, hard to be anyone but
Julio, who is. Loved.

Eventually Ric volunteers to be the one braving the cold to get them
water, maybe Gatorade. He's feeling especially generous at the moment.
And he *has* to know what's going on with the girls.

Not generous enough to go naked, but his sweats are still on the
floor, and it's not hard to steal the top blanket.  Leans over the bed
and kisses both of them and goes.  Ten steps down the hall before  he
realizes that he's barefoot and that's going to be uncomfortable.

But downstairs just the same.  There are a couple of water bottles in
the fridge that don't have anybody's name on them in permanent ink,
and a case of Gatorade in a cupboard so cold it might as well be the
fridge.  Might even be colder.

Thinks for a minute, then takes more than one bottle.  Appropriates
cookies.  And pads back upstairs, going to Terry's room instead of
his.  Knocks.

"Go awaaaaaay." Tabitha. And it's late, and that was definitely sleep
in her voice, but. He has to know.

"I've got cookies..."

"Fuck *you*."

Followed by the sound of whispering, rustling... the sort of thing
that just sends the young male imagination off to the stars, really.
No way around it.

"Leave the cookies by the door."

Ric snickered. "Not a chance."

"I hate you, Ric. I hope you know that."

The door cracks open and a huge eye stares out at him.  One that's
utterly black and utterly not Tabitha's.  Or Terry's.

"Friend-Rictor has cookies?"

He takes a minute to think about what exactly Caliban's presence might

"Hey Cal.  Um, yeah.  They're," he checks, "something chocolate with a
brand name.  Looks good."

A big, ghost-white hand makes a grab for the bag and Rictor staggers
back, clutching the cookies to his chest.

"I didn't hear 'please'."

Caliban looks profoundly disappointed, but he usually does when he
forgets his manners.

"Caliban says please."

"Ric, stop teasing Cal and give him the goddamn cookies and go away,"
says Tabitha.  There's a muffled *thump* and Ric hears feet hit the
floor.  Soft pat-pat and somebody pulls the door open properly.

Terry.  In flannel pajamas and very thick socks.  Caliban crouches
behind her with his bear held to his chest.

"Give me the cookies, Ric."

"No please from you, either? Man, you leave a girl in the wild for a
few days..."

"Friend-Rictor smells good." Caliban gives a long, slow blink and
smiles. Showing all four thousand teeth.

Smells good? *Oh, shit* Ric takes one look at the flaring nostrils and
takes a step back.

And Tabitha's there, also in flannel, bouncing a small bomb on her
palm. "What, you've got a new cologne or something? You don't strike
me as the perfume type..." Pushing past the others in an attempt to
get a good whiff.

"Friend-Rictor is happy now?"

Ric surrenders the cookies and makes a break for it.

Behind him, he hears Tabitha say, "Ric, you smell like Sam. How come?"

"We're.  Um.  Pajama party.  Liked your idea."

Still backing towards his room, but the blanket gets tangled around
his ankles and he trips.  Down in a heap, smacking his head against
the wall, and for a second things are grey.  And then white, because
Caliban's got a big hand under his head and is sort of looming over

"Friend-Rictor is alright?"

"I'll live."

He pulls himself to his feet, gingerly.  The girls stay in the
doorway, sleepily staring while Caliban brushes him off.  Little
tenderness in his shoulder where 'Star's teeth worked him.

Caliban's breathing. Caliban's thorough, deep breathing. Which at that
point could really only be called sniffing. *Inhaling* him.

"Friend-Rictor smells good," he reiterates, and pads back to Terry's
room, having left a Caliban-sized handful of cookies on Ric's chest.

Which is just too perfectly *him* for words. And also maybe Sam.  And
also maybe all of them, in one way or another. Even himself.

Ric shakes it off as best he can and gathers his contraband, heads
back into his room.

And closes the door behind him.


Two sick chicks need love.