Russian snowboarder triggers an avalanche right below his feet then manages to somehow stay on top of the snow as it rolls down. Slight bit of profanity (totally understandable!) and some weird mechanical sound I can’t identify?
“You guys go ahead,” Jack calls to the other boys. “I think Joe and I are going to take this one a little slower.”
“You sure?” Caspar replies, adjusting the goggles resting on his head. “We can wait.”
“You’ll be waiting a while,” Jack laughs, looking over at Joe who’s struggling to stand. “Just go ahead. We’ll see you back at the chalet later.”
“Don’t stay out too long!” Josh says before he and Caspar push off, leaving the two.
“I hate this.” Joe grumbles as he falls over. “Why did I agree to it?”
“Because it’s fun.” Jack tells him, pushing himself over, holding out a hand. “Come on, get up.”
“But it’s so much comfier down here.” Joe whines, although he allows Jack to pull him into a standing position, stumbling forward. But Jack steadies Joe, hands on his hips while Joe’s hands rest against Jack’s chest. And the younger man is very happy for the cold air making his cheeks red, because he’s sure that they are redder with the closeness to Joe.
“You good?” He asks softly, and he silently curses the goggles Joe has on, because he can’t see those blue eyes right now.
“Uhm, yeah.” Joe replies, letting his hands fall from Jack. “Thanks.”
“No problem.” Jack reluctantly pushes himself back a little, giving Joe some space.
There had been a thing between them for a couple of months now, but neither had worked up the courage to really act on it. So instead they would have these little moments with each other, and they were slowly killing Jack.
Because Joe looked really cute with his cheeks all flushed and his hair poking out from the beanie he had pulled over his head. And Jack was sure if those goggles weren’t over his eyes, the blue would be sparkling.
“Ready to try again?” Jack questions, shifting his snowboard to face down the hill and locking his free foot back into it.
“You should have just left me,” Joe grumbles, inching forward on his ski’s. “You’d have more fun with the others.”
“I’m having plenty of fun.” Jack smiles over at him, watching as the smaller man begins to pick up some speed.
“But you have to go slow with me.”
“I’m not complaining, am I?”
“Not out loud.”
Laughing, Jack shifts forward, following behind Joe on the path.
He wasn’t lying, he was having fun helping Joe out, even if he wasn’t the greatest at skiing. It was more for the company that Jack had decided to stay behind, and he knew that Joe couldn’t be left alone, it wasn’t safe.
“Jack!” Joe’s panicked voice tore him from his thoughts, “How do I slow down!?”
Frowning, Jack noticed how fast Joe was going, and how he was veering to the side.
“Cross your ski’s!”
“I can’t!” Joe let out a cry of distress as he suddenly veered to the side even more, towards the tree line. Jack quickly turned his snowboard, following after Joe.
“Shit!” Joe screams as his ski gets caught on something and he goes flying, rolling a few feet before coming to a stop.
“Joe?!” Jack’s tone is worried as he skids to a stop, bending over to unclip his feet quickly, pulling the goggles from his face as he falls beside Joe. “Are you okay?”
“I think so.” He winces, sitting up as he tugs his own goggles up and over his head.
“No, you’re not.” Jack frowns as he takes in Joe’s bleeding nose. He removes his gloves quickly, hooking a finger under Joe’s chin to lift his head. “Tilt this back.”
“You gave yourself a bloody nose, you idiot.”
“I hate skiing.” Joe groans, keeping his head tilted back as Jack unzips his jacket. “What are you doing?”
“Cleaning you up.”
“How?” But Jack doesn’t reply, and instead all Joe hears is something ripping. His head falls back down to see the bottom of Jack’s shirt now ripped and being lifted towards him. “What are you doing?!”
“It’s just a shirt, Joe.” Jack tells him, pressing the cloth gently against Joe’s face. “I’ll change when we get back down.”
“You didn’t have to do that.” Joe mutters, replacing Jack’s hand with his own.
“I’ll get over it,” The younger man rolls his eyes as he stands. “We need to get you up and down the hill.” He bends over to unclip the remaining ski on Joe’s foot before holding out a hand.
“Remind me to never do this again.” Joe tells him, allowing Jack to once again pull him up, but as soon as he’s stood up, he lets out a cry of pain, falling against Jack who’s quick to catch him. “Fuck.” Joe hisses, eyes closed tightly.
“What’s wrong?” Jack stares wide eyed at Joe, worry coursing through him.
“My knee. I think,” The smaller man takes in a shaky breath as he opens his eyes again, “I think I hurt it when I went flying.”
Joe goes to try and put more pressure on his knee again, but he bites his lip as he falls back against Jack, shaking his head.
“You are a piece of work, Joe Sugg.” Jack mutters, glancing over his shoulder. They were too far into the tree line to get anyone’s attention, but they can’t stay there either. “Alright, we’ll leave the equipment, but come on,” He shifts so he’s got an arm wrapped around Joe’s waist, and one of Joe’s arms over his shoulder. “Just lean on me, I’ve got you.”
“I should be fine.” Joe tries to say, but it comes out in gasps as he takes a step.
“No, you aren’t.” Jack tells him firmly, pulling the smaller body tighter against his, “Just let me help you.”
They move slowly, but eventually get out of the tree’s and back onto the run, where they can wave someone down to get help.
It’s another hour before the two are settled in at the chalet. Joe is sat in one of the love seats by the fire, his leg propped up, with an ice pack on his knee. His nose has stopped bleeding, and it’s cleaned up, although a little swollen. He’s shed his heavy jacket and snow pants, leaving him in a light jumper and shirt, along with his pants, and his hair is pushed up off of his head, which Jack finds adorable as he walks back over, two cups in his hands.
“Here you go.” He tells Joe softly, handing him one of the cups before sitting down beside him. Because the love seat is smaller, they’re sat close together, and Jack can feel the warmth from Joe seeping through his own jumper.
“Thanks.” Joe tells him, taking a sip.
The two sit in comfortable silence for a short while, sipping on their drinks and watching the crackling fire.
“Hmm?” He turns to look over at Joe, who’s staring at him.
“Thank you, for staying with me.”
“I wasn’t going to leave you, Joe.” Jack smiles softly at him, “You could barely stand on your own.”
“I know, but…well, you could have gone off. You’re obviously more experienced and better at this. You would have had more fun with out me dragging you down.” Joe blushes, fiddling with his cup.
“I had plenty of fun. I mean, until you decided to venture off the path.”
“Right, sorry about that.” Joe winces.
“You just can’t do things the easy way, can you?” Jack teases.
“No, apparently not.” Joe mumbles, and Jack feels the shift between them, because he realizes that Joe isn’t just talking about skiing.
“Uhm, do you want another drink?” He asks, suddenly feeling nervous.
“No. That’s not what I want.”
“Food then? Another ice pack? Or maybe another pill for the pain? Is it bad?” Jack rambles, taking Joe’s cup and placing it with his on the table, fidgeting with the icepack.
“Jack.” Joe places a hand on his, and he freezes, looking up at Joe. “I’m fine. I don’t need anything like that.”
“Then, what do you need?”
“For you to relax and calm down. I’m fine.”
“Are you sure? It was quite the fall.” Jack comments, settling back in his seat, distinctly aware that Joe hasn’t removed his hand.
“I had quite the saviour.” Joe replies softly, leaning closer. “And I haven’t thanked you properly.”
“You’ve said thank you lots.” Jack mutters, his heart racing.
“Not good enough.” Joe tells him before he presses his lips against Jack’s.
The kiss is simple and sweet, at first. But Jack can feel Joe licking along his bottom lip, and he moans lightly into the kiss, the feeling of Joe’s tongue dancing with his is amazing. His free hand moves to the back of Joe’s neck, their bodies shifting closer together.
When they break apart, panting lightly, Joe smiles over at him.
“That was quite the thank you.” Jack tells him, kissing Joe once more, just a quick peck.
“The least you deserve.”
“I think I deserve a little more, don’t you?”
“I can’t do much else while we’re sat here.” Joe laughs softly, his fingers twisting together with Jack’s. “But remind me to thank you more thoroughly when we head up to our rooms.”
“In that case,” Jack jumps from the seat, “I think I’m ready to head up to our rooms.”
“Oh, you are, are you?” Joe laughs again.
“Very.” Jack growls, his eyes darkening as he looks down at Joe.
And while the two have to be careful with Joe’s knee, Jack is left feeling very thanked.
Raven leaned her head against the wall and sighed, rubbing her hip absently. It was cramping thanks to spending last night in a chair, and her brace was starting to chafe. But for the first time since that heart-stopping phone call she felt like she could catch her breath.
Clarke was going to be okay. She had a long, rough road ahead of her, but she was alive. Raven could work with that. Roan shut the door to Clarke’s room behind him and a nurse she vaguely recognized walked past. “You okay?” Roan asked with the odd tenderness that had characterized his every action since she met him at the airport. It was weird to see him acting like this— like he cared. She hadn’t realized Roan was capable of that, to be perfectly honest, but the knowledge wasn’t unwelcome.
“Yeah,” she said, blinking back relieved tears. “Of course.”
Raven wiped her cheeks and looked away, unwilling to let him see her like this. “It’s fine— you can go. You’ve done more than enough,” she said.
Abby poked her head out the door. “Clarke’s already falling back asleep,” she said. “If you wanted to go home and sleep for a bit, I think she’ll be out for awhile. Roan, can you—?”
“I can drive her home if she wants,” he said with a careful look at Raven. “Or I can just go if you’d rather stay.”
Raven hesitated, but the bone-deep exhaustion was already pulling at her. “I’ll catch a ride home with Roan,” she said. “Be back first thing tomorrow.”
Abby pulled her into a tight hug. “Thank you. Thank you for taking care of her, thank you for finding me, just— thank you,” she murmured.
Raven wrapped her arms around Abby’s back and squeezed, wondering if all moms hugged like this. “I’m sorry I wasn’t here when it happened,” she whispered, her throat thick.
Abby let go and brushed away a tear. “You couldn’t do anything about that,” she insisted. “And you did what you could.”
Roan reappeared with her duffle bag and pillow. “Did you want to say goodbye to Clarke?” he asked.
Raven looked in the room but Clarke was sound asleep, her breathing slow and even and blessedly unassisted by a machine. “I’ll see her when she wakes up,” she said, and with one last hug from Abby they set off down the hall. Raven took her pillow from Roan but he waved off her offer of carrying her bag and once more she found herself wondering when, exactly, she’d decided to accept his help.
Because Raven loathed anything that felt like pity or charity. She always had. She would accept help from Clarke and Abby, but they were more like family than her own blood had ever felt, so the exception barely registered.
But Roan— he wasn’t family. He was barely even her friend; more like Clarke’s friend who hung around with them sometimes. He was a few years older and always out of town doing shit like “snowboarding out of a helicopter,” and she had been momentarily shocked when he offered his help and even more surprised when he actually followed through.
Then again, maybe she shouldn’t have been. She stole a sideways glance at him as he fished his keys from his pocket. Roan had always been honest, and there was a sincerity about him that tended to catch her off-guard. He wouldn’t be the type to offer empty platitudes. And she had to admit, it was nice to have someone watching out for her. It had been a long time since Raven relied on anyone who wasn’t Clarke for help and here Roan was, stepping up without even being asked.
Up ahead brake lights flashed and Roan shifted into a lower gear. They rolled to a stop and he peered out the windshield, frowning. “Mind checking the traffic?” he asked.
Raven already had her phone out. “There’s an accident a few miles ahead. Looks bad,” she said, choking down a groan. All she wanted was a hot shower and a horizontal place to sleep and now they were stuck.
Roan reached into the backseat and grabbed her pillow. “Here,” he said, holding it out. “You can just pass out until we get there.”
Raven took it with a wry smile. “Are you ever going to stop trying to take care of me?”
“Only if you ask me to stop,” he said, and half a smile flashed across his face.
Raven bunched the pillow between her shoulder and the window and let her eyes drift shut. Roan inched through traffic and the purr of his engine lulled her to sleep.
A gentle touch on her shoulder woke her up. “We’re here,” his baritone rumbled.
Raven sat up and stretched her arm back to grab her bag, turning to face him. Those light blue eyes were soft and she wasn’t sure when she had felt like this; protected and cared for in a way that didn’t make her feel weak. “Roan, I—” she broke off because words were failing her, but action never did. She sprang forward and caught his face in her hands and kissed him. His beard was softer than she’d thought and his lips softer still. He responded eagerly, his hand curling around the back of her neck to draw her closer even though the stick shift was in the way and the leather seats gave her little purchase. She knocked her hip into the dashboard and Roan’s elbow bumped the horn. The blast broke them apart and she chuckled. “Want to come up?” she asked, her exhaustion melting away.
Roan gave her a look that threatened to set her on fire and swept his thumb across her cheekbone. “No,” he said, and she raised her eyebrows.
He gave her that half-smirk again. “Or…not yet,” he said.
“Don’t tell me you need me to wine and dine you,” she teased.
Roan laughed and drew her close to kiss her again. His kisses were demanding but not insistent, just like him. “Not exactly. More like…I have plans for you, Reyes. And I want you to be well rested.” He took her chin between his thumb and forefinger and she nipped at the tip of his thumb, her chest feeling light and easy in a way she hadn’t in days.
“Friday?” she suggested.
Roan’s eyes dwelt on her as she leaned back and a frisson went up her spine. “Friday,” he agreed.