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Cold in Paradise

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Freezing to death on one of the hottest days he could ever recall was certainly ironic, but Sean's life had seemed to be heading in a downward spiral for months now. He still hadn't figured out why he was feeling high one moment and low the next. They'd had a few bad cases in recent months, sure, filled with senseless deaths but that had never gotten to him in the past, though this latest case might literally be the death of him. He gave up trying to force the door, knowing Kamaka's men had locked the door after shoving him and Chris Gains inside. All he could hope for now was one of their partners figuring out what had happened and come looking for them - hopefully before they became human Popsicles.

Sean looked over at Chris, shaking his head as he wrapped his arms around himself, trying desperately to keep warm. He could see Chris was shivering from the cold but knew the danger sign was when they got so cold their bodies stopped shivering. That was when hypothermia set in.

"Locked?" Chris asked, teeth chattering.

"Guess so." Sean sighed, his warm breath pluming in the cold air.

They both looked around the refrigerated room, hoping to spot something, hell, anything they could use to escape. Chris tore into a stack of three boxes, cursing when all he found was packets of frozen vegetables. He shoved the boxes aside viciously, the contents spilling onto the cold floor, but it gave Sean an idea.

"What are you...?" Chris began as Sean up-ended one box in the corner, his dark eyes widening when Sean held up the thick cardboard.

"Insulation," he stated and tackled the next box while Chris grabbed the third.

Unfortunately the boxes were too small to crawl inside so, moving to the corner of the room, they laid the first flattened box onto the floor to sit on before placing the second flattened box on top, pressed into the corner to protect their backs from the cold wall. They used the final box as a very awkward and stiff blanket, hoping to trap their body heat as they huddled together beneath it. It wasn't ideal and they were still freezing but Sean knew it might buy them some time.

"And I was worried I'd be melting today," Chris murmured as he pressed closer to Sean.

Sean laughed softly because it was ridiculous. It was hottest it had been in Honolulu since '81 and neither of them was wearing more than thin cotton. Sean had even swapped out his regular jeans for light beige cargo pants and a thin pale blue t-shirt. Chris was dressed in only light clothes too. He could feel Chris shivering against him, then realized he was shaking just as much so he held onto Chris tighter, feeling a different kind of warmth filling him. It was if all his senses had sharpened with the cold, or perhaps it was just the feel of another person held close, but he could smell the citrus of Chris's after-shave and the almost flowery scent of his shampoo and body wash mingled with the earthier musk of clean sweat. It was intoxicating and he felt elated, though perhaps this was one of the first signs of hypothermia. Sean wasn't certain of anything anymore, with all his focus beading down on the warm body wrapped around him. He could see ice crystals forming on Chris's sinfully long, dark eyelashes and in the small goatee. His own lashes felt heavy and stiff as he blinked, and despite the cardboard insulation, Sean knew they didn't have much longer before they froze, especially when he realized they had both stopped shaking now. He noticed Chris's eyes had closed, and any euphoria bled away instantly because he didn't want to lose Chris; he shook him hard, suddenly fearful.

"You have to stay awake," he insisted, but the realization was there.

He could see how all the ups and downs of recent months had matched his interactions with Chris; fear when he was in danger, elation when he was saved from that island after being shot; happy when they were sharing meals and after work drinks, and miserable when he was alone. It was one hell of a time to figure it out, at the very end if they were not rescued soon.

"I always thought... I'd get killed... in the line of duty....But I never expected..." Chris whispered, his breath no longer as warm against his skin as his core temperature continued to drop.

"It's okay," Sean replied just as softly. "At least... this won't hurt."

Chris snorted. "A little cliche.... Last words... and all that, but I have to tell you something."

Sean could feel his mind slipping away and tried to gather his thoughts, "Hmmm?" he questioned.

"I... I wanted more time... For us."

"Yeah, freezing to death su-."

"No. I meant... I wanted an us. A you and me." His voice faded. "Waited... too long."

The shock of his words reverberated through Sean along with a pang of regret that it had taken him until now to realize he had wanted that too.

"Chris?"

No answer, so he shook him, calling his name again but Chris had fallen unconscious,and all Sean could do was try to hold on to him as he felt himself slipping away too.

****

He gained consciousness to the sound of urgent voices and flashing lights, almost crying out at the heat of hands against his cold skin. Talks of hypothermia, of raising core temperatures, of not allowing blood from his extremities to rush back to his heart. Sean drifted in and out for while but eventually awoke in a dark, air-conditioned room, wrapped in light blankets.

"You gave me a scare, partner," Declan stated.

Sean blinked hard, because there was something he needed to remember, and it came rushing back to him.

"Chris?"

Declan inclined his head toward the other side of the hospital room, moving aside, but before Sean could even turn to look in that direction, he heard a familiar voice.

"Here."

He saw a weak hand wave from the next bed and his eyes met Chris's, relief uncoiling the knot of fear that had settled in his gut. He remembered everything. A you and me, and made a silent promise not to wait too long before he told Chris he wanted him too.

END