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FIC: "Thawing Distance" (1/10)

  • Jun. 28th, 2009 at 8:50 PM
simarillion: ('nuff said)
Thawing Distance
By Simarillion

Fandom: Supernatural RPS
Universe: Alternative Universe
Rating: NC-17
Beta: asm_z
Pairing: Jensen Ackles/Jared Padalecki, others
Warnings: slash, M/M
Word Count: 3,371
Summary: Tell it like it is. (Of settling and living)
Disclaimer: None of the herein presented happenings and events are true. Everything is 100% fiction and that includes the sexuality of the characters. I don’t claim to be in the know about their relations and private affairs, and I don’t make any money with the creation of this story.

Author’s Note: I changed the age of Jensen and Jared, they are the same age now. The plot wouldn’t really work otherwise.

This is part 6 of the Glaciology! ‘verse. Jensen is a scientist in the field of glaciology and he spends most of his time surrounded by ice, whereas Jared is a Hollywood movie star. Prequel to this story are Invisible Glaciers, Iceberg Anatomy, Avalanches Approaching, Crevasse Rescue, and Shelf Ice Meander.


Part One

When Jensen steps out of the shabby plane that took them to a small airfield outside Quito, he seriously considers turning around and asking to be taken back home. It’s not the heat that troubles him, being born and raised in Texas, he knows how to handle that, but the freaking humidity has his clothes sticking to his body in mere seconds. Jensen hates feeling sweaty and sticky, like he hasn’t taken a shower in weeks.

David just grins at him like a madman, and Sarah shakes her head, giving Jensen a sad look, to signal her understanding of Jensen’s suffering. With a heavy sigh he hitches the backpack up on his shoulders and steps away from his only means of escape.

There’s a local guide waiting for them. The expedition will be without guidance, but it had been decided to visit some villages before heading out into the jungle. They want to hear from the locals how bad the situation really is.

Paolo is tiny compared to them. Even Jensen feels like a giant, and after spending time with one Jared Padalecki, that’s no easy feat. Jensen silently follows the others off the runway over to the rusty corrugated metal building of the hangar, where a small bus is waiting for them. The vehicle looks as trustworthy as their plane had looked, and Jensen wonders why someone like David, who has enough money to buy a fleet of planes and busses of his own, insists on using such heaps of scrap.

They pile into the bus, stacking their backpacks and sleeping rolls in the trunk. Jensen is wedged against the window and Sarah on the back seat, the metal of the chassis scalding hot. He tries his best to keep from touching it with his bare skin.

“¡Bienvenidos a Ecuador! Espero que el viaje fue agradable.” It’s been years since Jensen last spoke Spanish, and his high school education was not too educational to begin with. He wracks his brain to keep up with the lively chatter between Paolo and Peter, who cheerfully discuss their journey and the schedule of the next couple of days with their guide.

“Thank god at least one of us speaks a language people understand.” Sarah rolls her shoulders, and in the process elbows Jensen in the side. “Oops, sorry.”

“Don’t worry.” He tries to move a little further away from her, but when his arm is pressed against the hot frame of the car, he stops any attempt of moving.

“Well, the villagers will mostly speak Quechua. So, our Spanish is of not as great a help as one would assume.” David winks at them, and then turns to watch the landscape pass by.

“Awesome.” Sarah huffs, but a light nudge from David (whose eyes never leave the window) has her smile again.

Jensen grins at his friends’ behavior. For years now he’s been watching the two of them tease each other, the affection between them strong and easy for everyone to see. So far they have been avoiding the topic of the attraction between them, and the continuous sexual tension, is wearing on the people around them. There are times when Jensen, or Peter, or someone else, had wanted to bang their heads together and tell them to get a clue.

Their drive takes them out of the airfield and down the road to something that passes as a highway around these parts. There are more potholes than anything else, and half of the time Jensen is sure that the bus is going to just break apart, at least lose some part of the car.

Of course, the bus doesn’t have any air conditioning, and after spending about an hour in the car together, wedged against each other, and the interior of the bus heating up like an oven, the smell is getting rather ripe. It’s a really revolting mixture of sweat, deodorant, dirt, and exhaust.

It takes them almost three hours to reach the turn to the part of the jungle they are heading for. The Pinchincha volcano has long disappeared from sight, and the dirt road they are taking from here on is more dirt track than a real road. At least there aren’t any potholes anymore. About a mile back they passed the cadaver of a fifteen feet long snake, the body bloated from the heat and the decomposition.

The foliage is a lush green, and the trees are huge, much taller than any tree Jensen has ever seen in his life. Their bus trundles down the road for two more hours and by the time they finally reach their destination Jensen is sure that he will never again be able to sit down. It hurts so much.

The village consists of huts and one small shop that is nothing but a cubicle that sells food and drinks, and a couple of other items. People watch their arrival curiously, but they keep their distance at first. Apparently it hasn’t been decided so far, if they are welcome or not.

They get their backpacks and sleeping rolls out of the car, and Paolo shows them to their accommodations. The house looks rather rundown, but it’s at least made of stone and mortar. Inside the rooms are mostly empty. There are the odd pieces of furniture, but concrete and whitish painted walls dominate the interior of the building. The bathroom and the kitchen are the two rooms with the most amount of furniture.

Jensen gets his own room assigned (just like everyone else of the group), and he drops his backpack onto the mattress. A rustling sound has him look up and he notices that the roof and the wall do not touch. There’s a gap right under the roof, and a small lizard is wedging through it into the room. For a couple of seconds Jensen just stares at the display, before it dawns on him that lizards are not the only animals that will be getting inside.

With a shudder he turns around and makes to ask David if they can swap rooms. As it turns out, all the rooms have this gap, and critters, lizards, and bugs crawling around the house is nothing out of the ordinary.

Jensen thinks that he should have taken the chance to escape when he still had had it. Now it’s too late. He’ll have to share his bedroom with the rest of the jungle. That’s one thing he likes so much about snow and ice. Sleeping in a tent in the Artic Region, there are not crawlies that get into the tent and snuggle up to you during the night.

They head out, strolling through the dusty streets of the village. There is a group of teenagers, and a couple of younger kids, that watch them attentively. After David gives his granola bar to a little girl, the whole group cheerfully shows them around.

The huts and houses look worn and dirty, but it’s also obvious how much care and love has gone into the constructing, maintaining and decorating of the buildings. In the States people would have been appalled by the condition everything is in, but somehow the houses and the streets and to people all mesh with the jungle around them, giving it a very natural look.

In front of the store, which sells self-made booze, a monkey is sitting on the porch, and eats a tropical fruit, the juices dripping on his fur. The little fellow eyes them indifferently, and when the kids reach out to pet him, cheering with their high voices, the mammal doesn’t even react to it.

Peter buys some rum, a coke and some fruit juices, he’s murmuring something about cocktails, and Sarah just rolls her eyes at him. She gets some fruits and vegetables, and buys three bottles of water. Jensen decides to follow her lead and get some water as well, getting a bar of chocolate, and after seeing the children watching them all ‘subtle’, he buys a bag of candy for them.

He hands out the purchases, earning him bright smiles and a lot of laughing. They slowly walk back to their temporary home, and start setting everything up for a home base. There will be times when they stay in the jungle for a couple of days, but on the whole they’ll be able to come back and work on their reports and their documentation. It’s also the only way for them to keep in contact with the rest of the world. There’s an internet connection, which works sometimes, and postal services has a drop off once a week as well.

“I like it.” David sprawls on the dubious couch in the room they’ve decided on to be the living and dining room. He’s sipping water from a plastic bottle, and closes his eyes, enjoying the relative peace of their surrounding.

“Sure you would.” Peter drags the rickety side table in front of the couch, and sets up three chairs (one from the kitchen and two from the back of the house). He puts four cups on the table and unscrews the rum bottle, filling the cups almost half full.

“I hope you aren’t wanting me to drink that.” Jensen eyes the liquor warily. After all the heat and humidity, and eating almost nothing besides a small breakfast, there’s no way Jensen can drink that much alcohol.

“Cheers, Jensen.” Peter has topped the cups up with passion fruit juice and a spoonful of cane sugar, and hands the cocktails out. “Don’t be a pansy ass about it.”

Jensen watches Sarah take a tentative sip from her cup, but she brightens quickly enough, taking a much larger sip right away. “It’s really good.”

“Sure it is.” Peter starts drinking with gusto, humming contentedly.

Jensen eyes the cup in front of him suspiciously and only when David takes a sip from the cocktail, does he brave the self-made drink. The taste of it is very refreshing, and soon they are drinking and talking, enjoying their arrival in the Ecuadorian jungle.

Their laughing and planning goes on for some time, the cups being refilled and emptied again, and then they break into the bottle of tequila Peter brought with him, starting on really fancy drinks like coladas and sours. By the time he’s had four and a half cups of cocktails, Jensen is chuckling about everything he sees around him. The concrete floor is hilarious, so are the gaps between the roof and the walls, and Jensen can’t help but snort when thinking about bugs and spiders.

Sarah is grinning happily. Jensen wonders for a second about the potency of the drinks Peter is mixing before he’s back to chuckling about something David said, who’s waving his arms around, talking about a boat made of plastic bottles. Jensen thinks David is real funny.

Their booze enabler isn’t any better off than they are, and by now Peter is sloshing most of the concoctions on the floor and the rickety table, the cups starting to stick to the plywood top.

Once again Jensen snorts, thinking about Jared and Chad, and the farewell party in Alaska. Sam’s self-made liquor had been a blast back then as well. There’s something about drinks that you are making or mixing yourself that is just awesome.

Contemplating the merits of cocktail mixing, and mumbling happily to himself, Jensen is rather stunned when something drops from the ceiling onto his lap. Slowly, and a bit stupidly, he looks down at his lap and finds a tarantula sitting there. Jensen blinks once, then twice, and then he looks back up, over to David.

“Dude, there’s a spider on my lap.” Said spider has decided that it doesn’t like the place it is currently sitting on, and starts to crawl, quite speedily up the front to Jensen’s chest. Slowly, almost like in slow motion, Jensen tries to brush the tarantula off, but he just keeps missing the furry black and red body.

Sarah just points at him and giggles, and Peter hugs his tequila bottle to his own chest, as if the spider might take it away from him. David alone is coordinated enough to stagger over to Jensen, and try to help him with getting rid of the spider hurriedly crawling up higher and higher, almost at Jensen’s throat now.

In his drunken state Jensen starts to panic. If there’s one thing he absolutely hates and abhors, it’s spiders, and the big tarantula is just too much for him. If he had been sober, he would already have panicked when the spider dropped from the ceiling, but as it is, he’s getting worried when the spider reaches the collar of his shirt.

It is more dumb luck than anything else, that has David finally brush the tarantula off Jensen, and they watch the spider crawl away, towards the walls, where it climbs to the ceiling and bunkers down in a corner. Jensen is sure that its many eyes are glaring at them.

For the rest of the evening Jensen warily eyes the corner where the spider is sitting, and still he misses the final escape. Between one check up and the next, the tarantula is just gone. Nervously he turns his head around, but he can’t find her again. She’s just disappeared.

This night, once they are making their staggering way to the bedrooms, Jensen sleeps very badly. Even though he’s tired and the alcohol has taken its toll, the fear of other animals crawling into his room, has him constantly checking the walls and corners.

And of course, there’s the noise. One would think that out here in the jungle, without the traffic, and all the cars and other loud gadgets, life would be all quiet, but there’s nothing to the noise that is a jungle at night. There are birds, and monkeys, and frogs, and other animals. Calling, crying, hooting, and screaming. Jensen turns from one side to the other. The rustling of leaves and the scratches of branches against the roof and the outer walls, have him tense and anxious.

The next morning Jensen gets up more tired than he went to bed. His eyes itch, because he forgot to take out the contact lenses, and he’s somewhat nauseous from the huge amounts of alcohol he consumed the evening before. Slowly he trudges down the corridor to the bathroom, where he finds a lizard sleeping on the lid of the toilet.

The reptile quickly leaves, when Jensen comes into the room, and once Jensen has relieved himself, he feels somewhat better. A quick splash of water in the face, his wet fingers carding through his hair to get it into something resembling an order, and wiping his chest, neck, arms and pits with a wet rag, is all the cleaning he gets.

Jensen pulls on the pants of the previous day but gets a new shirt. With the rate those are getting sweaty and stinking, he’ll have to do laundry every day.

Sarah is already in the kitchen, preparing coffee and cereal. Apparently she had already been shopping that morning, getting more food and provisions for their expeditions into the deeper regions of the jungle. There are white plastic bags, bulging with their contents, and the fridge is humming cheerfully with the effort it puts into cooling the foods inside.

“Morning.” At Jensen’s greeting Sarah turns around and smiles at him.

“Morning. You want some cereal as well?” Jensen just nods and sits down on the kitchen chair. Glancing at the couch, he notices that she had apparently cleaned up last night’s mess as well. The rickety table is still in front of the couch (serving as an impromptu coffee table), but the chairs are all in the kitchen now, together with a wooden crate that serves as a fourth chair.

Just as Jensen has finished his observation and directed his attention back to Sarah, she sets his bowl of cereal down in front of him, together with a cup of coffee. Smiling at her gratefully, Jensen mumbles a thanks, and starts shoveling the sugary breakfast food into his mouth.

While they are eating their breakfast in companionable silence, David joins them and after pouring himself a cup of coffee, and taking a bowl of dry cereal, he sits down at the table with them. He’s frowning at the table top, and squints at the light. It almost seems like the night of drinking hadn’t really agreed with him either.

“Rough night?” Jensen can’t help but tease. The only answer he gets is a distraught moan, and David rubbing his temples. “Guess I’m right about that.”

David just pours his coffee over the fruit loops, and starts eating. Jensen watches on in disgusted shock, but when neither Sarah, nor David comment on it, he goes back to eating himself. Silence reigns over their repast, and once they are finished, David disappears back to where he came from. Hopefully getting a shower, because he had smelled rather ripe.

Between Jensen and Sarah, the cleaning of the breakfast dishes (three bowls, three cups and three spoons) is done in seconds, and Jensen helps her put away all the purchases she made. Most of the canned and dried food goes into the cupboards, the fresh fruit, vegetables, and dairy products are already in the fridge, and the water and other drinks are put away into the pantry.

It is there that Jensen has a déjà vu, when he comes almost face to face with a large black and red tarantula, which is sitting on the floor. In his surprise he almost screams (all manly of course), and Sarah just laughs heartily at his white face.

“Very funny.” He grumbles, but he can’t be upset with her behavior. He has to admit that it’s just too hilarious.

They have just finished putting everything away, and cleaning the kitchen (to make sure that no ants or other animals are attracted to come inside), when David makes a reappearance, showered and dressed to go out.

“Come on, Paolo promised to take us to one of the rivers where they are dumping the mercury into the water. It’s really close to the village.” And just like that the happiness and the joking of last night and this morning are gone. Jensen is reminded of the reason for their trip.

The three of them (Peter is still dead to the world) head out, and find their guide at the shop, where he’s chatting with some of the locals. The language is definitely not Spanish, that much Jensen can determine, most probably they are speaking Quechua.

When Paolo sees them, he smiles brightly. “¡Buenos días Señores y Señora!”

They all say their own Buenos días and nod at the others in greeting. A rather amusing (for the people watching at least) conversation starts after that. Paolo speaks Quechua and Spanish, but almost no English. The locals speak little Spanish, no English and mostly Quechua, and Jensen speaks a little Spanish, English, and no Quechua.

In the end they manage to get some information on the factories and facilities a couple of miles away, which dump their garbage and waste material (toxic or non-toxic) into the rivers and creeks of the jungle. Horrid stories about areas devoid of life, and polluted by oil, mercury and other dangerous materials are being told, and Jensen feels sick to his stomach hearing about all the destruction that is done to this place.

Paolo gets the directions to the place and once they said their thanks and goodbyes, Sarah, David and Jensen follow their guide to the bus. It will take them about thirty minutes to get to the river that is closest to the village. The drive is quiet, and every member of the expedition is tense with the anticipation of what they are going to find.

When they arrive at the place, Jensen stares at the destruction in horror. He has seen the good and the bad of mankind in his life, at least that’s what he’s thought in the past, but seeing death staring right back at him, dead animals, trees, earth, Jensen wonders how humans can do something that awful.

continue: Part Two


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