Getting out of their cave might have solved the problem of the transponder not getting through but it was so much colder now that they were exposed to the full force of the lunar winds. Hunched up as much as possible, they both knew how lucky they were to find the abandoned building in the midst of the blowing snow and ice. It wasn't much of a shelter but at least they had some protection from the cold.
Crouched beside the glowing, warm thing, Zeb glanced at Kallus when he went quiet, just making sure that he hadn't passed out from the cold or his injuries. Any other Imp and Zeb wouldn't have hesitated to abandon them to the cold but he couldn't do that to Agent Kallus. He'd never admit it but Zeb felt a certain connection with the fair-haired human, a connection that he would never mention to a soul. He'd never hear the end of it if anyone ever knew that he had feelings for the ISB agent.
Hunching up as much as he could, given his injuries, Kallus wriggled a little closer to their glowing stone and lifted his gaze slowly when he felt Zeb's eyes on him. He wasn't sure what was worse, the constant pain from his broken leg or the icy winds whipping into their meagre shelter. Meeting Zeb's gaze, he smiled weakly and curled up a little more, trying to conserve what little body heat he still had.
Moving closer to Kallus, Zeb knew he was taking a risk but he couldn't sit back and do nothing while the human froze. Admittedly, he wasn't handling the cold either but he at least had some extra body mass to give him some minor protection.
'What are you doing?' Kallus asked, lifting his head a little.
'Tryin' to make sure we don't freeze.' Zeb replied, handing the glowing stone to Kallus. 'Hold that nice and close.'
'Are you sure about this?' Kallus questioned, clutching the stone to his chest.
'Nope but I don't have a better idea.' Zeb shrugged, moving even closer.
Flinching when he felt Zeb pressing up against his back, Kallus wasn't sure what to make of this idea but he wasn't about to argue about personal space now that his back was starting to warm up a little. Leaning back a little, Kallus couldn't even find the energy to argue when Zeb stretched out one leg alongside his injured leg and curled the other to match his position again. But then Zeb really shocked him, wrapping both arms around his torso and getting in as close as possible. For a moment Kallus considered resisting the intimate embrace but he actually found the hold quite pleasant and settled back into Zeb a little more.
Smiling softly as Kallus settled back against him, Zeb let him get comfortable and lightly rested his chin on Kallus' head. Zeb knew this was likely to be the closest he would ever get to Kallus and fully intended to make the most of it.
'This is most unexpected.' Kallus remarked, adjusting the stone so they both felt the warmth.
'I'll move if ya prefer.' Zeb offered, relaxing his grip a little.
'No, this is quite…agreeable.' Kallus replied, curling one hand over Zeb's right wrist.
'Yeah, gotta agree with that.' Zeb agreed, using his left hand to gently rub some warmth back into Kallus' right arm. 'Didn't think I could get this close.'
'If anyone else had crashed with us, I would not allow this.' Kallus admitted, squeezing Zeb's wrist lightly. 'I hope there will be more chances like this. Preferably without the icy winds.'
'We can manage that, I'm sure.' Zeb smiled, careful with his strength as he held Kallus close.
'How long?' Kallus asked, relaxed and a little dozy now that he felt warm and safe.
'Started a few months after our first meeting on Lothal.' Zeb shrugged, shifting his position a little. 'You?'
'About the same time.' Kallus offered, moving his head so he could actually look up at Zeb.
Turning a little in Zeb's comfortable embrace, Kallus tugged off his left glove and reached up to run his fingers through one purple sideburn, admiring how soft it felt against his skin. Trying to ignore the chill wind biting at his hand, Kallus sighed softly and burrowed closer to Zeb, cherishing this moment and hoping for a repeat in a better location.
'We'll get another chance.' Zeb promised, turning his head and pressing a kiss to his palm.
'I believe you.' Kallus nodded, resisting the urge to simply fall asleep in Zeb's arms. 'I just worry for the future. Neither side will leave us in peace.'
'Now ain't the time to worry about that.' Zeb soothed, gently cradling Kallus' head in one large hand. 'Let's just enjoy what we got.'
They had so many reasons not to get involved, lifetimes of regret and suffering and endless reasons why they should hate each other but in that moment, all of that faded away into insignificance. Empire and Rebellion, the fall of Lasan, their previous battles, none of it mattered as they clung to each other in the cold and dark. Zeb knew his friends would never understand and Kallus was all too aware of the Imperial mandates against human/alien relationships but neither cared in that moment.
Even the cold ceased to matter as they shared a soft, almost chaste kiss. Fingers running over hair and skin alike as they pressed closer, the glowing stone forgotten beside them. They didn't need it right in that moment, shaking hands drawing warm lines over each other, kneading and squeezing against sleek muscles and fine hair.
Zeb carefully lifted Kallus, adjusting the angle for comfort and cradling him in his lap as he traced his claws over Kallus' back and wondered what he looked like under his uniform. Zeb just hoped that one day he would get to find out, preferably somewhere with a comfortable place to stretch out and fully appreciate each other. Kissing a human was so much different to kissing his own kind but Zeb liked the difference.
Kallus took full advantage of the position change, curling both arms around Zeb's neck loosely and going in for another kiss. Feeling bolder as he slipped one finger beneath Zeb's collar, Kallus licked at his lip and groaned softly as their kiss deepened. He could gladly sit here all night, getting to know Zeb in a far more intimate manner than just deep kisses and the strange sensation of Zeb's rough tongue.
Drawing away reluctantly, Kallus cuddled in against Zeb's chest and yawned, eyes drooping closed slowly. It had been a long day and he was exhausted, the stress of the crash and his subsequent injuries adding to his weariness. At the same time, he didn't want this perfect moment to end, he was actually happy for the first time in a long time and he didn't want to lose this feeling of safety and comfort.
'Get some rest, Kallus. I'll stay right here.' Zeb uttered, stroking his hair lightly.
'Fenril, my name is Fenril.' Kallus replied, pulling his glove back on and getting comfortable.
'Sleep Fenril, I'll keep you safe.' Zeb nodded, grabbing their heater and setting it in Kallus' lap.
'Thank you.' Kallus whispered, resting his head over Zeb's heart and surrendering to sleep.
Watching Fenril sleeping so peacefully, Zeb held him close and relaxed, still listening for any sign of a rescue even as his head drooped forward. Adjusting the way Fenril snuggled against him; Zeb rested his chin on his head and closed his eyes. It wasn't the most comfortable position for sleeping but Zeb had no intention of letting go of Fenril for any reason. He had no way of knowing when they might have another uninterrupted moment together so he was going to make the absolute most of this moment.
Not quite sure what had woken him, Fenril groaned softly and snuggled closer to Zeb, not ready for this wonderful moment to end. Logically he knew it would end but he intended to hold on for as long as possible. Shifting a little to get some feeling back into his legs, he wrapped one arm around Zeb's neck and stretched up to press a quick kiss to his jaw. He didn't expect to be held tighter and given a proper kiss but he wasn't about to complain and settled in for a much desired make out session.
Of all the lousy timing, just as they were really getting into the simple pleasure of kissing each other senseless, they picked up the sound of an approaching ship. Their time together was at an end but they still had no idea who had found them first. Still cradling Fenril to his chest, Zeb scrambled up and gently set Fenril back on his feet, supporting him close as they emerged from their pitiful shelter.
'Ah, your friends did find you.' Fenril sighed, looking up at Zeb for a moment.
'Like I said they would.' Zeb nodded, tucking Fenril in closer. 'You know, we will treat you fairly.'
'I'll take my chances with the Empire, Zeb.' Fenril sighed, reluctantly letting go and moving back to lean against the wall of their shelter.
Touched by the easy use of his chosen nickname, Zeb offered the traditional warrior's greeting of his people and smiled softly as Fenril returned it with a look of wonder in his eyes. Reaching out, Zeb handed over a single data chip pulled from beneath his belt and nodded as Fenril took it and tucked it out of sight.
'If you ever change your mind, give me a call.' Zeb explained, stepping closer and cupping one cheek lightly. 'Of course, I'm all for another chance to be alone with you.'
'I will.' Fenril smiled, leaning in for one last sweet kiss. 'We will get another chance; I'll make sure of that, Zeb.'
'I look forward to it.' Zeb nodded, stealing another soft kiss before turning and hurrying towards the Ghost before his friends came looking for him.
Reassuring his friends that he was okay and making it clear that he wasn't upset that it had taken them so long to find him; Zeb couldn't help but let his focus drift back to that squat little building where Fenril was hiding. It would be so easy to go back to him but Zeb knew now wasn't the right time to bring his feelings out. He needed to be patient and see what came out of this before making any crazy decisions. Not really surprised when Ezra started complaining about the cold, Zeb rolled his eyes and followed his family up the ramp but not without one last look back over his shoulder.
'Be safe Fenril. We'll meet again soon.' Zeb whispered, turning away from the closed ramp and heading for his room. 'Gonna get some sleep.'
Making it back to his quarters, Kallus sunk down onto his standard cot and set the still glowing rock on the shelf beside his cot, right where it would always serve as a reminder of that one night on the moon of Geonosis. Clasping his hands, he hung his head and tried not to think about Zeb and what he'd witnessed on that moon. The rebels had greeted Zeb with such joy and relief, but he'd gotten nothing but the usual cold shoulders and minimal conversation. The most he'd spoken to anyone was some faceless trooper who had offered to take his Bo-rifle back to his quarters while the medics were patching him up.
Shuffling over on his cot, he opened his footlocker and nodded slowly at the sight of his rifle clipped securely to the lid where it belonged. Leaning the lid up against the crate, Kallus worked out of his armour and tucked it away before pulling off his boots and tunic. Putting everything away neatly and replacing the lid, he settled back on his cot and sighed heavily. They hadn't even been apart for a standard day and already Kallus missed Zeb fiercely.
Even now he regretted his choice to return to the Empire, having once again been reminded about the poor level of care shown to many Imperial troops. Instead of bacta and bed rest, he got nothing more than a bone knitter and some weak painkillers before being sent back to duty. The painkillers had already worn off and it would be days before the bone knitters fully healed his femur. It could even be longer, depending on how much work the Admiral had for him.
Rolling over and reaching up to grab the glowing rock, Kallus cradled it to his chest and tried to ignore his silent tears. Foolish pride had stopped him from taking a chance on the Rebellion and now he was left alone again. He'd had the chance to be happy and he'd let it slip through his fingers foolishly.
'I will find you again Zeb.' he breathed, curling up around the warm stone. 'Next time, I won't leave you.'