Zach shivered a little, though it didn't seem nearly as strong as before, and knocked weakly on Chris' door again, his knuckles aching and likely bruised. Damnit, he had seen Chris walk in earlier tonight. Not that he'd been watching, or anything. That would be creepy.
Well, maybe he had been watching.
But not for very long, just long enough to see if Chris had gotten home alright. It was cold and icy out, after all, and that party had more than its fair share of booze floating about. He'd needed to make sure Chris was safe.
It had been - damn, he had no energy left to pull his hand out of his coat and check his watch. But it was four hours when he'd last checked, and that was ... a long time ago? When Zach had first knocked patiently on the door and gotten no answer, he'd rung the doorbell, then given a few angry texts and phone calls, wondering what was up. By the time he realized that his friend had long since fallen asleep inside, Zach was feeling far too stubborn to get off the front porch and wait for tomorrow. No, he needed to talk to Chris *tonight*, and that was all there was to it.
Still, wasn't four-plus hours a little bit much to wait outside in sub-freezing weather on a concrete porch, wearing only a t-shirt, a cardigan, skinny jeans, and his traditional cream-white hat, a little bit much for friendship? Sure, they'd shared all that time filming Trek together, and going to all the cons and the press junkets and interviews, but this was borderline insane.
He felt too cold to worry about it much more, at this point. Little seemed worth worrying about, when he couldn't even force himself to shiver anymore. Instead, he just prayed that someone would open the door soon, or that it'd be morning, or some kind angel would come down with a blanket and a mug of steaming hot tea.
"Who the fuck - Zach? What the hell are you doing at here? It's balls-dark o'clock in the morning and like a million degrees below freezing. Seriously, man, why didn't you just give me a call? I would have let you in, you know that, you dumbass." Was someone talking to him? Had they brought that blanket they'd been promising? He tried to roll over to expose his face to the open door, but found himself unable to move.
"Zach? Dude, you sleeping? Come on, wake up. You're sitting on my front porch, it's 6:00 AM on New Year's Day, and you're asleep. Wonderful. Just dandy." Zach was able to make a little grunt, deep in his chest, and that seemed to alert Chris that he was actually awake.
The next time he spoke, Chris' voice was much closer to his ear. "You alright, man?" A pause. Zach found himself drifting off in the silence. "Zach? Hey, Zach. You must be freezing. Let's go inside and get you some breakfast."
"C'is?" he managed to mumble through lips of stone. "Whe' my tea?"
Chris shook his shoulder with a firm, insistent hand. "Zach, get up. You okay - fuck, you are freezing! How long were you out here?!" he exclaimed, jerking his hand away in panic.
"Ca'd you. Kno-knocked a lot." Making a show of knocking on the door again, while a good idea in theory, only resulted in him rocking back and forth for a bit, his hands all but welded against his armpits in a vain attempt to keep warm.
"Zachary, tell me you're alright. How long did you stay out here?" There was a loud beeping noise. "Six messages, seven texts - since ten PM. Eight fucking hours, man? I told you I was leaving early to get some sleep! What the fuck were you thinking?" Chris went back to shaking Zach's shoulder urgently.
"Whe' my tea, C'is? Angel p'omise me tea. You a angel? I wan' my tea," Zach pouted into his sternum, chin curled down against his chest for warmth.
For a moment, Chris stopped his shaking, which had escalated to thrashing as Zach continued to stay still. "What are you talking about, Zach? Are you drunk? Buddy, I need you to answer me."
"You brou' my b'anket? It's cold, don' like cold," he insisted. Finally, he was able to pry his hands free of his sides, and reached out in front of him, where he'd assumed Chris was. There was, unfortunately, a distinct lack of Pine in the vicinity, but his cold fingers didn't much notice the difference between the edge of the porch and human warmth, anyways.
"Alright, come on. We're going inside. Can you stand up?" Scalding hot hands gripped him around the upper arms and tried to haul Zach to his feet, but they were unsuccessful. "Fuck, Zach, just get up, please. Don't do this to me. It's not that cold outside. You're gonna be just fine, aren't you? I'm just gonna call an ambulance, to be sure. And I'll get you a blanket. Everything's gonna be just dandy, isn't it?" Chris muttered under his breath, before disappearing inside and shutting the door.
"I wan' my tea," Zach grumbled to himself, before the world fell out beneath him.
"Zach, wake up, man, wake up. I thought it would be better to let you sleep it off, but the paramedics said that I can't let you go to sleep or you might -- please fucking wake up, no, no, no, Zach, wake up, wake up, please," Chris begged from somewhere above him. He felt a little warmer, at least, which was good - there were blankets around him and something very warm beside him. It seemed like a good time to open his eyes.
"Hey, alright! Good man. Now, the paramedics are gonna be here as soon as they can, alright, but you have to promise me that you won't go to sleep. I'm gonna be right here with you, okay? You're all nice and warm now, yeah?" Try as he might, Zach found it nearly impossible to keep his eyes open for too long. Wasn't like there was anything interesting to see wherever he was anyways. It was still so cold, and he was tired. Hadn't slept a wink all night, actually. Couldn't Chris just come back later?
"Zach! Zachary! Damn you, Zach, wake the fuck up!" In the tense moment that followed, Chris' prods against Zach's shoulder growing weaker and weaker, there was a knock at the door. Why was it that just when Zach wanted to sleep, everybody just wanted to barge in and wake him up? It was downright rude.
"They are gonna be so pissed when they find out you're asleep," Chris snarled, but he sounded ... teary. Sad. Then, there was silence for a moment. Despite all the tempting seconds he had available to rest, Zach did his best to stay awake under the covers. A blast of chilly air blew in.
"The door is open!" The loud holler rang in Zach's ears, and he shuddered at the sudden cold.
He gave his best shot at tugging the drafty whatever-it-was shut, but it was hard when his eyes were closed - oh. Maybe that was why Chris thought he was sleeping? His eyelids fluttered open, and he looked up at the man who was in the dark cocoon with him ... stripped naked to the boxers.
What on earth was going on here?
"He's in here. I keep trying to keep him awake, but I can't tell whether or not he's sleeping, his eyes are closed, is that normal, he's still not shivering or anything, is he going to be alright, I should have realized sooner, he sent me like a million texts --"
Someone had obviously cut Chris off in mid-ramble, and there was a blessed moment of quiet before a mysterious pair of hands tore off the blankets shielding him from the cold. Instantly, Zach tried his best to pull the blankets over his head. He'd been so warm...
Why couldn't he get his arms to do anything? He noticed it earlier, but he'd been a little bit more out of it then, and it didn't bother him as much. "Am I dead?" Zach asked aloud, split between amazement and horror.
"Sir, do you know where you are?" a strange man asked, dressed in a spiffy blue uniform.
"Heav'n isn't s'posed to be this cold. I wan' the b'ankets back. Tired." Coherent sentences just wouldn't roll off his tongue properly; he could hardly tell if his own thoughts were coherent or not.
"Sir, I need to take your temperature." Zach obediently opened his mouth, tongue lifted up, like his momma had taught him. There was a short moment of silence - it was hard to muster the energy to keep his tongue out that long - before a thermometer thing entered his mouth. He closed his jaw, as well as his eyes.
"Hey, no sleeping, Zach. Otherwise I'll get in trouble," Chris warned stiffly from somewhere off to the side. Zach tried to make noises to the effect of 'not sleeping, it's bright outside' but nothing came out.
The man pulled the thermometer out of Zach's mouth with a quiet pop. "85. We have to get him to the hospital now, Mr. Pine. No telling how low he dipped during the night. Do you have any hot tea, coffee, cocoa, something hot and sugary that will warm him up while we're on the way there? We can't get warm IV fluid until we're at the hospital, but everything helps." Already, he was being bundled back into blankets and hauled up onto something flat and not nearly as warm as the nest he'd been burrowing in earlier.
On the way to the hospital, he didn't quite sleep, exactly: hard to sleep when Chris Pine is in your eardrum yelling at you to stay the fuck awake, damnit. Instead, he drifted out of awareness, eyes half-open, because he still felt too cold to deal with anything properly. Despite the many quiet cries of "Sir" and "Zach" that accompanied the attempts to keep him conscious, he really didn't have the energy for that at the moment.
"Well, Mr. Pine, he's out of the woods, in that there's very little chance he'd have life-threatening problems when he gets home. However, I'm sure he's still confused, weak, and cold. Is there anyone who can take care of him for the next few hours, maybe the next few days? He'll need lots of blankets and warm food rich in carbohydrates. And make sure he gets a lot of rest. At least eleven hours a day, preferably more, for the next three days, no matter how good he feels. Your friend was very close to death for several hours, and his entire body is considerably weakened by that. Do you have any questions?" A pause. "Good, because it looks like Mr. Quinto here is waking up, slowly but surely."
Zach's eyelids twitched slightly before opening and promptly shutting again, to block out the bright fluorescent lights. "Where am I? What happened?" He attempted to sit up, but found a tight wrapping of blankets holding him back, and opened his eyes again to see Chris and a mysterious doctor hovering over him.
"You sat on my porch for eight hours without a jacket, went all hypothermic, and when I found you, you were babbling like a madman, said that I was an angel and that I'd promised to bring you tea. Fuck, Zach, what were you thinking? You almost..." Chris paused, at a loss for words, and the doctor, bless his soul, took that opportunity to scurry from the room like a frightened rabbit.
"You almost fucking died out there, Zach. I had to carry you inside, slung over my shoulders. It was like hauling a bag full of ice. And then on the way here, you were completely unresponsive. They told me I should call your family, if I could. What am I supposed to think, huh? You curled up on my porch and just about froze to death. What would I do without you? You're my best friend, Zach, you know that, but you really are a fucking *dumbass*," Chris exclaimed through quiet tears.
"Sorry," Zach muttered in response, as if it would help. "I thought you'd come out and answer the door. Just wanted to make sure you got home alright."
Chris gripped Zach in a sudden, furious hug, crushing him beneath the shield of blankets. "Fucking *dumbass*," he whispered again, all the anger gone from his voice. "If you so much as get a paper cut around me again, I will murder you. Got it, Quinto?"
Zach laughed quietly, trying his best to reciprocate Chris' hug around the mass of comforters. "I'll be sure of it."
A/N: Not my best work, yeah, but hope everyone enjoyed it! This is my first Pinto fic, my first RPF, and my first hypothermia fic, so a lot of firsts, which makes this all experimental-like and such.