Theme Set:→ Valentine's Fest (Holding Hands)
Notes/Warnings:→ Written for allbingo's Valentine's Fest.
Summary:→ A routine recon mission in the dead of winter takes a turn for the fluffy as Zapp acquires some unexpected companionship, kindness, and a free scarf and coffee. Holding hands with the man whose attention he's constantly trying to capture is just an added bonus.
“Ugh…” Zapp draws out his groan with dramatic flair, his mouth lopsided and lolling open. “The She-Bitch picked a fucking perfect time to go on vacation. Recon sucks.”
Being stuck on top of the tallest cathedral in Hellsalem’s Lot is bad enough, he grumps, but the extreme cold isn’t helping make matters better. He almost regrets spending that last paycheck at the tracks and the casino thereafter; it would have been wiser to use the money for an actual coat.
Sniffling, he wraps his arms tighter about himself. “God, it’s cold!”
Reaching for his lighter, Zapp spins on his heel at a dizzying rate to face the intruder behind him. His finger stops just short of the trigger as his jaw drops. “C-Chief? What are you doin’ here?”
“My guilty conscience, I suppose,” Klaus admits without skipping a beat, smiling sheepishly. “Steven sent you on this errand alone because of Zed’s intolerance of extreme cold and I felt that you needed a companion to…” His deep voice trails off when he finally notices. “Why aren’t you dressed more warmly?”
Zapp clicks his tongue and shoves his numb hands into the pockets of his bomber jacket, leering down at the rooftop floor. “This is warm for me,” he snaps, “and it’s all I got so it’ll have to do.”
“Perhaps I could – “
“No thanks,” Zapp interrupts Klaus yet again, holding his hand up. “I-I’ll be fine.”
Klaus’s shoulders sink a little lower than his posture will allow. Zapp has always been hard to approach, he’s aware of that, but he also seems especially closed-off when it’s just the two of them together. Any other time and the man is vying as hard as he can for Klaus’s undivided attention, whether it be through insults or an all-out attack on Klaus.
They really are the best of friends and comrades, Klaus concludes, and his conscience goads him into unwanted but necessary actions to help his friend.
“Wait here,” he says to Zapp, clapping a hand on his shoulder. “I’ll be back.”
“Why do I feel so goddamn stubborn whenever the Chief is around?” Zapp mutters to no one in particular and glances over his shoulder where Klaus stood a moment ago. “Why does he piss me off so much?”
Hell, why does Zapp piss himself off so much?
Rubbing his hands together and blowing little puffs of air into them, Zapp mutters, “Can’t even be honest with m’self, I guess…”
Snow starts to fall and now he really, really regrets blowing all those Zeroes on absolute shit. The tips of his ears must be frosted over by now, he grimaces, and his fingers feel like they’re detached from his hands. A tingling crawls along his legs and threatens to cut off all feeling completely when he hears the door open behind him.
“I had no idea it was going to snow today,” Klaus says as he walks up with an umbrella on his arm and a cardboard tray with two coffees in his opposite hand. The expression that greets him as he approaches makes him stop for a minute. “I should have come sooner than I did; I’m sorry, Zapp. You must be freezing.”
All the stubbornness melts with the warmth that accompanies Klaus’s thick, fluffy scarf as he wraps it around Zapp’s neck instead. Zapp flinches at the faint traces of cologne left on its fibers and redirects his eyes up at Klaus again.
“Why?” he blurts out suddenly. “I fucking treat you like shit and you just…Why?”
Klaus tilts his head at a thoughtful angle. “We’re comrades. That’s reason enough.” He pops the umbrella open and sits on the roof beside Zapp, holding it overhead while most of the snow falls on his shoulder instead of Zapp’s. “I hope you like black coffee.”
“Uh, yeah. Sure,” Zapp stammers as the Styrofoam cup is passed to him. Steam rises from it and he blows into the open spout in an attempt to cool it some. “Thanks…for all this. You didn’t have to.”
A goofy grin thins Klaus’s lips. “It’s my duty to combat the Blood Breed threat as much as it is yours, Chief status or not.” His green eyes dart to the his left and watch as Zapp lifts the cup to his lips. The cup trembles and quivers with each movement Zapp makes, his fingers struggling to keep a grip on it. Frowning, Klaus gently touches Zapp’s free hand and confirms his suspicions. “Your hands are like ice…”
“A little c-cold never hurt ‘em,” Zapp scoffs and withdraws his hand with a jerky shake. “What? Don’t look at me all worried like that. Y-You’ll give yourself one hell of an ulcer, Chief.”
Steven is always saying the same things, Klaus recalls, that he babies Zapp too much and lets him get away with too much. ‘You’ll get an ulcer trying to babysit that moron’ Steven warns him. Even Leo has spoken up on a few occasions, concerned for Klaus’s well-being as he agrees with Steven, ‘If you give that idiot an inch then he’ll take a mile, Mr. Klaus! You shouldn’t let him take advantage of you like that.’
However, the man sitting beside Klaus right now is doing anything but taking the mile offered to him. Perhaps a little kindness is all it takes to reach Zapp?
Curious to prove yet another point, Klaus removes one glove and holds it out to him. “For your right hand.”
“Huh?” Zapp stares at him vapidly. “What good is one gonna do?”
“One will be plenty. I can compensate for the other,” Klaus explains and pushes the glove into Zapp’s lap. “It may be a bit big, but it will keep your hand warm.”
Zapp casts a skeptical glance Klaus’s way before setting his coffee down and slipping the enormous glove on. Warmth prickles along his fingers and shocks him a little, feeling slowly returning to them. “What about the other…”
Wind rushes out of his lungs as Klaus takes his hand.
“That should do,” Klaus murmurs with a slight tremor in his voice, staring down at their hands. “Zapp?”
The other man is silent and gaping at their interlinked hands with wide eyes, unable to utter a single word of insult or protest. Klaus’s hand fits like his glove, far too big for comfort, but he’s also warm and unexpectedly welcome. Feeling brave, Klaus closes his fingers completely around Zapp’s shivering hand and meets his gaze in the middle.
“Is this all right?” Klaus asks, frowning a little. “Perhaps I overstepped my bounds…”
“I-It’s fine, geez,” Zapp sputters and reaches for the umbrella in Klaus’s other hand, taking it from him. “Why do you keep starin’ at me like I have two heads? We’ll take turns holding this damn thing so we can drink our coffee, okay?”
The smile that graces Klaus’s sturdy features are bright enough to rival the Christmas tree in Times Square below them. “Agreed,” he acquiesces, giving Zapp’s hand a quick squeeze. “Thank you, Zapp.”
Pursing his lips and turning his attention to the cityscape yet again, Zapp shrugs. “It’s not a big deal,” he mutters, “compared to what you did for me.”
“You’re welcome, then,” Klaus adds, smiling wider as if he just heard Zapp’s internal dialogue.
“Tch…” Zapp clicks his tongue and scoots closer to Klaus, finally wrapping his hand around Klaus’s. “And don’t gimme some dumb look this time; it’s frickin’ cold out here and that’s all.”
Klaus chuckles and takes a sip from his coffee. “As you say, then.”