Pairing: Casey Cartwright/Ryan Atwood
Spoilers: Vague spoilers for season 4 of The O.C.. Not much else.
Summary: Casey is trying to get home for Christmas, but weather and fate strands her at the airport with one Ryan Atwood.
Disclaimer: Greek and The O.C. were created by Patrick Sean Smith and Josh Schwartz, respectively. No profit is being made from the use of any of the recognizable characters.
Author's Note: Written for my own personal 12 Days of Crossovers fic challenge. Pairing and prompt provided by supergoddesss.
Casey sighed in exasperation as she made her way through the airport. Flying at Christmastime was always chaotic, but this year she had made the mistake of staying on campus until December 23rd. The local news had trumpeted it as one of the busiest travel days of the year, and bad weather had only made things worse. Every seat at every gate was filled, with people sitting on the floor along the walls of the concourse. Finally spotting an empty patch of tile, she quickly claimed it.
"This is unbelievable," she muttered, sinking down to the floor.
"Tell me about it," her new neighbor replied. "I've been here three hours already."
She turned to look at him, and was surprised to find that he was young and cute. Sort of early Russell Crowe, before he got old and not hot. "Where are you trying to go?"
"Providence, but I started in California at six this morning."
"Ouch," Casey said with a wince.
"What about you?"
"Trying to get home to Chicago. It's not looking especially promising. I'm Casey, by the way," she said.
"Ryan," he replied.
"So are you from Providence?" she asked.
"No, my brother and his girlfriend go to school out there, so this year the family decided to do an East Coast Christmas."
"Yeah, except everyone flew out two days ago with no problems."
"Sucks to be you," she said sympathetically.
Casey groaned, and rolled her neck from side to side. After sitting on the hard floor for the better part of the last three hours, her back and shoulders were in knots. So far her flight had been delayed six times, but not outright cancelled. Unfortunately, the snow outside seemed to be coming down harder with each hour.
Beside her, Ryan stood up and stretched. The two of them had passed the time talking and playing cards, and if there was a bright spot to this fiasco, he was it. "I think I'm going to go get something to eat," he told her. "Do you mind watching my stuff?"
"No, go ahead."
"You want anything?"
"Sure. Burger, pizza--whatever you can find."
"Coming right up."
Watching him walk away, Casey pulled out her phone. Ashleigh answered on the second ring. "Hey, Casey."
"Hey Ash. You're not going to believe where I am."
"I'm guessing not Chicago?"
"I'm still at the airport. In Ohio."
"Yuck. Wasn't your flight supposed to leave hours ago?"
"Yeah. On the plus side, there's a cute guy who's been keeping me entertained."
"Ooh, airport boyfriend. I want details."
"His name is Ryan, and he goes to UC-Berkeley. I think he's studying architecture."
"That's great for him, but what does he look like?"
Casey laughed. "Blond hair, gorgeous blue eyes, great arms..."
"Case, it's like seventeen degrees out there. How do you know what his arms look like?"
"It's like an oven in the airport. He took off his sweatshirt."
Five hours. Five hours she'd been sitting there, and it was pushing midnight.
"We're not getting out of here tonight, are we?" she asked, glancing over at Ryan.
"It doesn't seem likely," he replied, and then yawned.
"Do you think they're ever going to tell us that, or just let us keep sitting here?"
Before he could reply, a voice came over the loudspeaker. "Ladies and gentlemen, we regret to inform you that the airport has been closed. There will be no departures or arrivals until further notice. Please see your airline customer service representative for assistance. Limited accommodations are available at area hotels. In addition, cots will be provided for your use. We apologize for the inconvenience."
"Guess that answers your question," Ryan said quietly.
"Yippee," she said sarcastically. "I guess we should go and try to get this sorted out, huh?"
"Sounds like it."
It took over an hour and a half for them to snake their way through the customer service line. Thirty minutes in, an announcement was made that all the local hotels were now full.
"Looks like we're bunking here tonight," Ryan said with a a rueful sigh.
"Maybe it won't be so bad," Casey suggested, trying to stay positive. "It'll be kind of like camp."
The look he shot her suggested he hadn't been a fan of camp.
"What do you mean there aren't any more cots?" Casey asked, struggling not to raise her voice.
"I'm sorry, miss. We just don't have enough for a crowd of this size," the airport employee explained.
"This is ridiculous," she huffed. "What are we supposed to do now?"
He looked utterly at a loss, and she reminded herself for the hundredth time not to lose her temper because it wasn't his fault.
Ryan tugged lightly on her hand. "Come on. We'll figure something out."
She allowed him to lead her away from the grumbling crowd of people without cots. His hand was warm and strong, and she found herself feeling reassured by it.
There were plenty of other people in the same predicament, and as they walked through the concourse, she saw people trying to sleep in the gate chairs, or simply sprawled out on the floor.
"There are probably less people further down," he told her.
They were almost all the way to the end before he headed into one of the gate areas. Maneuvering around a few sleeping people, he walked to the far side of the freestanding wall behind the gate counter. The area between the wall and the windows was just big enough for two people, and even allowed for a little more privacy.
"This okay?" he asked.
She shrugged. "Sure."
They spent a few minutes arranging their stuff on the floor, balling up sweatshirts as pillows, and draping coats like blankets.
"This reminds me a little of slumber parties when I was a kid," she told him.
"Yeah? Did you braid each other's hair and have pillow fights?" he teased.
She laughed softly. "No, but one time in the eighth grade, Kimmy Morris invited boys to the first half of the party, and we all played Spin the Bottle."
"What, no Seven Minutes in Heaven?"
She shook her head. "I played once, in high school, but not at a slumber party."
They talked for a few more minutes, before closing their eyes and trying to sleep.
The minutes ticked by, but Casey still couldn't sleep. The airport was too bright, too public, not to mention a little chilly near the windows. She couldn't suppress a shiver.
"Cold?" Ryan whispered.
"A little," she admitted. "I thought you were asleep," she added, turning to look at him.
"Not yet. Do you want...I mean, if you're cold, we could..." He blushed, not sure how to phrase it without offending her.
"Cuddle?" she asked with a grin.
The blush deepened. "Share body heat," he corrected a little defensively.
"Semantics...but okay," she agreed, scooting closer and rolling onto her side.
He spooned his body behind hers, one arm wrapping carefully around her waist. "Okay?" he asked softly, his lips only inches from her ear.
It was better than okay. He radiated warmth, and even though she was a liberated, independent woman, there was something intensely comforting about being held in strong arms. "Mmhmm," she mumbled sleepily.
The airport was getting quieter, as slowly people settled in for an uncomfortable night. Casey was absolutely exhausted, but sleep was still elusive. After twenty minutes of trying to will herself to dreamland, she let out a frustrated puff of air.
"Can't sleep?" Ryan murmured.
"No. Sorry, am I keeping you awake?"
His arm on her waist tightened ever so slightly. "Not your fault. This isn't exactly the Ritz."
"It's not even the Motel 6."
He laughed, and the warm rush of his breath against her neck made her toes curl.
"I know today has sucked," she said, "but I'm glad I met you."
Slowly, she twisted herself in his arms, so they were facing each other, their noses practically touching. "Want to play Seven Minutes in Heaven?"
"Can you do that with only two people?"
"And don't you need a closet?"
"Well, as long as we're clear on the rules..."
"Shut up and kiss me."