And right before the deadline, I have completed an Extra - a cross-square extra, to be precise. \o/ Two bingos, four achievements and an extra in h/c bingo round 5. I call that a win.
Pairing/characters: Jason, Pythagoras
Spoilers: 1.11 – Hunger Pangs
Disclaimer: Not mine. BBC and Urban Myth Films own them.
Word count: approx 1179
Summary: It had been dark for hours, but Jason couldn’t sleep.
AN: Cross-square extra for the hc_bingo ‘Hunger/Starvation’ and ‘Wild card - Loss of Job/Income’ squares on my hurt/comfort bingo card.
AN2: Set after episode 1.11 – Hunger Pangs
Cross posted to AO3
It had been dark for hours, but Jason couldn’t sleep. Oh, he was tired. He had spent much of the last three nights running around the city as a dog, after all, but it seemed that despite Pythagoras managing to cure the curse, his body was still in some sort of semi-nocturnal pattern.
He still cringed whenever he thought about what had happened. He wasn’t even sure which part had been the worst – the actual transformation itself, the waking up naked in strange places, or that mortifying encounter with Ariadne.
No, that wasn’t entirely true. Jason knew what had been the worst part. It was the shame. He had done a lot of things that, with hindsight, he felt terribly ashamed about. Not least was the stealing itself. And coming close behind that had been the way he had then eaten the meat himself instead of saving it to share with his friends (although given what happened later, that was probably a good thing, even if had come from entirely selfish motives).
He heard a loud sigh, and the rustle of blankets and creak of wood from the next room. Apparently Pythagoras couldn’t sleep either.
Jason was wondering whether to go and see if he wanted company when Pythagoras made the decision for him and got up and came into the main room to pour himself a drink of water.
“Can’t sleep?” Jason said quietly, sitting up.
Pythagoras jumped so hard he almost spilled his drink.
“Jason! Sorry, I didn’t know you were awake. You startled me.”
“So I noticed.”
Jason got up and wandered over to sit down at the table. Pythagoras sat down opposite, cradling the cup in his hands.
“What’s wrong?” Jason asked.
Pythagoras got that brief rabbit in headlights look, before he looked down and focussed his gaze on the table.
“Nothing. I just wanted a drink.”
“Pythagoras, you are a very bad liar. What is it?”
Pythagoras glanced up again, and this time he looked embarrassed.
“I’m just so hungry. I can’t sleep.”
And hello again, shame. Jason was all too aware of the fact that the only reason he wasn’t hungry any more himself was because he had eaten an entire joint of meat, plus, apparently, at least one chicken and most of a goat in the last three days. Pythagoras, on the other hand, had eaten part of a melon... and that was it. They had been short on food even before the three days of dog-curse, and it wasn’t as if his skinny friend had much fat reserves to go on in the first place.
“I’m sorry,” Jason said, suddenly subdued.
Pythagoras looked at him in confusion.
“Why?” His mouth quirked into a smile. “What have you done this time?”
Jason suspected that now he was the one with the ‘rabbit in headlights’ look.
“Nothing! Well, nothing new, at least.”
“Then what is it?” Pythagoras threw Jason’s earlier question back at him.
“I got us all into so much trouble again. And I lost us that job. If I hadn’t done that, we would have had money, and we could have had a larder full of food by now.”
“I doubt that rat-catching job would have provided enough to fully restock the larder.”
“You know what I mean.” Jason took a deep breath. He had been thinking about this on and off all day (mostly, it had to be said, in order to avoid dwelling on what Ariadne must think of him now). “Tomorrow I’ll go out and get a job. Any job. I don’t care, as long as I can make up for the last few days.”
Pythagoras sighed and shook his head.
“This wasn’t your fault, Jason. Well, not entirely. And it is not just up to you to find a solution.” He smiled again. “Besides, you don’t exactly have a good track record with employment in Atlantis. I think word is beginning to get round about you.”
“But that’s exactly the point!” Jason protested. He subsided under the force of Pythagoras’ raised eyebrow. “I guess I’m not very good at that kind of thing.”
“Jason, you are extremely good at a lot of things. Unfortunately, keeping out of trouble is not one of those things.”
After a moment, even Jason had to smile.
“Still, we can’t go on like this. We have to find something.”
“And we will,” Pythagoras said with more conviction than Jason would have expected. “Do you think this is the first time this has happened? Do you think that before you arrived, Hercules and I never got into this kind of situation? It’s happened before, and no doubt it will happen again. We always find something, sooner or later.”
Pythagoras had probably thought that would be reassuring, but if anything it only made Jason feel worse.
In the world that he had lived in before he came to Atlantis, Jason had never known real hunger, or poverty. He had always believed that there were safety nets if he got into trouble, or needed help (not that he had ever needed it).
Here... there was nothing. In Atlantis, if you did not have money, or the means of getting money, then you didn’t eat. The fact that apparently even someone like Pythagoras had experienced that on more than one occasion in his life made Jason want to rail against the world that would let this happen.
Pythagoras’ concern dragged Jason out of his thoughts.
“Sorry, it’s nothing. My mind just wandered, that’s all.”
“Then I should leave you in peace to get some sleep.”
Pythagoras stood up.
“We will be all right, Jason. Trust me. If it comes to the worst and we cannot find work immediately, there are a couple of people who owe me favours. I think perhaps it might be time to call them in.” He paused, and gave Jason a speculative look. “But Jason, will you do something for me?”
For Pythagoras, right now, he would do anything.
“Try to stay out of trouble.”
Jason gave a surprised laugh.
“I can certainly try.”
Pythagoras gave him an exasperated, yet fond, smile. Worryingly, it was the same way he looked at Hercules a lot of the time. Jason wasn’t sure how he felt about that.
“Then that will have to do. Goodnight, Jason.”
Jason watched him go, thoughts still swirling in his tired mind.
Pythagoras was right; they would be fine. Jason would make sure of it. Right then he made a silent promise that Pythagoras would never know real hunger again. Not as long as Jason had breath in him. It was the least he could-
He looked up as Pythagoras poked his head back around his bedroom door.
Pythagoras ... smirked. It was the only word for it. Jason suddenly had a bad feeling about what was coming next.
“You’ve got your noble and self-sacrificing face on again. Whatever you’re thinking right now, I think we can safely assume it falls under the category of ‘trouble’. So stop it.”