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Cold Noses and Other Things

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"Th-think it's g-gone?" Nick asked, wrapping his arms more tightly around his torso. He had blood smeared down one side of his face, a souvenir from being hit by what felt like a sledgehammer covered in fur straight into a rock lying on the ground. It was still bleeding, but sluggishly now, in the cold air.

"I think so," Monroe said, sniffing tentatively. "But we won't know for sure until morning. Their kind can't survive daylight. We'll be safe here for the night."

"Oh, g-great," Nick said with a sigh and a small chuff of resigned laughter. They sat quietly in the dark, shoulders bumping occasionally, waiting for the sun to rise.

"Do you hear that?" Monroe's voice came out of the darkness.

"H-hear what?"

"That. It's like this weird--are your teeth chattering?"

"S-sorry, but I forgot my electric bl-blanket," Nick managed. He buried his hands in his armpits, though his fingertips were so numb already he wondered vaguely why he even bothered.

A hand touched his cheek and he jerked back, narrowly avoiding hitting the back of his head on the side of the small hollow they had found.

"You're freezing!" Monroe sounded surprised.

Normally Nick would have said something dry and witty, but instead he tucked his chin into his collar and prayed his nose wouldn't fall off. There was a rustling which he dimly heard, then he felt a tug on his shoulder.


"Eloquent as always," Monroe said. "Lean back."

He complied, helped along by Monroe's hands, until he was sitting on the ground in between Monroe's spread legs. He could feel the warm gusts of air from Monroe's breaths stirring his hair. Two hands brusquely rubbed his arms up and down, trying to put some heat back into them. It felt glorious.

"Are we c-cuddling?" Nick asked with a small smile.

He could hear Monroe roll his eyes.

"Yes, we're cuh-cuh-cuddling," Monroe mimicked. "Shut up and warm up. Geez, you're like a heat sink. No wonder you always wear that leather jacket."

"S'ry," Nick said, but the warmth of Monroe's chest and limbs wrapped around him were already starting to sink into his body, lulling him into a light sleep.

"Are you asleep? Oh, sure, leave me to watch guard," he heard Monroe complaining as he drifted. There was a pause. "And if you ever tell anyone about this, I will deny it."