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The Blue Before Dawn

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Really, Stu wasn’t complaining about the shared bunks. It was the perfect opportunity to snatch a few more blissful hours each day with Mitch, and the extra warmth was very necessary on a transport ship so cold he was surprised none of them had yet encountered serious frostbite. In theory. In reality, Mitch was the worst hoarder of blankets he’d ever met. That was how Stu woke in the middle of the night, so cold he couldn’t feel his hands or feet, perched precariously on the edge of the bunk next to a cocoon of blankets.

Gently, he prodded the mass of blanket-encased Mitch until he groaned and shifted, though he appeared to be burrowing further into his nest rather than making any attempt to share it.

“Mitch” he hissed, tugging fruitlessly at the blankets. “Mitch!”

“Wha-?” The sleepy attempt at a question was cut off by a yawn, and Stu leapt on the opportunity whilst his bunkmate was even remotely awake.

“Let me share?” He tugged again at the blankets, and this time the message seemed to reach its intended audience, as Mitch mumbled something that was probably supposed to be words of agreement through another yawn. There were a few moments of awkward wriggling, then Stu was enveloped in delightful warmth.

“Jesus, kid, you’re freezing!” Mitch sounded far more awake now than he had done a few moments ago, which admittedly might have had something to do with the human icicle he was now sharing his blanket cocoon with. Stu hummed in agreement, completely failing to sound anything other than pleased as he was wrapped up more firmly in his lover’s warm blankets and warmer limbs.

They both fell quiet, Stu marvelling at how easily this affection between them came now after so many difficulties, enjoying every moment now all the more for it; every press of warm lips to his shoulder, every squeeze of warm hands around his frozen ones, every little shift that brought them closer together or brought fresh heat to his slowly-warming body. It was such a deep and dramatic change from the last time they’d shared a bunk, on that train ride that felt decades away from the present.

Neither of them were scared of themselves any more. That was what he told himself, as his shivering finally started to subside, as Mitch nuzzled into his hair with a drowsily-murmured “go to sleep, sweetheart”. Neither of them were scared any more, and that would have to be enough to make it through.