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Crystalline

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Lyn, according to both of her girlfriends, should do better in the cold than she does. (Lyn, according to herself, does just fine in the cold.) She has a scarf, and her winter boots, and pants instead of her shorts, and it works just fine. She’s warm, honest. (Lyn’s even warmer, when Florina pulls her into a snowball fight against Ninian. All that moving keeps them both rosy cheeked and breathless.)

Florina, Ilian born and raised, is used to colder climes than Lyn could ever guess. Rain, shine, sleet, or snow, she never does more than change the thickness of her socks, and sometimes she wears a hat. When they first met, on a snowy Sacaean day, Lyn had thought her an odd snow-spirit, restless from how the sun tried to shine through the flurries.

(In a fit of mortality, Florina had tripped over her too-big, hand me down boots, and planted her face in the snow. )

When they stand together, Florina in her usual dress with only thick stockings lining her boots to ward off the chill, and Lyn in her scarf and with warm, heavy pants tucked into her winter boots, Lyn looks overdressed. She blames the disparity in their clothing to the pegasus down lining Florina’s dresses. It insulates better than anything she’s ever come across, and keeps Florina cool in the summers. (That lining is, absolutely, one of Lyn’s favorite things. If she’s particularly irreverent, when she pulls Florina’s clothes off, sometimes displaced feathers will alight in lilac hair. A crown for one of the loves of her life.)

And then there’s Ninian, who thrives in the cold in a way neither Florina or Lyn ever will. It’s the dragon in her blood, fortified by the element it calls kin, and weakened by the element it opposed. In the summer, Ninian wilted like a plucked flower, easily exhausted by the heat compared to her girlfriends. But in the winter she thrived, weathering the sleet and snow and all the ice as though it were a balmy day.

Kissing Ninian, Lyn knows, is like chewing mint; It’s refreshing. Her lips are soft, a little cool to the touch, and her mouth --  

She doesn’t finish that thought, but Lyn does blush prettily.

One of Lyn’s favorite wintertime activities is a group cuddle, Florina’s knees knocking against hers as they snuggle, and Ninian’s nose (always shockingly cool against her heated skin) nuzzling behind her ear. Or Lyn’s lips pressed to the hollow of Ninian’s throat, and Florina between them, slightly lower down in their pile, legs all tangled together.

The Ilian, traditional, cure for the chill and deadly cold is movement. So it isn’t a surprise that Florina’s favorite wintertime activity is snowball fights. Lyn has Sacaean style swordplay speed on her side, but Florina is smaller, and grows absolutely vicious in the heat of snow-battle. If she can convince Ninian, who wears her lightest dress to better soak in the cold, to join forces, it’s all over for Lyn.

Two against one, they fall into the snow, noses pink and lips kiss-me red from the cold. No matter who wins, they share kisses easily, indiscriminately. Florina’s hands are warm when she pulls Ninian and Lyn to their feet, burning with life and heat against their chilled fingers. And then she cups Lyn’s wind-bitten cheeks with those burning warm hands (and after, Ninian’s), in a gesture of Ilian affection and devotion, and Lyn presses reverent kisses to the inside of Florina’s wrists. (Ninian leans forward when it’s her turn, no patience for once, and kisses Florina soundly, instead of letting the gesture run its course.)

The first winter the three of them spent together, Ninian yet the new addition (welcomed whole-heartedly, by both Lyn and Florina, and they had been so infatuated and adoring) into their dynamic, Lyn woke up early to too-cold toes nestled on her thigh. She squeaked quietly, and wriggled free from Florina’s stubborn grip and Ninian’s freezing embrace.

The dawning light had sparkled off of the ice crystals that had grown overnight in Ninian’s hair, that had spread into Florina’s from where their heads had nearly touched. Lyn had reached up a hand to her own hair, and found melting snowflakes threaded into the strands like careful embroidery.

Years later, and Lyn isn’t even surprised to find ice in her hair where there was none before. Ninian’s cold toes on her ankles and Florina wrapped in all their blankets, and Lyn shaking ice out of her hair as she stretches to greet the morning. She steps outside, breath misting in front of her face like a cloud, Lyn blinks against the brightness of a pristine winter morning.

Florina appears next, eyes half closed and clutching two steaming mugs of something aromatic. She bumps her shoulder into Lyn’s arm, passing a cup to her. Lyn inhales deeply, the steam warming her lungs, and the ceramic hot against her palms. “Morning,” she says, leaning down to press a soft kiss to Florina’s temple.

“Morning,” she answers, stamping her feet in time to a song she hums under her breath. “Ninian’s still sleeping,” Florina continues, rubbing at one eye to rid it of persistent sleepiness. There are crystals adorning her like a crown, an icy train glittering like fallen stars on a lilac backdrop. Lyn smiles into her drink, blinking slowly as she watches Florina glitter.

They stand in relative silence, Florina humming into her cup, and shifting back and forth and practically dancing in place out of Ilian habit. Lyn’s drink cools between her hands, but warmth radiates out from her stomach anyway. A warm drink, and Florina’s warm company...Lyn only wanted for one person, who she knows has stretched out across their nearly empty bed.

Ninian, when she shakes the sleep from her limbs and gracefully rests an arm across Lyn’s shoulders, is barely clothed against the cold. Her gauzy nightdress swishes against her long legs, and her hair chimes oddly as ice crystals collide and then fall out of their places as Ninian moves. Breath misting lightly, compared to the clouds Lyn and Florina expel, Ninian presses chilly kisses to both of their cheeks. “Good morning,” Ninian purrs.

“Good morning,” Lyn answers, hearing Florina mumble the same. Ninian’s cold hands steal away some of the buoyant warmth trapped underneath Lyn’s coat, as they sneak up underneath her shirt hem and wrap around her hip. The braids in Ninian’s hair, traditional Lorca braids that she’d plaited in before bed that have held well despite the long night, are easy to admire, even as Florina yelps at the fingers that wrap around her bare arm.

Ninian draws them all together, hugs them tight. Florina giggles, finally awake to the morning, and Lyn sighs. All fondness, fully awake and fully in love with the girls at her sides. “You’ve got frost in your hair again,” Lyn mumbles, pressing a kiss to Ninian’s  lips. “But it’s melting.”

After a moment together, breathing in the morning air, they went inside to have breakfast.