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A Cold Place in Autumn

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"This," Georgie protested, shivering, "Is not my fault."

Mr. Adamant sighed and pushed his fingers through his hair. Given the rainstorm they'd both slogged through to get to the tiny shack they were now standing in, the result was a small flood of water pouring down the back of his neck to splatter on the floor. "I keep warning you about the dangers of interfering in these investigations," he said. "But I don't suppose that if any of the other scrapes you have fallen into have convinced you, a freezing thunderstorm is not likely to do the job. Are there any blankets?"

Georgie pulled her sodden coat closer around her--not that it was doing much good, as she was soaked to the skin and only getting colder--and poked around in the dimness. The shack was some kind of gamekeeper's hut and didn't have much in the way of anything in it, but there was a mattress pad on the floor, and in a cupboard she found a sheet and one solitary blanket.

"It's not g-going to do much good, I'm afraid," she said, feeling her teeth start to chatter as the cold sank in.

"Ah," Adamant said, "it is still a good deal better than nothing. Here, I think I've found a little wood. There's a fireplace here, I'm going to see if I can get it started."

Adam, of course, wasn't shivering, though he must have been turning just as blue as Georgie was. She pulled the mattress in front of the fireplace, dropped the sheet and the blanket on it, and started pulling off her soaking shoes and socks.

"This wood is dry enough," Adam said, "But I'll have to get more from outside, and that will need to dry out before... what are you doing?"

"It's cold," she said, taking a moment to shake the sheet out over the mattress before stepping onto it. "And I'm wet, and everyone knows if you don't take wet clothes off you just get colder." Somewhat vindictively, she didn't bother turning around before unzipping her trousers.

Adam's eyes got incredibly wide for a moment, before he spun around in indignant propriety. "Miss Jones--"

"I don't want to freeze to death!" she said. "Come on, if you get the fire going it'll dry everything out quicker."

She stripped quickly to her underwear, goose-pimples prickling in the freezing air, then sighed and threw her bra and pants onto the pile of clothing as well. Then she bundled up as best she could in the scratchy blanket and lay down. She was still shivering but at least she was a little drier.

Adam was very properly keeping his eyes on the fireplace. When the flame was going, he stood and said, "I'm going to get more firewood from outside. You... keep warm."

Georgie sighed and tried to get closer to the fire. The heat seemed to evaporate in the room before it reached her, and by the time Adam got back with more logs she was counting it a victory to keep her teeth from chattering.

Adam stood the cords up by the fireplace and then sat, very genteelly, on the floor.

"Mr. Adamant," Georgie said. "You must be freezing."

"Must I?" he said, sounding slightly strained.

"Adam, you can't sit around in wet clothes all night, you'll catch pneumonia," she said. "And even if you won't freeze, I think I might if I don't get more heat, and the only way to do that..." she swallowed the end of the sentence. She was certain that Adam's Edwardian sensibilities wouldn't actually stretch to letting her freeze to death on a pallet in the middle of the woods rather than share a blanket with her, but somehow if she said it out loud the possibility would stick with her.

Adam turned around to look at her, startled, and she peeked her head out of the blanket just enough, she hoped, to look pitiful.

"Yes..." he said faintly after a second, "of course." He cleared his throat. "Of course, it's the efficient way to... share body heat and... of course we can't let you freeze."

"It's only getting colder," she pointed out.

"Yes," he said again, then gingerly picked himself up off the floor and stood there for a second, nervously.

"I won't peek," Georgie said, then shut her eyes tight. "Promise."

"I appreciate that," Adam said weakly.

Georgie could hear fabric rustling, and then a small sound as Adam put something on the floor--probably his coat. Then a long pause.

She took a breath and said, in her best freezing-to-death impression, "BRRR!"

That sounded like a stifled laugh. And then footsteps. She didn't turn her head to look, but more noise of wet cloth behind her let her know that Mr. Adamant was at least getting to the point. After one more strangled sigh, and a final rustle of fabric, she felt him climb onto the mattress and gingerly curl up next to her, the blanket between them.

"You're going to catch your death," she said after a frustrated moment. "And you're not helping."

"My dear Miss Jones," he said, "I can't--"

"Oof," she said, frustrated, then squirmed around until she was facing him. She saw his startled look dimly for a second before she threw the blanket over him.

"Miss Jones!" Adam squawked, as Georgie twisted back around so he was at her back again.

"There," she said when she was situated, though there was still an inch of air between them. "Come on, I'm freezing!"

Adam gingerly pressed his legs, and then his chest along her back. His skin was icy after the exposure to the elements. "Brr!"

"I am given to understand that we shall get warmer," Adam said, voice low and quiet in her ear. "Just... don't move too much."

Georgie rubbed her legs together briefly, then said, "I'm going to try to get some sleep until everything's dried off."

"Very good idea," Adam said, in a tone that sounded like he'd swallowed an egg.

She smiled and closed her eyes. It was getting warmer between the two of them, thankfully, and the fire was giving off a little heat. She drifted uncomfortably on the edge of sleep until Adam got up to put another log on the fire, leaving her shivering again.

She only peeked once, and it was when his back was to her. Though he had a very nice backside, she had to admit. Especially lit up by the fire so that the line of his hip was all shadowy on one side and warm and glowing on the other, all of his leg muscles and the side of his torso outlined like pastels or oil paints by an Old Master. The new log made popping noises on the fire and Georgie kept her eyes shut tight as Adam walked back around behind her to slip under the covers again. And it wasn't her fault, was it, that she got a cramp in her leg when he got under the blanket and she had to move backward to stretch it out and smushed straight up against him and--

Well, she'd certainly felt that before. Adamant indeed.

Adam made a strange sort of keening, choked noise and completely froze, like a startled deer. After a few moments, Georgie wondered if he was even breathing.

"That's going to get uncomfortable in a minute," she finally said.

He cleared his throat, but didn't speak.

"Honestly," she tried, "I don't mind, I know we're not in the most comfortable of circumstances. I don't hold it against you."

"I..." Adam finally said, though he didn't seem to have the strength to say anything else.

"Though I suppose I can't say the same for you."

Adam burst out laughing, somewhat hysterically. Georgie grinned. "No, I mean it," she said. "Go ahead and... find a comfortable position. Or whatever. It's okay."

"Miss Jones, this is already awkward enough," he protested. "I don't feel it would be appropriate--"

"I don't see how this is any less awkward than--oh, look, here." She wiggled a bit, dipping her hip downward and then back. Adam made a shocked noise and grabbed her hip, strong enough that she felt his fingers might leave bruises.

"That... will be quite enough of that, Miss Jones," he said, with what sounded like a severe amount of strain. But at least a vital part of his anatomy wasn't trapped at an angle behind her hip, any more. Straight up between their bodies was far more comfortable, she was certain.

"All right," she said.

"Please let me assure you that my intentions toward you--I mean, that I have no such intentions toward you, and I would never--"

"Oh, that's fine," she snapped. And maybe it was just the cold and the wet and the lying on a lumpy mattress, but she kept going, "And it's fine for you to say all that, but every time you say something like that it's like you think all of my friends who would think such a thing are rubbish."

That shocked him enough to stop complaining. "My dear Miss Jones, whatever do you mean?"

"I mean I have been--I mean, not like this, obviously," she said, "not while dying of hypothermia, but I have done things with men whose intentions toward me were definitely what you'd call disreputable, and... and I liked it. So there."

"You are not dying of hypothermia, Miss Jones. Please do not exaggerate."

"Oh, you're impossible." Georgie crossed her arms and hunched away from him as much as she could while still trying to not die of cold. Though it would serve him right if she did.

"Miss Jones..." Adam said softly. "I am not the same as your other friends, and I do not hold your circle to the standards of behavior I set for myself. And while I do not always understand you, I certainly do not think..."

"Oh, that's all right," she said. "Get some sleep."

She thought she slept. She was almost certain of it. She awoke to the sensation of Adam's hands cradling her hips, his breath still warm in her hair. And the sleepy motion of his hips sliding his prick up against the curve of her back in gentle frottage that was almost charmingly boyish.

"You could have woken me," she said.

"Mmmmm..." he moaned.

Christ, he was still asleep. She reached down and tugged on his hand. "Hey, Adam."

"Mmm?" he hummed, slightly more lucidly, then started. "Oh, God, Georgina--"

Georgie grabbed his hand and pulled it around her waist, locking them together. "Come on," she said gently.

Adam's hand was trembling under hers. For a few breaths, he just lay there. Then he whimpered softly, pulled her body close against his, and rocked against her desperately. Georgie held onto his hand and made comforting noises until he came, crying out with his mouth pressed against her hair.

She closed her eyes, letting the tingling sensations building in her stomach melt away with her breathing as Adam's hold on her relaxed.

"Ohhhh, God," he moaned.

"Mmm," she said. "Feel better?"

He laughed sadly. "In body, perhaps, if not in spirit."

"Oh, well," she said, too tired to really make a fuss. "Just get some sleep and you'll feel better in the morning."

She curled her arm under her head and tried to go back to dozing. Adam shifted a bit, then reached over and cradled her chin, drawing her face back so she could look at him. "My dear," he said softly. "But what about you?"

"Me?" she asked, surprised.

Adam laughed. "Why, surely at least some of your... disreputable friends must have taken the time to give you satisfaction in similar circumstances?" When she just stared at him, he trailed his hand down her stomach to comb through the fuzz of hair between her legs. The tingles were back again, and more furious. "May I?"

"Well, please!" she said, spreading her thighs as far as she could.

He smiled at her, then slid his fingers down across her sex, rubbing at the soft hair and drawing circles until he reached her slit. He ran one strong finger up and down, up and down, until she was slick with anticipation and rubbing her hips up against his hand trying to force him to move. "Oh, blast it!" she said, and he chuckled and pushed until the first digit of his finger was inside her.

Adam was damnably patient, and she knew that, and it was always always always frustrating. It was even moreso now, as he was teasing, curling two fingers up inside her and rocking his thumb up over her clit. She'd thought him bashful and inexperienced, but if his gentle exploration was any indication he'd figured out how to make at least one woman happy in the past.

And then he rocked a third finger into her, alternating thrusts of his fingers with circles of his thumb, and every time he moved it was bursts of heat and light and pleasure radiating through her. She grabbed onto his shoulder and let her head fall back and let go, pushing herself against him until she reached the plateau she was driving for. And then his fingers were just part of her glorious, glorious orgasm, as she squealed and ground against him until she lay back panting and satiated.

"Well," he said, drawing his hand back, "You're certainly not... reserved."

"Ha!" she said, getting her breath back. "What made you think I would be?"

"Heaven knows," he said. He stretched, then lay down beside her again. "I trust you're not cold any more?"

"Nope," she said. "Toasty warm."

"Well. That's one responsibility satisfied." He draped an arm over her, and pulled her closer. "Goodnight... Georgina."

"Goodnight, Adam."

She was woken the next time by sunlight. She squinted at the crack in the wall through which the morning light was leaking, then at Adam, who was on his feet stoking the fire again. Fully clothed, of course.

"Ahh, Miss Jones," he said as she sat up. "Good morning."

She glared at him and stayed stubbornly silent until he turned around. "What's wrong?"

"Georgie," she said.

He blinked.

"Or Georgina," she allowed.

Adam's face softened, slightly. "Georgina," he said.

"Good morning, Adam," she replied. "Everything dried out?"

"Yes, everything looks quite tranquil," he said.

She grinned at him. "All right. Hand me my clothes."

Adam stooped to pick up the unruly pile of now-dry clothing, then knelt down next to her while he handed it over. He hesitated for a moment, then reached out to touch her face.

"May I?" he asked.

Georgie nodded. Adam smiled--and his entire face softened when he smiled, why hadn't she noticed that before?--and leaned forward, and kissed her.

Tingles. All up and down to her toes.

"So it wasn't just hypothermia-induced hallucination, then?" she asked.

"My dear Georgina," he said as he stood, "I am a gentleman."

Georgie grinned and dug her underwear out of her pile of clothing. "Excellent. So you're not going to leave me behind when you go back to the manor?"

Adam opened his mouth to complain, then closed it and stared at her until she had her clothing on again. Then he picked up his cane and used it to punctuate possibly his favorite sentence: "Stay. Out. Of trouble."

"You know me," she said.

"That is entirely what I am afraid of," he replied. Georgie shoved her feet into her shoes and bounded to her feet, and he held out his arm. "Shall we go?"

"Let's," she said, taking his elbow, and they walked into the sunny day.