They had always been close to each other, physically and emotionally. They weren’t afraid to show how much they cared for each other until they learned they were supposed to. They were young, Link at age 11, Rhett 12. They didn’t know words like “gay” or “straight” until they were thrown at them in accusations.
They were mindful of keeping their distance from each other after that, no matter how cold it felt.
Years later, when Rhett suggested the idea that they cuddle on camera, “for science”, Link was stunned. He laughed at first, thinking Rhett had been joking, but when Rhett chuckled and added, “I’m serious man!” he knew there was no way he’d be turning that opportunity down.
Jean had been nice enough, walking them through each pose with patience, but Link couldn’t help but wish she wasn’t there. Not because he didn’t like her, but because all he wanted was to turn in Rhett's arms and fall asleep, relax into his large torso. He was finally being held by the man he’d been longing for, but he wasn’t allowed to enjoy it in private.
The situation wasn’t ideal, but Link would enjoy it for what it was, having been blessed with the opportunity to be held in his friend’s arms. He finally felt at home, felt a sort of comfort, and love.
After years of feeling cold, he finally felt warm.