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You Keep Me Warm

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Nestled cozily under a blanket, Canada watched as the snow fell outside his living room window—but it wasn’t the snow that he was really watching for. Any minute now, Cuba’s taxi should be arriving. It had been a little over an hour since Cuba called to say he was leaving the airport, so he should have been there by now. The snow was coming down pretty heavily, though, so maybe that was slowing him down.

Canada tried not to let his impatience get the better of him, but it was hard. He hadn’t seen Cuba in a few months, and he had missed him. Adding to his excitement was the fact that this would be Cuba’s first time visiting him at his home. Canada had already gone to visit Cuba a few times and had loved getting to see his country. Now that he had finally convinced Cuba that the cold winter wasn’t so bad, Canada was going to be able to return the favor.

…If Cuba ever arrived, at least. Even with the bad weather conditions it shouldn’t take him this long. Trying not to worry too much, Canada sent him a text to make sure everything was okay. But after fifteen minutes with no response Canada was finding it much more difficult to stay calm. What if the taxi had slid on the ice and crashed into another car, or gotten stuck in a snowbank, or—  

Knock knock.

Canada threw off his blanket and rushed to unlock the door. He opened it as quickly as he could. “I’m so glad you finally made it—” His sentence broke off in a gasp when he saw the state that Cuba was in.

Cuba was shivering uncontrollably from the cold. Both he and his suitcase were covered in snow, all the way from the half-centimeter coating the top of his tennis shoes (tennis shoes? what was he thinking?) to the clumps of flakes stuck to his eyebrows…his eyebrows that were looking quite angled....In fact, Cuba looked altogether furious.

“I’m sorry!” Canada said, shrinking away from the door.

Cuba’s anger melted into concern. “For what? You didn’t do this.”

“Oh, right. Sorry, it’s just instinct,” Canada said, still a bit nervous. He ushered Cuba inside, then stepped out to grab his suitcase. “What happened? Are you okay?”

Cuba huffed. “Yeah, I’m fine—no thanks to my dumbass taxi driver. He took a wrong turn twice—claimed his GPS was ‘malfunctioning’—and he dropped me off at the wrong street. It took me fifteen minutes to find your house.”

“I’m so sorry,” Canada said as he helped Cuba take off his soaked hat and gloves and hung up his coat. At this rate, Cuba would probably never agree to come visit him here again. “I’ll turn up the heater, and make some hot chocolate, and get some blankets.”

He started to rush off, but Cuba grabbed his hand. “That’s great, but aren’t you even going to say ‘hello’ first?” Cuba asked.

Canada laughed. He knew he had forgotten something. Standing up straighter with an aura reminiscent of his brother’s, Canada dramatically lifted his arms to gesture at the house. “Mr. Cuba, I officially welcome you to Canada. I hope you will enjoy your stay.”

Cuba shook his head fondly and laughed. “As long as we’ll be staying inside, away from the snow, I’ll love it.”

Canada blushed as he turned away to set the thermostat to a few degrees higher. He took Cuba’s suitcase upstairs and grabbed a few extra blankets from the closet—including an electric blanket he had bought a few days ago in case Cuba complained about the cold too much. Once Cuba was set up on the couch with the hockey game on, Canada went to the kitchen to make hot chocolate. He had just started up the microwave when the power shut off.

“What the hell?” Cuba yelled from the other room. “What happened?”

Holding up his phone for light, Canada joined him in the living room. “I-I guess I had too many things running at once. S—”

“Don’t apologize, it’s not your fault,” Cuba said. Despite his words, he still sounded angry—and Canada didn’t blame him. The blankets wouldn’t be nearly as effective without the heater running. Canada went to flip the circuit breakers, but it was no use—maybe the storm had played a role in the power loss as well. This was turning out to be a disaster.

Surely Canada could find some way to keep Cuba warm, though. One embarrassing idea came to mind, but he immediately dismissed it and was grateful for the darkness that hid his blush. Within a minute he had come up with a much more appropriate idea, and proposed it to Cuba. “I have some firewood in the garage—I can get a fire going.”

Now that his eyes had adjusted to the dark, he could see Cuba smiling at him. “Sounds great. I’ll help you bring the wood in.”

They each grabbed an armful of wood and placed it by the fireplace. Canada got to work on setting it up, and soon enough they had a fire.

Canada was about to stand up and get a blanket from the couch, but when he turned around Cuba was already standing there, holding one out to him. “Thanks,” Canada said as he wrapped it around himself. Cuba grunted as he sat back down next to Canada—but he hadn’t grabbed a second blanket. Wasn’t he going to be cold?

Before Canada could say anything, Cuba answered the question for him. Cuba grabbed the other side of the blanket and wrapped it around himself, scooting closer to Canada in the process. “I grabbed the biggest one you had,” Cuba said in explanation.

“Thanks,” Canada said softly, wondering if it would be entirely inappropriate to rest his head on Cuba’s shoulder. When Cuba wrapped an arm around his waist, he decided to go for it. Based on the way Cuba pulled him even closer and lightly ran a thumb up and down his side, Canada knew he had made the right choice.

They sat there by the fire, talking about all the things they would do over the next few days and not caring that the power was still off. The rest of the house might still be cold, but there in Cuba’s arms it sure felt warm.