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warming up

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“Scientia–”

The hand to his exposed wrist was ice-cold. Startling, when his nerves were so high strung these days as they were. Ignis jerked his hand back before he could stop himself, and Ravus looked at him with a mixture of concern and apprehension.

“Ravus, apologies– your hands are like ice.”

The mild exasperation in his voice seemed to make Ravus relax, then, as much as he did outside of the safety behind walls of their own hotel room. He looked at his prosthesis, and raised his eyebrows as he tilted his head back to Ignis. “It doesn’t have much hope of changing, given the ever-decreasing temperature here as of late.”

Yes, metal plates and magitek armor. Ignis huffed a breath. That hadn’t been what he’d been talking about, and Ravus knew it. “Unfortunate, that, but that’s also not the hand you touched me with.” He offered his own hand.

Ravus stared at it. “Yes?”

“For pity’s sake.” The man could honestly be exasperating. Their partnership trying at times. But Ravus’s flesh and blood hand was like ice, as cold as the prosthesis at the other side, and Ignis had been blessed with good circulation and a penchant for caretaking.

He reached out, taking Ravus’s fingers to fold between both of his own, warmer hands.

All of that aside, holding Ravus’s hand would never be a hardship.

The man made a tiny noise in response, looking first at their hands and then, shortly, away from Ignis entirely.

He didn’t miss the shade of pink staining the man’s features a moment later, but that too had become a constant in itself.

 

 

“With any luck, we’ll be on our– Astrals!” The word was almost embarrassingly a yelp, a curse he prayed their neighbors at the other side of the hotel wall didn’t hear. But Ravus’s bare feet tangling up with his was a shock to his system, ice water into his veins after finally warming from their jaunt through the bog earlier, and, well. It was knee-jerk, again.

“Sorry,” Ravus muttered, eloquence traded for exhaustion. He pulled the blankets tighter.

“Have you been parading about barefoot?” He’d been tired, too… up until a half second ago. “Where are your socks?”

“Don’t fuss over me like you did your Prince Noctis.” The response was barely a grumble.

Ignis opened his mouth to complain… and then closed it again. Fair. That was fair. Ravus took only to certain kinds of overbearing behavior and, well, Ignis had been taught to be overly protective of Noctis. (And then had fallen into that role naturally, of course.) But Ravus wasn’t his prince. Not in that sense.

Gods knew the man was far old enough to put on a pair of socks without reminder.

So, why then, was Ignis so godsdamn worried about it? Ah. Right. Because his cold feet were dangerously close to where Ignis’s pajamas had rucked up to reveal his calves.

And because old habits died hard, too.

With a tiny sigh, he worked his pants legs back down proper and nudged Ravus’s leg with a stocking foot. “Come on, then. Just keep them off my bare skin or you may find I’ll kick you on accident.”

Ravus grunted a groggy non-reply, wiggling his toes between Ignis’s leg and the mattress.

He swore he could feel the cold radiating from the man’s skin, through the thin layer of cotton between them. If a small shiver crawled up his spine a moment later, well… they’d both get warmed up soon, he was certain.

Ravus wrapped his arm around him to pull him in, even closer.

Ignis smiled wearily, and settled in. They’d be warm in no time.

 

 

“… it’s cold.”

The complaint spoken aloud was the sole warning Ignis had of the impending disruption to him very much minding his own business. It was cold. But Ravus wasn’t usually one for complaining, unless…

“Don’t you dare.”

Ravus gave him approximately two seconds of a look before he promptly leaned over to bury his face in Ignis’s neck, freezing nose and all.

“Oh– Ravus,” he complained. But the nudge back to his head was gentle, and mostly teasing; how could he push him away, now, when they were both swathed in blankets and awaiting the generator to kick on. The power hadn’t gone out so long ago, but the days were dark and the temperature dropped quickly, even in Lestallum.

A small group of the most senior hunters had been tasked to protecting town while the power plant was brought back online. Everyone else was confined to their homes– hotels– and so they were, Ignis stilling from an urge to shove the taller man away from him if only through instinct if nothing else.

He wouldn’t, of course. But, still, that shock factor… he had to get Ravus some good socks and mittens, and a scarf, at the very least…

“It’s not my fault I was born cold-hearted,” Ravus muttered. His breath was warm, at least, against his neck.

The puff of breath Ignis gave in response was both amusement and displeasure. A joke at the his expanse, in the way Ravus knew how to joke. Self-deprecating, that was. Ignis couldn’t let that stand on its own. “No. Cold hands, warm heart,” he replied thoughtfully, reaching up to slide his fingers into Ravus’s hair, and tuck the man’s face closer to his skin.

“So you say,” Ravus murmured. His lips barely moved against Ignis’s neck, but then, distinctly: a brief kiss, brushing along his pulse.

Ignis smiled. Maybe his own face felt a bit warmer now, too. “I do. But let’s endeavor to keep all those extremities attached, too, shall we?”

If Ravus took to nuzzling and kissing along his skin whilst simultaneously warming up his ridiculously cold nose… then Ignis thought it was all the more endearing.