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As the Cold Wind Blows

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"Are you feeling better?"

Vex'ahlia buried herself a little deeper under the blankets in response. "I hate the cold," she grumbled. "I hate snow, and ice, and—"

Her complaints cut off abruptly as Keyleth wrapped her arms around Vex's shoulders, leaning forward to press a kiss against her cheek.

"No, you don't," Keyleth said matter-of-factly as she pulled away, an amused look on her face. "You love the winter. I've heard you say it a hundred times."

Vex rolled her eyes, even though she knew Keyleth probably couldn't see it. "That was before I fell in the damn lake."

Keyleth gave her another kiss, this one pressed against her shoulder, before she leaned forward enough that she was pressed up against Vex's back. Vex could feel her Keyleth's small breasts against her bare skin, warmer than it had any right to be all things considering.

"I still don't understand why you were out on the lake," Keyleth said, curiosity evident in her voice. "It's been getting warmer outside for weeks. You had to know the ice wasn't thick enough to walk on by now."

Vex squirmed in place but didn't say anything. It wasn't that she thought Keyleth would judge her if she admitted that she'd seen the baby grey render again and had been trying to get close. It was just, well, that Percy was the only one who really knew all of the details about what had happened. She hadn't even told Vax the whole story, not completely at least.

It wasn't that she minded sharing things with the others. It was just that sometimes it was nice to have something that was between two of them instead of all of them, a secret between two instead of four, no matter the specific person it was shared with.

"I'm sure it was important, whatever it was," Keyleth said after a long pause, a hint of awkwardness in her voice as she clearly realized she was on shakier ground than expected.

Vex sighed. "It should have been," she agreed. Her mind flashed back to the glimpse she'd had of the grey render, right before the ground had disappeared beneath her feet and the icy water had come up to meet her.

She'd been closer than she had in weeks.

Keyleth didn't ask any more questions, and Vex could have kissed her for it. That would have involved moving, though, and at that particular moment she was perfectly happy where she was.

The two of them settled into a comfortable silence for a long moment before Keyleth shifted and pulled away, her arms unwrapping from around Vex's body. Vex immediately shivered a little as the warmth Keyleth been generating disappeared, and she turned over so that she could see just where her bed warmer had gone.

Keyleth hadn't actually left their makeshift bed. She'd simply sat up, letting the blankets fall off her bare chest and pool in her lap. The makeshift stone tent she'd crafted around them from a few nearby boulders kept out the worst of the elements, protecting them from the cold wind that was blowing and holding in the heat from the small fire that Keyleth had set up at the outside edges of it.

The fire that she was apparently using her magic to build up again just then.

"Did you have to move?" Vex whined.

"You looked cold," Keyleth explained, her gaze flickering back in Vex's direction. "I thought the fire needed to be bigger."

"I'm cold because I went swimming in the middle of winter and my heating source decided to move away from me," Vex complained, careful to keep a teasing note in her voice. She made a show of pulling the blankets up even higher even though, truthfully, she felt almost back to normal by then.

Or, at least, she felt much better than she had when Keyleth had first pulled her out of the lake in the first place. Considering she'd been a mostly incoherent mess at that point, it wasn't that difficult. Vex didn't particularly want to ask exactly why Keyleth had been following her, but she had to admit that it would have been a much, much, much worse night if she hadn't been.

Vex didn't particularly want to think about that just then.

Keyleth smiled, making one last gesture with her hand before lowering herself back down. "It's not the middle of winter," she pointed out. "It's almost spring."

Vex let out a thoroughly unladylike snort that she was certain her father would have been absolutely horrified to hear. She really needed to start doing that more often, solely for that reason. "It's Whitestone," she shot back. "Spring's just a slightly warmer version of winter."

For a moment, she thought Keyleth was going to argue with her. She apparently changed her mind at the last second, closing her mouth with a snap and instead giving a slight nod of acquiescence.

Then, without a word, she wrapped her arms around Vex's body again.

Vex tensed slightly at the unexpected movement before relaxing into warmth of the embrace. The bone deep chill that she'd felt earlier, when Keyleth had first dragged her out of the frigid water, had finally faded away, leaving her more tired than anything.

"Are you sure that you're warm enough?" Keyleth asked. She sounded a bit skeptical, like she didn't quite believe Vex's claims that she was fine.

Which was... well, honestly, somewhat fair. All things considered.

Vex rolled her eyes before pushing herself upwards into a sitting position, although she was careful to keep her grip on the blanket. She didn't particularly care about modesty, but she was still chilly enough that she'd rather not bare her breasts to the elements just then.

A flicker of confusion flashed across Keyleth's face as she hurriedly sat up as well. "What's wrong?" she asked. "Do I need to—"

She cut off abruptly as Vex leaned in and kissed her.

It took Keyleth longer than it should have to kiss back, and there was a concerned glint in her eyes when she eventually pulled away. "Are you sure?" she asked. "You were almost hypothermic not that long ago."

Vex gave her a Look. She'd perfected it on Vax over the years, and she knew without a doubt that it was definitely a Look and not just a look. The capital "L" was important.

"You're the one who keeps saying I look cold," Vex pointed out. "Can you think of a better way to warm me up?"

The worry faded somewhat from Keyleth face as she smiled at her. "Several actually."

Vex sighed. "Fine," she said, "can you think of a more fun way?"

The fact that Keyleth kissed her in reply spoke louder than words.