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Cold feet

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On the last night of their bird-watching and walking holiday in Scotland, Mic woke up in the early hours of the morning. At first, he wasn't sure what it was exactly that had woken him up: he could tell by the light that it must be close to dawn, and he could hear distant birds singing, but neither had woken him up at this time of morning earlier in the week. Then he realised he was cold. The previous day had been a dream to top an all-in-all warm May week, hot and sunny. It had been warm enough when they were retiring for the night that Mic hadn't bothered getting into his sleeping bag properly, and in any case he'd left out one of the layers he'd been wearing to sleep earlier in the week. The weather must have taken a turn for markedly colder in the night.

Next to him, Jan was still deep in sleep, or so it seemed, so Mic didn't want to start rummaging through his things for more clothes although he desperately wanted another pair of socks at the very least. He got fully into his sleeping bag and tried to relax and go back to sleep. After some time he had to admit it wasn't working—his feet had got cold in the night and nothing seemed to warm them up again. He sighed and heard a rustling sound from Jan's direction.

"Are you awake?" Jan asked, sounding still half-asleep. "God, it's much colder than I expected."

"Yes, it woke me up. My feet feel like they've been sitting in a bucket full of ice."

"I know that feeling."

They were both silent for a while.

"Feeling any warmer?" Jan asked.


"Well, in that case, get in here. There's no point to both of us shivering when we can probably warm up if we're sharing heat."

Mic nodded, and they spent a few minutes adjusting the sleeping bags and settling down comfortably, with Mic spooned against Jan, with Jan's arm round his waist.

After some time Mic realised he wasn't shivering any more and his feet felt less numb. Every now and then he felt Jan's warm breath against the back of his neck, which felt strangely intimate and sensual. Jan didn't usually cuddle, which seemed to give this moment some special significance even if it was for warmth, an entirely practical reason. Knowing Jan, doing something unusual on the last day they were going to spend together definitely meant something. He remembered the girl Jan had been inseparable with last year in Cornwall. Towards the end of the holiday, even the way he held his body had been slighly different, broadcasting how the end of the holiday would mean an end to the relationship to everybody who paid attention, except the girl who remained oblivious.

Perhaps huddling for warmth now was Jan's way to say he didn't want Mic as a lover any more, and to his surprise, Mic found he was fine with the idea. He had thought he would be more upset, but by now, he knew Jan, knew how Jan's relationships played out, and knew that they would remain friends, and that was enough for now. He was finally warm and sleep was winning over wakefulness.