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Brass Knuckles

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A blizzard hits Franklin County and forces them through their stash of firewood, so Forrest has to bundle up to trek out to the shed and restock. He tells her to stay put, but she doesn’t listen because extra arms mean extra wood. So while he’s properly dressed for the blinding snow and biting wind, she follows him without much forethought and ends up trudging knee-deep through the damp drift with no real protection.

He waits until they’re back inside to ask her what the hell she’d been thinking. Her stockings are soaked through, her skirt so icy that there’s frost on the hem. He gets the fire roaring, and after she’s slipped out of the coldest of her layers, he grabs what’s close at hand: his thickest wool cardigan that’s been waiting for a wash, and a heavy quilt that’s been warming by the previously dwindling fire.

It stops her shivering, but she’s still chilled to the bone. He knows the only thing for it and wraps a second, thinner blanket around her shoulders before he excuses himself for a few minutes.

It’s not late enough for bed, though the sky is getting darker, but he beckons her into the room anyway. It’s got a fireplace as well, and it’ll be easier to keep warm, since it’s so small. He’s layered the bed with as many blankets and quilts as he could gather through the house, and starts undressing the minute she shuts the door.

“You’re gonna catch cold if we don’t get you warm. Skin to skin,” he says, leaving only his long johns on. If she were less miserable, she might’ve poked fun at him, asked him if that was a line he uses with all his girls. But the prospect of nestling herself into all of his sturdy heat is too good to delay. So she strips herself naked, burrows under the covers, and sighs when her muscles relax at the feel of his chest pressing against her back, his shoulders curving around hers.

And if her bones finally thaw, and he stops jerking whenever her frozen feet touch his, maybe she’ll squirm against him–convince him that they should start a fire of their own. The friction of skin against skin.