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Yule

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Cold was never something that Hytham had adapted to. While in Norway he had been able to manage with the warmth of fires and most of the time England was comfortable, just not right now. Ravensthorpe was currently covered in a modest amount of snow, which wouldn't usually be a problem for Hytham except the wind that invaded the bureau. The chill bit deep into his skin and rustled the scrolls he was trying to read. Another gust of wind rushed through the window and he had to pin down the corners of the correspondence to keep it from flying away as the icy chill forced its way to his bones. Hytham waited until the wind slowed enough that he could roll up the scroll he'd been reading. Maybe he'd try to find warmth in the longhouse, then he could try to get some work done.

The door to the bureau opened and a rush of wind filled the room, knocking a couple of scrolls off of his table. Hytham stood from his seat and looked toward the figure in his doorway. "Are all Valkyries so destructive on their arrival?" He moved around the table to start picking up the scrolls, noting that Eivor remained in the threshold rather than entering his building properly. Eivor just grinned as she watched him collect the scattered parchments. "What brings your storm of devastation to my humble bureau, Habibti?" He noted that she had both hands behind her back and there was a mischievous look in her eyes.

"I would hardly call scattered scrolls devastation," Eivor countered. "Or is the cold ruffling your feathers, My Eagle."

"You mock but even you shroud yourself in a cloak to keep the winter at bay." Hytham picked up the last of the scrolls and moved to the wall where he stored his records.

"Then maybe you should invest in a cloak," Eivor suggested. "After all, I don't think these English winters are going to get any warmer." Hytham waved off the suggestion as he finished putting away the scrolls. The truth was that he didn't leave the settlement at all and so he couldn't reason out the expense. Being a Hidden One wasn't a lucrative position so he had to be more frugal with his use of what coin he had. "I could get you one."

"You don't need to do that," Hytham assured her. It was foolish but he didn't like depending on Eivor to often. Her silver should go to arming her and supplying the clan, not on him.

He heard Eivor step into the room and he started to turn toward her. "Keep your back to me," she commanded.

Hytham stopped his motioned and returned to facing away from the Viking. "If you're going to kill me then I hope you do it quickly. If I linger to long I fear that my cause of death will be from heartbreak."

Eivor approached him until she was standing right behind him. "I promise I don't plan on killing you." She leaned in close and he could fear the warmth of her breath on his ear. "After all, without you who would warm me at night?"

"Half of England," Hytham answered with a light chuckle. They were both aware of how many men and women in England would gladly line up for a chance at her hand, or at least her bed.

"None of them could compare to you," Eivor informed him, placing a light kiss on the side of his neck. "That's why I got you this." A weight settled on Hytham's shoulder as she draped the cloak over his shoulders and secured it into place. It blocked out the chill from the wind immediately and the fur on his shoulders warmed his neck, securing his body heat from abandoning him. Maybe a proper cloak wasn't so trivial.

Hytham turned around to face her, looking over the long white fabric of the garment. "Habibti, this is…" He struggled to find the words to express his gratitude for the gift. "What fur is this?" he asked as his fingers touched the white fur at his collar.

"I had some extra polar bear hides left over so I had Wallace prepare it. Every winter you just suffer the cold so it seemed perfect. And the cloak is specially made." Eivor reached behind him and pulled the hood up so that it covered his head. "I had it fashioned in the same style as my cloak." She indicated the cloak she'd gotten from the abandoned bureau. "I was going to wait until it was actually yule but a few days early is not that early."

"I don't think I have the words to express my gratitude," Hytham said, his hands moving to her waist and pulling her toward him.

"You can express it in ways that don't use words," Eivor answered, as she stepped closer, until their bodies were flush. Her arms moved to rest on his shoulders as she leaned in enough to kiss him. Hytham held his love tight to him, soaking in the warmth of her body and love. As long as he had her to warm him he supposed he could deal with these English winters.