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Mugen isn't used to cold like this; the kind that sets into your bones and doesn't come out again 'til Summer. There's nothing on his body except bones, muscle and skin, and Fuu is grateful for her tendency to winter-plumpness.

He shivers and--

"Jin, maybe you should--" Jin nods, and Fuu takes his pack. Fuu the Packhorse, she thinks, loading it on her shoulders. Jin opens up his coat, slides out of one sleeve and puts it over Mugen, leaning into him. Mugen barely protests.

Jin looks at Fuu. His expression is only slightly worried, but Fuu reads this as panic in another.

There. Barely visible against the snow driving into them, each flake biting like a tiny, but sharp-toothed, rat. A small cabin, thatched roof and thick walls.

They stumble in. There's a little food left by the door, but not enough to last the night. Jin goes out to look for more. It's dark inside, and she bends over to get the fire lit. Her hands are shaking in the cold and she mutters small curses against everyone -starting, of course, with Mugen and Jin, but going on to include everyone she's ever met, or read about, or heard mentioned in passing.

His clothes are soaked. She strips them off and Mugen is feeling better, enough to open one eye and say, "Pervert-girl. You like men better when they're frozen stiff?"

"I like you better when you can't talk," she says. His teeth clatter like a baby's rattle or a hen pecking grain on stone.

"You want me naked, you should ask first." he grins, teeth still for a moment.

"Don't take it out on me that you can't deal with a little snow," she says. She takes his fingers and brings them to to her mouth, rubbing them and breathing, trying to get the blood moving. "A delicate little girl like me is okay, but scrawny chicken-Mugen..."

"Not my fault I don't have fat to keep me warm," he manages to say, between teeth that chatter like laughing skulls. "Pigs and bears and fat sheep go out in the snow."

"Shut up," Fuu says. She takes his hand and puts his fingers in his mouth while she takes off his shorts and rubs his feet, trying to get the circulation going.

Jin comes back and puts the wood near the fire to dry out, then rubs Mugen's back and arms, brisk movements, while she tries to arrange Mugen's clothes by the fire to dry. Her coat goes there too, along with Jin's. Not much warmth from the fire, but it's better than nothing.

That done, she takes off her top kimono and arranges it like a loose blanket, half under her, half over. Jin does the same with his and they put Mugen between them. He's freezing, cold hands and boney body. Scrawny body, like a rabbit too tough to chew. She takes his hands and rubs them. She can't afford for him to get frost-bite. He needs all his fingers to grip.

"What are you-- move!" Mugen says, struggling a bit, then stopping because he doesn't want to move back against Jin, or forward against her, and he's not strong enough to stand up.

"Idiot. You wanna freeze to death?" Fuu says. "Do you think I *want* to have you in front of me?" She smiles and looks down at him. "Not that you're a *threat* right now."

Mugen glares at her, taking the comment in exactly the spirit it was intended. "Bitch."

"Be nice," Jin says. He arranges himself around Mugen. "He is cold." Offered as an excuse and an insult, and Fuu really wants to learn how to do that like Jin does.

"S'not the cold, it's you," Mugen hisses out. "You'd make any man shrink. Fucking pervert bitch pervert."

"Like we're not too high-class for you anyway. You couldn't pay enough for this," Fuu says. She settles in more securely. Mugen is still grumbling, but she can ignore that.

She hopes his clothes dry out by the morning.

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October 2016

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