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Cold Hands

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Bertie opened the door to the room he shared with Roger carefully, trying to be quiet enough that he wouldn’t wake Roger up. Roger had gone to bed an hour earlier, his migraine finally bad enough that he’d conceded the need to go to lie down.

“Don’t worry, I’m still awake,” Roger said as Bertie slipped into the room.

Bertie winced sympathetically, moving toward their closet and grabbing a pair of pajamas. “Couldn’t sleep?”


“Want me to swap out your icepack?” Bertie asked. Roger usually wasn’t able to fall asleep with the icepack on his face, but if he was going to be lying awake anyways he’d probably want to numb the pain.

“That would be great, actually. Can you grab the other good one? You know, the one with the—”

“I put numbers on them in sharpie last month so I can actually tell them apart, remember? Two and three are the ones you like for sleep,” Bertie reassured him. The ice packs were all the same style, but they were different ages, and so had different levels of firmness. Bertie had tried to learn to tell them apart the way Roger could, but eventually he’d given up and labelled them.

“Right, I remember now. Thanks,” Roger said.

Bertie grabbed the old icepack and left the room. He set it on the bathroom counter as he brushed his teeth, then went to the kitchen. Kate was there, eating a granola bar. She looked up as he entered.

“He still awake?” Kate asked.

“Yup,” Bertie responded, heading to the freezer. The old icepack was number two, so he grabbed the icepack labelled three.

Kate winced sympathetically but didn’t say anything. There wasn’t really anything to say. Roger got migraines often enough that this was pretty routine, and he got grumpy when people seemed too sympathetic towards him.

“Night,” Bertie said, leaving the kitchen. Kate replied in kind.

When he got back to the room, he opened the door gently. Roger was still awake, but he was more sensitive to sounds when he had a migraine, and their door squeaked if they opened it the wrong way.

Bertie walked over to the bed and handed Roger the icepack. Roger took it, but kept hold of Bertie’s hand for a moment longer. “Mmm, your hand is freezing.”

It was true. Bertie’s hands were usually cold, a byproduct of his poor circulation, and holding the fresh icepack had made them even colder than usual.

Bertie walked around to his side of the bed, took his shoes off, and slipped into bed, turning the light off as he did so. He curled up behind Roger, body pressed to his back and one arm reaching over his. Roger took Bertie’s hand and pressed it over his eye, using it as an icepack. Bertie could feel the corner of Roger’s lip quirk up as he felt the cold against his throbbing eye.

“You know, you’re probably the only person in the world who finds cold hands attractive,” Bertie commented.

Roger chuckled but didn’t reply. Bertie hoped this was a sign that he might actually fall asleep soon.

“Guess this means we’re perfect for each other,” Bertie said, holding Roger tighter.

Before he drifted off, Bertie heard Roger say softly, “I think we just might be.”