Disclaimer: The only thing I know about central heating/household plumbing is that it is not a sexy topic. This will soon become apparent. Sorry.

Anyway, here's some slightly trashy, cringetastic smut. It got long (and weird) but I couldn't find a good place to split it so here it is as one long heating-based woe, set sometime in season 3. Hope you enjoy!

The Homeowner's Essential Guide to Central Heating

She didn't feel the chill at first.

Stuck on a phone call with Russell Jackson in a particularly ranting mood – he had kept up a soliloquy for the duration of her car ride home from the State Department on the most recent ways she had added unwanted complexity and tribulations to his life - her blood temperature had been maintaining a low simmer for the past ten minutes and it was only when she hung up her phone and took a calming breath and pulled off her coat in the foyer of her house that Elizabeth noticed the cold.

And the silence. It was almost ten in the evening; her house shouldn't be silent. There should be the noise of the television and the kids arguing and music and the clanking of pots and pans in the kitchen as Henry cleaned up after dinner.

But nothing.

There was a light on in the office she shared with Henry, but as far as she could tell there was no one in the room. And it was so cold, hardly any difference in temperature from the November DC evening she had just left behind. Something wasn't right.

Elizabeth turned back to the front door, which still stood open to the street outside; Russell's fruitier phone remarks had sufficiently distracted her that she'd neglected to close the door behind her and now the frame was filled mostly with Matt her DS agent, who stood with his back to her as he faced the street to scan the area in case any threats should come calling at her door.

Her heart was thumping and the blood was rushing in her ears because she was afraid that one already had. They may have recently caught their power-hungry stalker, but the memory of the weeks of fear and unsettling events still lingered within her and the cold, echoing house she had come home to brought it all back into focus. Not again, not again. Elizabeth took a step towards the front door. "Matt?" she said.

The DS agent turned at the tremor in her voice and frowned at the expression she wore on her face. "Ma'am?"

"I… I think –"

"Elizabeth?" Henry's voice called from somewhere upstairs and then there was the sound of floorboards creaking above her head followed by Henry thumping down the stairs. He rounded the corner and gave her a welcoming smile to greet her, the warmth on his face a direct contrast to the temperature in the house.

OK. He didn't look worried. He was obviously fine, although apparently cold if his outfit was anything to go by. She thought he was wearing two hoodies. Elizabeth took a calming breath. It mostly worked. The fear that had ignited in her gut dissipated at the sight of Henry, but the deep breath drew cold air into her lungs and she felt the ache of it deep in her chest.

"I thought I heard you," Henry said. He looked to the open door. "Hey, Matt."

"Good evening, Dr McCord." Matt raised his eyebrow at Elizabeth. "Ma'am, what were you going to –"

She held up her hand. "Nothing, Matt. It's fine. Have a good night, OK?" She was starting to feel a little silly at her initial reaction.

The DS agent looked like maybe he got it, and Elizabeth was immensely grateful for the confidentiality agreement he was bound by. "You too," he said.

Elizabeth gave him a smile and closed the front door, turning back to Henry. Her husband leaned forward to give her a kiss, letting it linger a little as his hands came up to hold her hips. She could feel his hands cool through the material of her skirt, and broke the kiss to tell him so. "Henry, it's freezing in here." She took one of his hands in hers. "And so are you! What's going on?"

Henry grimaced and lifted one hand to scrub at the back of his neck. "Yeah, about that…"

When he failed to offer an immediate explanation, for a moment the worry came back. "No one's hacked the system again, right?"

"No, nothing like that," Henry rushed to reassure her, stroking his hands down her arms. "No. It's OK. It's less nefarious hacker and more the sauna Alison was trying to create in the third floor bathroom that has caused this particular home emergency."

Elizabeth closed her eyes. "The what that Alison was trying to create in the third floor bathroom?"

"The sauna," Henry said, completely seriously.

Yeah, that's what she thought he had said. She opened her eyes and blinked. "Right."

Henry continued. "She was trying to create an authentic spa experience without the expense, as an experiment for her column on the school paper. Only now it's less a sauna and more a slightly flooded mess that's taken out the entire central heating system. Hot water, radiators, the lot."

Her stress levels were once again rising rapidly. She didn't deal well with problems with household systems and machinery, as history could attest. Broken central heating was worse than a broken washing machine, and she remembered how insecure she had felt when that particular appliance had been broken a few months ago. At least a washing machine was a contained unit. It was one appliance, with one specific purpose. The central heating covered the entire house. It was bigger, and more difficult to fix, and if she couldn't wash her hair in the morning she was going to look and feel ridiculous for the duration of the early flight she was scheduled to take to Johannesburg in the morning for a summit.

She forced herself to focus on the priorities. "So where are the kids?" It sounded like she needed to have a chat with Alison, albeit a very careful one as Elizabeth was aware that her middle child in particular was still on edge after their experience with the stalker and it sounded a little like she was acting out in order to be heard, and she'd be damned as a mother if she didn't listen. Flooded bathroom and broken heating or not.

"Jareth was here when everything blew. He was great. He stepped in and took them all to a hotel for the night, just rounded the three of them up and hustled them out the door. God, I love that kid." Henry took Elizabeth's hand and tugged lightly to get her to follow him further into the house.

It seemed that the temperature situation did not improve in the kitchen, where he sat her down at the counter and then set about making coffee. Three items of immediate concern were weighing on Elizabeth's mind after Henry's explanation. "Me too," she said. "But what do you mean it blew? Should you be using the coffee maker if there's a flood in the house? Why didn't you go to the hotel with them?"

"I mean the fuses for the boiler blew. Don't worry, babe, no explosions. The electricity seems fine, and I stayed here to wait for you." Henry slid a cup beneath the coffee maker and pressed a couple of buttons. The sharp, slightly bitter, entirely welcome smell of coffee started to fill the air. Steam rose up around the cup.

OK. The first thing was not as reassuring as Henry no doubt thought it was, the inclusion of the words 'seems' in the second was outright concerning and the third was really sweet, and was what saved him from the temptation to unleash her stress as a verbal tirade in his general direction. That, and the steaming cup of coffee her husband pushed her way. "You should've gone with them, Henry. Had a proper night's sleep." There was no point in her going to a hotel, not when it was already ten and she had to be back up at five to catch her plane and she still needed to pack, but Henry could have gone.

His response was immediate. "And left you here by yourself in the cold? No way." He was so adamant. Henry really was just the sweetest man.

He finished making his own cup of coffee before pulling a bottle out of the cupboard next to the fridge and then he wandered around the kitchen island to stand next to Elizabeth, where he opened the bottle and tipped a healthy slug into her coffee mug.

She quirked an eyebrow at him.

"Brandy," he said. "It's warming."

"Alcohol lowers your body temperature," Elizabeth corrected, even as she picked up the mug and took a sip of the boozy coffee.

Henry shrugged. "But it makes you feel warm. And the coffee will help." He poured brandy into his own coffee and recapped the bottle.

Elizabeth took another swallow and enjoyed the warm burn of it all the way down her throat. She could already feel the alcohol starting to work on her and yeah, Henry was right, she did feel warmer even if it was only a trick of her mind. "You're gonna get me drunk, Professor."

He nudged her shoulder with his. "Would that be so bad?"

"Not usually. But I have to get up early tomorrow." She drank some more coffee – she was pretty sure it was more brandy than coffee, really – and felt a buzzing warmth starting to ebb low in her stomach. On impulse, she reached out and caught Henry's chin in the palm of her hand, turning his face to hers so that she could smear a hot, boozy kiss to his lips. "Thanks for staying with me," she said when she pulled away.

His face only inches from hers, Henry appeared a little dumbstruck, whether because of the alcohol or her kiss she wasn't sure, but he was certainly a bit heady on something. "You're welcome."

They drank their coffee in silence for a couple of minutes, until Elizabeth could no longer ignore the chill in the air and she shivered, the knitted sweater she wore doing little to keep her warm in their big house that was noticeably draughty in the absence of working radiators. She pulled the sleeves of her sweater down to cover her hands and wrapped her arms around her middle. "When is the heating getting fixed, by the way?"

"The guy is coming first thing tomorrow. I had a look at it earlier but I don't know enough about plumbing to figure it out."

For a moment she thought of making a comment about Henry giving up on fixing the heating when he had spent so long being smug towards her over the washing machine incident, or maybe just a saucy quip about his, uh, knowledge of plumbing, but she noticed that the end of his nose was a little red with the cold and it put a dampener on the remark she'd been preparing in her head. Instead, she slid off her stool and stepped into Henry, sliding her arms around him and hugging him tight, hoping to imbue him with a little warmth – and hoping that he'd do the same for her.

He obliged with no further prompt necessary, his arms wrapping securely across her back and squeezing her just enough that his chest was a solid wall against hers and she could just about feel his body heat through their layers of clothing.

The low buzz in her abdomen was still there, still a pit of warmth bubbling deep within her even as the rest of her was decidedly chilly, her face in particular. "I thought heat was supposed to rise," she murmured. She blamed the brandy as her mind, without conscious effort, started to turn to other ways that they could keep warm for the remainder of the night.

"What?" Henry's breath puffed against her neck, a hot, welcome rush of air that cooled on her skin far too fast.

She shivered again, feeling increasingly cold despite the close proximity of her husband. The warmth in her stomach didn't budge, but it was harder to focus on when she was suddenly very aware of her ears. Elizabeth was pretty sure that when people were a normal temperature they didn't really feel their ears, but at that precise moment they were one of her top concerns. And Henry had been in the cold house for longer than she had; he had to be feeling the effects, too, despite his calm, collected demeanour. They needed a solution. "I'm just thinking, maybe we could make our own central heating tonight." She arched her hips into his to punctuate her suggestion and followed it up by trailing her fingers down his spine, which made him shiver against her - but if his expression was anything to go by she didn't think it was specifically because he was cold.

Henry pulled back slightly to look down at her, one arm riding low around her hips to pull her pelvis more firmly against his. "That's a good idea." His eyes had already started to darken, always a good sign that he was on board with her suggestion.


"Yeah, I'm thinking we could definitely get a decent head of steam going tonight." He dropped his head to kiss her then, sipping from her mouth for several moments before deepening the kiss, his tongue sliding into her mouth and stroking confidently along hers. He used his hands on her back to turn her slightly, pressing her into the kitchen island.

It was a move she'd usually welcome, the safe, secure feeling of a solid surface at her back and her husband against her front, but tonight the bite of the marble was cold and unwelcome against her back and made her jolt. Elizabeth broke the kiss and pushed lightly against Henry's chest until he gave her space to step away from the marble. "That's not the way to get warm water flowing through the pipes again, Henry."

"Sorry." Henry drew them away from the counter, stepping backwards towards the stairs. He rubbed his hands over her back where she'd been pressed into the cold counter, sending little sparks of warmth through her wherever he touched.

The sparks weren't quite enough to properly ignite the fire, though. She still couldn't stop shivering, and she was aware of small tremors running through Henry, too. On a scale of tundra to tropical, they were hovering somewhere closer to the former – despite the booze in her coffee igniting her libido, she was finding it hard to get the pilot light to stay on when the atmospheric conditions were so adverse.

Yet she couldn't think of a better way to warm up and stretched up on her toes to kiss Henry again. At least the inside of his mouth was warm and his breath was pleasingly hot against her face, as long as he didn't stray too far and let the chill seep in between them again.

"Let's test out the theory about rising heat," Henry said, "and take this upstairs to the bedroom."

That was definitely something she could get behind. "OK, yeah." She stepped in front of him and tugged his arms across her torso, forcing him to wrap himself around her from behind, before starting awkwardly across the kitchen to the stairs.

Henry laughed as he shuffled along behind her. "Are you drunk or have I suddenly become a tea cosy?"

"You're insulating my pipes, deal with it." Elizabeth wrapped her fingers around Henry's wrists, the better to encourage him to follow behind her.

They were halfway up the stairs when Henry suddenly stopped them, halting her movement by tightening his arms around her waist and pressing himself tight to her back, his nose against her neck as he stood on the step below her. "Wait," he said, his breathing growing a little heavier as he disentangled one arm from around her, drawing a noise of protest from Elizabeth.

"Hey." She reached around to try and snag Henry's wrist so she could pull his arm back across her but he resisted, catching her own wrist in his hand and then trapping it with the arm he still had around her waist. She let him hold her in place, lest a too-violent chill-induced shiver send them tumbling down – that, and she was admittedly enjoying the strength of him.

His other hand slid down her leg to where her skirt ended at her knee, his cool palm brushing over her kneecap and then skimming up her thigh beneath her skirt. She shivered – part pleasure, part chill. Then Henry's fingers slid to her inner thigh to brush against her underwear and he spoke into her ear, letting her feel the rumble in his chest as he pressed tightly against her back, "Let's turn up the thermostat a little."

Confusion reigned for a couple of seconds before his fingers slid beneath her underwear and went straight to her clit, rubbing against her firmly. Elizabeth gasped and stiffened for a moment; Henry's fingers were cold against her, and it made it difficult to relax into the touch. She could feel full-blown arousal hovering just out of reach and she groaned in frustration at her body's inability to properly respond. Her head tipped back as he worked to stoke the flames within her, but just as she felt herself start to properly get over the chill and focus properly on the sensations he was creating, he abruptly stopped. "What?" she said as he withdrew his hand from her panties and instead placed his palm against her hip.

"A temporary fix," he said. "Just until we get upstairs and I can have a thorough look at what seems to be causing the problem." He urged her to continue up the stairs with the hand on her hip, using the arm he still had around her waist to half-haul her up the next couple of steps when it took a moment for her brain to kick back into gear.

They stumbled together up the remaining steps and then into their bedroom, where they paused in the doorway to flick on the light and exchange a look and then, by unspoken agreement, dashed for the bed before they did anything else.

Diving under the covers, Elizabeth reached out for Henry as he followed, grabbing the front of his hoody and pulling him towards her, causing him to collapse on top of her as he lost his balance and toppled over. He picked himself back up, his palms braced either side of her head and the duvet hung around his shoulders as the bulk of him pressed her down into the mattress.

"Sorry, babe," he said, making like he was going to move back slightly.

She kept him where he was by tangling her legs with his and keeping one fist bunched in his hoody. "Stay there, it's cold."

He gave her a smile and dipped his head to kiss her. "But I can't investigate the plumbing problem properly if I'm all the way up here." One of his hands trailed down the side of her body before pushing in between them to rest in between her hipbones.

"Plumbing problem? Gross, Henry," she berated him even as a chuckle escaped her. "Besides, you've been stuck in the cold for longer than I have." She slid both arms around his back, pulling his chest flush with hers and causing him to dip his head so that she could whisper in his ear. "I think it's only fair that I stoke your furnace first."

He groaned and withdrew his hand from between them so that he could grind his hips down against hers. "I'm sorry if the furnace is a little slow to respond tonight. It's been hibernating since the heat went out."

"Understandable under the circumstances." And challenge accepted. Elizabeth reached one hand out from the duvet to turn on her bedside lamp and provide a bit of added illumination. The contrast in air temperature was noticeable, and she hurried to bring her hand back inside their cocoon of blankets. "I've been camping a few times. I know how to start a fire." She slid her hands up beneath Henry's hoody – correction, two hoodies and a t-shirt – and enjoyed the feel of the muscles working in his back as he held himself over her. "It just takes a little patience." She spoke directly into his ear. "And occasionally some vigorous rubbing."

Henry choked out something that was between a laugh and a groan. Elizabeth stretched up to kiss him, bringing one hand up to cup his face and coax him to open his mouth to her. He complied and she touched her tongue to his, teasing him with light touches and the sweep of her thumb against his cheekbone. Despite the eagerness of his response, she could still feel the tremble within him and his skin was genuinely cool to the touch. She broke the kiss and looked up at him, concerned.

"What?" he said.

She pushed against his shoulder. "Roll over."

Henry rolled onto his back as instructed and she followed him, draping herself over his chest and then hugging him tight, arms and legs wrapped around him as best she could manage. She pulled the duvet down around them, tucking them in and then pressing a kiss to Henry's cheek. "Now I'm the tea cosy," she said. Then she flexed her hips to press her pelvis deliberately into his. "Or the pipe insulator." She gave him a cheeky wink and a grin to cover the fact she was genuinely a little worried that he had spent so long alone in the cold house before she arrived home.

She figured she'd just have to make it up to him now.

Elizabeth stroked Henry's face and engaged him in a heated kiss, hoping that the passion of her touch would help him to warm up where their house was currently failing dramatically. She made sure to keep the covers tucked around them and her body close on top of his, even as after a minute she slid her arms down to stroke his chest and then back up beneath his layers of clothing. She enjoyed the feel of his stomach muscles jumping beneath her touch, and the next time she pressed her hips into his, it seemed that her attempts to stoke his furnace were starting to pay off.

She pulled her mouth from his and trailed her lips across his chin and down his throat instead, pausing to suck at his pulse point and feeling the beat quicken under her attention. "Did I tell you how sweet it is that you stayed here to wait for me?"

One of Henry's hands flexed against her hip while the other buried itself in her hair, softly stroking the strands back from her forehead at the same time as using the leverage to encourage her to continue kissing him. "You're welcome," he said. "Wasn't about to leave you alone in the igloo."

"You know, I've heard igloos are actually quite warm. The snow acts as an insulator and then the temperature is raised by body heat. Our house definitely is not an igloo if tonight is anything to go by." Elizabeth brought her head up from Henry's neck to kiss him again properly, trailing her hands down his sides beneath his clothes. She scratched her thumb nail lightly against his hipbone and this time when he shivered, she was pretty sure it wasn't from the cold.

Henry's hands left her for a moment to grasp the duvet that was currently draped around her shoulders. He lifted it, pulling it up and letting in a draught of cold air for a moment before he tugged it up over their heads and shuffled himself down the bed slightly, sealing them into their cocoon of blankets. "There," he said. "There's our igloo then." He brought his arms back around Elizabeth and slid his hands up and down her back. "We've got our insulation, we've got body heat. We've got… fire."

He was distracted by Elizabeth's hand slipping inside his jeans, which she had unbuttoned while he had been busy with moving the blankets. Her palm curved around the length of him, pleased that he was responding to her touch and definitely seemed a lot warmer. His face was now flushed with desire rather than red with cold – although his hands were still cold against her when he pushed up the hem of her sweater so he could touch her skin, making her jolt.

Only the cool touch wasn't as unwelcome this time… with the rest of her starting to warm up nicely and the buzz of alcohol still burning gently in her veins, the contrast of cold was… interesting. Henry noticed, too. "You like that?" he murmured.

In the muffled dark of their surroundings, she could just about make out the glint in his eye at the discovery.

"Shh," she said. "I'm busy. I'm still trying to light the furnace."

Henry bucked up into her hand as she flexed her fingers around him. "I can report the furnace is fully stoked, babe." His voice was husky and the moan he released at the end of the sentence helped to punctuate his point.

"Will a little extra oxygen help to fan the flames?" she said, withdrawing her hand from his jeans and smoothing both palms up his chest so she could slide down the zipper on the first of his hoodies. She helped him to struggle out of it and was just pushing the garment away down the bed when Henry banded his arms tight around her and flipped them suddenly, pushing her onto her back and hovering above her.

It seemed that the extra oxygen definitely helped to fan the flames. Henry pulled off his second hoody and then his t-shirt, before reaching down and tugging at the hem of Elizabeth's sweater.

"The fire's going well," he said. "But we're gonna have to work to keep it going. It's cold outside, you know."

"A savage winter," she remarked drily as she let him pull up her sweater and work it over her head and down her arms, curling back into his chest as soon as it was off to take advantage of the warmth he offered.

Henry hummed in the back of his throat. "Oh, the most savage," he agreed as he dropped his head to brush his lips over Elizabeth's. "There's a storm swirling and ice in the air. But we're safe and warm in our little igloo."

She hadn't realised as he was speaking that he had snuck one hand out of the duvet into the cool air of the room and, when he pulled it back inside and slid his fingers inside her bra to gently squeeze her nipple, the renewed cold made her gasp. A hot dart of arousal made itself known as she experienced the contrast in temperature. "Henry."

He grinned and kissed her, sliding both hands beneath her back to unclasp her bra, encouraging her to lift up slightly so he could pull the fabric away from her chest. He flung it somewhere in the room, lifting up the edge of the duvet for just long enough that a rush of cold air was able to flow in, making them both shiver.

"That's not helping the plumbing, Henry," she rebuked him playfully.

"Oh, I'm pretty confident the plumbing is coming along just fine," he answered, unceremoniously running one hand up beneath her skirt and then inside her underwear where he found her arousal just starting to become apparent. He kissed her ear and sucked gently on her neck while his fingers moved over her. "Sometimes it just needs a little TLC to get there. A little sheltering from the storm outside."

His other hand found her breast again, cupping the weight of it in his palm and moving his thumb almost soothingly over her nipple, while between her legs he slid one finger over her clit before dipping down to circle lightly at her entrance. Elizabeth moaned and felt her body responding. She clenched one fist into Henry's hair so she could drag his mouth to hers for a kiss.

"See," he said when she let him go for air. "Just needed to bleed the radiators to get things flowing again."

The awfulness of the line made her laugh, but then his fingers moved firmly over her, spreading her wetness up over her clit and the laugh ended on a gasp.

"Nice and warm now," Henry murmured.

She nodded. She felt properly warm for the first time since entering the house. She kissed Henry again and then dislodged his hand from between her legs so that she could shove his jeans and boxers down over his hips. His weight rested fully on her for a few seconds while he struggled to kick them off, his bare chest pressing against hers. "I hear body heat is the most effective way to keep warm in these situations," she said.

Henry lifted the majority of his weight off her and stroked her hair back before fiddling with the clasp of her skirt. "See, we're so efficient." He tugged her skirt and underwear down with some difficulty thanks to the heavy duvet surrounding them and then was back hovering over her, the tip of his arousal pressing against her centre. "Ready to really set things alight?"

"Oh, I think the fire's just about ready to ignite." She pressed her hips up into his, wanting to feel him moving inside her, feel him surrounding her, forget everything but their warm little bubble.

He obliged, easing into her carefully, mindful that it had taken her a while to be ready. "OK?"

She wrapped her arms around his back to hold him close. "Oh yeah. Pipe thoroughly greased and all plumbing good to go."

Henry laughed. "And you say I'm gross?"

She grinned up at him but then turned serious for a moment. She stroked his face with the back of one hand. "No, I say you're beautiful."

His smile turned tender and he touched his lips to her forehead in a sweet kiss. "Well, I say likewise."

He started to move then, both of them unable to contain their groans at the sensations – and the undeniable heat building between them that was all the more noticeable for the absence of it anywhere else in the house. Elizabeth ran her nails down Henry's back, earning a shiver from her husband and an extra forceful thrust that made her cry out as he slid deeper into her. She stretched her head up to kiss him and spent several seconds stroking her tongue against his before she sensed him starting to break apart, his movements inside her becoming more erratic and his kiss becoming less controlled.

"Seems like the pressure relief valve is about to blow," she said, smoothing her hand down Henry's shoulder and holding him close to encourage him on.

His answer was a grunt that didn't quite make it to words, but his thrusts slowed a little and it seemed as though he was trying to hold back. "Babe," he bit out.

She knew what he was trying to tell her without him having to say it. "It's OK, Henry. Let go." Her own release was still some way away, but watching Henry succumb to his own pleasure was reward in itself. She turned her head so that she could see his face.

He sucked in a loud, shaky breath, the pace of his thrusts increasing until several seconds later, he went still above her and she felt him release inside her, the muscles in his back flexing and his throat bobbing as he swallowed hard as he slowly came down from his high.

"Warmer now?" she asked, genuinely wanting to hear the answer. She had been legitimately worried about him for a while when she had come home to find him alone in their cold house.

Henry nodded, his breathing still ragged and raw. "As hot as the sun," he said.

"Well, that's true, stud." She grinned at him, her tongue between her teeth. She could still feel him inside her and reflexively squeezed her muscles around him as he shifted above her.

He seemed to come back to himself then and a look of embarrassment coloured his features. "Didn't mean to leave you hanging, babe."

Elizabeth shook her head. "You needed it more than me."

"But what kind of central heating repairman would I be if I didn't successfully service the entire system?"

"When you put it like that…"

Henry kissed the grin off her face and laced his fingers with hers, pressing her hands to the mattress on either side of her head. Then he slid his hands down her arms, across her collarbones and to her chest, where he spent a couple of minutes stoking the fire within her by rolling her nipples between his fingers and pressing hot, wet kisses to her sternum, before he moved on down her body. The duvet above them covered Elizabeth's face as Henry kissed his way down her body, blocking the little vision she had in the dim lighting and forcing her to focus on only the sensations as her husband settled himself between her legs and stroked his fingers over her tender flesh.

"There seems to be a leak in the system," he murmured. "But it's OK, I've got it." He lowered his mouth to her, gently laving her clit with his tongue as he slid two fingers inside her and crooked them, hitting her just right in the spot that always drove her wild.

She shouted out, one hand leaving the mattress to tangle in Henry's hair, encouraging him to continue.

"Just need a bit more pressure to get the flow properly going," Henry said, apparently still feeling the need to keep up his role as the central heating repairman.

Elizabeth involuntarily bucked her hips against him, feeling the pressure he spoke of starting to build deep within her but still hovering just out of reach. "Henry, make me come," she ordered, done with the pretence and desperate for release.

She felt him smile against her as he pushed another finger inside her and sucked carefully on her clit and then she was flying, the pressure building to a peak and then washing over her in hot, languid waves. She held her breath, no sound coming out until the last shudder had left her and Henry had extracted himself from his position and crawled back up her body to join her at the head of the bed. She let out her breath on a rush. "Wow."


Something was nagging at her. "You know, I'm kinda hot."

Henry pressed a sweaty kiss to her temple. "You got that right."

"No, I mean really. I'm really hot."

Henry paused to think about it. "Yeah, me too."

Together, they pushed the duvet to the end of the bed and lay breathing heavily in the cool of the room. The fresh, cool air felt nice on her skin, as did Henry's hand trailing lazily up and down her arm. They lay there for a few minutes in silence, just enjoying the quiet time together.

"So the igloo thing really works," Elizabeth said, finally breaking the silence that had fallen over them.

"So does the body heat thing," Henry replied.

"Yeah. But you know what doesn't?" She turned her head to look at him.

He looked back. "Our central heating?"

"Exactly." The warm afterglow had lasted for precisely four minutes and now she was once again all too aware that while her own pipes were in full working order – thanks to Henry's very thorough inspection – the pipes that worked the heating for the house were not.

Henry pulled himself up to a sitting position for a second to drag the duvet back over them. "OK," he said, settling back down next to Elizabeth. "Do you want to be the tea cosy this time or shall I?"