Winter paints Prague monochrome greys between a dull sky and frozen earth. Wind-tossed snowflakes tumble in chaos before finding their resting place on icy cobblestones or bolted windows, where the heat from within quickly reduces them to trickling drops.

Behind one such window, in an apartment on the southern edge of Old Town, a pile of blankets bundled high on a bed gives a wriggle and a soft sigh sounds from within.

"Aria." Adam's voice is still gruff with sleep, despite having woken some ten minutes before. He feels her move again, legs tangling with his as her toes poke at his calves. "What is it?"

"Sorry." The soft playfulness of the word brings a smile to his face, and he cracks an eyelid to peer at her across the pillow. "My feet are cold. You're the best heater there is without leaving the bed."

"You think you'd find a better heater if you left the bed?"

"Don't really want to try."

Even with her hair still a mess from sleep, which hasn't been quite adequate to erase the dark circles from under her eyes, she's still the most beautiful sight to wake up to. "You could say something next time instead of kicking me."

"That wasn't kicking. It was...nudging."

"If you want to nudge me, come over here." Reaching out an arm, he drapes it across her shoulders and pulls her to his chest, entwining their legs until they're woven into each other like a pretzel and her head tucks carefully beneath his chin. Across his back, he feels the contrasting textures of skin and polymer embrace him, while every inch of aug and flesh ignites with the sensation of her body heat, of her soft skin and gentle curves that slide into place against him like it's the only place she was ever meant to be.

They sink deeper below the blankets like sugar falling through the surface of cappuccino foam.

"Better?" Adam asks, bending a knee to cover her toes in his mechanical heat.

"Mmm." Aria's voice is a sleepy hum. "How long before we have to be up for work?"

"Oh, forever, I think."

"You're sure?"


"Good." She nuzzles her head against him like she's just found a particularly comfy, self-heating pillow. "Then I think I'll stay here forever."