Under her thin blanket Daine shivered violently, arms wrapped tight around herself. A breeze drifted past, finding holes in her cover to pierce her with its chilling breath. She curled her body into a ball, hugging her knees to try and conserve some warmth.
Temptation Lake shone eerily in the moonlight.
The stones Numair had put around their camp to throw off heat had gone cold and she could feel the cool night air biting into her skin, into her bones.
Daine screwed her eyes closed… she was so tired. Another large shiver shook her body and she swore softly; she was too frozen to sleep. Even if she did manage to sleep now when she woke all that would be left of her would be one big ice cube, she was sure. Or maybe not an ice cube… an iceberg. That was what Numair had called those big lumps of ice floating out in the ocean.
Speaking of her teacher, how could Numair not be discomforted himself by all this coldness? Having being born in a hot country the cold weather had always bothered him more than her. She was used to the icy winters of Galla, but even there she had had her animal friends to keep her warm.
She rolled to face the large outline the mage made and groaned enviously. He was sound asleep.
She didn't even have Kitten to snuggle into for her warmth. The inkblots were twined into her masses of dark, curly hair but they were doing anything but heating her up.
Her toes were numb and she wiggled them trying to get some feeling back.
This would not do! She needed rest. She couldn't go on with another day like today without at least a few hours sleep.
Daine breathed on her hands and for one god-blessed moment they were warmed. Then her breath froze in the air and they were colder then before.
Daine growled and rolled so she was sitting. Then, cocooning herself in her blanket, she crawled awkwardly over to Numair.
He looked so warm.
She grinned at her silliness and gently shook her large friend. He stirred and rolled onto his back, his swarthy face frowning up at her in the darkness. "Daine? What's wrong?" His voice was thick with concern and sleep.
Her body shook with small tremors and her voice was tight with cold, "Nothing except for the fact that I'm freezing to death." She hesitated, "I hate to wake you but… can I sleep here? I promise not to snore."
She studied his face, now alit with some strange emotion. Annoyance? "I'm sorry," she said quickly. "It was fair rude of me to-" Numair shifted slightly and the expression was gone.
"Don't be silly." He moved so he was leaning on his elbows and looked her over her as she sat, teeth chattering with cold. "You're freezing! You should have come to me earlier. Of course you may sleep here."
He hesitated a moment, face uncertain. Seeing her shiver again he moved over, making room for her to lie down next to him.
She watched his actions gratefully. Spreading her blanket out on top of his Daine hurriedly slid under them. The protection the doubled blankets made from the cold, along with her teachers bodily warmth, began to thaw her chilled body. Sighing with pleasure, her shivers slowly subsiding, Daine felt the large form of Numair move over to give her more space.
Rolling onto her side the girl faced him as he lay on his back, hands behind his head. "Aren't your arms cold?" She asked, alarmed that he could have any limb out in that gods-awful weather.
Numair looked at her, startled. "What? Oh." His large arms slid from under his head and he brought them back beneath the bedspread.
Daine started at the sudden chill she felt as his arm brushed hers. "Now your freezing," she said drowsily, her lack of sleep getting the better of her now she was warming up. "I didn't mean to make you cold. Have you got enough room?"
Nodding, he met her cloudy eyes with his dark ones for a split-second, and then hastily looked away. His body tensed alongside hers. Daine felt hotly where their skin met, her bare leg against his, her arm resting along his side. She could see her breath ruffle his thick black hair. Some of Numairs dark mane had escaped the hair tie that held it in place and had fallen across the distance between them to tickle her face. Too tired to raise her head she simply blew the stray hairs away, causing Numair to shiver at the sudden touch of her breath.
Looking into his face, Daine could see his expression was almost painful with emotion. What emotion, she couldn't tell.
"Are you alright?" She asked, worried.
He snapped out of his daze, "Fine," He answered harshly.
Any other time Daine would have ignored Numair when he was in a grumpy mood. Now, in her exhausted state, Daine was hurt by his tone and drew away from him slightly.
"I'm sorry." Numair sighed regretfully and combed back the dark hair which had fallen across his face in frustration, still not meeting her upset gaze. "I'm just tired." He paused, and smiled ruefully at her, "We should get some sleep; we've got a big day ahead of us."
The young woman nodded, forgiving him-she knew all too well what tiredness did to a person- and nuzzled back down into their warm shelter.
After a moment Daine sighed. Her nose was cold.
Groping for Numairs arm, and finding it, Daine inched over until she was able to nestle her face in the crook of his shoulder. Gradually he curled his arm around her form to hold her. Glanced up the girl saw his eyes soften as he looked at her. She smiled gently into his face. It was so near her own she could feel his warm, pleasant breath touch her cheek as she curved her neck to rest her weary head on the arc of her teachers' arm once more.
Daine heard him release a held breath and his arm tightened gently around her. She closed her eyes and allowed herself to rest against his solid, familiar shape. She felt him fussing with the blankets until they were wrapped securely around her.
Soon she was lulled peacefully to sleep by his rhythmical breath and heart.