As Freezing Persons Recollect the Snow
Snow stuck to Arthur's brow and lips, but in the space between their bodies Lancelot's fingers were beginning to thaw.
After a three-day ride through frozen moors, his body stupid with cold, the roughness of the pine's bark against his cheeks was not a discomfort but a welcomed reawakening of the senses. Beyond the crackling glow of the small fire they'd made camp around, Lancelot could make out the bodies huddled in cloaks, shadows and each other. He caught Galahad's eye briefly before the youth turned away to press his wind-stung face to Gawain's shoulder; Gawain snored indifferently at the heavens.
For a time, Lancelot watched Tristan, who sat away from the others, curled against a split oak with his arm moving in the sparse but familiar manner of a solitary if not lonely man. Lancelot watched him until Tristan shuddered and went still before moving to wrap his cloak more tightly around himself. He seemed to fall into a deep sleep with the next breath.
Arthur hadn't uttered a word since the first of them had retired to the relative warmth of gnarled roots and frost-bitten armors. There was an unsettling calm to his gaze fixed on the breathing embers; one would've expected anger or doubt or the single-minded determination of a young commander still proving himself to his knights despite the tales they were already telling. Arthur had so far proved unshakable.
Lancelot closed his eyes and listened to Arthur's breath until both cold and the quiet respiration lulled him into slumber. When Lancelot roused at sunrise along with the rest, Arthur's eyes were heavy but still on the ashes, his fingers wrapped tightly around Lancelot's fists.
Snow fell lightly again but it was much warmer among the trees the night Guinevere led Arthur away from him, but at the time it felt to Lancelot as though the chill would never leave his bones.