A/N: Rather unrepentant mush. Based in the manga, which is really the only place I see this pairing clearly. First time writing Esther; concrit on characterization would be wonderful. Thanks in advance for any comments.

The radiator, surely as archaic as it looked, was to blame for everything—a broken, useless hulk of a shadow resting in wait in one far corner of the room. It loomed mockingly in the dark, and the Sister glared impotently at it before rolling over again with a noiseless little huff. Without a source of heat, Abel had insisted they all huddle into the same bed.

And now, in the very middle of the mattress, Esther was trapped between her companions, both tall and lean and perfectly suited to stand in as rails in their sleep. She imagined it was something like sleeping on a thin, padded beam between a pit of quicksand and a deep, icy pool of water. Crawling out was impossible without upsetting one or both and inevitably wandering into an awkward sort of trouble.

If she made an escape over Tres, he would wake immediately, considering the very pertinent fact that he was not actually asleep, only acting out a viable facsimile for the sake of propriety. He would want to know what the matter was, and saying "Nothing" to be polite would end her back up in the middle at a reproachful glance from the android.

If she attempted to scramble sideways over Abel, he would undoubtedly rouse in shock, or worse: simply entangle the two of them in an effort to steal what was left of her warmth. She couldn't be bothered to try sliding off the end of the bed, even; Abel had pulled his knees up to keep his feet from dangling off the end of the mattress and was blocking off her last exit quite neatly.

With a quiet sigh, Esther decided belatedly that the two of them had plotted this out, if only to rebuke her for having gotten lost, and into a not inconsiderable amount of danger, earlier in the day. The two of them certainly weren't above something childish like that; when they were together their ages took a severe drop out of reality and right into the unprofessional realm of immaturity. Even now, they looked like boys, certainly no older than she herself was.

At some unmemorable point in the night, Abel had abducted the lower half of Tres' right arm to his side of the bed, using the other man's hand as a pillow and smiling vapidly into the curves of his palm. Tres, on the other hand, had a blank, yet somehow satisfied—and, Esther thought, confident apparently, in her perfect entrapment—expression.

Still, despite her annoyance she couldn't quite suppress an affectionate smile. They could be overprotective, nosy, and on occasion flat-out irritating, but they were always loyal, and comforting and sweet when the circumstances did provide.

"Status report, Sister Esther Blanchett?" a deep, quiet voice from her left inquired as she sat up, pulling her knees to her chest so as not to unintentionally disrupt the slumbering priests.

With a little start, she glanced sidelong at Tres, a reassuring smile on her lips. "Oh, no, I'm fine," she whispered, shaking her head and casting wary looks over a shoulder to make certain they weren't waking Abel. He still had the same unreasonably content grin, though, no signs of consciousness to be found. "I guess I'm just not very tired," Esther added faintly, pulling the bedspread up farther to cover herself under his speculative, skeptical gaze.

"You require rest if you are to maintain an adequate level of efficiency in the morning," Tres pressed, "Rest is recommended now."

"Yes, all right," she conceded hesitantly, thinking instead that a walk would help, a glass of milk, or something else comforting, something like home. Shifting closer to him beneath the blankets, she tugged the corner of a pillow down to shield her chin from a hard shoulder, knowing Tres might be confused with the necessary closeness but also aware that he wouldn't mind enough to force her away. Long arms eventually curled around her shoulders from behind, and it appeared Abel had awoken, indeed intent upon selfishly thieving away the last of her body heat.

"G'nigh, Essher," he muttered into her hair, half-asleep, consciousness obviously too muddled to understand how closely the three of them were clinging.

Muffled laughter escaped against Tres' shoulder, and Esther's smile returned in spite of her blush, the nervous, furry moths trapped inside her stomach, and the shock and embarrassment that were sure to come in the morning. For now, she was comfortable. Far from home, caught between two wonderful strangers, and yet oddly, undeniably comfortable.