Author's Note: This story came almost out of nowhere...except, of course, for the fact that I was freezing at the time! I started wondering how Touya handles the cold when it helps him but hurts his friends. This probably takes place before the events of Yu Yu Hakusho, but there's really no plot involved. Touya's POV, present tense.
You're trying to hide it, but I can see it. You're shivering. Why don't you warm the air up? You've done it before. Is the cold too much even for you?
Maybe it's my fault. Cold likes me. I can banish it, but it hurts to try. And because of that, you're cold. You like wind, but not cold.
The fire isn't helping. I scoot a little closer, reaching out a hand to the flames. A little warmth reaches out to my hand, but not much. The cold is too much. If I can barely feel it, it can't be helping you.
"Are you all right?" I ask, knowing full well you're not.
You uncurl a little. You're wrapped up in a tight little ball, as if you're trying to make what little heat you have work harder.
" 'm fine!" you say cheerfully. "Cold as anythin', but that's no big!"
The cold feels fine to me. It feels nice, makes me feel strong. But it could kill you. If this goes on much longer, it just might.
And I can't do anything to help. I can't help you get warm. Everything about me is cold. My skin is cold. My breath is cold. Every single thing about me is cold. I would just make it worse.
"Jin…" I say, but I don't know how to finish.
" 'm fine, Touya!" you say, waving me away. "Don't worry 'bout me!"
"Why don't you warm things up?"
"Don't need to!"
You're listing. Were you listing like that earlier? I don't think you were.
"Jin! You have to stay awake! If you go to sleep…"
You sag against me, and even I can feel that your skin is icy and clammy.
"Hey…Touya…" you murmur. "You're…kinda warm…"
I shake your shoulders, feeling panic rising. Oh, no, Jin, not you…please don't…
The cold is piercing, reaching through your clothes. What sickens me is that I can feel its pride. I suppose my suspicions were correct. The cold came for me. Because of me.
To you, even I feel warm right now.
And that is not right.
I stand up, settling you a little more comfortably near the fire. I grip your shoulders, wishing I could warm you up that way. For once, I wish I wasn't so cold.
This is going to hurt.
I start walking around the fire in a wide circle. One circuit…two…three…by the time I've circled five times, I've cut a track through the snow. And I've gotten a good, strong hold…
I can feel the snow's confusion. The confusion of the snow and the cold. Why was I sending it away? Why was I banishing it when it had come just for me? I'm fighting every instinct in my body, telling me that this was right, this was where I belonged, this was how it should be, let him freeze…
No. No chance. No way. Not him.
"Get back," I murmur, waving my hands and cutting through the chill. "Get back…get away from us…get away from him…get away from me…"
I'm faintly aware that I probably look like an idiot, but that doesn't matter.
It's getting warmer.
The temperature is creeping up and up, as I pull out the slightest chill around our little camp and banish it. Finally, it's warm enough that I'm sweating, and I know that's as far as I can get on a cold winter night. I'm also exhausted. I'm not built for this. I'm built to use cold, not reject it.
Returning to your side and feeling nauseous, I place a hand to your forehead, then to your cheeks, then your pulse. Please, please, please…
Is that color?
I lean a little closer…and then I laugh from sheer relief. Color! Some of the stark whiteness is fading. That's my color, not yours.
Before I quite know what I'm doing, suddenly I'm hugging you. Just around the shoulders. But until now, I hadn't quite felt the panic. The panic that you might have died, because of…well, me. Died so quietly and pathetically, all because of me.
For once, I'm glad to feel warm.
Even the snow has melted.
You're stirring, and before I know it I've pulled back. It wouldn't do to show emotion. Not too much. Someone has to stay dispassionate, keep you in line.
"Touya?" you murmur faintly, sitting up and putting a hand to your forehead.
"Yes?" I ask. I'm sitting on the snow, keeping up my little barrier around the camp. The heat is uncomfortable. So I have to stay away.
"Wasn't it…wasn't it really really really cold jus' a sec or two ago?"
Your eyes focus, and you take in the small circle of clear space, with me sitting on the snow. You grin hugely. "Touya, Touya, Touyaaaa! Nice job!"
I smile back. "Thank you."
I don't want to stay back like this. I don't want you to think I don't like being near people. But I suppose you know the truth. You, of all people, would know.
I still feel a bit nauseous. I still feel warm. But as you return to chattering away happily, safe from the biting, cutting cold, I know I can live with the warmth, at least for a little while.