Words: 2025
Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Fantasy/Romance
Series/Couple: I Ernil ar I Káno (The Prince and the Commander) / Erion and Faroth
Disclaimer: "Ardalam" is what they call the holy language and it is based off of J.R.'s elvish as depicted in the book, *The Languages of Tolkien's Middle Earth*, with slight modifications and additions made by me.
Chapter Image: http:// kurohaneshizumi. deviantart. com/ art/ Cold-Hands-Cold-Feet-128738724 (Remove spaces.)

~*~Cold Hands, Cold Feet~*~

Erion nestled closer to Faroth, burying his face in the crook of Faroth's neck. Faroth parted his eyes only to be met with aversion from the soft, yet unexpected early morning sun shining through their tent. Blinking a few times, he sighed softly, not wanting to awake Erion. It was a brisk morning where they were camped in Rûth, the coldest country in Ardanen. In two nights they would be at Rûth's palace and in meetings.

Erion's hand moved from beside Faroth to his chest and the younger man gave a small, yet noticeable, shiver. Faroth nearly bolted as Erion's cold fingertips settled over his heart. He moved his unoccupied hand to the end of the pelt and pulled it over Erion's bare shoulder. He then moved his hand to his elbow and made small circles with two of fingers. He rested his chin against Erion's head and sighed a little.

Soon it would be time to head out. They would have to rise, dress, eat and proceed out. They would have to assume their status. Faroth would become nothing more than the Second Káno and Erion would resume his role as Prince of Thildín.

No longer would they just be simply Erion and Faroth.

No longer could Faroth touch him as he did now.

He steadied his palm on his elbow and slid it slowly up the prince's arm. When it reached his shoulder, he glided his fingertips over the skin to create ghostlike patterns like messages written in invisible ink.

Erion shifted a little a nuzzled his cheek into Faroth's shoulder before halting. Faroth felt him yawn; his hot breath warming his skin. He hadn't realized he, too, had been chilled by the atmosphere. Erion heaved a sigh and manuvered his head to burrow his nose against Faroth's neck. Faroth kissed the prince's forehead. Moving his hand from his shoulder, he tucked lost silver locks behind a cute ear and smiled at the face they belonged to.

"Ii rékal," he whispered. "Good morning."

Erion blushed and muttered shyly, "Ii rékal," in return.

Faroth gave him a small smile, one that seemed to be only for him, before leaning in and kissing him softly. Erion blushed softly as he pulled back, but closing his eyes, rubbed their noses together affectionately.

Faroth sighed blissfully, but sobered up a bit, moving to rest on his arm. Erion did the same.

"We'll be heading out soon. We must get up and be robed before the guard come to inform us of breakfast."

Erion's expression of disappointment seemed to echo his own, but dutifully he nodded.

Faroth kissed his cheek and, sitting up, pulled the pelt from him to wrap it around Erion. Erion, now cross-legged with their shared pelt wrapped around him, reached over to grab at his discarded garb. Faroth was already fitting himself into his leggings.

-*-*-*-

As they were finishing packing their things and just about to start on packing the tent, one of the members of the small attending guard came their tent to inform them the breakfast would be ready in another moment. They quickly took apart the tent and, all packed, joined the rest of their small camp. In all there were six of them. The prince, his attending káno, and four attending guards. The guards weren't expected to fight on this journey, but were trained to do so if need be.

The guards were also very good at making meals. Breakfast was modest portions of eggs, salted meat, and bread with butter, but hearty nonetheless. After breakfast was over, they got all their gear together and, fitted, they headed out once more. The brisk Rûthian air filled their lungs and gave them an extra push forward. It was better than traveling in the hot sun. The horses seemed to like it more as well. They rode in a formation made to protect the prince and the accompanying káno. If anyone should fall, it would be them at the end, not the beginning. As such, one of the guards rode in front of them, one to the back, and one on either side.

The prince wasn't particularly important to the survival of his country as it was ruled by the females in the family, but he was important as a high-standing envoy. And it wasn't like his family didn't love him.

Erion gave such a distinctively visible shudder that Faroth saw it out of the corner of his eye.

"You're cold," he stated, leaving no room for argument.

Just as Erion was about to protest the idea, Faroth commanded the company to stop.

"What are you doing?" Erion asked.

Faroth dismounted. He reached into one of the horse's packs where they stored their gear and pulled out one of the pelts. Erion looked like he was going to protest again.

"No objections, Ernil. We can't have you frozen by the time we get to the palace."

Erion sighed. Faroth shook out the pelt and handed it to the prince. While his demeanor was that of a káno of Thildín, his eyes showed that he, personally, cared whether he was cold. Without a sound, Erion took it and wrapped it around his shoulders. With one hand, he held it closed and with the other, held the barrings for his horse.

Faroth mounted his own horse once more and the company continued its trek.

-*-*-*-

It seemed the further into Rûth they got, the colder the atmosphere grew. The last night they would have to camp in the country, even Faroth was cold. The guards all agreed they'd be using their cloaks as well as their pelts. Faroth and Erion just doubled up their pelts. Erion's hands and even his feet were like ice to Faroth's skin. He didn't shiver, but his fingers and toes collected all the chill. Faroth held one of his hands and rubbed his feet against Erion's. It seemed to work only so much.

Erion giggled a little.

"It's okay," he said, "I get this cold when hrivë is upon us in Thildín."

Faroth made a face. Thildín was still a tropical country on the water front and was kept fairly warm all year round—even in its coldest season. Faroth was distraught, really. He didn't want Erion to be cold all night. Erion distracted him for a moment by threading their fingers together.

"You're so warm, Faroth. It must be your desert heritage. The heat never leaves your skin."

Faroth suddenly envisioned Erion wearing him like the pelt from earlier; wrapped around him tightly. He'd never be cold that way. With his new-found genius, he wrapped his left arm tight around Erion and, holding him against him, flipped him on his back.

Erion promptly blushed and spluttered; his eyes wide and confused with a glint of understanding.

Faroth wasted no time on Erion's incoherent, "Wha—what are you doing?"s and simply kissed him. First, a brush there and then there. Then, a slightly opened press.

Erion's eyes were still wide. Their hands were still clasped. Faroth was still warm.

Wordlessly, Erion accepted Faroth's actions. He finally closed his eyes and pressed back. He wrapped his free arm around the older's shoulders. He gave a little more every time their lips touched and at the first hint of an opening, Faroth deepened their kiss. He unwound their fingers to run the tips along the inside of his arm and then down his side. Erion's newly freed arm joined his other around broad, tanned shoulders.

As his other hand made his way down Erion's other side, Faroth broke their kiss. He scattered loving kisses along his jaw and neck. They weren't rushed, but slow. He wanted to make sure every part of Erion would be warm by the contact of his skin.

He slid his hands over his stomach and then ran them up to his chest. As his flat palm rested over the middle of his chest, he could feel Erion's heart pumping fast against his hand. He nibbled Erion's neck but left no marks. He joined his hands at his chest and pressed kisses down the middle of it and his hands ran ahead. He made sure to glide his hands along his sides as he paid attention to everything at once; not wanting to forget anything.

Erion's eyes were firmly close and he tried hard to keep his mouth that way too. But his soft, quiet moans were not lost on Faroth's ears. His hands made their way to the base of Faroth's head to tangle in his hair; to keep a lifeline when he thought he'd disappear despite Faroth's ever-present hands and mouth and stray locks. His skin was on fire and certainly didn't feel the chill that lingered in the air.

Faroth's hands reached under him to caress his lower back and he took the opportunity to thrust his hips up a little. He was taunt. His world was in this moment. There was Ardanen, no Thildín or Rûth, no camp, no tent, not even did their pelts exist. It was merely Faroth's hands, and Faroth's mouth, and Faroth's hair and chest, and anything else he touched. It ignited everything. His heart pounded in his ears.

Faroth didn't stop at chest, or stomach or even his hips. He caressed each thigh and knee and calf and foot. He made Erion's whole body tingle with his warmth and let nothing go untouched. And finally, when Erion lied in nothing more than his panting breath, Faroth snaked his way back up to him. He tucked loose hairs back behind his ears and kissed his forehead, his cheeks and lips once more. He took his hands and felt the warmth in them in his own.

His kissed their backs, and then their palms. He kissed each and every fingertip and thumb. He held them to his cheeks and looked at Erion.

Erion was smiling. He gently pulled one hand away to run it along Faroth's face himself.

Words were in their actions and eyes.

And Faroth slowly leaned down to press a proper, full kiss to Erion's lips. Erion merely wrapped his arms tight around his shoulders.

"Im mel le," he whispered into his ear. "I love you."

Faroth squeezed him back. "Ar im, le."

"And I, you."

-*-*-*-

The next morning was bright. The two of them stirred at nearly the same time. Faroth heaved a big, relaxed sigh and Erion nuzzled closer on his chest. He raised his head from Faroth's chest and, like the morning before, buried his nose in his neck. Faroth was unhappy with his position, however, and flipped them both over.

He leaned down and kissed him once again.

"Ii rékal," he stated with a grin.

Erion 'pfft'ed, but a smile crept up the corners of his mouth.

"Ii rékal," he said cheekily.

After several little interludes and many more kisses, they began to get to dressed and packed their things. Erion stretched and gathered his pack. Faroth stared, but resisted doing more than that. It'd have to wait.

It seemed as though Erion was not cold today, however. And his vitality seemed higher than it had been on the previous days of their journey. Secretly, this made Faroth happy beyond words and just a bit proud that he could have an effect like that on him.

They joined their comrades for their last modest breakfast. By evening's fall they would finally be at Rûth's furbished palace.

"Ernil, you look much more energetic today," commented one of the guards.

"Ah. I got a much better sleep last night. I'm afraid that might have donated to my chill of yesterday."

He gave a tinkling laugh and the guards all joined in his mirth. Faroth simply smiled softly.

They begun to gather the rest of the supplies and fit the horses and as they got ready to mount, he calculatedly touched Erion's hand to give it a squeeze.

To his delight, it was still warm.

The End