Genre: Drama. Romance. Trope-y.
Word Count: 2,723
Synopsis: In which Hansel and Ben find themselves trapped in an old cottage in the woods in the middle of a fierce snowstorm. What else is there to do but huddle for warmth?
Comments: Written in response to cottoncandy_bingo prompt: inclement weather. This is a follow up to my other Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters fic, Haywire, so you should probably read that first. Characters are not mine, please enjoy! Comments are awesome.
"How," Ben starts, clutching a threadbare blanket tight around himself, "How are w-we supposed to sleep w-when it's so c-c-cold?"
Hansel isn't having much luck on that front, either. He's a few feet away from the boy, but both of them are sprawled out on the cold, wooden floor of a long abandoned cabin deep in the woods. The torrential downpour of rain that has since turned into a truly wicked snowstorm prevented them from finding any usable wood to use for a fire, so they've got nothing to work with on that front, unfortunately.
Their clothes were long passed soaked, nearly as good as frozen, by the time they'd stumbled upon this port in the storm. The place had been easy enough to get into, although the busted window they'd climbed in through does absolutely nothing to stop the icy gusts of wind that keep shaking the rickety, old building.
"Bet Gretel's warm," he mumbles, rather disgruntled that they'd been the ones to draw the short straw of wandering around in the woods, while his sister and Edward handled the comparatively simple task of questioning the villagers.
"Yeah," Ben agrees, and Hansel would swear he could hear the kid's teeth chattering together.
They'd stripped out of most of their clothes once they'd gotten inside. Not that inside was much better than outside. Maybe more dangerous - outside did not pose the ever-present threat of the roof caving in on them or the wind blowing the house away. And, without a fire, that just means that they'll have to climb back into those soaking wet clothes when the storm clears enough for them to get the hell out of here.
Another ten minutes of listening to Ben shiver and he can't take it anymore. "Get over here, kid," he sighs, and it only takes another few seconds before he hears Ben come stumbling towards him in the darkness of the cabin. "Oof," he groans, when the kid lands hard on top of him. "Graceful. Very graceful."
Ben mumbles out an anxious apology, clumsily clambering to settle against one side.
Hansel adjusts their one blanket so it mostly covers both of them, so long as Ben stays absurdly close and neither of them moves too much, which is proving difficult with the joint shivering going on. With nowhere else to put the arm that Ben has trapped, he reluctantly curls it around Ben's back and holds tight.
"D-don't suppose you can conjure us up a fire, huh?" Ben asks, and Hansel tries not to react to the icy cold fingers that land on his bare chest, searching for warmth.
"You know my magic hasn't worked since it saved you," Hansel answers, like there's any way Ben couldn't know that. They've all been in on the attempts, but nothing has drawn it out again. Gretel had even gone so far as to try to threaten Ben herself, but it hadn't worked; he'd known Ben wasn't in any real danger. There hadn't been any practical chances to draw it out, either. Much to Ben's frustration, Hansel had been keeping him out of the line of fire, leaving him behind with Gretel or Edward, ever since the last time they'd fought together and Ben had nearly died. It's been nearly a month since then and he knows he's running out of reasons to be so protective. "Doubt it will now."
"Technically," Ben tries, "our lives are in danger. If we freeze to death or this building comes down on us, that is."
"Shut up," he answers, but the idea has been planted now. They are in danger. Ben is in danger. He can feel the difference in how cold they are - the fact that Hansel can pick up on that difference with snow-numbed fingers says a lot. And he doesn't know why, but he can feel it.
Feels the twinge in his gut that he felt last time, when Ben was bleeding out in front of him, that made him think he could do something about it.
He can feel it already, the warmth spreading through him.
So Hansel rolls, pinning Ben beneath him on the cold, wooden floor.
"What are you-" Ben starts to complain, but the boy quiets when Hansel presses warm palms against his bare chest. There's no reason Hansel should be warm right now, so that means... "You did it!"
"Well, it's no fire, but we'll make it work," Hansel agrees, letting the magical warmth of his skin spread over Ben's.
"Why... why do you think it works for me? It doesn't even kick in when you're in trouble, which seems like it would be a useful time to have magical powers." That much had been proven two weeks back when Hansel had gone on a hunt with Gretel (since Ben had still been begrudgingly sidelined), and faced a particularly nasty sea witch. She'd had Hansel pinned underwater, Gretel knocked out, and they both would have been dead if Ben hadn't stubbornly followed after them and saved their asses.
"No idea," Hansel answers, much too quickly.
He can barely make out the boy laid out below him, but he can imagine the raised eyebrow well enough. "Really?"
And then there's a kiss, warm and biting, that catches Ben completely off-guard, given how tense the kid has gone beneath him. "That's why," he grumbles, hands still shifting over chilled skin.
"Oh-kay?" Ben tries again.
"'Okay,' what? I'm not asking you for anything here, got it? I'd just... prefer you didn't die, is all."
Surprisingly, Ben is not as contented with that explanation as Hansel expects him to be. "Apparently you don't want me to die enough that you've defied almost everything we know about magic to make sure that it doesn't happen," he grumbles.
He knows Ben probably can't see him, but he glares all the same. "We do this, we could both end up hanged for it," he points out.
Ben's hand slides up his arm, settles on the back of his neck. In rather a brazen move for Ben, he leans up, surprises Hansel with a kiss this time. "I'd like to see them try," he whispers.
The vision of it flashes in Hansel's head, as much as he doesn't want to think it, not now, not ever, but especially not when Ben's lips are on his and he's finally got what he's wanted for longer than he's willing to admit. The thought of Ben in danger again, Ben's life at risk again, it's... He feels the magic stir at the mere suggestion and he's quick to pull away when his hands start sparking blue with power. He's going to have to learn to control this.
Through the blue-glow, Hansel can see Ben staring up at him with something akin to amazement. "That is way cooler than I remember it being," he says, and the light gets brighter with the reminder of what was happening the last time Ben drew this magic out of him: Ben was dying.
"We need to not talk about that right now," Hansel says, doesn't know what will happen if he gets too lost in those nightmarish thoughts. Ben might not remember most of what happened that day, but the memories have come back to him with time and he rather wishes they hadn't - the images of Ben lifeless and pale in his arms, blood everywhere, those images are likely seared into his mind forever.
"Okay," Ben complies, instead reaching out to cover the blue light with his hands. Hansel moves to stop him - doesn't know how powerful the magic is - but the light only flickers out on contact and leaves them in darkness once again.
"Okay," he echoes. This time he pulls Ben up to him, wrangles the kid into his lap and up off of the cold, hard floor as much as possible because Hansel can feel that he's still freezing. Ben doesn't miss a beat with the move, dives right back into kissing like they never stopped, and Hansel matches him with lips and tongue and teeth until the boy finally pulls back for air.
Hansel takes advantage of the brief pause to bury a hand in Ben's perpetually messy hair, holds on to keep him from moving as he slowly kisses a line down Ben's jaw, his neck. Ben groans when Hansel bites down lightly at the juncture of neck and shoulder, and he sucks at the skin there until he's sure a left a mark, his free hand touching whatever bare skin he can in the hope of keeping the icy chill in the air at bay as much as he can.
He stops when Ben's hips roll against him, desperate for some friction.
He's never done this before, not like this, Hansel thinks but doesn't say. He's sure Ben hasn't, either, so at least they're on even ground.
"It's not even fair how warm you are," Ben complains, seems like he's trying to be touching as much of Hansel as humanly possible.
"It's ridiculous how cold you are," Hansel counters, jerking in surprise when one of Ben's hands lands on him through his smallclothes, as much from the icy fingers as the unexpected contact. "Here," he reaches out, grabs for Ben's hands and holds them for a short moment, until they're a little less frozen. "You're sure about this?" He feels the need to ask, before he lets go. He even sets off his magic again, so he can look the kid in the eyes and know for sure.
"I'm sure we should have done this sooner," Ben answers, without hesitation. Hansel takes in the sight the soft, blue light allows him - mussed hair, swollen lips, a mark on his neck, indeed - and stops hesitating. He takes Ben's permission for what it is and dives in, touching and teasing as he strips Ben down to nothing.
And it's only a moment before Ben's hands are clumsily returning the favor, when they finally dare to work their way beneath Hansel's smallclothes, fingers slowly closing around his dick. Hansel wills himself to hold still, but he finds his own hands exploring more thoroughly now, too.
Ben groans, arches into Hansel's touch when it finally comes - warm fingers moving on cold skin, quick, steady movements that seem to throw him off balance more than anything else Hansel's done to him - judging by the erratic, jerky movements of Ben's hand on him, the desperate bucking of hips for more contact. It's clear that no one else has ever touched the kid before, and Hansel fights off another pang of doubt at the thought because it's also clear that Ben wants this as much as he does.
"C'mere," Hansel mumbles, the words mostly lost to Ben's lips in another kiss. He leans back, pulling Ben down on top of him, lines them up as best he can in the near darkness and curls a hand around both of them.
He tries to draw things out, too, trading the quick movements he'd used on Ben for slow, deliberate ones that leave him pleading for Hansel to finish him off. "Come on, come on, come on," he says, "please, just... enough."
Hansel grins, backs off of himself and focuses on getting Ben taken care of, he speeds up and changes the angle and it only takes a couple of quick moves to do it, before the kid is shaking, boneless and blissed out.
And damn, he wishes he could see this.
He doesn't know when they'll get a chance to do this again - sometimes it's a long time between rooms, between camps (lately it's been a long time between breaks at all), and they're going to have to try to hide this from Gretel and Edward, so who knows how long it will be until they're alone together again.
Hansel moves to finish himself off, desperate for relief himself now, and imagines what this will be like next time: ideally, there will be some lights - a fire, even. There will be more time to enjoy it, with any luck, and there will definitely be less worrying over the structural integrity of the ceiling with so much damn snow piled on it's already rickety surface. Next time, he hopes, there will be a whole lot more to enjoy.
It doesn't take him long - he's riding out his own release before Ben can pull himself back together, but Hansel draws him in close, claims his mouth again in a long, languid kiss as they both relax in the aftermath
There are some quick adjustments, some quick clean up, the relocation of the blanket before things settle down again.
"Warmer now?" Hansel asks, between lazy kisses. He knows the answer already, can feel Ben's flushed warmth wherever they're pressed together now, aided both by his magic and their previous activities.
"Yeah," Ben breathes, sated and surprisingly comfortable where he's sprawled mostly on top of Hansel, both of them starting to drift off.
The sun is up when Hansel finds himself drawn back to bleary consciousness early the next morning. The small cabin is still freezing, but he's almost warm, with Ben all curled up against him , the both of them cocooned in the lone blanket. Still half-asleep, his arms move of their own volition, pulling the source of warmth in closer, holding tighter. He yawns and has every intention of drifting off again when the reason he'd woken becomes apparent.
Awake now, and wary of anything that would be out in the storm, he sits up. He feels his magic bubble up, prepared to protect Ben from whatever threat this might be.
"Wha-" Ben mumbles, stirring beside him, though not nearly as alert as Hansel. "What's goin' on?"
"It's about time you two idiots figured things out," Gretel laughs. "But if we're interrupting, we can come back and rescue you later," she teases, leaning in through the broken window, looking far too pleased with herself for anyone's good.
"Damn it, Gretel," Hansel grumbles, catching the bag of fresh clothes that she tosses to them.
"Five minutes, brother!" She warns, disappearing from view, though her laughter still echoes in the snow-covered cabin.
Ben's beet red beside him, and Hansel feels a rush of possessive pleasure at just how visible those marks he left ended up being in the light of day. Ben's hair is messier than usual, and the kid looks just as thoroughly debauched now as he had last night. Not hard to see why Gretel got the right idea.
"We should, uh," Ben starts, fumbling to get his things out of the bag and very deliberaely focusing on nothing but that task, "we should get going."
"Yeah," he agrees, but the flash of worry on Ben's face worries him.
He digs his own clothes out, grateful for the warm, dry material instead of the mess of still near-frozen clothes they'd stripped out of last night. He gathers all of that up when he is fully dressed, shoves all of the wet stuff into the bag to deal with once they get back to town, and herds Ben out ahead of him through the broken window.
There's more than a foot of snow on the ground outside of the old cabin and Hansel is once again awed that the building is still standing. Looking at it in daylight proves just how desperate for shelter they were last night because it looks like even more of a deathtrap than it had seemed.
"Come on, we've got a witch to hunt down," Gretel calls, waiting with Edward a few yards away.
"You okay?" Hansel asks, as they start trudging through the deep snow in pursuit of his sister and the troll.
"She caught us," Ben mumbles, still refusing to meet Hansel's eyes.
"And she doesn't seem to care," Hansel counters. Hell, his sister seemed to know about them before there even was a 'them' to know about. "I'm still in if you are." There's a sigh of relief from the kid, so Hansel throws an arm over Ben's shoulder as they walk and pulls him in for a quick kiss. "Now, let's go. Sooner we kill this witch, the sooner we get back to town."