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Cold Night - Secret Santa for EvaBloom! [Part 1/2]


MoonDuck

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Hi @EvaBloom!! Your prompt had a lot of firsts for me in terms of fic-writing, but I had a wonderful time figuring it out. I didn't have time to finish this story before the deadline, so here's the first part. I hope you like it! 

 

Jarin shut the door swiftly behind him, suppressing a shiver upon entering the warm inn. The sound of the crowd’s roars and clinking of drinks overwhelmed him, though not nearly as much as the frosty chill outdoors. The cold winds and sleet made it impossible for him to walk home from the town square in complete darkness, so he opted to stay in a bar, praying the weather would clear the following morning. 

If only he had the strength to conjure up some heat for himself. Jarin’s power to summon fire was minimal at best now. He was too exhausted to tap into his elemental abilities, and even if he could, what good would they do him now? 

A few drinks were sure to warm him up. Jarin peered over the crowd in search of the bartender. It took a minute, but he finally found him and pushed his way over. His tall, broad stature helped, but his sleepy eyes and spinning head slowed him significantly. Maybe drinking wasn’t the best idea, but he had nothing else but his cloak to keep him warm, and he needed something to pass the time. He slid into the barstool, resting his head on his hands for only a second before waving the bartender down. “A beer, please.” The service was quick, and soon Jarin was sipping at his drink. The fiddle in the background shrieked its song for people to dance along. It was nice music, but too loud for his tired head to enjoy. He made slow progress, mostly staring into the distance, lost in thought. 

“Hello there.” 

Jarin started, blinking out of his daze and turning to the voice. His eyebrows furrowed at the thought of running into someone he knew at a time like this. However, the man’s face was one he couldn’t place. Perhaps it was his foggy mind, but Jarin imagined he would recognize a man with emerald eyes as sharp and beautiful as this stranger’s if he had ever seen them before. He looked at the stranger skeptically, not sure if he should continue the conversation or ignore the man. His own face adopted a distant look, and he sneezed harshly into his fist. “EHh’ngxt!”  As soon as Jarin felt the itch in the back of his sinuses creep down to the tip of his nose, he knew there was nothing he could do to mitigate what was coming next. “Heh’ITSZHH!” 

“Bless you.” The man pulled a clean handkerchief from his satchel and offered it to Jarin. “I’m Ian. Looks like you could use this more than I at the moment.” 

Jarin took the cloth gratefully. Any tissues he had on him were probably ruined by the rain at this point, or at least damp and useless, like the rest of his clothes. “Thandk you.” His nose would have started to run if he didn’t blow it soon. He pressed it to his nose and blew gently, very aware of the man watching him. It looks like he’d have to engage in conversation with the stranger. “Mby ndabe is Jarind.” He blew his nose again, since the congestion still rest heavily in the back of his nose. He cleared his throat. “Jarin,” he clarified. 

“Pleased to make your acquaintance, Jarin.” Ian was quite charming and polite, considering how disgusting Jarin imagined he appeared. “What brings you here so late?” It wasn’t unusual to be out late, but Ian must have been referring to his being out at a bar in the middle of the night with such a miserable affect. 

Jarin shrugged, hesitant to admit he was stuck until the weather cleared and too weak to do anything about it. He would rather not reveal his vulnerability to a stranger. “I’m just passing through. How about you?” Jarin ducked to the side and muffled a cough into his sleeve. “Excuse me.” He’d much rather learn more about Ian than divulge information about his boring self. 

“I’m visiting an old friend. But he has no room for me to stay, so he suggested I rent a room in this inn while I am in town.” Ian suspected Jarin did not have any place to stay for the night. If he did, he wouldn’t be out drinking so late if he had any sense in him. 

“Why this one in particular?” Was there something special about it? He couldn’t care less, but Jarin found himself wanting to hear more of Ian’s deep, smooth voice flow into his ears. He took another sip from his drink, which was disappearing quickly. It soothed the soreness in his throat. 

Ian just shook his head. “I have no idea. I’ve only been here one night, and the heat isn’t working properly, of all things that could go wrong. It’s dreadfully cold in my room, and the innkeeper hasn’t been of any help. Part of the reason I haven’t gone upstairs is because I know it will be much colder than down here.” He gestured to the people surrounding them in the tavern. 

That was no good. A man as kind as Ian shouldn’t have to suffer the weather alone and at the mercy of the weather. Jarin could relate to the feeling more than ever before. Just thinking about it sent a shiver down his spine, and he was reminded of how cold he felt. He could have sworn beads of sweat were forming across his forehead only a minute ago. “Would you like me to take a look? I know a thing or two about furnaces.” 

Ian raised an eyebrow, surprised at the offer. “I don’t want to trouble you.” 

Jarin blushed immediately, as if his cheeks weren’t already hot from his illness. He wasn’t typically so direct, but for some reason he found himself wanting to earn this man’s approval. His nose twitched and he pressed the handkerchief to his wet nostrils. “It’s really no trouble, I do not have any plans for the n-nightSCHh! HAH’KZCHhew!” He barely managed to turn away from Ian in time. Thank goodness for the handkerchief. Hopefully he could repay Ian’s kindness. 

“Bless you.” If Jarin could fix the heat in Ian’s room, that would benefit the two of them. He smiled and stood from his seat. “It’s right this way.” 
 

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Omg!! I love this so muuuch! Your writing is great, it was so descriptive and smooth. And the spellings were just so nice too! The stifles and how the sneezes snuck up to Jarin, really good. Ian blessing each sneeze was one of my favorite parts, and the dialogue also felt natural 😄

I loved this fic a lot (and the stuff you put in from my form was amazing), I can't wait for the next part!

(I'm really intrigued to what will happen in Ian's room 😅)

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