Wretched and ragged, winter rattling in his lungs with each forced breath, he shifts to hug bony arms tighter around his trembling frame, numb skin scraping against wet pavement, lips and nose traced by rivulets of rain, and when a gentle hand brushes back soaked hair from his fevered brow he barely blinks, too far away to acknowledge the voice murmuring urgently over the storm’s cacophony or the fingers pressed to his throat in search for the shallow, struggling heartbeat beneath, only utters an inaudible groan as steady arms lift and fold him into a sheltering embrace, that voice a soft drone trailing him down into the darkness.


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