The things you learn from sharing a bed, she thought with a wry smile, snuggling in closer to her partner.
Regardless of time, weather or health he was always a furnace.
Some remarkable biomechanical heating system produced massive amounts of heat, which she felt lucky to be able to share. His heat was what she missed the most about him when he wasn't there; it was as though fire lurked under his fair skin.
In the summer and even in the most severe states of exhaustion, he often struggled to sleep when their bed was made with anything more then a simple sheet or sometimes a very light blanket.
He's always so hot, she purred internally in satisfaction, claiming his warmth as her own, pushing her chest tight up against his.
In more then one way, she amended her thought, sliding a slender finger slowly across one of his shapely shoulders. Her body betrayed her mind and the impulse to slink a leg over to twine with his was too strong. With her hips pressed as tight to his side as they could possibly be, the girl sighed and rested her head once again on his chest, nestled softly on a pillow of her own hair and his fine, black chest hair.
The heart under her ear thumped loudly, a force more then a sound.
It was drowned out by another sound though.
He snored. Loudly.
With each inspiration, it sounded like an angry concrete mixer was starting up.
A V8 motor being revved, a fork in a garbage disposal, a piece of wire going through a wood-chipper. She had spent the first few initial sleepless nights creating analogies in her head to describe the noise.
Other soldiers hated sharing lodgings with him when he was out in the field, because of the racket he made. Not very tactical.
She knew he was a little bit embarrassed about the fact that he did snore and he was always quick to sheepishly apologise whenever she looked tired the following morning.
She knew most snoring is caused by being overweight, but that was not the reason in his case. There was no question in her mind or embrace that he kept in shape. He was a bloke dedicated to his fitness and health, who spent a large period of each day in doing some form of exercise. Sure, he always had a slight covering of adipose tissue that prevented him having a proper six-pack, but the reason he snored was much simpler.
The fact of the matter is; a guy can only break his nose so many times, before the piping inside it gets a bit crooked. His last count was six; six times he had the cartilage in his nose smashed and deformed for the sake of becoming a better fighter, a better warrior and a survivor. It showed in the minor crook in his pointed nose and the slight rightwards angle it constantly held.
While the snoring might have bothered a lot of girls, it didn't bother her so much. She got used to it over time and it came to take on a different, positive sort of light in her mind.
The low grumblings that he made each night represented something different in her head, rather then a minor airway obstruction. She had decided he sounded like a large ferocious animal, a large carnivore or hunter of some kind. To her it sounded like a low protective growl, like the sort a dog would give should you try take its food away from it.
She knew he was capable and very adept at violence, so it provided her with a sense of security to have a growling tiger guard her, as she slept.
He was catlike in many ways she realised, not all of them good.
He didn't deal well with surprises; she had learned early on in their relationship that to startle him was to invite danger.
His entrained reactions to the unexpected tended to revolve around defending an attack and decimating whatever was assaulting him. There had been at least one near miss early on, but her presence was something he had quickly adapted to. As it was, his highly developed sense of personal safety mostly worked to ensure that he was rarely surprised by her touch anymore.
While not so much a jumpy man, it was adequate to say that he was vigilant even in his sleep.
The slightest noise outside their room would cause his eyes to snap open alertly to consider the cause.
His ears would almost seem to twitch as they strained to pick up any further sound. When satisfied that no immediate threat was present, his eyes would slowly begin to droop to half-mast before sinking shut altogether. Near the foot of their bed, the large ginger cat that shared their duvet would go through the exact same process, equally alert as its owner. Finally her partner would slowly slide a hand down to gently stroke the cat's head in reassurance a couple of times. His primal concerns eased, her man would then draw her in just that protective fraction tighter and return to his slumber.
Also catlike was his proclivity to sleep.
He could and would fall asleep almost anywhere. As a shift worker he seemed to life in a perpetual state of sleep debt and he never hesitated to make up for it with a short nap. She lost track of the number of times she would call him for lunch only to find him kipped out on the couch or an armchair with a book or the cat sitting in his lap. The adorableness of having him doze off on her shoulder while they were watching a movie or something on TV, always offset any irritation she felt at his apparent disinterest in the shared entertainment.
My big cat, she thought affectionately, slinking her hand up to sit under his jaw. Lovingly, she combed her fingers across the dark, rough stubble of his face, tracing every scar and imperfection as she did so. It was a route her fingers knew well.
Rousing slightly with the gentle touch, his lips stretched in a small peaceful smile. His lips were followed by his eyes, which crept open to find her own. They carried their own affection a lot more effectively then any smile ever could. His icy blue gaze languished the sight of the girl in his arms and his neck slowly stretched up allowing him to lean his head forward. He softly planted a smouldering kiss onto her the bare shoulder that presented itself and with a voice coarse from sleep, he whispered in her ear.
"Shouldn't you be sleeping?" He lightly teased her, his tone rich and deep from being awoken. The low husky voice and hot breath on her naked skin made it irresistible to face him.
Turning her head so their lips met passionately, she held the delicious kiss for a lingering second before breaking it off. Cocking an eyebrow, she replied in her own whisper.
"And miss out on this?" She replied simply in rhetoric, nuzzling his sandpaper cheek with her nose.
His lips spread in the special grin that guys reserve for when they know that they have something special before them. With a final tender peck on her forehead, he lay back and let his eyelids slid placidly back into place.
She was left with the warmth of his touch on her skin and the sight of his weathered face sinking into repose. Very soon the engine of his breathing started up again and she contentedly fell asleep to the sound of her boyfriend's low growl.