Huddling for Warmth

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Tropes and genres
Synonym(s)sharing body heat, hypothermia!fic, blanket!fic
Related tropes/genresSharing a Bed, H/C
See alsoCave Story
Related articles on Fanlore.

Huddling for warmth or blanket fic is a trope that is generally found in both het and slash pairing-oriented fanfiction, and occasionally in some gen Hurt/Comfort.[1] In fic with a sexual element, it is mainly used in order to maneuver two characters into a first time encounter. In gen fic, it is utilized to show closeness between characters.

The advantages of putting your OTP into a "huddling for warmth" scenario are legion. The two characters are trapped in one place with no distractions, alone, and so their attention is focused entirely on each other. The tone of the story can range from fluffy to angsty. The main problem facing the characters may be as trivial as a motel room with a broken heater, or as serious as incipient hypothermia compounded by serious injury (edging the trope into H/C territory where one partner must care for the other while he or she is completely vulnerable). Characters may be forced to share a sleeping bag or blanket, or even take off all their clothes and snuggle naked.

An example from a 2006 Stargate Atlantis fic:

"Er ... this isn't what it looks like."

Caldwell's expression was faintly amused. "It looks like you're trying to warm up a hypothermic team member with your body heat."

"Oh. Well, then, I guess it is what it looks like."[2]

One popular version of the archetypical "sharing body heat" story gets the characters into close physical proximity, and then cuts to the next morning, when they're all warmed up, relaxed, and naked... which of course leads to sex. Or the two characters may have sex as soon as they take their clothes off-- after all, what better way to warm up?[3] In another variation, the character who is more affected by the cold may go into shock and babble deliriously, revealing their secret attraction to their partner.

From a fic prompt for 'Het Fic 2007':

Two (or more) characters trapped in a blizzard. Its so cold that falling asleep uncovered will undoubtedly cause hypothermia. One blanket. Endless Possibilities.[4]

See also Snowed In on TV Tropes.

In Canon

Occasionally this trope occurs in original media. It can be gen, as in the Due South episode where Fraser and RayV are trapped in an industrial meat freezer and tragically do not cuddle for warmth, or in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Shuttlepod One" where Malcolm Reed and Trip Tucker are trapped in a freezing shuttle and convinced that Enterprise has been destroyed. It may be het with plausible deniability as when Jack and Sam were trapped in an ice cave on Stargate: SG-1 and, as always, refused to talk about their feelings. Or it may actually lead to an OTP hooking up, as in The Saint movie,[5] when Simon (Val Kimmer) falls into an icy river and Emma (Elisabeth Shue) must strip both their clothes off and cuddle with him in order to save his life.

Fanworks Examples

art for "Then Come the Wild Weather" by Lupe in the Sentinel's zine Blended Spirits. She says: "It describes the following scene close to the end of the story: 'They couldn't do much about their wet clothes, but they retrieved the space blankets they each carried and were soon seated next to each other with the blankets around them, preserving every bit of body heat possible.' larger version, Archived version here.
artist is Leah Rosenthal, from Southern Lights #6.5, portrays Vila Restal, Roj Blake, and Kerr Avon

External Links


  1. ^ Whimsy-chan, Comment on kat-lair's post 'Embrace the Cliché Project' The Blanket Scenario is the old classic sharing body heat scenario--two (or more) characters are stranded in a snowstorm with minimal shelter and only one blanket to get them through the night. Oh noez! Whatever will they do? D: Posted July 30, 2007. Last accessed October 17, 2010.
  2. ^ Sholio, The Killing Frost Chapter 1, a Stargate: Atlantis fanfic Posted July 22, 2006. Last accessed October 17, 2010
  3. ^ Cards_slash, day fifteen: back in the day CA and CB end up somewhere very cold, wet and nearly dead from hypothermia (or exposure.) They stumble upon a blanket (sometimes in a cabin!fic) and strip off their clothes. Whichever is the more lustful of the pair, CA or CB then discovers that if they have sex they will warm up much faster. Posted September 16, 2010. Last accessed October 17, 2010.
  4. ^ Nuinzilien, fic prompt for 'Het Fic 2007'. Last accessed October 17, 2010
  5. ^ The Saint Wikipedia Article
  6. ^ esorlecahr, Supernatural Recs Last accessed October 17, 2010.
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