Saturday, September 8, 2018

14 ~ The Snow Wars

Author's Note - I'm going for a different style for this chapter, any thoughts are appreciated.




"I just don't know how y'all stand this cold!" Jacob breathed into his hands to keep them warm, yet he still shivered. "Roaring Heights never drops below 10 degrees!"
"Isn't that like... really cold?" Sam's brow furrowed.


"I think he means Celsius. You know, the one you thought was an emperor's name at one point?" Stefan smirked. "That would be like, what? 60 degrees Fahrenheit?"


"50." Jacob instantly corrected. "It's one of the few numbers to come out cleanly from that equation."
"Can you teach me how to do that?" Sam poked at him.
"Do what?" Jacob's eyes widened a bit.
"That fancy math stuff you do." Sam poked him again.
"Oh? The equations? I do that in my head." Jacob shrugged sheepishly. "All you gotta do is remember-"


Sam was shaking his head. "There's no hope for me, then."
Stefan reached up to pat his shoulder, "there, there, at least you're still pretty. Besides, it's..."
Sam looked up to see why Stefan had trailed off and rolled his eyes.


"Ahoy there!" Hesper called out dramatically. "Mighty nice weather we be having!"
"Careful Steffy, if you go any more gooey you'll cause a slipping hazard." Sam shook his head teasingly.
"Hey, Hesper!" Jacob called, waving at her happily. She'd only been there a week and a half but she melded right into the group like she'd always been there. "What brings you outside, today?"
"I love the cold! It's my favorite time of year! There's snow on the ground and people always have a positive attitude before Saturnalia!" She brightened as she spoke. "Plus, I saw you guys out here and thought I'd drop in to say 'hi.'"
Sam grimaced, "snow is nice and all, but sure loses it's charm after the first snowfall." He kicked the snow around with his boots. "Now it's just a nuisance."
Stefan smirked. "A nuisance, eh?"



Sam stretched in place as Stefan smiled deviously.
"Think fast!"



"Shiiiiiiit! Cold!" Sam shook off the snow and narrowed his eyes at Stefan. "Oh it's on, now."
"It's been on, Sammy-boy." Stefan laughed.
A snowball smashed into the back of Stefan's head and he jumped, twisting around to see Hesper pointing innocently at Jacob, snow still on her hands.
Jacob's eyes widened, "no... I didn't... that was her-!"


Jacob ducked in time to hear the snow splatter on the wall behind him. "Mercy!"
Stefan shifted in his stance, a devious smirk pulling on his face. "In wars of snow, you'll find no mercy to be had Jake."
Another snowball was lobbed right as Stefan finished his overly ominous line delivery, smashing into his stomach and making him double over.


"Gods!" He shouted. "I've been shot!" 
Hesper giggled and it only egged him on.
Sam's eyes widened, "man-down! Man-down!"


"Is this the end of life for me? Tell my mom I love her!" Stefan reached up towards the sky, yet just as quickly he scooped up another handful of snow and chucked it right for Sam, nailing him squarely in the chest.
The snow wars were on.

~

The snow crunched beneath Cain's feet as he followed the sounds of the hysterical laughter. His friends were out tempting frostbite on their hands and he smiled. The snow was peaceful - it reminded him of home. This time last year he had been thrilled for Saturnalia's coming - three weeks at home with his family, the festivals, the lights, the food, the traditions. He loved every part of it... 


Except that Ming would be all the way back in Riyu, several hundred miles south of his hometown. 
Now he really wished his parents would've gotten a phone. 
That's far too much of a stretch, though. They didn't even have electricity in their home. Most people didn't in Dragon Valley. 
Life was just lived differently there than here, and that preoccupied Cain's mind far more than he liked to admit.
"Băobèi!" There was the crunching of snow behind him before he was suddenly ambushed. 


Ming shivered in his ear and he grinned. 
"Did your last exams go ok, qīnài de?" He had picked up some of the Chinese pet names she liked to use. Chinese was definitely not as easy as Nym was for him, but the way she lit up when he attempted it made it all worth it.
Her teeth chattered and she nodded, her grip on him tightening. "I hope so... how about you? I'm sure you did well, you're always so relaxed about it. I wish I could be that at ease!" 


"I'm sure you did fine, băobèi. Don't stress," Cain murmured. "You know your stuff - backwards and forwards; there's no way you didn't pass." 
Ming sighed with content as she rested her cheek on his shoulder. "Thank you. I needed to hear that." 
"Of course." Cain shifted and pulled her forward to walk next to him. "Are you still cold?" 
Ming shook her head, "no, I'm plenty warm now, thanks to you." 
He gave her a sheepish grin. "Happy to be of service to someone so beautiful." 
She flushed in the cold and it made him grin bigger.


~

"So how did it go last night?" Chrysanthemum patted down the snow at the base of their soon-to-be snowman. It was a strangely nice day, and Chrysanthemum had been going stir crazy after finishing her exams. She knew it was impractical to be outside, but at least her parents weren't here to chide her for it.


Assuming they would even notice her at all.
She was only getting two days with them over her Saturnalia break, after all, then they'd be back traveling for business and she'd have the house to herself until she went back to school.
It was more than last year, so she couldn't complain.


Sarah smiled sheepishly at her questioning and shrugged. 
"Mhm." Chrysanthemum hummed with a knowing voice. "What's her name?" If she was going to be covering for Sarah breaking curfew twice in a week, she at least wanted the gooey story for why.
Sarah scooped up some more snow to push towards their forming sphere. "...Tatiana."


Chrysanthemum gave Sarah a knowing look as she grinned. 
"It's nothing like that, ok? I just... this isn't the first time I've run into her. That's all. We're acquaintances." Sarah shook her head and her voice dropped. "Besides... I don't even know if she... well, if she likes girls."
"I see."
Sarah groaned and rolled her eyes, "what about you, huh? Found someone you're going to blow the last few years of freedom with?"


Chrysanthemum's eyes widened and she shook her head. "Absolutely not. What would the point of that even be?" Date someone just to... date them? Absurd. The relationship would end as soon as she joined Carule's circles - and that just wouldn't be fair to anyone involved. 
"Well how else are you going to help people make love-connections if you've never had one yourself?" Sarah wiggled her eyebrows. "Besides, being in a relationship is fun. It's when the relationship starts going bad that it's less fun, but there wouldn't be any strings attached for you. Have some fun, get some experience, then go follow in the path of the great Carule!"


"If only it were that easy." Chrysanthemum mumbled as she focused on the snowman.
"It could be." Sarah's statement persisted, yet the two of them quieted and carved the base out of the snow. Finally Sarah gave her an easy smile. "I'm just saying, out of all the people who deserve to find someone nice, it's you, Chrys."
"Thank you, Sarah." Chrysanthemum pushed a smile onto her face with her response. She wished what Sarah said was true, but she had so much she needed to improve about herself before she could be a worthy partner to someone else.
Experience would be useful, but this wasn't like a test she could study for. Dating someone involved someone else. Someone else being interested.



Of course she would be lying if she said she didn't want that, but if no one around her was interested, then what was the point?

~


Robert narrowed his eyes at the page below him, helping him see the fine print a little better. The light outside was almost too bright for reading, but being inside felt stale and he was feeling more and more restless. He and Jacob had packed their things the night before, and they'd be leaving tomorrow evening to take a train and then a boat to get to Roaring Heights. 
Robert couldn't recall ever being on a boat before.


It felt strange knowing he was going to some place other than his home he grew up in for such a big holiday. It was like a pit opened up in his stomach - one that was only fed by the reality that there simply was nothing left for him there.
The bench creaked beside him at the added weight of a surprising companion. "This seat taken?"


"It seems to be now." He smiled a bit from behind his book, yet kept his book up. Perhaps it was considered rude, but Robert was still a little upset by the cold shoulder he and the rest of the gang had received from Mincia for the past few weeks. 
"What-chya reading?" Mincia asked, yet she didn't really seem invested in the question, as she didn't even look at him.


"Beowulf." Robert answered with a shrug. 
That caused her to bring her eyes over with confusion. "Still? Or again?" 
"Again." He brushed his fingers along the worn page. "It was my father's favorite book, and the first English book he ever read to me. It's one of the last things I have left of him." 
"Oh." Mincia seemed genuinely deflated by his comment. "That's right, you told me he passed when you were little. I'm sorry. If this was your first English book then what other language did you read in? French?" 


Robert nodded, closing his book up as he did, yet they fell into silence as he wasn't sure what else he could even say.
Mincia shifted and sighed. "Look, I'm sorry for avoiding you. I've just been... working through some stuff." 
He hadn't expected her to have been so upfront considering how the conversation started, but he felt a pang of guilt run through him. Of course she wouldn't avoid them without a reason, so why had he assumed she had and given her the cold shoulder? That wasn't very kind nor mature of him. He sighed and shook his head. "I get it... if anyone should be able to get that, it's me. I noticed it but I guess I figured you must've wanted space, so I didn't push it. I'm sorry, I should've at least asked..." 


"Nah, you were right. I did want space. I probably would've bitten your head off if you'd tried." She let out a breathy laugh. "Maybe literally." 
"At least take my arm off, first." Robert grinned as he swiveled the book out in front of him. "I'll go out like Grendel that way." No one quite appreciated the book the way he did; he could recall acting it out in his imagination countless times after his father would read the story to him. 
Mincia shook her head with a teasing smile, yet fell back into silence again as they watched their friends and other students enjoying the freedom of the snowy day. 


"I'm getting married." 
Robert turned his head suddenly to look at Mincia. "Uh... what?" 
Mincia tipped her head slightly and frowned. "My father wanted the ceremony to happen over Saturnalia, but I've managed to stall it until our break in the springtime." 
Robert's brow furrowed harder. "You're not even 17 yet." 


Mincia didn't look at him and she gave a defeated shrug. "My older sister was married at 15 - I've skirted around this for as long as I possibly could." 
Robert leaned back hard onto the cold bench, feeling winded. "Gods. No wonder you've had shit you've needed to sort through." 
"His name is Dagan and he's 19, he's part of a traveling pack. My father was practically leaping for joy when he made the match. The worst part is he actually seems like a nice guy." She slumped further into the bench. 


Robert ran a hand through his hair and he pursed his lips. "I mean I'm... not exactly an expert on... well marriage or anything, but... isn't that a good thing? You know, that he's nice?" 
Mincia smirked slightly. "It'd be easier to fight my father on the match if he wasn't."
"Have you told anyone else yet?" 
She shook her head. "You're the first. I'll... let everyone know soon. If you wouldn't mind keeping this between us for now?" 


"My lips are sealed." Robert nodded. 
"Thanks." Mincia gave him a sincere attempt at a smile. "You ready for the formal tonight?" 
Robert groaned. "As ready as I ever am for them. Jacob, Sam, Stefan, and I plan on hiding out in a corner by the buffet tables and stuffing our faces. You're welcome to join us, you know." 
"Tempting... very tempting." She smirked. "I think I might take you up on that offer." 
"It's a plan." 

~

Hesper nearly lost her footing and she stumbled to the side to avoid an incoming snowball. 


A gust of wind pulled her back on her feet and her cheeks flushed as Stefan disappeared from where he was across from her before reappearing slightly out of position. Her family had always been intensely against anything to do with magic - much to the point where she never even told them she was coming to the Academy. She left them a note and took off; it was just better that way.
She hadn't regretted it for a minute, either.


"Hesper have you even been hit by a snowball yet?" Sam looked at her and then Stefan skeptically.
Yet Hesper shrugged, grinning as she did so, "maybe I'm just good at dodging and you boys suck at throwing?" 
"I dunno, hey Jake use that math brain to calculate the odds of that with... angles or some shit." Sam called over as everyone stood tensed, waiting for the next throw. 
"Well, uh... let me see..." Jacob seemed to process some of the information before he was pelted by another snowball, yet no one had seemed to move. 


Hesper's eyes widened and Stefan gave her a cheeky grin with a very fast wink, or had she just imagined that?
"Ah-ha! I knew it! Sam sent snow flying at Stefan. "Using your enhanced abilities in the times of war... shameless!" 
Jacob shook his head, "no faiiiiir!" Yet they laughed, so it wasn't anything too serious. 
"Forfeit them now and we'll go easy on you!" Sam pointed dramatically at Stefan. 


Stefan grinned darkly, lowering himself to prepare for sudden movements. "Of course, I'll definitely cooperate." 
"Just shameful," Sam jeered. "Can't even lie to my face! Alright, if that's how it's going to be..." 
The snowballs began flying again and Hesper almost couldn't keep up, she was laughing too hard. Stefan got hit several times by all of them, yet she continued to not be hit. 
It went on for several minutes more before Sam clutched his fingers near his mouth. "My fingers! I can't go on much longer!" 


"Me either!" Jacob called, rubbing his hands furiously on his coat. Hesper had lost feeling in her fingers shortly after they started, though now they were starting to throb.
"A truce, then?" Hesper called from her corner.
Jacob nodded, throwing his hands up. 
"Sounds good, gotta give you mere mortals a break from the cold." Stefan dusted off his coat with a slightly smug expression and she watched his movements closely.


Hesper tried to shake her gaze - she may be sheltered, but she did know better than to stare - but her eyes always came back to watch for him, to watch the way he moved. If she watched close enough she could see the speed that he was capable of - she could feel the rhythm of it. 
"Think fast, Hesper!" 
Before she had even realized it, Sam had lobbed a snowball at her. She hadn't even had time to brace for it. 
It never hit her though.



Sam snickered, "uh-huh, precisely what I thought!" 
"How dare you take pot-shots at a lady!" Stefan clutched his stomach briefly, falling back dramatically into the snow as he did so. "It shall not be so!" 
Hesper dropped down into the snow, giggling as she tried to straighten her face. "Oh dear, my hero!" She reached to brush the snow from his jacket that had been pelted there - intended for her.


He reached his hand up to touch hers and she felt her heart rate increase rapidly. "Are you alright?" His voice lost the edge of drama and teasing which caused the butterflies in her stomach to start strangling her voice. 
She could barely manage a nod. 
"Here." Just as rapidly, he was back to his feet and holding his hands out to help her up. "I don't want you to get cold." 


She hesitantly reached for his hands and he pulled her up gracefully from the snow. Sitting down had been a terrible idea and her legs radiated with the cold that seeped in through her leggings. 
"Hey Hesper!" It was a distant voice that caught her attention and she pulled her gaze from Stefan long enough to register Sarah and her roommate waving at her. "We're going to get ready for the Formal, you want to come with us?" 
She could feel her eyes widening as she absorbed what was said. "Me? Really?" 


"Yeah, come on! It'll be fun!" Her roommate called. 
She gave a nervous look at the guys who waved her off as Stefan grinned. 
"Ok! Yeah! That sounds great!" She felt like she could pop from the excitement. She'd never had this kind of relationship with anyone before. 
What a wonderful thing it was to have friends. 

~

"Hey Ming, we're heading in to get ready, you coming?" Sarah called as she walked past. 


"Yeah," Ming smiled. "Just a few more minutes and I'll be up." 
Sarah rolled her eyes and Chrysanthemum gave them a look as they passed with the new girl in tow behind them. 
"I'm going to miss you over Saturnalia." Ming said softly as she rested her cheek on Cain's head. He had refused to let her sit in the little bit of snow left on the bench. 


"I'll miss you too - in fact, I already do a little." He tightened his grip on her and took a deep breath in. "I'll write to you, I promise." 
"I look forward to it, then we can be pen pals!" She laughed lightly and it made him grin.
They would enjoy the time they had while they had it.





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~ Next Chapter ~

Chinese Translations (apologies for any inaccuracies):
"Băobèi" - Treasure
"Qīnài de" - Darling/Dear

SimNaNo Count: 
Words: 3,202
Words (total): 8,398
Pictures: 93
Pictures (total): 225 ⭐

2 comments:

  1. Haaaaaa, what a beautiful FLUFF chapttterrr

    I always adore watching these kids interact. It's such a sweet treat! hehehhe and they're all so CUTE, particularly my ship Stefan and Hesper XD
    God Cain and Ming too are just so cute to see??? ALL OF THEM OKAY, JUST ALL OF THEM. I love the romances and the bromances and the gromances heeeeeeeeeee

    Mincia and Rob were kind of a CONTRASTING intermission foooooo, god though Mincia getting married so young...I love all the different cultures and lore that really pop up here!

    OmFG I DIED lmao Robert and Sam are SO PREICOUS??? hahhahahahahah

    God and Is and Chrys happening in the background I can't even be I really need it to happen likke??? Pssh CHRYS WHY WOULD YOU RENOUNCE LOVE

    What a great way to start a day, reading this chapter and feeling the FLUFF haaa

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  2. LMAO Sam getting confused with Celsius and Fahrenheit. My poor baby. But Stef’s right, at least he’s pretty. Aw, and Hesper got Stef with the snowball then blamed it on Jacob. I love her already (did I mention that yet?) And I love that Stef is a bit less stupid around her now – even if he is going over the top with the ‘dying’ bit, lols.

    Yep, called it on Chrys’ parents being too busy for her (did I mention it last chapter? Can’t remember). Love the ‘normal’ girl conversation between she and Sarah, nice reminder that for all their powers and occult types, they are still teenagers underneath.

    Awww, I love Hesper’s POV. She’s already so taken with Stefan, not being able to stop herself from watching him. The “wonderful thing to have friends” resonates strongly with me, feels a lot like what I’ve been feeling these past few weeks. *snuggles Livvie and blams and Livy*

    Damn, that picture montage is amazing. And ZOMG, Lucille wearing my favourite formal dress in the game. Did you pull that out of my head? Naw, Hesper and Stefan stealing looks at one another. But he actually asked her for a dance, go boy! I freaking love her lace gloves. Chrys and Isidore beat Hesper/Stefan at stealing glances, though. And Rob and Sam dancing together, because they’re both totally secure in their sexuality and manly enough to dance with one another *love* Damn, I cannot decide which character/pairing is my favourite. They’re all amazing in different ways!

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