[identity profile] yoda-ic.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] writing_shadows
The snow fell steadily, white specks and clumps falling from the sky in quick flurries and slow feather-like processions to the ground. It crunched beneath his feet, at once firm and without substance. He stomped steadily through the streets, the snow too thick for Elaine to pass easily. Guitar across his back, and coat billowing in the chill breeze, he watched as others scurried around, wrapped up in scarves and hats and gloves.

He didn’t understand why. It felt no different to him than the blaziing heat of summer did, not really. Why were they all affected so? It was annoying, and clumped in his hair, and collected in the back of his collar. Uncomfortable, but it didn’t bother him much - the trickling melted water down his spine was more irritating.

He paused in his reflections, causing a minor pile-up behind him as others bumped into each other trying to get around him. Last time it was white, that would have been more annoying. But it was different now. He was different now. Winters was dead, killed by his own hands - the memory of the lightning crackling surged through him as he contemplated that. Peace - he was more at peace now.

The ripping pain that was only abated by the music he played was less too. He still felt it, the agony that connected him to his guitar and the music, but it seemed less now. He was no longer Stannum, he’d changed - reformed into a calmer, better person. Brae helped - the thought of Brae still calmed him more than most things. He could feel her too, distant and bright, the connections of the Throng burning through the brand on his hand. Punch, Haywalk and Clay were there too, closer - but not close enough for him to pick up more than they were there, connected through the brand. Not that he knew how that worked - he didn’t need to know, it just did.

He resumed his journey through the snow-filled streets, crushing small snow boulders beneath his heavy feet. He wandered without direction, looking for somewhere he could perhaps play music, but the music being played was strange with bells and none of the passion of his music. He wasn’t sure people would like his. The town was strange, everywhere covered in strange flickering lights, and pictures of snow and red men. Lots of places had trees in the windows as well. He’d seen this before - it happened when the snow came, but he didn’t understand why. People were strange - he didn’t understand them.

He walked past more of the bright shops with their loud, ringing music and their fat red men and trees and stopped sharply - something had caught his ear. Looking around, he heard it again, coming from an alley. He stepped down it slowly, listening for the sound again. There, there it was. The quiet mewing of kittens shivering in the cold. He crouched down next to them, looking at them. Their mother was next to them, unmoving, thin and wasted. He considered - he didn’t know what to do, but he thought about what Brae would want him to do.

He lifted the guitar from his back and set it down carefully before shrugging off his coat. Pooling the coat in front of him, he picked up the small and scrawny kittens and placed them one by one on the coat before slinging the guitar back on his back and bundling the kittens up in the folds of the coat. Stalking back onto the street, he looked around sharply and chose a door. Barging into the shop without decorum, he set the quietly mewing bundle down on the counter. “They were cold. Keep them warm,” he said before stalking out again to cries of protest.

He walked back into the snow, watching the air turn white as he breathed. It felt different without the coat, his scars exposed. Old, white lines across the inside of his forearm; the stitching above his elbows where Winters sewed his parts on. The stitching at his wrists was obscured by the neck-scarf and bracelets he wore, but the metal bolts at the base of his spine now stuck out at the bottom of his t-shirt. But it mattered not - he had helped. He stalked off once more into the snow, letting the flurries hide him as he trudged back to Elaine.
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