[ Sky – Master Post ]
Characters: Severen, Sin
Warnings: Uncomfortable situations, very comfortable situations
Notes: This one was an easy follow to the last one. Gonna try to make up the dead day, and finish today. Severen’s got a thing about winter and waking up in the dark.
It was odd for Severen to be awake in the morning — or at least to be awake quite that early in the morning — especially in the winter. It didn’t bother him to be awake in the dark, but it always troubled him to wake up in it. He preferred to wake in the warmth of the day, and stay awake long after the chill had seized the ground. But, this morning, he couldn’t get back to sleep. The gleaming refractions of moonlight shimmering through the ice on the window disturbed him, crawling, like they did, through the branches of the tree outside the window. The patterns changed – one moment, eyes; the next moment, flowing water; the next moment, the skin of a ghostly snow-leopard. He gave up on sleeping. It was nearly six, anyway. The sun would be up, soon, to chase away the illusions.
That was one of those things, he’d learned, the terrors of youth never actually passed, they were merely sublimated into eccentricity. And if Severen was anything, it was eccentric. Crazy, actually, but people were polite, because he was rich, and most of them were just as crazy, but in very different ways. He’d learned to avoid pointing out that last part. He tended to let Sin handle as many of his social interactions as possible, and where Sin couldn’t do it, Betty usually could. Severen had a reputation for being eccentric, after all. No one would take it amiss if he wasn’t in the mood for company.
He thought about winter, as he made tea. Two cups, because Sin would be up, soon enough. Moroccan mint and rosewater, because it was one of those days. Winter was his favourite time of year, because it was both beautiful and terrifying, as all good things should be. Complacency was a dangerous paradigm, and one he’d learned early to distrust. The ice made stunning work of everything it touched — the street, the windows, the occasional dead cat. But, at the same time, it was that last that made one remember that for all the shining, white glory, the ice was deadly and indiscriminate. It should have bothered him less, here, because it froze so late in the year, and thawed so early, but no one approached the winter with knowledge or respect, here. It was always fear and surprise, when the snow came, and that bothered him, deeply. Where he came from, it snowed longer and deeper, and it was impossible to get a licence without learning to drive in it. It surprised no one, when the snow came, and almost everyone was prepared. It was just part of life.
But, ever since college, the snow wouldn’t leave him alone. Ever since the night he walked for four hours in it, carrying his life on his back, the snow would not let him forget. He’d seen it, that night, in ways it only showed itself to those it expected to die in the cold. Twenty seven degrees, it had been, and he’d had a sweater to keep him warm. And by the time he’d gotten to Sin’s, he was grateful that he at least had the sweater. He’d seen the ice rippling in the gutter, the way the spirit of it slithered along the damaged and dirty surface, sparkling tauntingly up at him. He’d seen the snow shimmering at him, as it fell in the spaces between buildings, tempting like a soft, white curtain. He’d nearly given up, a few times. He’d nearly given in to the snow. But, Sin would’ve been so disappointed in him, and that alone kept him walking. He couldn’t disappoint his only friend.
He smiled, remembering how confused Sin had been, and the smile stayed with him, up the stairs. It became a grin as he realised how confused Sin would be at the tea, this early in the morning, on such a cold day. That was the thing — he could still surprise Sin, because the man couldn’t control him, like he did with so many other people. If he gave in, it was because he’d been convinced, rationally, not because that supernatural charm had unseated his lesser convictions. That supernatural charm couldn’t even get him to put down a book, most of the time, unless it was propelling a request for dinner. He could almost always be convinced to change his plans, if Sin wanted him to cook. It was one of the few things he could give back — and that, he knew, was an entirely illogical thought, but it, too, came from college. So many things did, even now.
Setting the cups on the bedside table, he turned to watch the window, again. The ice was out there, waiting for him, like it had been for the last sixteen years. He stood by the window, letting the chill seep into his skin, as he stared out across the glowing white velvety expanse of his yard, into the lightening indigo sky beyond. It had been so long, that the ice had haunted him. But, it was only those first four hours that he’d really been afraid. Ever since that cup of tea, he’d known he’d be warm. As cold as he became, the ice wouldn’t take him. The snow wouldn’t get in. Sin would keep him warm.
"Is that mint?" came a sleepy voice from behind him. "Batty, what are you doing up at this hour?"
Severen turned around and held out his hand. "I can’t sleep. It’s cold."
"So, turn up the heat," Sin suggested, sitting up and rubbing his eye. "If you’re cold, why are you out of bed and half-naked?"
"Because if I’m not cold, you won’t come warm me up." The grin was nearly invisible as the reflections from the snow lit Severen from behind.
A matching grin opened up across Sin’s face, as he threw the blankets aside, picked up his tea, and backed Severen into the window. "Now, what on earth would give you that idea?" Sin sipped at his tea and smiled down at Severen. "I’d warm you up in the middle of the sands, in August, if you wanted me to."
"The window, Sin? It’s freezing."
"Hm, so it is." The smile didn’t waver. "Sounds like you need to be closer to me."
Severen’s eyebrow arced up, challengingly, seconds before he crossed his wrists behind Sin’s neck and his ankles behind Sin’s waist. "Close enough?"
Sin laughed, turning carefully, to avoid spilling his tea, as he angled himself so they could both see out the window. "The sun is rising."
"It won’t warm me up as fast as you do." Severen held on a little tighter. "And the sun won’t rise for me, in the middle of the night."