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Snow

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The snow is so out of place on the tropical island. There is something appealing in the contrast, in the way the overwhelming white makes the jewel-toned flowers even brighter and the lush greens even deeper. The snow is heavy on the delicate shapes of the jungle though, weighing down the canopy and obliterating the intricate details of the landscape. It’s a strange, mismatched beauty, like platinum poured over silk.

Also out of the place are the two children hunting through the snow, ones who have traveled through time and space and yet are accustomed to warmer climates.

“You’re nuts for wearing that, you know,” Dave says with a nod at her dress. “Are you expecting to find a modeling agency out here? Or do you have some theory about frogs liking girls in ballgowns?”

As if he has any ground to talk about impractical clothing. He never rubs at his arms to warm up and he moves with a loose grace that doesn’t suggest chilled muscles, but Jade can see the goosebumps on his arms where his sleeves ride up.

“No, the velvet’s warm! It really only gets cold when it gets windy.” Her words trail off into a deep shiver as paradox space sends a perfectly timed gust of air that curls around the exposed parts of her legs, cutting right through her stockings.

They decide to take a break in a rocky hollow not far from the house, where the volcano slides into the icy lagoon. It’s not warm but it’s sheltered and dry, and as a good a place as any to stop and share the snacks they’d brought with them.

Dave pulls a green suit jacket from his sylladex and hands it to Jade. “You can sit on that. Let’s try to at least delay your legs freezing off.”

“You’re really taking your title to heart, huh, sir knight.”

He bends into a deep bow with outswept arm. “Gonna hit up eBay for the armor and horse as soon as we’re done here.” Jade’s delighted laugh echoes off the rocks around them.

She overrules his coolkid attempt to lean against the wall while they eat by pulling him down next to her. Dave produces a second suit jacket to spread across both their laps, and after a few knocked knees and elbow jabs they settle in, pressed together in their aura of bodyheat.

Outside their shelter the wind tumbles wisps of loose snow along the frosted ground. “I don’t care how cold it is, I really like the snow,” Jade says. “Even with all the craziness of this game I’m glad I’m here to see this.”

Dave lets out a long breath that crystallizes and hangs in the air for a moment. His skin is warm where he’s pressed against her and his hands are warm tucked under the jacket with hers, and really, he can’t disagree.