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it's the little things

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There are uncounted billions of worlds in the multiverse, home to unthinkable numbers of people, with uncountable trillions of stories to tell. This is one story, in one world, about just four of those billions of billions of people.

There is a planet, newly colonised and still mostly empty. There is a house, out in the mountains of the frontier region. More of a mansion, really, built with love and care and positioned just right to overlook the snow-covered slopes.

With a pop of displaced air, a man appears next to the porch. His hair is dull brown beneath a purple cap, which he takes off and uses to wipe his forehead.

“Hey, Cahmro,” Dave shouts. “I’m home!”

“We’re over here!” Cahmro, a shorter man with bright amethyst curls, waves from the nearest slope.

The boy next to him, hair equally purple, clambers back upright from where he had fallen in the snow and sets his skis determinedly back in something approximating the correct position. “DAAAVE! I’M SKIING, COME  WATCH!” he yells.

Pop. Inside the house, Dave grabs his skis and pulls them on, jamming the hat back on his head.

Another pop and he lands on the snow next to Cahmro and Adro, grinning. “Tag, you’re it!” he declares, bopping Adro on the head and setting off downhill. The boy sets off in pursuit, with Cahmro sticking close behind him.

“Tag! Ha, got you!”

“Right back at ya, you gotta be faster than that!”

“Tag!”

Eventually, they tire of the game and set off homeward. Dave could teleport all three of them straight to the top, but there’s something more real about walking through the snow, the cold air turning all their faces pink and making their breath puff out in clouds like dragon smoke. Besides, if he just teleported them, he wouldn’t get moments like this: Adro’s delighted whoop when he manages to hit Dave with a snowball he wasn’t expecting. Cahmro taking Dave’s hand and warming it between his own. Cresting the slope, exhausted and half-frozen, to find Adro’s father—Cahmro’s brother—waiting for them on the porch with hot cocoa held in hands that only shake a tiny bit from the drug withdrawal.

The little moments like this, as far as Dave is concerned, are what it’s all about.