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Winter

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It’s winter in Towa City and Servant could feel it. He shifted his jacket, a black bomber style one with too many zippers and some pins.

He had found it lying in the ruined remains of a clothing store at the front part where displays went. Servant had spotted the jacket only because of the shining of the zipper under the layers of rubble. At first, he had assumed it was just a scrap of material, but curiosity won in the end and he went to investigate. And that was how he got a new jacket, completely untorn and in perfect condition. It was definitely because of his luck. That week he had made sure to throw himself into unlucky situations to counter the surge of luck. One of those unlucky situations was purposefully running into the Warriors of Hope and letting them take him prisoner.

Towa City lay along a massive river that was so wide and spanned so far around the city that they were basically on an island. It took a ferry or by air to reach the city now. The singular roads into Towa City were across bridges and those were occupied, especially the largest bridge. Servant had seen the amount of Monokuma bots and explosives guarding it and felt a shiver of Despair fill him. Servant wished he could watch the desperate people trying to flee the city or help trying to come in only to be crushed, but that wasn’t Absolute Hope, so he refrained. Besides, the river made the cold humid and sticky and that was the last thing he wanted.

Winter in Towa City had always been colder than other areas in the country. Here the snow actually stuck to the ground and frosted over the roads and scenery. Ice formed and winds would sometimes pick up, causing the cold to whip around and blow snow in every direction. With limited places to huddle up inside, Servant was feeling the effects of the cold.

The tip of his nose was red and his fingers were numb. He wished he had found the other pair to the glove on his left hand but finding a glove in the first place was luck in itself. He shouldn’t push it, not with how well things were going. Laughing breathlessly to himself, Servant watched his breath float and vanish into the atmosphere. Looking up at the red sky, Servant smiled. There weren’t any stars and the moon looked blood red every night. Even though it was day, Servant could still see the faint outline in the distance. A little bit of snow fell gently down in a thin curtain of white against the red. White and red. Hope and Despair. Servant reached out with his right hand and curled his fingers so he could cup the snow. It was cold against his bare hands but melted upon contact with his skin.

He stood there, cupping the melting snow until his hand was numb. Servant then dropped his hand, feeling the water trickle down his fingers, absorbing into his pants and dripping onto the ground. Hastily he wiped his hand on his pants and stuffed his numb hand into his pant pocket. It didn’t help, as the pocket just captured the cold air in a single place. He’d have to go inside in order to get warm.

“Well,” Servant muttered to himself, “Good thing I’m close to the hotel.”

Not that Servant would stay at the hotel for the night. He was supposed to go back and entertain the Warriors of Hope. Though all in due time. For now, he wanted to get warm. Turning sharply around, Servant began to walk down the street, towards more ruined buildings and dilapidated roads, towards the hotel. As he walked Servant spotted Monokuma bots waddling along in uncoordinated lines. They briefly turned to look at him but disregarded his presence a moment later. Servant continued, keeping a wide radius around them. Just because they recognized him as Ultimate Despair didn’t mean he wanted to be associated with them.

As he got closer to the hotel some of the roads were too chopped up for him to make a clear getaway. He’d have to take some side roads and alleys. It didn’t matter in the end as they were short cuts and Servant wanted to get inside quickly. His hand was still numb and the numbness had spread to his legs and his face. His nose felt red and the tips of his ears too. Every breath Servant took still spiraled out into the air and disappeared.

Heading down an alley Servant was almost at the other side back to the main street when he saw him. The boy had to be around his age with long, twisted dark hair and a dark suit. The button up shirt was white and remarkably clean. As Servant approached the boy looked up and Servant saw his red eyes. A small jolt danced behind Servant’s brain, like a flash of something long passed. He paused for a moment, before giving a bright wave and smile.

“Hello.” Servant politely called out, “It’s rather cold today, isn’t it?”

The boy didn’t respond, merely ran his gaze quickly over Servant’s form. Servant waited an extra moment, in case the boy decided to speak. When silence rolled over them, Servant huffed and continued walking.

“Well at least I’m cold.” Servant continued to talk, “I’m not from around here, so this type of cold isn’t something I’m used to. Are you cold?”

Nothing. Now that Servant was closer he could see a flush of red around the other’s cheeks and around his ears. Servant smiled.

“I’m going into the hotel.” Servant told him, “You’re welcome to join me. It’s warm in there and I think there is something warm to drink somewhere. Maybe from a vending machine?” Servant tilted his head before he remembered his lack of money, “Ah, but I don’t have any cash on me.”

He paused and remembered they were in the apocalypse, “Oh, but it is the end of the world, so surely it wouldn’t matter if we took something without paying?”

He paused again and remembered how many people inflicted with Despair had meandered through, “Oh wait, maybe that’s not a good idea. Someone might have poisoned it. Possibly.”

More silence. Servant huffed and saw his breath float around himself once again. Normally he wouldn’t talk to someone on the street, but somehow despite the silence Servant could tell. There was something about this boy and he felt himself drawn to him like the metaphorical moth to a lamp.

“Please,” Servant wasn’t above begging, “Do join me.”

The boy blinked before turning silently towards the exit. Servant waited a beat before he realized the other was waiting for him to lead the way. Beaming Servant almost bounced over, trailing ahead a little bit. A smile had wormed its way on his face and he couldn’t stop it from spreading widely. Something warm and fluttery had filled his stomach and was filling his core, off setting the cold of their surroundings. It felt nice and for a moment Servant didn’t feel the temperature, but a gust of wind reminded him rather harshly that it was frigid and if he didn’t get inside he’d become an icicle.

As soon as they exited the alley the hotel was within sight. Servant almost skipped his way over, mindful of the rocks and loose concrete. How embarrassing (and unlucky) it would be if he tripped and fell. Then again, with the luck of finding someone so mysterious and intriguing a little bit of bad luck befalling him would be natural. It was after all, how his luck always worked. However, no bad befell Servant and he made it without making a fool out of himself. Opening the door to the hotel, Servant immediately scrambled inside, thankful of the heat and warmth. He moved far away from the door.

“So, what brings you to Towa?” Servant decided to strike up a conversation now that he was comfortable.

The other was silent, standing stiffly, arms at his side. Servant shifted and took his hand out of his pocket and watched the red slowly fade from the tips, “Was that too personal?” Servant asked, tearing his gaze from his hand and looking over, “My apologies.”

He hummed and didn’t look at him. Servant felt his heart beat steadily. This boy was rude, but Servant simply rocked on his heels, “I’m sorry.” He said again before he shifted, “So, what’s your name?”

A beat passed and Servant felt his face warm up. How standard and plebeian of him. He might as well do a standard introduction complete with bows.

“Boring.” The boy finally drawled out, his red eyes not looking at Servant, “Small talk is boring.”

He got an answer. The words were dull, but they cut through Servant, reminding him how utterly untalented and unimportant he was in the grand scheme of the world. But he got him to talk. Servant tallied it up as a victory. He smiled.

“I’m Servant.” He introduced himself, “You need not introduce yourself to me.” He added quickly.

The other stared off at the hotel. They were in the lobby and the lobby was mostly intact, which was surprising, but some areas were destroyed, the walls or stairs slightly caved in. There were also some holes in the walls in the shape of Monokuma bot claws. There were also some mysterious dried brown spots at the base of some of the boards. Servant knew it was dried blood, though no bodies. He didn’t like to think of why the bodies were gone.

“Kamukura Izuru.” The boy finally said.

Servant nearly bit his tongue he scrambled so quick to reply. He got a response! Another tally for his score. “Nice to meet you Kamukura Izuru.”

Kamukura huffed a little bit but didn’t comment. Servant returned his attention to his hand. Now that he was comfortable and warm he didn’t have much of a reason to hang around the hotel. He had to go back to the Warriors of Hope but… he gave a side glance at Kamukura. He was interesting, intriguing and Servant didn’t want to leave him. However, he couldn’t hang off the guy and be a nuisance. Perhaps this dilemma was a direct result of his luck cycle. Shame. It wasn’t a painful consequence, but a result of his luck none the less.

“Well,” Servant decided to at least be polite to Kamukura, “I best be off.”

He waited a second, just in case, but knew that it was futile to wish that Kamukura would ask him to stay or ask to come with. Turning towards the same doors they had entered from, Servant began to walk to them, bracing himself for the cold. Shoving the door open, Servant winced at the change in temperature, but pressed on.

It was when the door shut with a delayed expected time that Servant paused. He hadn’t heard the click and curiosity was always his worse and best trait. Turning around again, he nearly let out a strangled gasp as he nearly collided with Kamukura. Servant felt his heart splutter and his mouth curled into a smile.

“You’re coming with?” He couldn’t help but ask.

Kamukura stared at him and responded, “It’s boring in there.”

Servant didn’t want to tell him that he’d probably find the journey as well as the destination to the Warriors of Hope boring as well. Instead he took a small step away, giving himself space from Kamukura’s overwhelming presence and steadied himself.

“We’re not far.” He told Kamukura, “Please, follow me.”

As they walked, Servant couldn’t feel Kamukura or hear his presence at all, but he knew that Kamukura was still there. It made his heart flutter all the more and Servant did his best to focus on the correct direction and not get them lost. That would also be mortifying. Now that Kamukura was following him, Servant could feel his luck cycle spiralling downward. Two bouts of luck definitely made sure he would experience some bad luck soon.

It was because he was so lost in thought that Servant’s foot caught in a raised slab of concrete. He didn’t have time to attempt to steady himself. Gravity took hold and Servant felt himself plummeting to the ground but was suddenly stopped.

Kamukura’s arm was around his waist and Servant could feel the warmth radiating off. He thickly swallowed and did his best to steady his beating heart. Regaining his balance, Servant stood up properly. Kamukura’s arm hadn’t moved and Servant savoured it for a long moment before it left, leaving the area cooler than before.

“Uh… thank you.” Servant thickly swallowed, not wanting to look at Kamukura, “That was…” Embarrassing? Expected? Just a result of his luck cycle? “Thank you.” He settled. If he turned to look at Kamukura, he’d see how pink his cheeks were. It wasn’t entirely from the cold.

Kamukura huffed, “Be careful.” He intoned.

Careful… first he met Kamukura and then he followed him and now Servant had been saved by him. The signs were all pointing to a massive wave of bad luck rushing at him later (this trip was just a minor blip in his cycle of luck), but instead Servant didn’t care.

“I will.” He agreed. The fluttering in his heart, the fluttering that had begun since he had met Kamukura turned into burning.

And Servant didn’t care if he burned alive for the sake of Kamukura.

“Let’s go.” Servant shoved that thought deep into his mind.

They continued on and Servant’s cheeks were pink the entire way.