Ann knew something was wrong before they'd even looked outside.
It hadn't been the infiltration. Everything had gone smoothly, and Akira had called it a day relatively early, confident that they were well on track to steal Madarame's heart before his exhibit downtown ended. But as the five of them skulked down the hallway of the museum, aiming for the skylight that would lead them to the parking lot, her hair began to stir. It must not have only been hers, either, because they all stopped short abruptly. Yusuke was usually fairly composed, but even he was on his guard, bracing for combat and searching for the source.
They looked at Ryuji.
"It ain't me!"
They looked at Akira.
"I don't even have a Persona with zio on me right now," he protested.
In battle, she'd felt her hair lift and move all on its own, like a thing possessed, dozens of times before, but it had always fallen limp again once Ryuji's or Akira's electricity discharged. This time it went on and on, an uncomfortable crawling sensation that made her scrub her scalp with her gloved fingertips, and she was about to complain until she saw how bad Morgana had it. There were tiny static charges nestling amongst the fur of his ears, and his tail was puffed out like a brush. He shook his head over and over, trying to dislodge the electricity, but he found no relief.
"Rrrgh!" he growled. "If this is a new Shadow, it must be pretty big - "
They heard the storm long before they reached the open skylight.
Just standing below the skylight was like being trapped inside an empty oil drum being beaten with sticks. They each clapped their hands over their ears as the thunder rolled near continuously and peered up at the sky. Every other infiltration, the weather had remained the same - overcast, the sky dappled with moody blue clouds that reflected the museum's spotlights back for best effect. But now, for the first time, things had changed.
That didn't seem like a good sign.
Akira signalled them to follow and led them to a corner that overlooked the front entrance doors leading to the parking lot, and -
Ann saw and felt the lightning course down from the sky. It was blinding, and the air was so thick with electricity that it lit up her catsuit, sparks winking in and out up and down her arms like little blue fairies. The thunder washed over them in a wall of sound, shaking the floor beneath them, and suddenly it all hammered at her hindbrain. It was too much. The light and noise and electricity overwhelmed her, and she ran for cover.
She wasn't the only one. They made for a small stampede, and in the confusion she almost missed Morgana belting down the hall. He was crying out helplessly, utterly terrified.
"Mona - !"
He either didn't listen or couldn't hear them over his own panic. He disappeared around the corner, just barely avoiding being detected as he crossed a Shadow's path and skittered underfoot.
Akira lunged forward a step or two, uncharacteristically flustered, but then stopped in his tracks and let out a sigh of frustration. "Safe room, guys."
"How could he just leave? Stupid cat - "
"He's just scared, Skull," Ann said, tired. Acting as the buffer between Morgana and Ryuji was exhausting, and she shot Akira a Look, one that indicated it was his turn next time.
Akira stretched in his office chair, putting off answering, and finally nodded. "We'll go find him. I don't like the idea of him out there alone."
Yusuke nodded himself, agreeing with Akira's sentiment before changing topics. "I don't like the look of that storm, either. Was your first Palace subject to such extreme weather?"
Ryuji took off his skull mask and rubbed at his face beneath it. Their infiltration had been shorter than most, this time, but it still took it out of you. "First one looked weirder. Freaky red sky. But it never changed, I don't think."
That was an unsatisfying answer, but there wasn't anything else to be said. They pushed their chairs away from the table, left the safe room, and started looking.
Old habits died hard. The four of them held their breath as museum staff trundled by, keeping to the shadows and searching each room they came to as stealthily as possible, but that was no way to find someone. They finally decided to drub a few Shadows and clear a room fully, one of the exhibit rooms with the lofty ceilings, so they could risk shouting.
"Monaaaaa - "
Spending what felt like an hour or more covering old ground with aching feet and frazzled nerves meant that it felt pretty good to let off some steam. Their voices, Yusuke's at the lowest register and hers at the highest, Akira's and Ryuji's closer to the middle, made a satisfying cacophony. But Morgana didn't come back.
"He has to be able to hear us. He's just bein' difficult," Ryuji scowled, and this time, no one stuck up for Morgana.
Akira looked like he wanted to agree with him. "Well, I think we're stuck here either way. That storm looked pretty deadly."
Yusuke's face remained impassive as ever behind his fox mask, though he sounded worried. "Will he know where to find us, should he decide to return on his own?"
Akira's face brightened. She could tell he felt better with a plan of action. "Yeah, we'll just - " He knelt on the floor, waxed to a mirror shine, and began scratching away at it with his dagger.
1ST EXHIBIT ROOM
She wondered if that was such a good idea. "Should we really just advertise where we are... ?" she asked him.
"You think these things can read?"
It was hard to say how much of a Shadow's behaviour was actually it reacting to a new situation in a way that showed signs of intelligence and how much was preprogrammed pageantry. She had to admit that there was a good chance that they really couldn't read.
Akira got to his feet. "Anyway, I don't really see what else we can do. We can't look forever. Let's leave a few more."
He enlisted Yusuke and his katana's help, and together they left two more markers for Morgana, etched into the floor in two other rooms in tall, spiky characters.
Ryuji just became more and more agitated, though. His leg jittered as he waited for them to finish, and when he began to pace, Ann finally sidled up to him and poked him in the side. "What's your deal?"
"We gotta - I gotta get home, that's my deal. We been in here way too long. My mom's gonna flip out."
Fair point. They headed toward the skylight again, talking when the coast was clear as they went.
Akira slapped him on the back. "Bet it'll be okay. Time's slow in here, remember?"
When they'd first begun infiltrating Kamoshida's Palace, they'd wondered aloud why time moved more slowly in the Metaverse, though Morgana had never been able to provide a satisfying answer. Ryuji shook his head, annoyed. "Yeah, I know time's all fucky in here, but it still feels too long, you know?"
They didn't have to make it all the way to the skylight to hear the thunder or see the way the lightning lit up the darkened hallway. You could still feel the ozone in the air too, a dry but somehow greasy feeling. Ryuji reacted in predictably foulmouthed fashion.
Back to the safe room, then. Ryuji was still fretting about his mom. "Yeah, I get you, but - " Akira shrugged, a what can you do? gesture, and slumped on the couch, all lazy grace. "I guess Sakura will chew me out for coming home late." He didn't sound too terribly concerned.
Yusuke was looking at his hands, folded neatly in front of him on the safe room table. "I hope that breaking curfew will not give Madarame cause to suspect me."
"I'm sure it'll be fine," she said. They were all looking at her, now, and she thought of her empty house. Her caretaker kept things running while her parents were overseas, which was most of the time, but someone who was paid to make your meals was pretty different than having someone like Ryuji's mom waiting for you at home. "I bet Kawakami would wonder where me and Joker are," she finished lamely.
She'd managed to suck all the levity out of the room, if there'd been any in the first place, and that hadn't been the best angle to take, either. Ryuji's eyes went huge. "You think we're gonna be in here all night?" He threw himself backwards in his chair. "Let's go check outside again. Maybe it stopped."
It was impossible to tell from the safe room whether the storm was still going, and given how loud and constant the thunder had been, that was for the best. She understood why he'd want to keep checking, but - "Come on. We just did."
She'd brought the mood down. She had an idea to bring it back up again, though. "Anyway. It's - it's just like camping, right? Camping out for one night's not so bad."
Ryuji rolled his eyes and scoffed, and Akira looked incredulous, but Yusuke's face lit up like she'd never seen. Not that she'd known him all that long, of course. "I had never considered urban camping before."
"That's called bein' homeless, dude."
Akira knew what she was trying to do, though. He met her eyes over Ryuji's head and did his part to lift the mood. "Not if we build a fire. Then it'll really be like camping." He couldn't help but take a dig at her, though. "Not that we'll be roughing it or anything."
She'd heard some of this before. She knew Akira wanted to give off the aura of being at home in the city, now that he'd come to Tokyo, but she hadn't been hanging out with him long at all before he was listing off all of the ways living out in the country was different. No, not different. Better. "Yeah, yeah, country boy."
Yusuke was already in love with the idea. "A campfire... what will we burn?"
Four pairs of eyes settled on the couch, then quickly looked away in mutual agreement.
"We are not burnin' the couch - "
"I didn't say that we should - " Yusuke backpedalled.
"Let's go look for firewood," Akira said firmly, and stood up from the table.
"Wait wait wait. Hold it," Ryuji said. They settled into their chairs again. "It's all just... paintings in here. In the museum."
Yusuke was usually up in the clouds, but you could haul him back down to the ground again if you tried. "They would let off some fairly toxic smoke," he allowed.
"There's HVAC. There's vents," said Akira, stubborn.
Ann peered at the ceiling. The light was low in here, so it was hard to tell. "There's gotta be sprinklers though, guys."
There was a strangely familiar sound, a quiet sucking of air sort of sound, full of intent, and then there they were. The sprinklers were just barely visible above their heads, solid and real.
Whoa. "Did you guys see that?!"
Ryuji shook his head, but Akira and Yusuke nodded, looking a little spooked. "That sounded like when a Shadow appears," Akira said slowly.
They'd all seen it before. Usually the museum was bustling with guards and staff doing their rounds, but sometimes you could catch one coalescing out of the air itself, like footage of a thought forming. It made just the same sound that the sprinklers had.
"Did I just make those?" she babbled.
Yusuke was still new to all of this and looked especially bewildered. Not that they understood something like this any better than he did. "But this Palace is Madarame's cognition, not ours," he said.
Akira plucked at his own coat. "This is us, though." Then he pulled out his pistol, summoning it out of thin air as they each did when they needed their weapons. "This, too." He had a point - his pistol had appeared silently, and the Shadows had always looked like tar pulling itself into a solid form, but aside from that, its materialization wasn't so different in concept than the Shadows or the sprinklers.
"Yeah, but that ain't the museum," Ryuji argued. "If we could just say shit 'n make it happen then there'd be no point to any of this. We could just say 'oh, there's the Treasure' 'n it'd just... be there."
They all stared at the centre of the table in front of Ryuji's hands, as if it could be that easy, but it looked like Madarame's Treasure was going to play hard to get.
"Maybe it's a safe room thing, then. It wouldn't work on the Treasure, but in here - " She tried to remember how Morgana had explained safe rooms in the first place. Their very first safe room in Kamoshida's castle felt like a decade ago. "Mona said the Palace owner's cognition is weakest in here. In the safe rooms. So maybe our cognition is stronger... ?"
It was a working theory, at least. Akira tested it, speaking to the ceiling. "There are no sprinklers in here."
The sprinklers flickered like a candleflame, then snapped back to solidity.
"One outta four won't do it, maybe," said Ryuji, craning his neck to look up. "I sure am glad there's no sprinklers in here!"
That had to be it. Yusuke and Ann jumped in at once.
"How fortunate that there aren't - "
" - any sprinklers in here."
The ceiling was smooth and featureless again. No sprinklers. They traded baffled looks and got to their feet, then headed back out to the museum to forage for firewood.
Another two rooms' worth of Shadow guards spattered apart, their fights made more difficult by their lack of a Navigator, and Ann was starting to seriously rethink the whole campfire idea.
"My feet huuurt - " she whined.
"Yeah, yeah. Quit yer bitchin'." Ryuji yelped and stumbled forward as she kicked his ass for him.
"Behave, children," grinned Akira. He didn't look like he meant it one bit.
"Well. My leg's done too," Ryuji admitted. "We gotta have enough by now."
Yusuke turned his entire body to look at them. "If we see another on the way back to the safe room, I can still carry more fuel."
Yusuke had the longest arms, so they'd swiped as many paintings from the walls as they could and loaded him up right up to his chin. She knew how heavy their thick wooden frames were from helping Akira take them down, so she couldn't help but be a little impressed. Yusuke was either very strong in the Metaverse or very dedicated to making their campfire work.
"I thought I had fuel." Ryuji looked at the rolls of fabric tapestries he and Ann had wedged under each other's arms.
"You've got kindling," Akira corrected. He really was very proud of his dumb camping knowledge. " ...maybe it is just more fuel. Honestly, we should have some small branches, but - "
"Uh huh," she said, walking more quickly toward the safe room and hoping they'd all speed up behind her so she could get off of her feet. "And what do you have? Again?" Akira's hands were empty.
She looked over her shoulder to see him giving her that snarky grin he was so good at. "Tinder. Lots and lots of tinder." He patted his coat pockets, where he kept the weird bits and pieces of scrap materials that the Shadows sometimes left behind. Shadow lint, he called it, even when it was the stuff that looked like pieces of metal or string.
Ryuji pulled even with her just so he could waggle his eyebrows at her. "Joker's definitely got Tinder."
This was not the first time they'd made this joke, or similar ones, at least, and it probably wouldn't be the last. They had no proof of what he did all over the place late at night - cleaning up after his ex-yakuza buddy, he'd say, and they'd roll their eyes, or he'd tell them he was chatting with a politician, and they'd trade mystified looks. All they knew was that he was the busiest guy they knew, and any messages sent after dinnertime would go unanswered until well after midnight.
It was a dumb joke, but not so dumb that she didn't want to add to it. "Yup. Joker's full up."
Ryuji usually couldn't keep a joke subtle for long. "Yeah, he's got a school calendar and a - a dicking calendar - "
"I'm sure there's an app for that - "
Akira gave each of them a little slap on the back of the head as he strolled between them. "You think I need Tinder?"
Ryuji whispered, "Oh, sorry. Grindr, then," just loud enough for Akira to catch it, and the snort they heard from him made them both grin.
Ryuji looked at Ann, and she looked at him. Without needing words, they each dropped their armfuls of tapestries to the floor at the same time and waited for Akira to help them pick them up, distributing them more evenly between the three of them.
Yusuke went by, barely able to see over his stack of paintings, though the sliver of his face that they could see between the paintings and his mask was very red.
Things felt a little more cheery once they were sitting around a roaring campfire.
Akira had been insufferable, of course. He'd turned out his pockets and fretted over the placement of every tiny scrap of yarn and bark until she'd lost patience and summoned Carmen, immolating the whole thing in an instant. He'd panicked and complained that his kindling wasn't ready, so they'd dumped the tapestries onto the blaze in the centre of the room, all at once, then quickly stomped the oil paintings out of their frames, broke up the wood into pieces and tossed them on too. There. Easy.
It was impressive how different the safe room felt. Instead of a dark, modern office, it became a strange mix of outdoors and indoors, a place where it felt equally possible to roast marshmallows or send a fax. She made herself comfortable and admired the way the friendly orange light played over their outfits.
Akira was on a different wavelength. "It's uneven," he announced. Back to this again. Still pouting over his stupid fire. "It's going to suffocate." He took off his mask and moodily frisbeed it over the fire, onto the couch that lined the far wall.
"And then we'll all freeze to death," Ann said dryly.
"The wolves'll get us," Ryuji added.
"Yup. Tokyo wolves," she said.
Suddenly Yusuke spoke up, reminding her that he'd remained almost completely silent since they'd returned to the safe room. He fed fraying pieces of painted canvas to the fire as he did, fascinated by the flames. "You know, the odour of this fire is certainly a pleasant surprise. I was expecting it to smell of burning varnish or paint. Or of the carpet beneath it. Instead it smells more like - " He inhaled deeply. "Wood smoke. What I've always imagined a pine wood fire to smell like."
Of course that was enough to alter their cognition. They heard the quiet whoosh that indicated a cognitive change, the sound that Shadows made when they took form, and a second later the scent of burning chemicals flooded the safe room.
"Wood smoke!" Akira chanted from behind his hand, clamped over his mouth and nose. "Wood smoke, wood smoke - "
Ann and Ryuji joined in, staring down Yusuke until he caught on and they were all nearly shouting it. "Wood smoke, wood smoke - the fire smells like wood smoke - "
Another cognitive change, and it was safe to breathe again. The campfire sent a minimal amount of sweet smelling smoke curling up to the featureless ceiling - not a sprinkler in sight - where it was neatly disposed of by a nearby vent. They uncovered their noses, then noticed that Akira's mask was off and removed their own. It seemed polite.
Yusuke looked grim, now that they could see his face properly. "I'm sorry. I had already forgotten the effects our cognition could have." He even bowed his head as he apologized, and she realized that he was actually distressed.
He was still so new, and he seemed like the type to take everything too seriously. She resolved to try to include him a little more. She knew from experience that it sucked being the new person, even without considering the Madarame shit he was going through. "No big deal, Fox. It's okay."
Ryuji and Akira picked up on what she was doing. "No harm done, right?" said Akira.
"Yeah, no worries, man."
Yusuke's shoulders relaxed, and so did theirs. They fell into a silence that was only slightly uncomfortable, staring into the flames, until someone's stomach growled for several seconds at a time, making her laugh. "Was that you?" she demanded, grinning and turning to face Yusuke without thinking.
He had that look on his face again.
"You're just coverin' for yourself," Ryuji said immediately, giving her a meaningful look.
She nodded hurriedly. "O-oh, haha, yeah, you got me. I could eat a hooorse."
She could just barely hear Ryuji muttering. "Don't do the voice, fuck - "
Ryuji liked to give her shit for it, but her acting skills were good enough to fool Yusuke, at least. He gave them a ghost of a smile. "I have always wanted to try horse."
Ryuji'd already forgotten that they were trying to make Yusuke feel better and rocked backwards, laughing. "Well I don't got any in my pockets - "
Akira saved the day. He cleared his throat until they were all looking at him and drew something round, mostly white and wrapped in saran wrap from his coat pocket. He spoke like he was holding a press conference. "I'm sorry to disappoint you all, but I don't have any horse in my pockets. I do, however, have a katsu bun that I stole from Leblanc this morning," he announced.
He could be very dramatic. Ann rolled her eyes. "Was it in the fridge? The cafe fridge?"
She started to laugh. Akira had told her and Ryuji about Leblanc, enough for her to know that katsu buns weren't on the menu. "You dumbass, the owner's leaving you breakfast or whatever. He'd keep his own lunch at home. Or if he brought a lunch to the cafe, he'd - he'd write his name on it, or something. He'd tell you not to eat it."
Akira started to unwrap it, putting on a supremely unimpressed face as he studied the bun carefully. "You're right. It'll be much easier to divide this three ways than four."
Ryuji crossed his legs and leaned back on his hands. "Panther's right. You are a dumbass. But I also want a bite of your katsu bun, please."
She did too, but. "So that's been in your sweaty pocket all day, huh."
He gave her a withering look. "How would my pockets get sweaty? And it's been in my bag until we came in here, for your information."
"Oh, so not sweaty, but under a cat's nasty little puddypaws all day instead," Ryuji observed. He and Ann grinned at each other across the campfire.
"It's wrapped - Fox, now you get half a katsu bun. Lucky you."
"I have always wanted to try a katsu bun," deadpanned Yusuke, and it struck them funny, though she could never quite decide if he'd been making a joke or not. They giggled around the campfire as Akira studied the messy bun, folded around a too-large pork cutlet and already trailing crumbs of breading and shredded lettuce.
"This isn't gonna split," he apologized. "We'll have to share germs."
Ann and Ryuji shrugged at each other. It wouldn't be the first time. And if Akira was fine with it, then so was she. They all looked at Yusuke, who didn't seem to see any significance to the question and nodded.
"Save me a bite." He passed it from Ryuji, to Yusuke, to Ann, who handed it back to Akira as she chewed blissfully. Its journey from fridge to schoolbag to Metaverse pocket hadn't hurt it a bit. It tasted amazing.
Ryuji mentioning Morgana's nasty little puddypaws seemed to have reminded Akira of the fact that he was missing. "Do you think we should look again?"
The smile was wiped from Ryuji's face. He was probably thinking of his mom, though, not Morgana. "I wanna check outside again. Maybe we'll see him on the way."
At least she'd had a few minutes off her feet. She stood, then looked down at the fire. "Are we supposed to do something with... this?"
Akira inhaled and opened his mouth, prepared to disseminate important fire knowledge, but Ryuji cut him off. "Should be fine."
Even Yusuke had misgivings about that idea. "Surely we should - "
"Should, be, fine," Ryuji said again, very carefully.
Oh. Duh. "Yeah, you're right. We can just leave it like this," she said.
Yusuke and Akira got it and nodded too, and they all put their masks back on and trooped out.
Back to the skylight, where they could still hear the thunder, an assault on their eardrums. This time Ryuji insisted on checking the front door, too, and it was just the same - fat white lightning sizzling down to the parking lot, more concentrated and aggressive than any thunderstorm she'd ever seen in the real world. It was clear that crossing the parking lot like that would be a suicide mission.
Ryuji scowled and slunk back to the safe room in a foul mood.
Masks off again, each of them copying whoever did it first. Now that they'd gotten a taste of having them off inside the Palace, it had started to feel annoying to wear hers any longer than she had to. She grabbed Ryuji's oversized collar and wrenched it back and forth, moving him side to side in his swivelling office chair. "It won't be so bad. She'll just ground you a little, I bet."
He swatted her hand away. "I ain't worried about gettin' in trouble. I'm worried about her... worryin'."
Well. That was a distinct possibility. She didn't have an answer for that.
Yusuke had been the last to enter the safe room and had taken his time wandering over. He looked over her head. "Our campfire!"
It was out. In fact, the carpet that they had built the fire upon was whole and unsinged. The remaining scraps of wooden frames and oil paintings that they had been saving to burn later were still stacked up against the wall, but all traces of the fire itself were gone. No ashes, and no smoke, either. She hadn't even noticed, probably because she was so used to seeing the safe room as it was now - dim and closetlike, and decidedly campfire-free.
"Why would it... " Akira trailed off.
Ryuji clearly didn't care. "Cognitive shit."
Yusuke knelt to paw through the pieces of canvas. "What a shame. I was looking forward to burning this one." He seemed to realize how confused they were and clarified, "This one is one of mine."
He held it up: a dappled, sunlit forest path in electric blue and green with strange touches of red here and there. It was pretty, if a little unsettling, and even she could tell it was a good painting.
"You been burnin' your own paintings this whole time?"
Yusuke was the reserved, aloof type, except when he wasn't. She caught just a suggestion of the sneer he'd shown when he had awoken Goemon - a twitch of one eyebrow, a disdainful toss of his head - though she could tell it wasn't directed at them. "My paintings outside the Palace are lining Madarame's pockets as we speak. But I will decide what happens to these."
He set the painting aside, as if it deserved all the care in the world until its number was up.
Akira cut in abruptly. "Were you thinking of burning it the whole time? While we were out checking on the storm just now?"
"Yes. Or, more accurately, I was cataloguing what was left to burn in my mind. I suppose that - " Yusuke spoke more slowly, arriving at the same conclusion as he said it aloud. " - I was not thinking of the fire itself."
This was getting complicated. "What, we have to keep thinking of the fire or it'll disappear?" she asked. That could explain why the fire was gone, but the pieces of paintings and their frames remained.
But there wasn't an answer. All they could do was sit in the gloom and shrug at each other.
"Maybe it's more like a time limit. Thing," Ryuji suggested.
It was starting to sink in that they were stuck here for the time being. "Aggh, whatever, I don't care about the fire," she said as she shoved her office chair back and shot to her feet. "We - we have to sleep here now!" She wanted to yell about it, to hit something, but standing reminded her that her feet still hurt, so she sank back into her chair and sulked.
One by one, they looked at the couch. Ryuji launched himself out of his chair and onto the couch like his life depended on it.
"Oh fuck off, Ry- Skull, you don't just automatically get it - "
"You just wish you thought of it first, Panther - "
Akira was giving Ryuji a Look. "Rock paper scissors would be more fair, I think," he said evenly.
Yusuke won. They all picked a spot on the thinly carpeted floor, as though it mattered where they chose, and Yusuke stretched out on the couch.
In the quiet, the sounds of him shifting restlessly seemed very loud. Ann craned her neck to peer up at him and watched him lay on his back, though that resulted in his legs hanging right off the end at an awkward angle. He laid on his side instead, but then his bent knees jutted out into thin air. He tried laying on his back again, seemed to catch them all staring at him, and let out a resigned sigh. "Panther, you may have the couch."
"Aw, what - "
She agreed with Ryuji, actually. "Why, because I'm a girl?"
He blinked. "Yes?"
She'd always hated this kind of thing. "I'm not made of glass. We'll just - " As she was speaking, Yusuke rose to his feet to give up the couch, and his ass had barely left the cushions before Akira had claimed it like a baseball player sliding to home base.
"W-what happened to rock paper scissors?!" she sputtered.
Time to take out the trash. She and Ryuji nodded to each other, then got to their feet. Ryuji took his ankles. She took his wrists. Together they swung Akira right off the couch and set him down in front of it in a pile as he laughed and laughed, and she realized he'd never intended to stay there. He was just being an instigating little shit, as usual.
Another round of rock paper scissors, this time between only the three of them, and Akira won it anyway.
"See? See? You should've just left me there!" He scrambled back up to the couch and stretched out, making a show of how comfortable it was.
She and Ryuji rolled their eyes at each other in disgust and returned to the floor, the two of them and Yusuke giving each other as much space as they could. The floor was hard, and even though the fire they'd started should have warmed the air, the safe room was just cool enough to be uncomfortable for sleeping. She was sufficiently exhausted to only have the time to wonder if they could all wish a thermostat into existence before falling asleep.