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    Virgil knew this would be a very bad decision. Anyway, he would only be out for a little while So he continued trekking through shin-high snow, in only his thin patched jacket, deeper into the imagination.

   Roman didn't know that he came here, and to tell the truth, he would probably be extremely mad if he found out. Virgil didn't want to increase the already high tensions between him and the other sides. So he kept his frequent visits his own little secret. The only downside he encountered was having no control over the weather, and which areas of forest or plains he walked. That being said, Roman had suddenly gotten inspired by a novel that Thomas had read earlier this week, and decided to cover the entire ground with thick snow. Luckily, Virgil had decided to put on boots this morning. But fate really wasn't on his side and it appeared though, that was the only good fortune he would sadly be granted today.

 

     Virgil shivered, the wind had started to pick up and it began to snow. He flipped his hood up and shoved his uncovered hands into his pockets trying to warm them up."It's only a bit farther," he told himself, not sure at all that the path the imagination had decided on was anywhere close to where he was headed. A strong gust of wind knocked his hood back as he stepped out of the wooded area into what he assumed to be a meadow since it looked like it stretched for miles on end. He fumbled around in his pockets looking for his chapstick. The only thing he brought with him. Finding it a few seconds later he worked the cap off with his stiff fingers and hastily applied it. He trudged forward keeping his head down, while the snow fell heavier and the wind blew harder around him.

 

     He could feel the temperature dropping rapidly, his uncovered face stinging from the wind burns he inevitably got. Some might say, "Virgil can't you just sink down?" And he would reply with, "You try sinking down in a snowstorm, you have to know where you relatively are for it to even work." And right now he had no clue where he was or where he was headed. All he could see was blinding white. His shivering increased, he was shaking so badly that it was hard to step forward, let alone even walk. He tucked his hands under his arms trying to get feeling into them. He had given up on trying to feel his toes, they were so stiff he couldn't even wiggle them. His whole body was so stiff it was sort of painful to move. His tremors somehow got worse, and Virgil was scared about chipping a tooth, with how bad his teeth were chattering. He took a step forward and immediately fell, his legs giving out beneath him. The ground was soooo cold and it only made Virgil's shaking worse. He curled up on his side, taking a deep breath and ignoring the coldness burning in his lungs.

 

After a few minutes, his shivering came to a stop and he started to get warm again. He breathed deeply cherishing the feeling. It felt like pure sunshine. Like someone had wrapped him up blankets and set him in front of a blazing fire. Like having hot cocoa and feeling the warmth sink through your bones.

 

And maybe, Remy felt someone going to sleep somewhere and didn't stop them even though it was the middle of the day.

 

And maybe, Roman felt someone in his realm but didn't even bat an eye because "Everyone should be inside enjoying the family time the snow brought!" 

 

And maybe, Logan was watching a documentary on birds and didn't realize Virgil did not come down for his lunch/breakfast depending on the time he got up.

 

And maybe, Patton didn't realize Virgil was missing because he was going to surprise the others with the cookies he was making and had all the clocks in the kitchen set to timers so he didn't burn anything.

 

Virgil started to hear voices. It sounded like two people singing around. 

 

"Oh, how lovely is the evening"

"Is the evening"

"Is  the evening"

 

The voices overlapped, sounding like the sea's rising and falling tide.

 

"When the bells are sweetly ringing" 

"Sweetly  ringing"

"Sweetly  ringing"

"Ding dong ding dong"

 

The lyrics repeated over and over again and Virgil closed his eyes. The singers started singing slower and quieter, sounding muffled and cottony. He really did try and keep them open, it was just so hard. He felt so warm and comfy, and he felt welcomed and cared for. 

 

Cared for, that's what he was looking for, the warmth of being cared for. He never felt cared for from the others. Dad tried, he really did, but it never felt this way before. It was like Thomas's grandmother was holding him close and singing. That's who was singing, Thomas's grandmother. He opened his eyes slowly and found her standing there in front of him, grey hair and all. They were in the cabin, the fireplace ablaze. How silly of him to think he was outside.

 

He slowly raised himself from the rug, blankly realizing he was younger and smaller. He made his way over to her rocker.

 

She didn't say anything, just held her arms out as Virgil scampered up, enveloping him in a hug.

 

"Why don't they like me?" Virgil said in his almost baby voice.

 

"I really don't know love. But I know I like you"

 

That was too much for poor little Virgil's soul and silent tears began to run down his cheeks. "I...I tried my best. I did everything I could think of. I helped them cook and complimented them. I did everything, I went on quests, I held my tongue and went along with things. I.. I.I"

 

" Shhh you did your best," she paused, wiping away the rest of his tears and eyeshadow with her sleeve, "that's all I care about sweetie. Would you like me to read you a story?"

 

"Yes  please," said Virgil

 

Thomas's grandmother reached down beside her and found the book she was looking for. She began to read.

 

"It was so terribly cold. Snow was falling and it was almost dark. Evening came on, the last evening of the year. In the cold and gloom a poor little girl, bareheaded and barefoot, was walking through the streets. Of course when she had left her house she'd had on slippers on, but what good had they been? They were very big slippers, way too big for her, for they belonged to her mother. The little girl had lost them running across the road were two carriages rattled by terribly fast. One slipper she'd not been able to find again, and a boy had run off with the other, saying he could use it very well as a cradle some day when he had children of his own. And so the girl walked on her naked feet, which were quite red and blue with the cold. In an old apron she carried several packages of matches, and she held a box of them in her hand. No one had bought any from her all day long and no one had given her a cent…"

 

Virgil closed his eyes and only caught for bits of the story from thereon. At last, he drifted to sleep thinking about the warmth of matches and a little girl.

 

Thomas's grandmother sighed and closed the book putting it on the side table. She picked up the slightly transparent little boy swallowed in fabric and the cabin around her faded. She put the boy back where he belonged, making sure he had lined up perfectly with his barely breathing adult body in the snow. She looked at her transparent hands and smiled bittersweetly at her boy. She kissed the top of his head and murmured into his soft hair, "Soon my pumpkin"

 

"Soon"