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Shelter Short 3

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                Pom laughed as she pulled Ruka along the snow-laced roads and lamp-lit sidewalks, she turned around, walking backwards as she tugged him forward. “I promise--we’ll be inside soon, there’s just somewhere I want to show you.”

                “S-Seriously, why would they make it so users can experience freezing cold?!” Ruka hissed quietly--squeezing Pom’s surprisingly still-warm hand even more tightly than before. “More importantly, why didn’t I change clothes before we did this, and why didn’t you change clothes either?”

                “You know I stay warm naturally.” Pom rolled her eyes, turning around to face forward again; she returned the squeeze to her hand, though it was much gentler than Ruka’s rather desperate cling. “I really wish I had gotten us thermal stones, or told you that it would be super cold over here… Neither of us are dressed for it, really.”

                “Are you admitting that you’re cold now, Stealthy Walrus?”

                “Never!” She glanced back over her shoulder with a laugh and a grin, turning to cross the street without much warning or even checking to see if traffic was a threat (it really wasn’t, unless you encountered the occasional pet-owner). From there, she tugged him into a well-lit building--one of the few lit up ones that lined the streets--and immediately relaxed. “Here we are--this place is supposed to have killer hot cocoa and pastries.”

                “Who even runs places like these in Vahana?”

                “Usually NPCs or people that work for Vahana, but sometimes people actually dedicate way too much time of their life to mastering stuff here? It’s really cool, though.” Pom gently tugged him out of the way of the door and over to a corner booth. “Sit? I’ll order for us, what are you wanting?”

                “I don’t even know what they have…”

                Pom’s face blanked; she blinked a few times, glancing back over her shoulder at the front counter. “Huh. You know, you’re right, I don’t either.” She squinted, trying to read from the menu. “... Well, the menu’s way too tiny to see from here. Come with me?”

                “Wait--I don’t have any--”

                “Oh, I know you haven’t really tried to earn money here yet--it’s okay!” Pom grinned, she gently bumped her hip against his as she continued. “It’s my treat.”

                “It seems like it’s ‘your treat’ a lot here.”

                “Okay, and?” She rolled her eyes again. “If you’re really worried about it, you can pay me back by finding a super pretty place for us to hang out, or, when you actually earn some money here, you can treat me to something.”

                “Alright,” Ruka smiled a bit, slightly more reassured. “Can do.”

 

                Ruka slid into the corner of the booth, with, of course, Pom scooting as close as she could to him--she gave him little room between her and the wall, though, he had no complaints. He felt safe and reassured when she was this close--and sapping her body heat was always a plus.

                Any outsider would look at the two and think that they were on a date--given how affectionate they were with each other, it was a justified assumption. Is this a date? He often wondered to himself. No, it’s definitely not.

                “You’re still shivering.” Pom spoke up, slowly reaching a hand out to touch the other’s cheek; he was still very cold to the touch. “I’ll get our drinks when they call for us, okay? Until then…” She leaned against him, doing her best to share her own body heat.

                Ruka laughed softly, putting his arms around her and nestling his face into her shoulder. “You keep me warm. You always keep me warm.”

                “And you keep me from overheating in the summer.” Pom wriggled her arms free of his embrace only to move them around him. “I don’t know how you stay so cold all the time…”

                “I don’t get it, either.”

 

                As soon as they got settled, a voice from the front of the shop interrupted them, calling out their names.

                “Aw, geez.” Pom whined. “I’ll be right back, okay?”