“Sweet holy crap, I hate this place.” A voice said from the dark. Laying flat on his back, a soft cloud rose from his mouth. It was cold enough in the room for his breath to be clearly visible, catching the scant light from outside the window. “I hate this stupid weather. I hate this stupid motel. And I hate the stupid person who was frickin’ stupid enough to break the frickin’ heater.”
Laying there, trying to be completely still so as to not leave the silhouette of warmth he made in the sheets, he let himself pout and fume loudly. He didn’t care that it was past one in the morning. The other bed was unoccupied anyway. The whole room was unoccupied save for him. He could be as loud as he wanted.
His furry black cat ears twitched at a sudden rush of cold air. “What the hell?” Eddi sat straight up, a shiver running in every direction through his spine. He looked around frantically for the cause of the cold air that had assaulted him.
His vision was sharp, even in the darkness. He could see it clearly in the window. It was cracked open slightly. He cursed under his breath about fifteen times as he pulled at the blankets around him. He’d never get any sleep if cold air kept invading through that crack in the window.
Steeling himself for impact, he pulled himself - and all the blankets with him - off of the bed. His whole body down to even his tail froze when one of his bare feet touched the carpet.
He couldn’t contain a small scream. “Why is the carpet that cold? It’s carpet!” He pull himself off the bed and ran, trying keep his steps light. He adjusted to the temperature of the floor quick enough for him to reach the window and get his revenge.
He slammed it shut with more force than he’d ever needed and locked the window tight. It would surely never attack him with the cold elements again.
Staying at the window for a moment, he recalled once again the fact that he was sharing the room with someone. And that someone was currently frolicking outside.
“How the hell does he not freeze out there?” He asked aloud to no one. A thousand possibilities ran through his mind to answer from elemental alignment with ice making him less susceptible to cold to him simply just being a carefree idiot.
Seeing Wedge’s animated strides through the snow, Eddi took the latter option.
It was ridiculous. The quick mission to the far outskirts of the city had led them to find everything was merely a wild goose chase. The strange disturbances they were to check out were nothing but the work of a few crazy people who were passing through the area. No eaters. No other dangerous baddies. Just some drugged up morons who kept doing weird stuff to scare travelers.
Of course, said crazies wouldn’t get caught until after Gendo had dragged him, Wedge, Near, and Noa out to the middle of almost-nowhere. From there, it was just a pitiable sequence of events.
When they knew the situation didn’t require their presence and they decided to leave, the van had decided to die. Within a decent pushing distance from a motel, but it still died. Gendo and Near had gotten it mostly fixed, but the cold winter had frozen something important and with the sun rapidly setting, they wouldn’t be able to drive off until morning. And that’s when they knew they’d be staying at the motel from seventh circle of Hell.
Of course, they didn’t know the motel was evil, yet. The manager looking like Norman Bates was a clue, but Gendo and Wedge were too carefree to let that bother them. By the time the sun was gone, they were settled into their rooms to discover the awful truth of the motel.
The heat blew out when Noa tried to shower. Gendo then found the TV was apparently broken and stuck on the porn channel. Near had to actually weld to make the cot not collapse under his miniscule weight as well as screwing three different locks back into place.
Eddi had been trying in vain for hours to just sleep and let morning come quickly so he could just get home, but the cold seeped in from every corner and the heater had abandoned them all.
And, yet, at one o’clock in the morning Wedge was in his trench with a scarf and beanie kicking up snow and just running around.
It made some sense, since apparently he never slept until at least four in the morning, but the temperature should have done him in after about fifteen minutes. But nearly a whole hour had gone by and he was still playing in the mere four or so inches of snow underfoot.
Eddi had gotten tired of watching. Sighing to himself, he walked back over to his bed, his thick cape of blankets following behind. For good measure, he snatched the comforter off the other bed in the room as well. He took some pleasure in layering them and getting himself comfortable for the night under what was now four layers of blankets.
It proved to be short-lived, however, when a blizzard seemed to blast into the room, sending him head first under the covers and every hair on his body straight up. After the door slammed shut, his brain finally realized the cause of the sudden indoor cold front.
“Wedge!” Eddi screamed from underneath his collection of blankets. He didn’t dare let himself out from the covers to face the white-haired intruder. The cold air he let in would probably kill him.
“Sorry.” Wedge said as he tried pulled his hat off and brushed snow out of his hair. “I tried to shut it as fast as I could.”
Eddi was quiet for a moment before he peeked his head out from under the covers to glare at his roommate. “Did you really have to go outside? You probably drove it below thirty in here.”
Wedge started to peel his scarf and jacket off. “Sorry, I just couldn’t resist. We don’t get a lot of snow back home. And it doesn’t usually snow here all that much anyway.”
He was right about that, but it didn’t do much to help it make any more sense to the raven-haired boy. “It’s still crazy to be out in that cold for an hour. And now you’ve got to change into another set of clothes, so good luck with that now that you let all the cold air in.” As if to punctuate his sentence, Eddi’s head disappeared back underneath the covers.
Wedge just smiled as he fished through his bag for a fresh set of clothes. He had packed more than he needed, since everyone was expecting it to be something and they’d be staying out for a few days. But since their “recon mission” hadn’t netted anything, he was glad for the excess. He could wear an extra shirt to compensate for the cold.
Sneaking past the bed with the huge lump under the blanket to the bathroom, Wedge flicked the light on to get changed. An odd purplish flash of light nearly blinded Wedge and was even visible to Eddi under inches of fabric.
Wedge screamed and dropped his clothes. Suddenly standing in darkness, he fiddled with the light switch. “Are you kidding me?”
Eddi couldn’t keep himself from laughing, rolling back and forth underneath the blankets. “Welcome to hell, Wedge!”
Pouting at his misfortune, Wedge walked over and slapped at the figure slinking under the covers. “It’s not funny! Getting dressed in the dark is a pain in the ass!”
Eddi giggled to himself. Wedge had slapped him right on the shoulder, but through all the layers, it felt like a mere tap. “Well you better get to it. You don’t want to be naked in the cold.” He stayed put, letting the warmth collect around him in the sheets, when he heard Wedge swear under his breath.
“Where are my freaking pants?” Wedge said. He was busy on his knees, fumbling around in the bathroom.
Eddi peeked his head out once again to look, but only saw Wedge’s legs stick out from beyond the doorway. The rest was too dark.
“There they are!” Wedge said, starting to stir and get to his feet. A dull thud suddenly rang out and he went back down to his knees just as quickly. Eddi was about to ask if he was okay, when Wedge started to moan.
Eddi jumped out of bed and rummaged through his bag on a nearby table. He found his flashlight and quickly pointed it over where Wedge was. After taking a second to aim the light Eddi found him leaning underneath the edge of the plain white countertop, holding the back of his head with one hand and his pants in the other.
Wedge was slowly moving himself back, carefully trying to get up without a repeat incident. “Aaaahh... My head.”
Eddi was about to say something when an object crashed down off of the wall, startling them both. The flashlight revealed it to be the shabby medicine cabinet.
“I think...” Wedge leaned on the countertop and stared up at Eddi, still cradling the back of his head and visibly dizzy. “I think hell just froze over.”
“Just? It just froze over?” Eddi put the flashlight down near Wedge and reached for the downed cabinet. “I’m telling you right now... This place is bad luck.”
Wedge pointed the light so Eddi could put it back in on the wall, revealing the shoddy work that had been keeping it up previously. “Crappy thing’s on a friggin’ hook...”
Eddi laughed, balancing the cabinet back into place. “The light bulb was probably the wrong wattage, too.” He leaned back to take a look at the ceiling-mounted light, but slipped on a small patch of water. His weight pitched forward and sent him falling in Wedge’s direction. He stopped himself before it could turn into a pileup, but when he placed a hand on Wedge’s shoulder to stabilize himself, the slip made sense. “You’re damp! You’re even leaving puddles! What did you do out there? Make frickin’ snow angels?”
Wedge’s eyes weren’t readable, as the light reflected on his glasses and concealed his expression, but his face reddened in the dim illumination, giving Eddi his answer anyway.
“Well, use the flashlight and get out of those clothes before you freeze.” Eddi quickly excused himself from the bathroom. “And don’t forget to dry yourself.”
“I’m not an idiot, Eddi.” Wedge yelled after him.
Eddi just ignored him as he flopped back onto his bed. His furry ears twitched as he listened to the sounds around him. The wind was making a light howl that would every once in a while almost whistle as it travelled along some oblong edge. There was a strange percussion from above as random branches and such rolled up and down the roof.
And then there was the rustling. But that was just Wedge. He seemed to be having trouble getting dressed, even with the flashlight. Eddi rolled around the noise starting to get on his nerves. As he turned, he looked up and saw Wedge’s dim reflection in the mirror through the crack in the door.
Watching him slip a thin arm through the sleeve of a white long-sleeved shirt, Eddi couldn’t help but wonder again... “How come the cold doesn’t bother you?” Eddi blinked, suddenly realizing he said it aloud.
“I dunno.” Wedge paused to put on a black button-down shirt as an extra layer. “I guess I just didn’t notice it as much. Or I just...”
Eddi saw Wedge stop, completely still in the reflection. “Just what?” He said, trying to get him to finish.
Wedge just went silent. “Nothing... I’m just rambling...”
Eddi, knowing he wasn’t going to get any more out of him past that, turned himself around and settled into his pillow as he heard Wedge exit the bathroom. He let out a slow breath and let his body unwind. Until a moment later, when a voice yelped and a body suddenly fell on top of him.
“Wrong bed! Wrong bed!” Flailing to get the sudden weight off his back, Eddi nearly smacked Wedge in the face, only to find a towel.
“Sorry, I tripped!” Wedge said, moving aside the towel on his head and allowing him to see again. “I couldn’t see a thing!”
“Put your glasses back on, you clumsy geek!” Eddi said under his breath. A towel jumping onto his face told him Wedge had heard him. “Hey, you landed on me.” Eddi shot back.
“Yeah, whatever.” Wedge said, smirking as he fell backwards onto his own bed. He laid there still for a few seconds before sitting upright and looking around. “You took my blanket?” Wedge sounded like a kid who had his dessert taken from him.
Eddi just laughed as he slid underneath his collection of blankets. “You weren’t needing it when I took it.” He said, teasing his roommate.
A hard tug at the topmost blanket was Wedge’s reply. “But I need it now, so I’m forcibly reclaiming it!”
Eddi tried to pull it back, but Wedge was pulling surprisingly hard and Eddi lost his grip. He flung back onto the bed and tangled in a sheet. Staring at Wedge, as he started to lay out his spoils of war across the bed, Eddi glared. “Give it back! You don’t get cold and I’m freezing out here!”
Wedge froze and slowly turned his head around. “I do so get cold! And you have two extra blankets on there. I have half a mind to take another one!”
Eddi kept his sharp glare focused on his target. He wasn’t about to lose his blanket without a fight. He slowly reached beside him for the nearest appropriate armament as stealthily as he could.
Wedge didn’t notice as he kept rambling on. “If it’s not warm enough for you, go jogging or something. Get your blood pumping. That’ll warm you up.” As if to make his point, he stuck his tongue out at Eddi.
One second later, his tongue tasted cotton as a soft down pillow flew straight into his face. Wedge’s scream was muffled as he flew back, rolling all the way over his bed and falling off the other side, pulling his blanket down with him.
Eddi smiled, satisfied with his aim, before seeing a figure rise from behind the bed, silhouetted from the soft light from the window behind. Wedge was tangled in his blanket as he looked across the room at his assailant. His face was completely blank for a moment as he let the blow register.
Then - with a slow, wide motion - Wedge adjusted the blanket to be around his shoulders and grabbed all the pillows in his reach. With a shout that was apparently supposed to be some sort of battle cry, He quickly entered a stance.
The sheer sight made Eddi laugh at first, but Wedge stalking around the bed and approaching made him quickly sit up and grab the one pillow he had left, holding in front of his like it was a shield.
Wedge flung a pillow right at Eddi, nailing his makeshift shield dead center. “Ha ha! En garde!” He had apparently lost his mind.
Eddi reached for the errant cushion only to have a white blur swing at his head. He ducked with his usual grace and reached once more for the pillow, spinning himself around and sending his new weapon up at his attacker’s face.
Wedge took the hit right in the chin, stumbling backward, but not before sending another swing. He planted it square on Eddi’s shoulder. They both reeled backwards and got a handle on their momentum once more. Wedge stepped backwards as he let his blanket-cape fall to the floor. Eddi slowly got off of the bed and took his own stance across the room, near the bathroom.
There was silence for a moment as the wind rolled by once again. The temperature in the room seemed to shift, but neither noticed. In a flash, both were hollering and rushing towards the other.
Eddi, of course, was quicker. He threw one pillow, stopping Wedge in his tracks, and then followed up with a solid swing. Wedge, however, not outmatched him in munitions. Using one pillow to block another blow, he swung the other one up and down, slapping it back and forth across Eddi’s face. Being the stronger of the two, Eddi pushed Wedge away and ran around him. He moved to retrieve his lost fluffy weapon but was hit square in the tail as his back was turned.
Eddi rolled forward and looked behind him, his face flushing red as he looked back at Wedge, who smiled, clearly satisfied with himself.
“That’s it... The gloves are off.” Eddi said before making a mad dash towards his opponent.
Wedge used Eddi’s speed against him. He swung both pillows at once, holding them to make a wall and letting Eddi run right into it. The hit wasn’t as solid as Wedge expected, however. Eddi’s momentum sent them both to the floor. Wedge pulled himself out from underneath Eddi quickly and ran to gain distance.
Eddi was ready for him, however. Getting creative, he grabbed Wedge’s leg and then threw a pillow across the floor in front of Wedge’s path. His momentum doing all the work, Wedge fell straight down, planting his face right into the pillow.
Wedge flailed to lift his face when Eddi brought another pillow down on the back of his head. Wedge let out a muffled yelp. Eddi got to his feet to and ran to snatch the blanket Wedge had taken.
The battle was not over, however. Eddi had dropped everything to run for the blanket, leaving Wedge with all the ammo. He stood with a crooked smile and two pillows in each hand. “Concede the blanket or die in a storm of fluff!”
Eddi grabbed the blanket and jumped on top of the nearest bed. “Never!”
Wedge, his smile widening, calmly sat on the other bed. “Then I claim your bed.”
Eddi froze where he stood. He had been completely had. Wedge was now sitting on the opposite bed, with all the blankets Eddi had collected and now all the pillows. “You little...”
Wedge just laughed as he pulled the pillows tight around him. The scene became quiet once more. Eddi looked around for a clue as to his next course of action. “I’m not done with you!”
Before any retort could be made, however, Eddi was in the air, blanket trailing behind him. One second later, Eddi landed right on top of the collection of pillows - and the unfortunate soul underneath them.
Wedge let out a yelp at the sudden weight. He fidgeted under the pillows, trying to catch his breath after the wind had been almost completely knocked out of him. Finally realizing his eyes were shut, he opened them to find Eddi’s face merely inches from his.
Eddi was poised on top, on his hands and knees, trying not to laugh between his own heavy breaths. “You are freaking crazy, you know that?”
“You’re the crazy one... You’re the one who just dive-bombed me.” Wedge said, wincing a bit.
“So we’re both crazy, then.” Eddi said, smirking.
A long silence dragged on as Wedge stared up at Eddi, looking somewhat amused. Eddi’s head tiled sideways instinctively, confused. Wedge finally clued him in. “You gonna get off of me?”
Eddi’s face instantly went red as he realized the position he had put himself in. He pulled himself away quickly. Wedge chuckled to himself as he pushed a pillow out of the way towards Eddi.
Too busy moping, his cat ears hanging low over his head, Eddi paid no attention to how much the covers were moving. That is, not until he saw nothing but a human-shaped lump on the other side of the bed under the covers.
“What are you doing?” He asked.
“Trying to sleep.” Was the answer. As if it wasn’t obvious.
“Um... Shouldn’t you be, you know... over there?” Eddi said, carrying this conversation with the back of Wedge’s head.
“Why? I’m already here and now I’m all tired.” Wedge rolled over and looked sideways at Eddi. “And we’re both warmed up, so why move into the cold now?”
Eddi moved the blankets and pillows aside and made room for his feet to move. “Because I’ll kick you.”
Wedge just stared and said nothing for a moment before grabbing a pillow and sliding out from under the covers. “Fine. The cold doesn’t keep me up anyway.” He said, his voice and expression both blank.
Eddi reached and grabbed Wedge’s wrist before he could get away. “Wait! Um...” His eyes wandered around the room, as if what he wanted to say was hiding in a corner somewhere. “It’s... it’s fine. Besides... since it’s so cold, sharing might be the best idea anyway.” He trailed off as he let go and turned around, sliding under the covers on his own side of the bed.
With nothing left to protest, Wedge got back in the bed before suddenly jumping back out, quick as a flash and squealing. “Aaaugh! Your feet are like ice! Why aren’t you wearing socks?”
“I never wear socks to bed.” Eddi answered, retreating further into the pile of blankets. “They’re constricting, itchy, annoying, and always end up coming off by morning and I hate having to dig around the odd corners of the mattress just to find them again.”
Wedge huffed as he stood next to the bed, staring at what was now only a pair of black cat ears peeking out from under the covers. “And then you complain about being so cold... At least keep your feet on your side.”
“My side... The whole bed was my side a few minutes ago.” Eddi pouted.
“Didn’t we just go over this?” Wedge mused, his voice quickly becoming agitated.
Eddi finally rolled over to face him. “Just get in, dammit.” His stern tone really clashed with the image of him peeking his head only halfway out from under the blankets.
After taking a second to roll his eyes, Wedge finally got back in and pulled the covers around himself. Nothing was said as minutes drifted by. The silence was only disturbed by the eerie white noise of the cold winter wind blowing.
And a sudden crashing noise in the bathroom.
“Oh God dammit!” Wedge threw the covers off him and stormed over to the bathroom.
“For shit’s sake...” Eddi took a moment before he finally willed himself out from under the warm covers to follow. “Is it the damn cabinet again?”
“Yes.” was Wedge’s exasperated reply. “And I think it... Oh for the love of...”
Eddi grabbed the flashlight and pointed it over Wedge’s shoulder to see what was bothering him. When light shimmered back at him from multiple angles, his heart sank into his intestines. “The mirror broke?”
“Yes. We are now in the seventh circle...” Wedge said, picking at the bent medicine cabinet door. Tiny shards of glass fell from it with every small shake. “We have broken a mirror.”
There was a silence, as if they were mourning the passing of the sorry object.
“I’m not superstitious, but that’s... not a good sign.” Eddi was the first to speak. He slowly backed up out of the bathroom, shaking his head. “Why don’t we find an umbrella and just go for broke?”
“That may not be a bad idea.” Wedge said, leaning against the door frame. “Given our luck, the roof is gonna leak next.”
“Oh, don’t even joke!” Eddi rolled his eyes. Things were turning into a giant ball of disaster. And they appeared to have gotten worse when he noticed a tiny dark puddle on the floor by Wedge’s foot. Looking up and down, frantically, he asked. “What is that? Are you bleeding?”
In his typical fashion, Wedge completely overreacted as he looked around and checked himself. “What? Where? Is it bad?”
Eddi reached out and snatched up Wedge’s left arm. Twisting it lightly, he brought Wedge’s hand up to eye level. A small cut down his palm was bleeding.
“How did that happen?” Wedge asked, looking at it with wide eyes.
“Maybe you cut yourself on the glass you had to go and mess around with, you idiot!” Eddi kept his grip on Wedge’s arm and dragged him over to the table where their bags were set. He quickly flicked on the lamp.
Eddi gaped at the wound. “Jeez, how do you not feel this bleeding? Or feel the cut?”
Wedge shrugged as best as he could with his arm twisted at the angle Eddi was holding it. “Maybe I’m just numb from the cold.”
That actually made sense. As Eddi rummaged through a bag with his free hand, he could feel the cold radiating from Wedge’s hand. Finally finding the first aid kit, he set it down and took a closer look at the hand, finally releasing his death grip on Wedge’s wrist to pull his sleeves down. His slim fingers had twinges of purple in the light.
“Holy shit...” Eddi squinted as he looked up at Wedge. “Didn’t you wear gloves?”
“...I forgot them.” Wedge said, shrugging again.
“You... idiot!” Eddi quickly got to work getting out the right supplies. “Good thing you came inside when you did. You didn’t get frostbite...”
Wedge’s glance fell to his feet. “Sorry...”
“No, I’m sorry.” Eddi interjected.
Wedge looked up to ask him. “Why are you sor-” A harsh stinging sensation on his hand answered him before he could finish. Wedge’s bit his lip to contain his scream. It slipped out as a mere grunt.
Eddi was silent as he dressed the wound, putting a medicated pad in place and slowly wrapping up the hand as tightly, but comfortably, as he could. When he was done, and tugged at it to make sure it would stay on, he turned around and muttered. “Be more careful, dammit.”
Wedge didn’t move. He just stood still, looking at his hand. “Thank you.”
Eddi didn’t reply as he flopped down on the bed to try, once more, to get to sleep. His mind wasn’t calm enough to sleep, however. It kept racing, recalling everything that had merely gone wrong throughout the day. As his mind rolled back through it all, however, his senses suddenly detected something foul. Something very out of place. A smell.
Wedge’s attention was distracted away from his hand by his own senses. He was hearing an odd sizzle from something nearby.
Before Eddi could completely get out of the bed, the thought hit him. “The lamp! Turn off the lamp!”
Wedge ran forward to turn it off, but just as he reached, it sparked. He jumped back and covered his head. Just in time as the light bulb blew, sending a sparks everywhere. With a few second, the smalls flames had begun to creep up the lampshade.
“Oh, shit...” Wedge said, sounding more annoyed than worried.
Eddi nearly flipped out. “Extinguisher! Where the extinguisher?”
“Get the bags off the table before they catch fire!” Wedge yelled.
Eddi quickly pulled everything down from the table before the flames - currently not much more than the size of candle flames - got any bigger. Wedge was having trouble hauling the extinguisher out with only his good hand. Eddi jumped in and took it from him and quickly aimed it at the lamp. Wedge realized the lamp was technically still on, so he dove under the table to unplug the lamp just as Eddi pulled the trigger.
There was a small spurt of air - more like a cough - and then nothing. “It’s empty?!?”
“It’s stuck!” Wedge was desperately trying to pull the cord from the socket, but it wouldn’t budge.
Eddi watched as the lampshade started to glow brighter with flames. “Is it possible for there to be an eighth circle to hell?”
As if to answer his question, the cord finally popped from the socket, sending Wedge bowling backward, taking Eddi’s legs out right from under him. It took a moment for them to get back to their feet. A moment which saw the lampshade get brighter again.
“What the hell is that thing made of to burn like that?” Eddi said, trying to find something to douse it with.
Wedge had an idea. “Get a blanket! We can smother it!”
Eddi, however, noticed that it was just the lampshade that was burning, not the lamp itself. A crooked smile wrapped itself around his face. “I’ve got a better idea. Open the door.”
Wedge’s eyebrows shot up, but he didn’t hesitate to listen. He ran over and flung the door open. Seconds later, Eddi came running with the lamp in his hands, holding the top of it away from him. He threw it away into the snow and kicked the door shut. Watching from the window, they could see steam rise as snow melted and the lamp slowly fizzled out.
Wedge giggled to himself as he mimicked the hissing sound. “Die lamp, die!” Eddi shot a bewildered expression back at him. “What? It was evil!” was the only reply Wedge gave.
“Whatever. Maybe now that every possible object in this room has failed, we can get some sleep.” Eddi slowly stumbled his way over to the bed once more. A moment later, he stopped when he realized Wedge never moved away from the window. “What is it? Is something out there?”
Eddi didn’t get an answer. Wedge just kept looking outside, his eyes glued on the sky. “Now I’m hungry.” he said, suddenly speaking up.
Nearly falling over at the random statement, Eddi couldn’t help but stare at the white-haired idiot by the window. “Then eat something! We brought some food along. I’m sure there’s something to snack on around here.”
“Oh, I know. I made sure to pack lots of treats.” Wedge walked over with an excited smile on his face and rummaged through the bags. After finding some trail mix, chocolate and peanut butter bars, and a apple-flavored lollipop, he hit the real jackpot.
“A turkey sandwich?” Eddi merely gaped at the sight of the sandwich. Wrapped seemingly safely in a plastic bag and cut right down the middle, it looked like it had been sat on as it was half the width it was supposed to be.
Wedge quickly unwrapped it and took a bite. “Oooh... The cold kept it nice and fresh.” He kept on munching away like a grade-schooler eating his lunch.
Rolling his eyes, Eddi couldn’t watch him eat any longer. His stomach suddenly rumbled, apparently complaining for its own nourishment at the sight and smell of mustard and mayo. Leaning over, he started searching for hopefully another sandwich.
“I only made one.” Wedge said, finishing up the first half as he held out the other half.
“Who makes only one sandwich?” Eddi said, pushing it away for no reason.
Wedge frowned. “Somebody who forgot to go shopping for more lunch meat.” He waved the sandwich at him one more time. “Do you want it or not?”
After taking a moment to think, Eddi nodded slightly and reached for the sandwich. But the sandwich retreated.
Smirking to himself, Wedge inched back, holding the sandwich away from him. “Come on, boy. You want the sammich? You want it?” He said, talking like he was speaking to a puppy.
Eddi’s ears stood on end as he scowled. “Hey, gimme!” He lunged forward as Wedge made another step back. Both had forgotten where they were in the room, however.
Wedge knocked the backs of his legs, stepping back far too quickly, and fell backwards onto the bed. Eddi, pushing forward too much, overshot and tripped, falling right on top of him.
Eddi, stomach growling even louder now, was oblivious to the position he had once again put himself in. “Just give me the sandwich!”
Obliging, Wedge pushed the sandwich into Eddi’s mouth when he went to yell again. “There. Take it.” He said, smiling as if satisfied with the outcome.
Eddi stayed there, perched over the bed on his hands and knees, the sandwich hanging from his mouth. After a few seconds, realization finally hits. Nearly choking upon realizing he had perched himself on top again, he pulled the sandwich out of his mouth, pushed off the bed, and quickly moved to sit in a corner on the floor to eat his food in peace.
He didn’t pay any attention to anything else going on in the room, even after he finished eating, preferring to just keep to himself in the corner. He kept ignoring everything until a tiny mint bounced off his forehead.
He looked up at Wedge, half surprised and half furious. Sitting back against the wall on the bed, Wedge just smirked at him. “Why are you so skittish, huh?”
“I am not skittish!” Eddi said, jumping out of the corner. “I’m just... tired.” He finally managed to say after struggling with himself for a moment.
Wedge didn’t make any attempt to keep his snickering to himself, but he didn’t say anything.
“Stop smiling like that!” Eddi’s face was hidden in shadow, but Wedge knew it was getting redder by the second. “Stop smiling or I shove this mint down your throat!”
Wedge yawned and waved him off. “Oh, stop it. You’re not gonna do anything.”
Eddi inched forward, holding the wrapped candy up, seemingly poised to strike, when he stopped himself and sat down at the foot of the bed. Hunched over with his back to Wedge, he didn’t say another word.
The cold reaction took Wedge by surprise. Leaning forward a bit, he couldn’t help but ask “Eddi? Do you... not like me or something?”
“... What?” His reply was slow, flat, and delayed.
“You just keep pushing me away and...” He fidgeted where he sat as he glared at Eddi’s back. “Did I do something?”
Eddi’s shoulders shot up and his head sank as he tried to lean away. “No... it’s nothing like that. You didn’t do anything. It’s just that I...” He clenched his fists, trying to will himself to say the words that were slowly lodging themselves in his throat.
Wedge crept up behind him, leaning around trying to look him in the eye. Trying to get some idea of what he was thinking. “I don’t understand. You always back away...”
“I’m just scared, that’s all!” Eddi blurted, finally turning to face him. “I’ve never felt like this before!”
Wedge’s eyes went wide hearing those words. “Eddi...”
The heavy winds picked up speed once again outside. The temperature gained an extra chill. But neither of them were aware of it. The entire room blurred as their eyes locked and everything else lost focus.
Eddi turned around as he pulled on Wedge’s sleeve and tugged him closer. “I don’t know how to say it... Don’t make me say it...”
Wedge’s smirk returned for a brief moment. “Come on, it’s just...”
Eddi tugged harder and pulled Wedge until he was nearly inches from his face. “Shut up, Wedge.” He leaned himself forward bit by bit as he closed his eyes. “Just... shut up.”
Their lips met and it was like the entire room went pitch black. All there was, at that moment, was the two of them.
Eddi pushed too hard and sent Wedge toppling backwards, but he never let go. He kept his lips locked until Wedge finally struggled and pushed him off, gasping for air.
“I see.” Wedge said, laughing as he laid on his back looking up into Eddi’s eyes. “Looks like you know how to say it, after all.”
Eddi pouted, but his eyes were still smiling. “I didn’t hear you saying anything.”
“Oh?” Wedge shook some hair out of his face as he pulled himself up towards Eddi. “Then let me make myself clear.” With one last tug, he dragged Eddi down and kissed him softly, rubbing his bandaged hand along one of Eddi’s furry ears. When they finally broke apart, he held tight and said, “I love you.”
Eddi’s ears twitched as he heard those words. He didn’t move anything except a single arm, grasping the edge of the layers of blankets and pulling it to envelope the both of them. It didn’t matter if it was below thirty in the room, all the two of them felt was warmth.
Wrapped in a cocoon of fabric, the two laid completely still as they held each other. Eddi tried to let himself drift off the sleep, but something kept bothering him.
The cold touch of Wedge’s fingers wasn’t unwelcome, but they made his mind race. As he moved to put Wedge hands in his, he voiced his thoughts without realizing. “Why were you out there for so long?”
Wedge giggled at the question. “It’s stupid...”
Eddi was insistent, however. “Why? You could’ve been hurt if you stayed out too long.”
Eventually, Wedge stopped holding back his answer. “I stayed out there, because I was hoping...”
“Hoping... what?” Eddi pressed on.
“Hoping that you’d join me.” Wedge said, looking into Eddi’s eyes once more. “Just that thought alone kept me warm. I really had no idea I was out there for so long... I just... kept waiting.”
The glow in Eddi’s eyes darkened. “Oh... I’m sorry...” His mind finally started to slow down, his thoughts getting clearer. “Well, when we get back... We’ll play in the snow. Both of us.”
Wedge smiled. “I like the sound of that.”
Everything seemed to fade after that. They both drifted away into the worlds of their dreams with the world outside seemingly disappearing.
A loud, slightly tinny voice broke all of that however. “What... are you two... doing?”
Wedge’s eyes shot open, recognizing the voice instantly. “Ugh... it’s too early...”
“Early?” A small weight bounced up and down on the bed, shaking the both of them. “Geezer, it’s noon!”
Eddi swatted at the loud teddy bear. “Fine. We got our wakeup call. Get out now.”
Near merely ducked and stared at the pair. “I know it was cold last night but this is just... I mean, it’s just... Too much!” Near finally threw his hands up and jumped off the bed, walking for the door. “We’re getting’ outta this hellhole in an hour. Get your pants on and make sure you’re ready to go by then.”
“My pants?” Eddi shot up out of the bed and threw a pillow after the teddy bear! “Get your tiny head out of the gutter!”
Near threw the pillow back and ran outside. Peeking in through the doorway, he quickly added. “Seriously, what is with you two?”
This time two pillows shot in his direction as a reply.
Wedge quickly got out of the bed and ran to shut the door. “Stupid bear... Always assuming the worst.”
Eddi was quickly running around to get heavier clothes on. “Whatever... Forget him.” He was almost done, trying to pull one of his shoes on, when he backed into Wedge. They both froze.
Wedge spoke up first. “Um... about last night... You...”
“I meant it. We have to do something when we get back.” Eddi said, finally getting his shoe on.
Wedge shook his head. “Oh. No, I just wanted to... Um...” He paused, looking down at his hand for a moment, before finally speaking up. “Thanks for patching me up.”
Eddi just shrugged as he threw Wedge’s coat to him. “Don’t worry about it. Let’s just try to not have another accident.”
Wedge nodded, smiling despite his fears that one more thing would burst into flames before they left. They quickly got the rest of their things together and put everything as close to in order as they could.
Wedge was holding the door open as Eddi carried his bags out of the room. “Finally. We’re getting out of here... I can even hear the motor running.” Eddi said. “This place was hell.”
After clumsily trying to get through the door despite carrying his own bags, Wedge stopped. “Well, it wasn’t completely hell.”
Eddi couldn’t hold back a grin. “I guess.” He laughed and pulled Wedge along towards the van. The crisp winter breeze sent a chill up and down his back, but it didn’t faze him. He had just been through much colder holding the same hand he was holding now. And he wasn’t letting go.