First Snowfall of the Year

Silkfoot pressed his nose to the window. His reflection crinkled his nose at the fat white flakes drifting from the sky while his breath formed a white haze across the glass. Fluffy white piles clung to every rooftop and doorstep in the city. Those brave enough to venture out had already begun the process of digging their vehicles from the snowdrifts. The rest must be inside, snuggled beneath blankets with mugs of coco. Or whatever it was people did to entertain themselves in this weather.

Shivering, he turned away from the window and tapped the thermostat, raising the temperature another degree. He’d been around enough snow in his lifetime to know this blizzard wasn’t bad. In a few days, the city would be back to normal, even if the white slush remained. But he didn’t tend to linger in the icy, snowy areas of the world for longer than he had to. More than the weather, feeling stuck made him sensitive to the chill.

Nevertheless, he tried to grin when he turned back to the bed. Though the blankets were already packed tight against his companion from his last efforts, Silkfoot fussed with them again, patting Kestrel’s shoulders and thighs as he made certain the blankets hadn’t shifted. “Not to worry, you aren’t missing anything. Nary a snowball fight to be found. Just the responsible adults tunneling their way to jobs that no one’s going to pay any attention to anyway.”

His burly first mate lifted one midnight eyebrow. Kestrel didn’t bother to hide the amusement dancing across his lips, nor the twinkle in his dark eyes. “Do you really hate winter that much, Captain?”

“Captain nothing. Are we anywhere near my ship? And no, not really. It isn’t the weather that bugs me, it’s the result. In a few hours, the entire city will be shutdown. No one will do anything for the next two or three days. It’s all dreadfully boring. What’s a man supposed to do with himself?”

“Snowball fights?” Glee tinged Kestrel’s voice.

Silkfoot twisted his lips again, shooting his tongue out of his mouth for the briefest of moments. “I think I’m a little tall to make the cut.”

His displeasure seemed to quash his first mate’s good mood and he instantly regretted his tendency to speak his mind without filtering it first. “You really don’t have to stay…” Kestrel started, but Silkfoot waved a hand in dismissal.

“Of course I’m going to stay. How are you going to get the things you need with that leg broken? Do you need another cup of cocoa?” He leaned over the bedside table. Kestrel’s mug was still half-full and still steaming. Silkfoot didn’t realize he was pouting until Kestrel barked a laugh.

“Look at you. Two days and you’ve already got cabin fever. You can’t stay cooped up in here all week.”

“I don’t see that I have much choice. I promised to look after you. And there’s the little detail that everything’s going to close if the storm gets as bad as they predict. And another storm coming next week, to boot.” How did people live like this?

“You’ll be surprised, Captain. People who see this much snow don’t panic shop and lock themselves in the basement like the places you’re used to. You shouldn’t let my leg keep you here. Go on an adventure. I’ll be fine by the time you get back.”

Silkfoot was definitely pouting now. He felt the chill air on the inside of his lip and didn’t care if he looked like a petulant child. “It wouldn’t be any fun without you.” He cursed the fact that he couldn’t entice a Healer to travel with his crew. No self-respecting doctor of any form would fall in with pirates.

“I’m sorry,” Kestrel murmured. His eyes flickered toward the window.

Silkfoot lifted his chin and sniffed. “I didn’t realize you controlled the weather. I thought you only sensed tides and turns. I think you’ve been holding out on me.”

The smile returned to the edges of his first mate’s lips and it helped him smile in return. “Besides, it isn’t just the leg.” Silkfoot flopped into a chair beside the bed and unleashed a mighty sigh. “We should probably lay low after that incident.” While winter usually drove him to warmer climates, where his illicit activities could easily continue, the fear of being locked in a large metal cage was strong enough to instill him with caution.

“I guess you would have to wait out the storm,” Kestrel admitted, settling deeper into the bed. He’d fall asleep soon and Silkfoot would have to entertain himself. He wondered if it would be worth donning protective layers to pick a few pockets. Probably not.

“We might have to wait longer than that. This far north, the snow and ice don’t let up until the spring thaw, and it comes much later than usual.”

Kestrel laughed again. “If anyone can find a way to solve the problem, Captain, it’s you. You’ve never let impossible odds slow you down. I don’t think a few snowflakes have a chance.”

It was an obvious attempt to stroke his ego, but it did make him feel better. A little determination could go a long way. “I suppose I could play a game.”

“In the meantime,” Kestrel replied with a knowing grin, “why don’t you go get the cards? I’m up for a few rounds of go fish.”

Silkfoot arched one cream-colored eyebrow. “But I’m not even a little bit drunk.”

“I’m sure you can fix that too.”

Laughing, the pirate captain ran to his desk to retrieve the deck he always kept handy, along with the closest bottle of wine.

silkfoot - first snowfall

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