Could recommend him an anime

He shivered when the sun shone upon him. This wasn’t what he had asked for.

His mortal friend smiled. “Don’t you think it’s beautiful?”

The demon bared his teeth. “What is this, summer?”

“Why yes! Yes it is!”

Having looked forward to some ice skating, Demophon wasn’t thrilled to hear this and left the dimension to watch from the dark.

5 Seconds of Summer

“Are you ready?” he asked.

She shook her head. She was never ready for this. For before, or during. After would be okay. After was always okay.

“Have you ever wondered what things would be like if things weren’t like this?”
She sighed. “All the time.”

He finished pouring the rest of the ice into the pool. It was halfway filled at this point, enough for them right now. She stripped to her bathing suit. Biting inside of her cheek, she climbed down into the ice. It was cold, of course. Colder as she moved the tiny pieces aside and proceeded to bury herself, much like everyone in the country was at this point. Unless they had better air conditioning.

She managed to cover her head, hearing him doing the same. “A minute!” he told her. She heard him throw his watch back up.

Her teeth chattered. “Longest minute ever.”

“Better this than otherwise.”

She agreed.

Summer hit, the hottest wave ever. The ice melted very quickly, despite the tent blocking direct sunlight. But in five seconds, it was over. Her sweat vanished in the cool water.

“We survived another summer,” he commented.

“Cheers.”

Don’t need permission, but

Maybe Summer was tired, or maybe it was his help that meant Winter didn’t spend another hour looking for her. Summer giggled when he opened up the closet. All Winter could think was that she couldn’t have been here the entire time, because that was the way to bore Summer.

“You found me!” she exclaimed, as though this had been a deliberate game.

“I found you all right,” Winter groused, yanking her sister out of the closet. It didn’t put a damper on Summer’s mood, but Winter had a cure for that. “I’m going to tell Khauhelo how much trouble you were.”

Summer’s mouth shaped into an O, long before she said anything. “No!”

“Yes. I told you not to go far!”

“But I didn’t!”

Winter nearly said more, only to remember it wasn’t just the two of them. She looked over at the Baroness’ son apologetically.

He shrugged it off. “Don’t mind me. Take your family in hand, Winter.”

It wasn’t as if she needed permission or anything, but for some reason the acceptance of her seniority over Summer, the only family she had left, was cathartic. “To Khauhelo it is!”

“NO!”

Summer’s protests aside, they returned to the orphanage.

From those who care

The housefather was a kind enough man, but with the Baroness always showing up, it was easy to forget about him. Khauhelo was the kind of man who could disappear into the background. At least, most of the time.

“Ah ah ah! When did this break?”

He fretted about the chair as though it could not be fixed or replaced. Winter felt bad for him when he got like that, but she didn’t know what to do about a chair either. “I think it has always been a little wobbly, housefather.”

Khauhelo clicked his tongue in his mouth. “Next thing that will happen is the roof will leak. Oh dear, dear, dear.”

There was no distracting him when this happened. At least, not unless something worse happened. Winter liked to prevent that. Khauhelo was a nice enough man. Only strict at the last moment. Maybe he should have been more so, especially as the children here recovered from their journeys and became a bit more rambunctious. Summer was one of those problems.

She left him with the chair for a bit longer, before returning to let him know the stars had come out. Enough of a reminder that they were all going to go to bed. That was, if they could find all of the problem children. Like Summer. Winter tried not to fret herself.

“Never you worry, Winter. She doesn’t go far. Why don’t we check for your sister just outside? Maybe she is playing with Vasuda?”

Nodding, Winter would follow Khauhelo outside.

A man of many hobbies

“Look what I’ve found!”

The Baron’s son held up some sort of insect. Dahlia wasn’t bothered by it, though it didn’t interest her too much. Winter looked disturbed, though all she did was frown. Summer gasped, gripping at her sister’s skirts. The gasp was high pitched though. That was more likely to make Dahlia wince.

Golden looked outwardly disturbed. “That’s gross. Put that down.”

“I’m not hurting it.”

“But I will if you don’t get it away from me.”

“I think it would be happier on the ground,” Winter added, pushing some of her hair out of her eyes.

The Baron’s son frowned, but then walked off with it to put it somewhere else. Dahlia got up and followed after, to watch as he put it back on a plant. “Why do you like bugs so much?” Dahlia asked.

“I like a lot of things. But showing people fish is harder to do.”

“Fish?”

“This is the fishing capital of… well, everywhere.”

That was true. “Could you show me fish?”

She wasn’t sure what made her ask, but he smiled and Dahlia decided she didn’t really mind having asked.

Hand out (part two)

“Why don’t you talk?” Summer asked, blunt as ever. Winter scowled, swatting after her. But Summer had already run off to look at Dahlia.

Dahlia stared back blankly. “I talk.”

Summer gasped, like it was some big shock. Maybe it was to her, Winter barely understood it. She was certain Dahlia was closer in age to Summer than to her, but Dahlia didn’t act like Summer at all.

“Summer, stop bothering her.” Winter got to her feet, slowly walking over to Summer to be able to grab her hand. If she ran, then Summer would run. Chasing her wasn’t where she wanted to spend her energy today. She looked over at Dahlia. “The Baroness says there are apple trees behind the castle. They pick them occasionally. She wants to know if we want to try to get some before other people do. Apparently they’re ripe now.”

Dahlia shuffled in place, then looked up at her. “Apples?”

Winter held out her hand. “Apples. They’ll taste really good, I think. First ones of the season. What do you say?”

Dahlia didn’t take her hand, but when Winter took Summer to go, she noted that Dahlia followed after.

Going up to see him

The day he got sick was the day neither the Baroness or her son came down to the orphanage. Winter, with Summer in hand, went up to the castle.

Castlehaven might have been called Castlehaven and the place the Baroness lived might have been the castle, but she was fairly certain, though the place was massive and made of stone, that this was not a castle. Nevertheless, she waited at the front.

“Do you need something, child?”

Winter was certain this man’s name was Tumelo. The Baroness’ son had talked about him. “Um… I was just wondering…” It was hard to say.

“Is he going to play with us?” Summer asked.

Tumelo didn’t smile, but Winter had a kind feeling from the man. “The young master is not feeling well today. Would you like me to pass on a message?”

Summer pouted, but Winter managed to keep her quiet with a few pats on the head. “Get well soon. We miss you.”

Fortunately, not for long.

To be one of them

What Golden should have done was say no.

“Here we are!” the heir to the barony exclaimed, throwing the doors open. Or trying to. He didn’t have enough strength to make it impressive, but the large door still creaked open enough for the five of them to get in.

Winter kept her sister under the most amount of control that seemed possible. Why was Golden here? He would leave as soon as the others entered the room. Winter bit her lower lip. Summer followed suit. “This is…?”

“Where we have our lessons.” The Baroness’ son moved in. “Or do other things. If I wait for him here, he usually shows up before long.”

He gestured for them to come in. Or, mostly, Dahlia to come in. Dahlia skittered forward, eyes big (as normal). Winter and Summer followed.

“Coming, Golden?”

He could leave now. But there was something about being called Golden and knowing that no one knew to call him otherwise that made him think he could stay a little bit longer.

And so Golden did.

Without a reason

“She’s the Baroness of Castlehaven.”

When the children realized this, most actually comprehended what that meant. The fact she kept coming here didn’t make sense, because she was the Baroness. Glad found it suspicious. What could she want with them? She kept coming here, she kept bothering them all, she had to want something, she had to be expecting something from them.

“Why do you think she bothers with us?” asked Winter. Maybe it was to herself and he had just managed to overhear it. She wasn’t talking to him. He didn’t have to respond.

Winter’s sister wasn’t listening, she was playing with a ball. It bounced up against the wall and back towards herself. If she missed it, Winter caught it to toss it back to her.

“Does it matter?” That was the girl he didn’t know the name of. She tended to hug herself and stay in corners. She never bothered him. For a little girl, she was okay.

Winter stared at her sister. “She’s too nice.”

He hadn’t expected that from her. He glanced over, accidentally catching her gaze.

“What do you think, Golden?”

He wanted to retract, to move away, to pull his eyes out and throw them away. But there it was, a name that wasn’t Gladiolus. Something to distance himself from who he used to be.

He wished he had thought of it before. His golden eyes kept on her icy blue ones. “Never trust someone who seems altruistic.”

However, perhaps he should have kept his vocabulary closer to the level of children younger than ten years old.

Keeping Warm

Winter watched the woman and her gorgeous hair, long curling strands well kept, at a contrast to her rough palms and occasionally chapped lips. When the rest of her was made for work, this woman kept her hair perfect.

“Winter. Are you and Summer keeping warm?”

“Yes’m.” She nodded, watching the woman set down the bundle of something she had brought with her.

“Well, I hope these will help with that. Simply being cold outside shouldn’t keep you in all the time.”

She brought out two coats. Winter’s was a little big, but the woman said she was certain it would last longer that way. The two of them helped Summer put hers on, as she didn’t want to wait. Then she wanted to run around in it.

Winter went to chase after her, but stopped to look back at this woman, this woman who had changed everything. “Thank you.”

Nemissa smiled.