(Art by PancakeBunny on FurAffinity)



Starting 7/04/2020

The wind whipped and tore about the eaves, creating little whirls of white and blue that caressed the rough logs with a soft but chilling touch. Upon the ground, it was coagulating thick and fast, and at this rate it would be entire days before the tired winter sun managed to eat it away.

The night was far in the future, but yet the snow itself had already taken on a dusken grey tinge that crept constantly closer to the dark shade of the wood itself as time eased on in a chaos of whipping ice. Looming about and over the house's squat, unthreatening form, the old oaks seemed almost forbidding and malevolent, as though they bore some alien threat other than collapsing under the weight of the snow collecting upon their leaves and causing them to creak and groan in the wind.

Inside, however, all was still but for the crackling of disintegrating wood, and the whir of a small electronic fan. The windows were thoroughly curtained by rivers of patchwork cloth, and thus the only illumination that the space held was from the well-stocked fire shining upon the expansive coil of scales at it's grate, and the steady blue glow of a laptop computer; illuminating the glossy black hair spidered messily atop the head of the man resting before it with his brow on his arms.

They'd been like this for almost over a week now; even since the storm has started. The weathermen on the internet had said that snow was coming, but never how much, and it had certainly come as a surprise to both Robert and Starla when a brief flurry some nights passed had turned into a good two feet of fall by the morning light. Luckily, however, they had timber, food, and each-other for company, which so far had proved more than enough.

As a log slid within the fire to give rise to a fierce crackle, and a that exact moment, the screen dimmed, and a slide-show screen-saver began to play. However, though the fading, scenic images were gentle enough, the change was just enough to cause a stir in the room, and a shift in the glimmering light ricocheting about.

Starla's unblinking eyes flickered to awareness, and she slowly took in her surroundings with a familiar comfort; analysing each small detail as though it were all the world held for her. Though was still the slightest taint of smoke to the air – Robert wasn't the most handy of men, and the flue had been having issues for as long as she could remember - the fire was a hundred times better than any ray of sunshine.

From how comfortable Starla was, there was no doubt in her mind that she could stay here all day and night. Until the wood ran out, at least. We'll deal with that when it happens. And, besides, perhaps then...

She shook the thought from her mind, and shifted her head around in her coils to gaze over at Robert where he sat yet unmoving. Poor thing. He had seemed awfully downcast ever since the storm had started, and she couldn't feel worse about being so overjoyed to have him around. Still, it was better that he was here, rather than risking his life out in the cruel elements, and that much was a relief.

For the screen to have clocked off, Robert had to have not written a word for at least ten minutes, and it was evidently clear from the slight movements of his body that he wasn't asleep. What's on his mind? Starla was beginning to feel worried for him. He loved the outdoors, and being cramped in here for so long must be killing the man.

A spur of resolution seizing her, she uncoiled a little, and stretched her head over in one long, fluid motion to rest it on the side of the desk beside his arms. I should get to the bottom of this. “How are you feeling?”

There was a shift in his form, and the folds of Robert's sweater parted slightly so that she could see a singe eye staring back out at her from through the cloth. “If this goes on much longer, I'm not going to be able to go out for weeks.”

Starla felt a sudden surge of excitement at his words. If only. However, she was careful to impart only compassion and concern into her voice, and slid the length of her body a little further away from the fire despite her reluctance to leave the warmth behind. “It'll be fine.”

He gave a little huff of release, yet neglected to shift from where he slumped. “I suppose so, and it's good we stocked up last time I went to the markets. Not going down to the village could have an issue.”

She frowned. Is that it? His trips out to town were often enough, but from how negatively he spoke of the people he met there she didn't think the absence of this avenue was causing his drop in mood. But she couldn't help but be curious – and certain - so inclined her head in question to this as well, causing the spines atop her head to shift slightly. “Do you miss talking to people?”

That finally caused Robert to straighten, and his hair to fall back into some form of order. The colour on the screen before him shifted slightly, and lit his features at such an defined, flattering angle to cause Starla to stare stupidly for a moment as he smiled grimly and spoke on with the edges of his goatee quirking slightly with each small motion.

“With you around? Never.” Robert gave another little huff, and that smile deepened to a more genuine thing. “Besides, all the men just sneer and laugh at me there, and the women just turn the other way.”

Starla would have blanched if she had been able to. This is my chance. She'd always told herself that something like this would be the perfect opportunity to speak up - to say something - And here she was without even trying in the slightest. However, all her mind would allow her to do presently was continue blankly staring up at him as he seemed briefly locked to do the very same in return.

A few seconds passed, and Starla found herself fighting against her own nerves and conflicting wishes. Now is the time. It's perfect, and I don't think I can exist for much longer without telling him. He wrote about this all day long. Surely he wouldn't think she was crazy if she told him how she felt. But where her desperation was strong, her fear was stronger. What would he think? What if he hates me for what I say? I can't risk that.

Starla closed her jaw suddenly, coming to the awareness that it had been hanging open slightly against the desk; undoubtedly allowing her fangs to show. However, all internal debate as she took note of the fact that Robert was still silently looking down into her eyes as if there were whole universes locked there, though it must have been several seconds since they had last spoken. She couldn't move an inch, no matter how hard she tried. Why is he still looking at me?

Was it just her imagination, or had something happened there?

Before she knew it, the moment snapped to a thankless conclusion, and all was suddenly flung into movement again as yet another crackle sounded from within the fire. Robert creaked back in his chair, gave a cough – is he nervous? - and blinked in the general direction of the screen. “I should probably start writing again.”

She forced herself to nod slightly. “Probably. It's not like there's anything else to do.”

He inclined his head in turn, and switched the computer back on with the pressing of a button; fingers trickling away before anything else could be said, and mind undoubtedly far away in his own imagination.

Starla, however, left her head there for a while, staring upwards at the screen, and hoping that Robert somehow didn't notice. Before she knew it, she was swept up in a world of daring statements, proclamations of love, and outrageously romantic escapades; all snatched between the scrolling of his fingers and the darting lines themselves. She almost sighed, laying there and half-detatchedly noting the fire grow weak behind them. If only things were that easy.

But the snowstorm wasn't going anywhere, and neither was Robert.

Perhaps – just perhaps - she would try again soon.

7/04/2020, Gabriel Foxx, commissioned for Arnak on FurAffinity

Gabriel Foxx is half of the label Doppelfoxx, and information for commissions like these can be found at CONTACT / COMMISSIONS

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