Winter Solace
Sin Productions

Winter Solace belongs rightfully to SIN Productions © 2005. Plagiarism is illegal and is considered a crime. Ronin Warriors is © Sunrise, Inc. All rights reserved. Comments and criticism are welcome.

This story is a sequel to my fanfic "Ordinary World," which you don't necessarily have to read to understand what is going on. This story was originally a song-fic which was banned according to FFnet's TOS. If you would like to read the story in it's complete form go to my website listed on my author page.

Christmas time brings Holiday warmth and cheer that supposedly could warm the coldest of hearts… but not when your heart was broken by Sage Date. YAOI. Originally written for Winter 2005 Challenge; Falling Snow.

He still hadn't come back. He still hadn't called. And of course he hadn't written. Rowen wasn't surprised, he wasn't even angry or upset. Where he should've felt something, anything, he felt nothing. Like an empty void, a deep hole that should've burned and ached with the need for the essence that only that special someone could fill, but that void… it was numb.

The world still turned. The seasons still passed. And somehow he still smiled.

He even managed to astonish everyone around him with his calm demeanor and the way he was able to shrug off the whole repugnant matter. Perhaps he should've grieved more for what couldn't be, or be angry at the world for dealing him the wrongs cards, but he suspected that Sage had more of an influence on him than he would've liked. More than anyone would've imagined.

He hadn't moved in the last hour, and although the idea of joining his friends in the kitchen for eggnog was inviting enough, the lonely comfort of the fire-lit living room and empty couch won his interest in the end. The curtains had been pulled from the windows so the immaculate view of the falling snow added to the picturesque mood that failed to penetrate Rowen's slumping spirits.

Although he had tried to embrace the cheery Holiday season, it seemed to elude him, and all the presents and cheerfulness seemed forced for his friend's sakes. But in the end there was something missing from Christmas that wasn't Rowen's normal jovial attitude, and it was screaming at him from every corner of Mia's house: The empty spare bed in his room upstairs, the bonsai tree that was now dried, and dead from lack of attention, the unread newspapers that still were delivered on a regular basis, to even the blanketed snow outside seemed to remind him that this Christmas wasn't going to be the same. That nothing ever again would be the same.

The soft crackle of embers brought his attention to a silent figure resting his hand on the mantle, observing him quietly. The shadows on his face mimicked the flames as the worried lines on his brow foretold him that Kento wasn't here for light conversation.

Rowen tried to crack a smile, but it fell short when Kento's expression didn't change in the slightest. Instead he opted for an apology, "I'm sorry, I meant to join you guys, I've just been a little distracted."

Kento took this into consideration before he slowly nodded. "We understand Ro, we know…uh, we know you're going through tough times you know, since…" Instead of babbling more, he held out a piece of black-black gum for him but Rowen shook his head no.

Kento quickly pocketed it, looking a tad bit embarrassed for thinking sugar could solve Rowen's problems.

"He's not dead you know."

"I know." Kento replied, squirming all of a sudden, "But he's not here."

Rowen adverted his eyes, "I'm okay with that, I've accepted he left and he's not going to come back."

"You don't know that for sure."

Rowen laughed at that, "Oh really? Kento he left me. He packed up his shit and he moved to Sendai, he didn't want to be anywhere near me."

Kento frowned, his voice raising in anger at what Sage had done. "Maybe he's soul searching…"

"Yeah…" Rowen said lamely.

But even Kento didn't seem convinced that was the case.

"For a while I was uncomfortable with the fact you…and him, were more than just friends. It never occurred to me that you could be…" his voice trailed off.

Rowen raised his eyebrows and finished the sentence, "Gay?"

"Yes gay." Kento continued on reluctantly, "I don't know if it's right, or if it's wrong, but that's not my place to judge. I realized that, though that conclusion didn't come overnight. What mattered was that you are my friend, through thick and thin, and what you and Sage did was none of my business. But what Sage did to you…" he balled up a fist and Rowen was almost sure he was going to punch the closest object, "It was just plain fucked up."

What could Rowen say to that? He agreed, what Sage had done was wrong. The least he could've done was sat him down and explained why he wanted to leave him, to leave town, and just write off everyone that was supposed to mean something to him as if they never existed in the first place. But Sage was never one for unnecessary words, and then again he wasn't one to ever explain any of his actions.

After a moment, Rowen realized he didn't need to say anything, as Kento moved away from the fireplace and sat at the opposite end of the couch just staring off into the fire.

Rowen could almost cry at the absurdity of it all. Sage, the one who was the anchor of his friends, always one-step ahead and levelheaded, had made a crazy decision to leave. And here he was, seeking solace from the person he least expected, Kento. Although he had anticipated Mia or Cye sitting down and talking to him about this, they had kept their distance, fearful that imposing themselves on him might've upset him more.

And he had thought it would've. But this little talk with Kento had started to melt the ice that had been freezing his heart. Despite all their differences, and sexual preferences, he felt like he still had something to be thankful for. Not everyone had deserted him, which made the battle just the tiniest bit less painful.

He glanced to his left and Kento was still deeply engrossed by the fire. Clearing his voice to catch his attention, he smiled shyly, "Thanks Kento."

Blinking, somewhat puzzled, he asked, "For what?"

"For this." He said simply, and stood up, stretching as he did so.

Kento stood as well, and started heading back for the kitchen. When he realized Rowen wasn't following him, he turned back, "You coming?"

"Yeah," Rowen smiled, "Give me a minute. I'll meet you in there."

He waited for Kento to leave, and then he turned on his heel and headed for the front door.

He was slammed with a gust of sharp frigid air as he opened the door and stepped onto the endless blanket of snow. The night sky was clear above him and the winking stars beckoned to him, as he registered the tug of Strata calling to him. He loved the feeling of the open sky, and breathing in the fresh crisp air he felt at ease for the first time in months.

Snowflakes continued to fall silently, and he could clearly see his breath coming out in small puffs. It really was beautiful out here, but inside there were people waiting on him, who had been waiting for him, and that was a thing of beauty in itself.

After a minute of basking in silent solace, Rowen made his way back to the house, and with one final look out managed in a ragged whisper, "Merry Christmas Sage."