Rei had been the first to notice the snow. He had been stood at the window, gazing out at the beauty of the cityscape at night. The florescent streetlights glimmering like stars scattered throughout the labyrinth of concrete. At first, he had thought the shadows were playing tricks on his mind, tiny flickering movements out of the corner of his eye. But the snowfall became more heavy, the flakes becoming larger. For a moment he was struck by how beautiful the delicate little shapes really are. Then…
'Oh. My. God! Is that snow?' Shouted Max, 'Ty! Look, it's snowing!'
Tyson jumped from his slouched position on the sofa, and bounded across the room to the window. Even Kenny looked up from dizzy. Rei chuckled. It was as though they'd never seen snow before.
'Come on, we have o go outside!' bellowed Tyson.
'But it isn't even that deep…' Rei started, but as he said it he turned and looked out of the window again. An inch of powdery white snow sat neatly along the windowsill. He had obviously misjudged the speed at which the snow was falling. 'Nevermind,' he sighed.
The group - including Kenny, whom they had to drag along with them - pulled on whatever coats they had and made their way down to the entrance hall of the hotel. For a while, they all stood in the doorway, just staring out into the growing whiteness. Daring one another, like waiting for the first person to dive into a swimming pool.
Finally, Tyson broke. He made a noise like a squealing child, and then pushed Max down the three steps into the courtyard. Kenny hurriedly placed Dizzy on a table by the door before being thrown down to join the giggling American.
Tyson, for a moment at least, looked to be considering tackling Rei, then thought better of it and jumped down the stairs to join his friends in what quickly turned into a snowball fight. Rei remained where he was, keeping a protective eye on the scene.
He was about to leave them to their games, and retire to his warm bedroom, when something caught his eye. A tuft of blue hair could be seen amongst the snow, and it was moving closer.
Early, for Kai, he thought.
Then another figure followed. A coincidence, surely. Kai wouldn't be walking with somebody else.
But they approached together, and entered the courtyard. Rei realised the second person was the wildcard winner. What was her name… Zhaila. What where they doing together, he wondered. Not the only one…
'Wow, look at that!' Tyson shouted. 'Kai actually managed to make a friend! First for everything, I guess.'
Kai glowered, but the girl wasn't content with taking the comment lightly.
'Tyson, isn't it?' she smirked, 'Who else has a mouth so big, and a brain so small.'
Tyson's jaw dropped. He hadn't been expecting a retort, and wasn't sure how to respond to the stranger. She, however, wasted no time summing them up.
'Hyperactive blonde must be Max. Glasses I'm assuming is the brains of the outfit - Chief, yeah? And that just leaves Tall, Dark and Handsome here,' She turned to Rei, smiled and said, 'Am I getting warm, Mr Kon?'
For an instant, nobody moved. Everyone, including Kai, just stared at the strange girl who had wandered into their group uninvited and pegged them all down in less than a sentence. Then the moment passed. Rei chuckled, and Max giggled as he pushed a still gawping Tyson into the deepening snow.
'Well, I never thought Kai could put so many words together,' Rei laughed, approaching the newcomer.
'Him?' she gestured, 'Nah! Hasn't so much as opened his mouth to breath!'
Tyson looked particularly confused, 'So, how'd you know who we are?'
'What, you seriously think I've never heard of the Bladebreakers? I might lead a pretty isolated life, but I do occasionally walk past a TV, or a radio.'
Tyson didn't reply, only staring, dumbfounded. Max laughed at his team-mate, Kenny giggled, and even Kai smirked. Tyson shook his head, as though waking from a daydream, and Max lead him back inside. The others followed, and Zhai watched them go. As they reached the bottom of the steps, one turned back towards her.
'Well, Zhaila,' Rei said, patting her on the shoulder affectionately, 'If you can put Tyson in his place like that, you'll be worth getting to know. Will you join us?'
Zhaila smiled. She had never really had friends before, and the opportunity overwhelmed her for a moment. She took a steadying breath, and then followed him in to the building.