Keterburg at night was a truly beautiful sight to behold. Without the type of lights cities had to contend with, the stars in the sky were bright and clear. The soft snow coating the ground was covered in a thick layer of shadow, save for where the occasional street lamp cast its light on the surface, causing it to glitter.
It was so peaceful, so tranquil that even the slightest disturbance stood out alarmingly.
Saphir raced through the snowy streets, gasping heavily for breath. His face was flushed, which conflicted greatly with the paleness of the rest of his body. His cheeks were stained with tears, his nose running as he himself ran towards his destination. He wore only his soft purple pajamas, not even shoes to cover his freezing feet from the icy ground.
The young boy nearly stumbled when he came to a stop, in front of none other than the Balfour mansion. Saphir stood there for a moment, gasping heavily while simultaneously freezing as he stood in the snow. Shakily, the boy reached down to search through the snow, finding a rock. He blew on his hands for a moment, trying to warm them enough to function properly, before flinging the rock at one of the windows - Jade's window.
The small rock barely had enough force to reach the second story window, but it did manage to create a loud knock against the glass. Unfortunately the noise didn't seem loud enough to have any further effect. Undaunted, Saphir repeated the process despite how the coldness of the stones made his already frigid fingers ache.
By the fourth rock the curtains finally parted to reveal a rather irritated looking Jade. He glared out into the dark, irritation in his red eyes, as he quickly discovered who it was that dared to disturb him from his slumber so late at night.
"J-Jade...!" Saphir called up to the other boy, though it was rather hard for him to raise his voice enough for it. He just felt so cold that even his voice would rather stay inside his body, where it was warm.
Jade looked down at Saphir silently, his expression one of annoyance. A moment later he closed the curtains again rather abruptly in one swift motion.
Saphir stared in disbelief as the window slammed shut, standing rather immobile as he was simply too stunned to move. He couldn't possibly have just seen Jade shut his window on him - it just wasn't possible!
But he did!
Tears welled up in Saphir's eyes as he started to hiccup, before collapsing to his knees in the snow. He grasped his pajama pants tightly, sobbing as his entire body shook.
"J... J... Jade...!" he whimpered, his voice breaking.
"Get inside before you get frostbite."
Saphir looked up sharply with wide eyes, hiccupping heavily between his sobs.
Standing before him was none other than Jade, who still looked quite irritated to be standing outside wearing nothing but a pair of dark green pajamas and large black boots. Curiously the brown haired boy also carried a rather large and thick wool blanket.
"Can you even stand up?" Jade asked sharply as he quickly bundled Saphir up in the blanket.
Saphir shivered and grasped the blanket tightly with his hands. He fumbled to get to his feet, his legs wobbling unsteadily underneath him. "J-Jade..."
Jade observed Saphir attempt to stand and noticed that the violet-eyed boy looked dangerously close to falling over. With an irritated grunt he abruptly swept Saphir up into his arms and carried the white haired boy into the house. Fortunately for him Saphir was very light and easy to carry.
"What were you thinking?" he demanded even as he kicked the door closed once they were inside the warmth of the house.
"J-Jade...," Saphir whimpered as he clung to the boy in question. "I w-wanted to see you..."
Jade made another sound of irritation as he carried Saphir over to the fireplace.
"Idiot," he grunted as he set down the smaller boy onto the plush carpet. "You can't run around without shoes or warmer clothes on." He then moved to swiftly throw a couple logs into the dying fire, which hadn't been tended to since he and his family had turned in for the night.
Saphir didn't reply, cuddling into the blanket. It felt so good against his cold skin that he simply couldn't get enough of it. His teeth chattered as he huddled in to the blanket, using a shaking hand to wipe away at his nose.
"Rub your feet," Jade ordered as he strode swiftly away from the fireplace and Saphir. Saphir did as he was told, reaching down to touch his frozen feet. They felt so cold and numb to him at first that he almost wasn't even sure he was touching them. However, the longer he rubbed them, the more feeling came back.
As the feeling began to return to Saphir's hands and feet, he was assaulted by pain. It felt as if countless icy needles were jabbing him mercilessly, making it difficult for him to continue.
Just then Jade returned with a number of towels under one arm and a bottle of medicine in his hand. "Hold out your hands," he ordered as he sat down next to Saphir.
Saphir whimpered at the pain but did as he was told, shaking. "J-Jade... Jade, it hurts..."
"That's because your body has been damaged by the cold cutting off your circulation," Jade explained as he dropped the towel, opened the bottle, and poured the bright red liquid onto Saphir's open hands. The fluid had the consistency of ordinary lotion and felt warm, almost hot to the touch. "This medicine will help."
Before the liquid could dribble off the frigid boy's shaking hands, Jade quickly set down the bottle so that he could rub the medicine all over them, coating them evenly. Once he covered every inch and even worked his way up Saphir's forearm to the elbow he then swiftly repeated the process with Saphir's frozen feet. "Just keep rubbing your hands together," he commanded.
Saphir did as he was told, gasping and flinching at the pain before sighing with relief as it was eventually soothed. He really hadn't noticed it at all, his body too numb from the cold. Apparently that was a blessing in disguise, as he rather wished it was numb now!
"What made you decide to do something so foolish?" Jade asked as he continued to rub Saphir's feet, not even looking up at the other boy's face.
"M... my p-parents..." Saphir was able to whimper out before he felt the sobs coming forth again, threatening to overtake him.
"Are they dying?" Jade asked as he looked up at Saphir, though he didn't appear overly concerned by the idea, just annoyed.
"N-no," Saphir replied, shaking his head vigorously. "T-they're... they're... t-talking of... of m-moving a-away...! I don't... I don't want to... move away...!"
"And you couldn't wait until morning or at least until you were dressed properly to come and talk to me about it," Jade said, his tone deadpan. Saphir blinked at that and stared at Jade, his expression rather blank. After a moment Jade sighed and shook his head. "Of course you couldn't," he muttered as he focused on rubbing the medicine upward along Saphir's legs.
Saphir gasped at the rubbing, shivering. The warm lotion was slowly taking care of the pinprick pain, allowing the young boy to enjoy the intimate contact a bit more than he had been. "Jade..."
"Did your parents actually say that they were moving away or were they just discussing the possibility?" Jade asked as he focused on what he was doing.
"Dis... discussing it...," Saphir sniffled as he watched Jade's hands work. "I just... it's too awful to consider..."
"Just tell them that you refuse to go because you're happy here and because Professor Nebilim is the only teacher that you think can help you actually learn anything useful," Jade suggested as he worked his way up Saphir's pants to the other boy's knees. "If they refuse to listen just threaten to run away."
"...C-can I come live with you?" Saphir asked quietly, looking at Jade with hopeful eyes.
Jade paused at such a question. Silently he removed his hand from Saphir's pants before looking up at the other boy. "Unless we could get our parents to agree with it, you wouldn't be able to hide here," he said after a number of moments. "Sooner or later you would be discovered and sent back."
Saphir felt his heart break at that, sagging his shoulders as tears started to renew themselves. "B-but... but I... I don't want to leave you...!"
"You won't," Jade said with the utmost conviction, as if it were some unchangeable fact.
Saphir sniffled as he stared at Jade for a moment, before nodding slowly. That's right, Jade wouldn't let him leave. His parents wouldn't be able to take him away. "O-okay... Jade..."
Jade tugged down Saphir's pant legs to cover the exposed flesh and then moved to the side so that he was no longer blocking the warmth of the fireplace. "You can spend the night. Tomorrow you should talk to your parents about whether or not they're serious about it. Do whatever you can to convince them to change their mind if they are."
Saphir was quiet for a moment before staring down at the floor. "... They don't care what I think..."
"I know that," Jade replied, as if he didn't notice Saphir's depression about the subject. "But you need to find out if they really are serious about moving or are just considering it. You also need to find out their reasons why so that we can plan an informed counter-argument."
"O-okay, I'll do my best!" Saphir replied. He knew that Jade would help him, wouldn't let his parents take him away. That's why he came to Jade in the first place!
"How do your hands and feet feel now?" Jade asked, deciding to change the subject to one that was a more immediate concern to him.
"Warm," Saphir answered. "And a little numb."
"Rub where it's numb," Jade ordered. "You need to get feeling back in them."
Saphir did as he was told, even though he felt so exhausted and just wanted to curl up in the blankets. He let out a soft sneeze, shivering. "G-gyuh..."
Jade observed Saphir's action for a few minutes before he moved to wrap the blanket a little more tightly around the other boy. "You can relax as soon as you stop feeling numb."
Saphir moved to lean against Jade, seeking his warmth as his hands continued to rub the numb areas. It seemed to take forever, but he was finally able to work the feeling back in his body.
Jade watched Saphir silently as he kicked off his boots. Without a word he picked up one of the towels and once the other boy had stopped rubbing he wrapped it around Saphir's right foot, tying it firmly around the violet-eyed boy's ankle. He then repeated the process with Saphir's left foot. He offered no explanation for his actions or gave any further instructions. Instead he took one end of the blanket from Saphir and wrapped it around the both of them.
Saphir moved to cuddle up against Jade, a happy smile across his face. Jade always knew how to make him feel better, no matter what was wrong. The young boy had felt so horrible before, but now he felt so warm and content.
It was only during private moments like these that Jade would indulge Saphir's desires for closeness and assurance. Most everyone in Keterburg thought of him as a brat to the point that it had earned him the nickname of 'devil child'. These same people never understood what Saphir saw in him. They would often wonder if Saphir was painfully naïve and optimistic to the point of blindness or simply masochistic.
They would never see Jade slip his arm around Saphir's waist to return the other boy's affection, as he was doing now. They wouldn't listen to the two geniuses privately conversing about philosophy, science, and many other concepts that would go over the heads of most adults. They would not see how Saphir could manage to coax a rare, genuine smile out of Jade when no one else was around.
Not even Saphir knew how he could warm the stoic boy's normally frozen heart with his unwavering loyalty and love.
And that was exactly how Jade liked it.