Sitting on the stairs outside the house, Yuiko didn't mind the cold so much. In some ways, it was refreshing. The cold wind against her face made her mind feel sharper, more aware. It seemed to pull her back into focus, into reality. Something about seeing everything around her covered in a clean white blanket made her actually feel a little better. Everything was new, ready to start over.

It occurred to her that Leo was like a snowflake. The icy water drops that made up snowflakes were soft and moldable. They were pure and good. It was the pressure of the world around them, outside forces that they couldn't control that made them change shape.

She was surprised that thinking about him actually made her body ache. She felt so heavy that she didn't think she could get up for a while. She was perfectly content to just sit and watch the snow fall softly Already, a thick layer covered the ground. It feel smoothly over the yard, untouched by footprints.

"It's so peaceful. The first snow," she said to no one in particular, though she supposed her cat might have been listening. She was surprised when the sound of her voice actually seemed to coax the animal a little closer to her; normally her cat, like all other animals it seemed, couldn't stand her.

It startled her when the cat suddenly leaped past her off of the staircase, darting out into the snow-covered yard.

She stood up, much faster than she thought she'd be able to. "Hey! Where are you going?" she shouted after the cat. It had taken her a long time to find that cat after it had run away the first time, and she wasn't about to let it out of her sight again.

But then she realized that the cat what standing at the feet of someone.

"Didn't I tell you," the shadowy figure said, "that I would tell you when the first snow was coming?"

The voice made her feel warm all over, despite the weather.

"L-Leo," she said. "What are you doing? You're supposed to be on a plane right now! Please Leo, you aren't safe here. You have to leave!" She was fighting hard to keep the emotion from her voice.

"I made a decision," Leo said. "More than safety, I want you Yuiko. I told you once that your life meant more to me than mine. I meant it. And I know now that I can't smile anywhere that isn't by your side. "

The soft brush of his lips on hers was just as gentle as the snowflakes that tenderly melted on her cheek.

Snowflakes were great as delicate works of art Yuiko decided , but together they made up that entire glorious blanket that now surrounded them. Together, they made up something new and beautiful.