The wind was unforgiving as it whipped passed Ritsu.
It was the middle of December, and the young editor was standing in front of what remained of his old place of work. He wasn't even sure if he could consider himself an editor any longer.
It doesn't suit him now, an old title of an old world.
The harsh wind only pressed into Ritsu harder as he walked the grounds, looking for any signs of human life that might remain around the structure that had been reduced to a mass of warped metal and rock. He climbed the rubble that was once the entrance of Marukawa Publishing, already on shaky legs as he walked onto the cracked concrete and twisted metal beams, ripped from there place by a horrendous gale. The tall building itself had been reduced to its first floor, the rest of once massive tower scattered around the area in the form of large concrete blocks or the shattered remains of windows.
It was dead quite. Only the sound of Ritsu's footsteps could be heard, amplified over the sound of the wind by the unnatural silence of the world around him. Ritsu had no idea how long he had been wandering around the dead city, so long that he could no longer feel his face or fingers. He was tried, hungry, and cold (cold, cold Ritsu was so cold) but he drug his half staved corpse further still, searching for someone, anyone.
Because that is all the remained of Ritsu, a corpse that needed to eat and drink. A burden for someone who's mind was so starved of happiness that it might as well be dead. For what seemed like days he stumbled on, crying out for others in a whisper like voice that was easily lost in the wind. In the end his cause was fruitless, the only company he had were the human carcasses and buzzards that dinned on them.
It was late evening (or early morning he didn't know up from down anymore) when Ritsu returned to the only warm place left in the world, a small church on the outskirts of the city that was somehow spared from the carnage. The group of sixty so survivors that took refuge here where all Ritsu had left.
He pushed the poorly repaired door open, revealing the warm light of a multiple fires in barrels burning in different areas of the room. Out of the nine or ten small groups huddled around the room, two pairs of eyes look up at the sound of the door creaking open, expectantly, excitedly. They dimmed when they saw him. From whether it was his absence of other survivors or the fact he was not the hunting party he did not know. His frozen body hobbled over to the other two humans peering out at him, not stopping until he was pressed in between them on the floor. Even with the fires, it was not enough to keep the harsh chill out of the shelter. Cuddling up to others was necessary for survival. The other two bodies wrapped around him, trying to expel the awful chill his body held, and Ritsu pondered briefly about how embarrassed his old self would have been in this situation. He let out a coarse laugh, it all seemed to ridiculous to him now. His old concerns, priorities, and goals were now petty, trivial. His old self truly was a fool, but at least he was fool who had happiness. He envied that Ritsu.
"The second fire from the alter is getting low." whispered a soft voice to his right, breaking him from the painful thoughts of the old world.
"Well, what do you want us to do about it?" hissed the one to his left. The cold, dead world managed to make everyone understandably more irritable.
The body to his right curled further into itself, a defensive gesture."I was insinuating that we make a effort to keep it going. You know how hard it is to start fires once they've gone out, and were running low on matches." the voice was still soft, but now held a edge. A warning that further antagonizing would lead to an all out brawl, which was not that uncommon among their camp. The body to the left tensed at the subtle threat, seemingly preparing for a fight, but then as quickly as it came the tension left. It wilted like a smashed flower, crumpled against Ritsu's body.
"I'm not up to it today."
Ritsu cracked a small smile. He didn't think anyone was up to anything anymore.
The survivor the on the right stood up, a slow, painful movement that was more akin to a rusted robot resurrecting than to the fluid motion of a human. "I'll take care of it then. Will you help me?" Ritsu didn't even need to look up to know he was being addressed. With a nod of the head, he stood up and followed the skeleton-Esq. body out of the church. The wind hit Ritsu with a vengeance as he stepped out side, heading out towards a small wood pile they kept in stock for the fires. He had begun to pick up his first scraps when a voice, the only voice in the world that could make Ritsu feel like a semblance of the man he used to be, called out to him. He turned, the only movement he actually put any conviction into all day, and smiled his watery smile.
The only person Ritsu looked on as another real person waltzed up, still carrying himself with the air of arrogance that he always had even before the end. Another twenty or so followed behind him, carrying a small deer. As Masamune approached him, the group separated. The ones carrying the game toward the refuge, and the ones with free hands gathering wood that the fellow survivor had requested for the weak fire. Only he and Masamune stood together and spoke with each other with a shadow of the old normalcy.
Make no mistake, Masamune had not been untouched by the disaster, still as starved and dirty as the rest of them. What the two didn't realize is that when alone, they acted as zombie like as the others around them, but when together, they carried an air of quiet happiness that had seemed to be lost to the rest of the world.
Left alone in the harsh wind, the two men paid no mind to the dying world around them as they shared a sweet kiss, one that could almost make the apocalyptic wasteland normal again.