Inclement WeatherMature

How the protagonist and antagonist of Leech Child spend a rainy/snowy/ugly day. Feel free to join in with your own hero and villain!
(Mature for language)

Ren trudged along the sodden dirt path to the Mocha Temple Coffeehouse, tugging the hood of his cloak down over his head for what felt to him like the twentieth time since he'd started this godforsaken walk. The thoughts in his head rotated between "shit, I'd better get some coffee, I fuckin' hate rain, and I really need to get a new cloak tailored," but his temples ached and everything seemed to melt together into mud.


The Temple's torii gates, although smaller than the real thing, just seemed like a lightning hazard during these kinds of storms, Ren thought as he passed under the towering gateway and into the courtyard. The glass tables that littered the area collected rain on their surfaces like miniature birdbaths, and a few of the matching chairs that usually surrounded them had been knocked over by errant gusts of wind.


A barista appeared from behind the cash registers and flicked a switch behind the counter. Several gears near the "open" sign slowly ceased their movement and the bright lights of the sign faded to grey.


She noticed Ren and nodded. "Sorry kid, we're closed."


Ren lumbered up to the bar and slammed his hands down on the counter. "Too bad. I need my coffee, lady, and I'm not a nice person when I don't get it."


The barista grabbed a bag of coffee grounds from a basket on the bar and handed them to Ren. "Look, I know how hard it is being a halfbreed and all, but you should know that all Akamachi businesses close if it rains for a few consecutive hours-"


A fist slamming on the counter silenced the barista.


"Do you even know who the hell I am?", Ren snapped.


"I-I just started working here today, sir, so no-"


"This cloak?" Ren grabbed the edge of his sopping wet cloak and held it up to the barista. "It means I'm the prince of the oni, and if you don't serve me my coffee when I need it, you can consider yourself fired."


Ren snatched the bag of coffee grounds from the barista, ripped the top open, and poured the dry grounds into his mouth. The barista watched wide-eyed as the prince swallowed a mouthful of ground coffee, tossed the bag on the soaked earth and walked back towards the palace.

It must've been a pretty bad first day for that barista, Ren thought. Rainy days always bring out the worst in me.

***
Aoi stared at the blood-tipped feathers on the straw-covered floor of her cave. She picked one up and halfheartedly threw it out towards the snow.


Her chest ached, and she pressed her hand against the featherless patch near her heart to quiet its incessant beating.


Aoi gripped the quill of another downy chest feather in her beak. She pulled away from her chest swiftly and flinched when the quill left her skin. Blood welled up under where the feather once lay, and she grabbed a piece of cloth and held it against the wound.


The noises made by her internal organs annoyed her. The grumble of her stomach, the wheezing when she inhaled the cold air, the rushing of blood around her ears, but mostly the pitter patter of her heart.


Tugging a feather out silenced that, if only for a second.


A second is all it takes to do something you'll regret, she thought. All it takes to stop a heartbeat for an eternity.


"Hey, Rokurou," Aoi called out.


Footsteps echoed through the cave, and an oni boy in flannel pajamas stumbled out of the cavern's rear, carrying a stuffed tanuki doll. "Yeah, mom?"


"How many seconds are in an eternity?" Aoi sat still at the cave mouth, turned as to block Rokurou's vision of the feather pile.


"Uhh... Nine hundred ninety nine. That's the biggest number ever, right?"


Aoi laughed dryly. "Sure. That's the biggest number. Go back to sleep, now."


Rokurou opened his mouth slightly, but turned around slowly and walked back into the makeshift bedroom, stuffed tanuki in tow.


Aoi glanced down at the pile of feathers. "Thirty-five down, nine hundred and sixty four to go"

The End

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