Snow was falling, and it was the most beautiful snow Thorn had ever seen. It blanketed the forest and the mountains, each flake floating serenely down from a quiet, peaceful sky. The furious wind of last night's storm was long gone, replaced by tranquil silence. Nova's snowman sat in the yard, wearing a helmet stolen from Loki as well as Nova's little scarf. It was comical, really - a snow-samurai wearing a pink scarf. Thorn couldn't help but smile at it.
But darn, was it cold out here or what? He was freezing, and as nice as the snow was, he'd sooner have a warm summer day than this.
He hurried back into the house, the wonderful, heated house, going through the living room and into the kitchen. He immediately started on making some hot chocolate, rubbing his frostbitten hands together. All right, he didn't have frostbite, but it was so cold.
Nova entered the room, dragging her stuffed pterodactyl - whom she called Fluffy for whatever reason - across the floor. Fluffy had a colorful piece of string tied around his neck, and he didn't look particularly happy about this "walk". This sounded like one of those things that could send him to the washing machine again.
Seeing what Thorn was making, Nova hugged his leg to remind him that she existed. Like he could ever forget.
He made some hot chocolate for her too, and walking around the kitchen with a small child clinging to his calf was no easy feat. But it was finally done, and she took her dinosaur mug into the living room. On the carpet. The white carpet. The new white carpet.
"Hey, Nova," Thorn said, "why don't you come back in the kitchen with that?"
One of the only words she ever said - the others being "Thorn", "THORN", "tHORN", and "THORN!" - and he heard it whenever she spilled something, which was very often, as in every day. He sighed.
"Nova. I love you, but you need to-"
He went over to her. "I was coming anyway, I have to clean up the-"
He stopped abruptly. Nova hadn't spilled anything after all - she was pointing at something by the door. Something red.
Thorn's first thought was that Nova might be hurt, and he quickly looked her over. Hands and feet were fine. Knees. Elbows. Face, obviously. Wings. She was unhurt.
She looked at him, confused, and he decided it wasn't a good idea to tell her that was blood on the floor, not popsicle-melt from earlier. He'd cleaned up enough melted popsicles to know that the cherry popsicles Nova liked dried pink, not red. The question was . . . where had the blood come from?
He was accustomed to feeling pain, but he knew he didn't have any open wounds. Wearing all white and no shirt, he could tell pretty quickly if he was bleeding or not.
Then whose blood was it?
Jaguar wasn't home and hadn't been for weeks. Storm was with him. Loki. Silver. Arrow. Rigel. Ronin. None of them were here. It had been just Thorn and Nova for nearly two months now.
A bloodstain by the door.
No one else in the house.
That wasn't ominous at all.