Worst. Idea. Ever.
He didn't have stupid ideas often. Actually, he didn't think he had stupid ideas much at all, really. The last time he thought of something so idiotic was when he decided, about a year after the initial enchantment, that he might as well freeze the rose to death and seal his fate right then and there, not bother waiting for it. All he got for his troubles was the feeling that his heart was being squeezed and a boulder was on his chest, and he had to stop.
So yeah, that was dumb.
But this whole day surpassed that little incident.
He'd left the forest, just for a moment, to see the snowfall, see how bad it truly was. An odd little fascination he had...Ever since he was first cursed, the winters had worsened, and he had a morbid sort of curiosity about it. Wanted--needed, maybe--to see it for himself. He just hadn't expected to see or hear anyone else outside. It'd be useless to try and approach them, and frankly, he thought he knew what would happen anyway...so he'd turned and left.
He just didn't think the other would be so foolish as to follow him.
And determined enough to actually catch up with him.
He'd felt something graze his arm, and he'd turned around, taken aback. "Y-You...can't be out here. You'll...you'll f-freeze..." She'd been smiling weakly before her legs gave out. And then his arms had seemed to act on their own accord.
And now here he was, walking effortlessly through snow like a damned fairy tale hero, grumbling darkly under his breath. Why was he even doing this? "Should just take her home where she belongs," he muttered to himself, pausing to give the weight on his back a little hitch.
You can't do that, though. The minute someone from her family saw you, they'd slam the door and hide. And you can't leave her on someone's doorstep, who knows how long she'd be there before the occupants thought it was safe to open the door. She'd die if you did anything else.
Her weight was pulling his hood back a little, but he tried to ignore it. She was unconscious; she couldn't see him.
Am I dead? was her first conscious thought when she reached awareness.
Hanana lay there on her back, feeling warmer than she'd been when she passed out...Wait, did she pass out? When did that happen? She'd gone out, seeing someone outside...They'd run away from her, and she'd gone after them--they couldn't stay out there, it was dangerous. She'd caught up to them, but--
Her eyes opened, and she sat up, gasping. That's right!...wait. Where was she? She looked around at her surroundings. A small room, bare except for the bed she was in and a bureau in the corner...it looked like it belonged in a small house--bigger than the one she shared with her sisters, but still relatively-small. How had she gotten here?
"Wh-what the...?" She shakily got out of the bed, stumbling only a little. At least she still wore her own clothes...Her gaze fell on the window, and she went over to look out--
--there was no snow. None anywhere.
"B-but it was coming down hard just a little bit ago!" she cried, as if someone could hear her. But it was true; there was no snow on the property. She could see trees just a short distance away--this house must be in the forest, inside a clearing. She squinted, shading her eyes with her hand as she opened the window and leaned out. If she looked hard enough, she could see snow still falling somewhere in the forest beyond. So it was still coming down, it was still winter, but here it looked like the middle of spring. That didn't make any sense--how could it be snowing everywhere but this place? Maybe she really was dead.
A bit of movement caught her eye just then, and she looked down into the yard. Someone was down there, walking to the center of the yard and stopping. Their back was to her, but they still looked rather familiar. Dark gray cloak, a hood over their head...
"It's you!" she shouted, smiling suddenly. Ah, so they were okay! The figure started, making an odd movement as if they were turning their head to look up but suddenly thought better of it, then bowed their head and grabbed at the hood before quickly walking away. "Wait, don't go!" Hanana pushed herself away from the window, rushing out the door and trying to find her way out of the house proper. She didn't even stop to put her shoes on, only thinking that she had to see this person, she had to talk to them. Ask what this place was...and that she was happy they were alright.
Foolish-foolish-foolish-foolish! he thought as he speed-walked around to the back of the house, heart pounding. This wasn't supposed to happen, she wasn't supposed to wake up--well, okay, she was, he'd hate to have brought her to shelter for nothing and have to deal with a dead body, but she wasn't supposed to wake up now! Not while he was in plain sight!
This was, of course, ignoring the fact that until the snow died down--which, all things considered, wouldn't be for a while--they'd have to meet eventually, but he didn't want it to be now.
Maybe they still wouldn't have to. He'd just go hide in the forest. The "demon's" normally-bitter face twitched into a vague idea of a triumphant smile. Yes, perfect...he'd stay there until she went back inside. Yes, it was cowardly, but--
"Waaaiit!" The back door suddenly slammed open, hitting him right in the face. The girl rushed out then, not realizing til a moment later that she'd hit someone. "Oh, there you are! O-Oh, I'm sorry, are you alright?" He heard her take a step forward; he took one back, keeping his face covered with his hands. "Sir?"
How did she know that...? Never mind. "I'm fine," he muttered darkly, voice muffled by his hands. He turned around then, speed-walking away once again.
"A-Are you sure? Because that looked like it hurt--"
Don't worry about it. "Leave it alone."
"I can take care of it if you're hurt," she was saying, catching up with him. Wow, she was faster than he gave her credit for. She smiled at the back of his head. "I've fixed my sisters up when we were little; one of them is teaching me the more complex things, I can...come on, let me see!"
Before he could stop her, her hand had grabbed the back of his cloak, and in his attempt to whirl around, jerk out of her grip, the cloak parted slightly, and his hood fell back completely.
And she froze in shock, a gasp escaping her lips.