Decorations of red on a

green Christmas tree

Won't be the same dear,

if you're not here with me

The weather seemed to sense him outside and a hearty gust blew snow right in his face. A single snowflake sneaked behind his mask clad face and tickled his nose just a little bit, but it seemed to be enough to cause a wicked sneeze out of Vijay.

He wasn't prepared to such insult but decided not to scream at the snow of all things.

His steps were slow and deliberate as he tried to step around every piece of rubble in his way. This was out of ordinary New York winter, okay, well, maybe at some point it does get bad but usually he still can do the dress shoes and all styled up.

Not today it seemed.

And just as he noted from before, when he arrived in that cab, there were no other people out on the streets. At least not this one, which made him wonder maybe that was just this part of the street as humans usually were the savages and liked to endanger their lives during storms and hurricanes for a social media videos and insta-likes.

Maybe even he and Mal would be like that back in the day. They'd be drinking or just getting high and dared each other to some crazy shit that would most likely escalate to some epic proportions and lead to at least a hospital visit few days later. But mostly he managed to put a band-aid on their hurts and call it a day with a ton of laughter later as the memories resurfaced.

That was a way how they rolled through most of the times.

At this point he even congratulated himself on choosing his attire though. The temperature had taken a dip to the underground and it was already freezing with the wind gusts taking the snow piles apart. It was less direct wind in the way the opposite side larger buildings shielded from direct wind but enough random swirls got blown over the rooftops.

But the roar…

The roar of the hurricane was truly taking in the shape and that was more scary that any dare so far.

He poked around some pockets until his fingers hit the biking glasses he once bought for his morning bike rides as he found running tend to hurt his ankle so he had discovered riding a bike is way healthier but also held enough physical activity for a morning workout.

Somehow they'd ended up in his winter jacket pocket, which, in retrospect, was a god thing, because he now was able to see better. They also had this yellow hue to help with darker mornings which was helping right now just as the lights from the building flickered so much less lively, plunging everything around him in dark shadows. But it wasn't pitch black anymore. The yellow lenses helped to enhance the reflecting effect from the snow covered surroundings. It was better than nothing so Vijay kept walking forward and trying to see what was up.

The whole street was solidly covered in a thick layer of snow and it kept being blown across and in circles from all sides, making it even higher in some places. By the time he reached the next building his legs were covered with snow knee high.

Then he moved further down the next building, calling out for Malcolm even. So far nothing made any distinct noise aside the roaring and howling from the ever strengthening wind. He started to worry more as he was getting closer to the spot where Mal's location signal last registered before the nearest towed had gone out. And the amount of fallen light poles and cables strewn on the ground was even more so.

Time to bring out the big guns- with that meaning his flashlight.

He fished it out of his backpack side pocket and flicked the light on. It was still good. Bright enough to lit the immediate surroundings to a blinding level but also making it harder to see in the distance due to the thick falling snow from the sky that kept creating creepily unforgiving curtain of white layer surrounding him from all sides. At least he could see better as he didn't need to squint constantly against snowflakes trying to get in his eyes. The rest of his face was already protected by the ski mask.

Baby it's cold outside

This evening has been

Been hoping that you'd dropped in

So very nice

I'll hold your hands they're just like ice

His light swept across the fallen shapes of poles and other rubble while the now sloppy flakes slapped against his covered face.

So far no sign of his boy and that was getting way to the growing anxiety. He just hoped that he won't get a damned attack right in the middle of this small apocalypse because that would spell rather deathly for poor Mal. He had to shake his head to chase all that shit away. Mal needed him strong and diligent right now otherwise the next body would be his and Vijay's following. Gil would make sure of that. The old papa still had it in him for the boy and while he was never fully accepted among the family a mutual respect and ceasefire was on the table.

He knew Gil's suspicions of their fun times and while nothing was said to face level the feeling was always still there between their flesh and bone. Mal probably was unaware of this or just decided not to share emotions over this matter but still..

The flashlight kept keeping vigil at his feet as he desperately kept seeking his lil' sunshine boy of most preciousness he's ever known in his life so far. Service was still down and he couldn't help to feel rather far out of his league for dealing with this type of trouble. But still that small part of him was glad it wasn't Gil pestering his conscience for all the shit in his past and how he's not okay to spend so much with Malcolm. Honestly he may be right, however judge Vijay just by his past would not feel fair.

He sensed the suspicion and judgement radiating off of Gil during their short investigation stint but to him only thing that truly mattered was the man he came back for. And while it had been rather close to a misunderstanding he was so glad his brain just kicked his ass right on time and he came home to snort all the powder in his cupboard and then have two joints to fight against anxiety attack nearly suffocating him too early. If he was even remotely being honest that day had brought in way too many conflicting feelings that close to ended him right in that warehouse. He didn't realize he had bruises and some cracked rib after that adventure. The whole thing was so adrenaline pumped he only realized he was in deep shit the second his feet hit the floor of his own place.

The fact he had to peel himself off the floor once the door closed behind his body that also decided to simply collapse right on the spot was outright devious and he promised to headslap himself once he felt able to lift his arms up without causing him to whiteout his vision.

Still his mind had been set onto Mal without a singular moment of doubt and indifference. He worried of his dearest of dear friends that once had been quite a lot closer that just that.

And he did fear the most that something bad will happen and he'll loose him for good.

Thankfully they both were okay, as much as they could ever be and here he was- plowing through some feet of snowy landscape to find his wayward boy with penchant for trouble.

And to his defense he wasn't less prone to shit happening nor he wanted Mal to be any different therefore making him deeply in love with the man just the way he was.

He still mentally felt that day pressing against his side and pushing his ribs every morning as his anxiety mixed with a good powder or quality weed put him to sleep in hopes to maybe not remember the darkness layering his dreams turning them into abysses of cold and pitch black. And that was why he missed holding his boy as they slowly succumbed to sleep. It's been way too long since he had that so he'd hoped to fix that today..

He nearly screamed out as his feet stumbled and he tripped over something laying on the ground. His heart did a fabulous roll and drop as for just the tiniest bit of a split second before he made a mental note that it was just a somebody's old boot traveling in the storm and gotten lost.

He took a moment to collect his nerves as his legs took a shaky slow dive to the ground. A solid wet slap of windy snowball hugged his face just as something equally solid took a liking to his side and his body took a sloping slide down the wall he used for leaning against. And for that short, or maybe not so short, moment he felt floating off to another realm…

Baby don't hold out

Baby it's cold outside

It took another wet slap from the storm with never ending roar to bring his mind back to awakening. He felt pain across his back that relentlessly kept digging its claws through the thick bundle of layers he put on before. And it took a while to fully understand he was still outside during a crazy snowstorm-slash-hurricane. Once his body got adapted to the subsiding pain he was able to turn around to sit properly and assess.

The pain was still singing and pulsing through his side and spine joined by less howling sting of his head. He was shaking but intact and that was important fact he was going to take with him.

Next thing he noted was that his flashlight was still on and he could see some huge pile of snow right ahead. It looked like a mountain from the ground so his next move should be just getting up and going ahead to see if Mal had taken a tumble somewhere nearby.

Checking his phone he saw that he was still too far away for his liking.

That should be remedied the moment he stood up and moved on.

Keyword being should…

His legs were like jelly and he could not move his body no matter how hard he tried. His trusted baggie still hugged him as tightly as he put it on so he did rummage through for the water he was sure he packed and it did part of the magic he needed to get moving. But not all.

His limbs became more lucid so he decided to try again. This time around his body cooperated and he managed to lift himself up and dust the snow off. The wall was being a nice helpful support as a wave of dizziness threatened to take him back down. However he stood proud.

Now back on his feet he dared to try few less shaky steps and it magically worked. His eyes swept over the snow mountain that now was less mountainous and noted that a trash can was hiding beneath it. The wind kept depositing ok the other side of it creating a huge wall while the back of it where he laid for the time being was less snowed in and more like a hole to hide in. He took that to his internal post-it for possible usefulness later. Just in case- he reminded himself.

Twenty feet ahead he narrowly escaped another tumble as he barely could make out the vague shape of some box and few poles that had fallen beside the box. He knew he should be careful of power lines but knowing that there was no power in them made that less important. However he decided to try to keep it on the mental post-it as well.

About twenty yards of land was as empty as the street sans himself. He'd moved along just fine until his light hit something..

His heart did a whole cartwheel session by the time he reached the dark shade and he didn't realize he'd been holding a breath until he almost sagged from both relief and desperation.

It wasn't his boy.

Baby it's cold outside

This evening has been

With a short moment to compose himself enough to keep going Vijay managed to move almost half the block towards the last signal point and at this point he couldn't imagine if he was hallucinating or just dreaming a dream of the comatose.

There just was no fucking way that Mal wasn't anywhere.

He was slowly going crazy in his desperation to find his missing boy. Suddenly he felt strange heat dripping down his cheek and realization hit, he was crying now, behind his ski mask was a small cascade down his face.

He sat straighter up and flashed his light across the street back and forth.

Nothing he could make out now that the snow was falling and flying across his line of vision. Though it was better with the yellow tinted glasses than without. At least it wasn't blowing in his eyes as that would make it ten times worse.

Vijay checked the phone once more to check once more for the spot. While service wasn't there he still got that one last view as he didn't exit the app. He was just here, somewhere right up the street, few feet away. Just barely out of reach…

But he couldn't see anything there…

Like he'd moved from that spot and left this virtual imprint for Vijay to find and then nothing…

While the wind kept roaring and gushing the snow all around him in all these patterns…

I really can't stay

Baby don't hold out

Baby it's cold outside