-?-

A lone figure stumbled through the snow, his shoes packing the snow into solid patches. His breath came in short bursts and created mist. His heart beat quickly, his muscles screaming for a rest. But he couldn't. He had to run away. He had to escape. He had to.

But his body finally said 'no'. The figure fell to his knees, his black jeans stained with water at the knees. He took giant gulps of air; his body feeling like it was circulating acid rather than blood. He spat on the ground, a thin film of what felt like slime still covering the inside of his mouth. The figure tried to stand, but stumble and fell flat on his face, his black hoody providing some protection from the bitter cold. He began to crawl forward, leaving a trail behind him as he felt a chill embrace him all around. He looked behind him with a haunted look on his face, "N-No," he croaked, "s-stay… a-away."

-The Next Day-

"YAY! WE GOT MODERN WARFARE 3!"

"SHUT THE HELL UP IDIOT!"

Two bipedal cats walked out of a Gamestop building, a gray cat holding a little bag and the pink one shouting at the gray one. The gray tomcat pulled out an Xbox game from the little bag and carelessly discarded the bag. He held the game at arm's length into the sky, looking up at it, "Wow, it's beautiful!"

The pink cat shook her head in frustration, "Honestly Leo, I think that you're going to marry the Xbox."

Leo's head whipped around, "You can do that?"

The pink cat looked up at the sky while face-palming, "Oh dear lord, please save me from sinking into insanity while living with this bumbling buffoon."

Leo looked at her, his ears pressed against his skull, "Aeris, why are you so mean to me?"

He gave Aeris a pained look that Aeris suspected to be shoddy. Aeris shook her head, stirring her pink bangs, and gave him a pat on the shoulder. Leo looked at her with a raised eyebrow only to feel a sharp pain in his shoulder, "OWCH! What's that for!"

Aeris held up her right hand that was currently balled up in a fist. She blew on it like a gunslinger that just shot a fresh round and gave her grey friend a smirk, "That, was for being an idiot."

Leo put on a weak smile, "Heh, but you know I can't help it-"

He was about to say more, but he stumbled over a mound of snow and fell flat on his face. Leo supported his body with his elbows and looked around, searching for the source of his downfall, "What…?"

Aeris picked Leo up by the crooks of his elbows and looked at the mound of snow that Leo had tripped over, "Who the Hell would make a log of snow in the middle of the sidewalk?"

Aeris rose her leg up and smacked the heap of snow with all of her force. She expected the pile of snow to blast away in a burst of tiny crystals, but instead she felt something solid resist her leg. Aeris tilted her head slightly and bent her knees, balancing on the tips of her toes, "What do we have here?"

She swept the top layers of snow with a gloved hand and realized that there wasn't only snow in the pile, "Hey Leo, help me clear the snow on this mound!"

Leo didn't really understand the situation, but the urgency in her voice signaled that she wasn't fooling around. The two cats quickly began to brush the snow away with their hands, Leo's game being secure in his jacket's pocket. After a few moments, Leo saw something black, "Aeris, I think I got something!"

The two worked at a faster pace to clear the snow. After a few seconds, Leo and Aeris uncovered a body lying face down on the ground. Leo stared at it in wonder as he stooped down to examine it at a better angle. He noticed that whoever it was had his/her hood down, so he pulled it off.

Underneath the hood revealed a male cat, looking around his 20s, black and white fur in the same pattern as Leo's and Aeris', a black cap with a Yin-Yang symbol on the front, and he was wearing a pair of shades. And strange enough, he was wearing a backpack. Leo slowly reached over and poked the stranger in the face, seeing if he could get a reaction. But he was disappointed to discover that the cat made no moves to cease the constant pestering on his cheek.

Leo stood up and asked Aeris, "Aeris, do you think he's... dead?"

Aeris looked down at the stranger as well and sat on her knees. She rolled the body over rather carelessly and examined him. The pink cat sat still for a few seconds, then slapped the unconscious man across the face, creating a resonating SLAP!

Leo jumped at the sheer volume of the slap and stared at Aeris widely, "Why did you do that! That guy could be-"

But before he could finish his sentence, the man moaned and his fingers twitched, probably an attempt to unconscious motion to rub his now-sore cheek. Aeris waved Leo closer and gave a command, "Leo, lift his right side and hook his arm around your shoulders, I'll do the same on his other side."

Leo nodded and, with Aeris, heaved the man up, and found out that he was lighter than what he had originally anticipated. The two cats dragged the man through the snow and into their apartment.

-?-

-First Person Point of View (PoV)-

I… I am cold…

I feel… the cold…

I feel a flame… what is it?

Pain...?

PAIN!

MAKE IT STOP!

MY HEART!

MY EYES!

DEATH!

-?-

-Third Person PoV-

The stranger woke up, sweat drenching his clothes and his hand clutching his heart. He was gasping and tears streaked his face. The cat realized that he was lying down on a couch in a place he had never seen before. He tried to sit up, but he couldn't feel any strength in his legs so he was forced to roll over and land on the floor with a THUMP.

He felt a shock and his began to feel his legs. However, the feeling came to them in the feeling of pain as blood rushed into the open vessels. The cat squeezed the tears out of his eyes and after a few moments, stood up. He saw his black backpack and picked it up, stumbling into the kitchen, indicated by the white refrigerator. He opened a cabinet and found cans of food into it. After he was done clearing the cabinet, he was about to move unto water bottles, when he heard footsteps coming down the hall.

-With Leo-

Leo walked down the hall to check on a noise that he heard when he felt someone pounce on him and felt a prick on his neck. He pupils dilated as he realized that the prick as a black switchblade pressed against his throat. The stranger straddled Leo's body, the knife not wavering as his shades reflecting Leo's startled face.

The stranger held up his backpack in his free arm, "Look, I only want some food and water and I'll be out of your hair, alright?"

Leo gulped and caused his Adam's apple to bounce, "Alright man, calm down. We saved you life you know!"

The stranger made no visible changes to his posture, "'We'?"

"Yeah, I saved your sorry ass too."

The stranger slowly turned his head down the hall to see Aeris in a purple pair of pajamas with little pink skulls with hearts as the eyes. She was standing in the middle of the hallway and had her arms crossed over her chest, as if the motion could have blocked the stranger from harming her grey friend. The stranger paused, the knife still pressed against Leo's throat. Aeris glared at their guest, "So you have a name?"

The stranger was slightly taken aback from the sudden question in this dire situation. His eyebrows slanted downwards into a slight 'V', "Of course I have a name, it's..."

He looked down at the ground, "It's..."

Then, a sudden flash appeared in his mind and he winced. Jangled memories came back into his mind and bombarded him with thought after thought of memories that he didn't know he had;

"Hi Shades!"

"Hey Shades, check this out!"

"What's up Shades?"

"Let's go Shades!"

"My name is... Shades."

Aeris raised an eyebrow, "A nickname?"

Shades stayed still, "It's all I've ever been called."

Leo coughed slightly a touched the blade that was poised over his throat, "Uh, do you mind, you know, putting that thing away?"

Shades looked at Aeris, "Will there be no fighting?"

Aeris looked from Leo to him, and nodded, seeing no other choice in the matter, and rather enjoyed her friend's safety, "Fine, but don't stab him in the back."

Shades stood up and slid the knife in his pocket, "Agreed."

He let Leo go and the grey cat stood up, leaning against the wall, and panted out between breaths, "Thanks Aeris," and he glared at Shades. "And no thanks to you, asshole."

Shades shrugged, "Fair enough."

"So," Aeris said, pointing at the bag, "What's in the bag?"

Shades dropped the bag unto the ground and lightly kicked it, causing the cans of food to jangle, "I was just…. 'borrowing' some food."

Aeris walked over to the bag and ripped it open, the cans of food spilling out. What seemed like 100s of cans fell onto the ground and rolled all over the floor and Aeris felt a vein pulse on her forehead. Aeris' eyebrow twitched and looked at the black cat who was scanning the room composedly, "You call taking all of our food 'borrowing'!"

Shades eyed the fridge, "Well, I'm certain that I didn't take ALL of your food…"

Aeris clenched a fist, "You SHUT UP!"

Shades' nose merely twitched, "I thought that we agreed on no fighting?"

Aeris clenched a fist, "Well, I want to see how much of a threat you are without your knife."

Shades pulled the knife out of his pocket and walked into the kitchen. He placed the knife onto the counter, its sliver engravings gleaming dully in the kitchen's light, "Very well," he said, turning around. "Let's see how your fists will speak for you."

Author's notes:

Here it is; a remake of the original "Stranger" story. I made it darker because when I first wrote the story, I wasn't thinking much about how Shades' past would affect how he would act. I intend to flush out his character more, not piggy-back off of SwedenSpeedWay's story, and make the chapters longer. The chapters being longer will mean less frequent updates, but hopefully more detail and better storytelling, and I am now beginning to think that it is in fact quality over quantity. Also, I have decided to not remove my original story to show you how well I have improved and see the feedback it got. Please give a review and NO FLAMES.