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Embrace of the Snow

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“Well, this is awkward...”

“Tell anyone that you saw me here and you are as good as dead Higashikata.”

This was indeed an awkward scene. It was the 21st of November 1999, it was kinda of chilly in the town of Morioh, there was not much up to do, people went up on their lives after the summer incident that had happened, the unheard heroes of Morioh kept attending to school, Koichi tried to study as much as he could, Yukako would keep him close, happy to have her feelings reciprocated. Okuyasu would hang out with Josuke sometimes, he would stay with his father a lot too, he had took a liking to Stray Cat, that plant sure liked water and sunny days. Josuke would go on his life, things were boring, he tried to play and replay his old video games until he found something new that he felt excited on getting his hands on: Pokemon Gold and Silver, those were the continuation to the old Green version he had, and he was more than happy than giving the franchise another play.

He decided to get the game in launch day, he took a train to go to Akihabara and stood on the line of a videogame shop, it felt good to live the true “geek” experience (even if he didn’t considered himself a geek at all, it was new to try new things). After a while in the cold, he ended up stepping inside the enormous place where he wandered drifting in the aisles in between anime DVDs and figurines, he managed to get to the video game part after a couple of minutes.

He stretched his arm to get his cartridge, but someone had his hand on the same sparkling golden cartridge as him, he ended up looking to his right to the one that had dared to defy him to see, surprisingly, a familiar face: Rohan Kishibe.

“Oi, sensei, what are you doing here?” a grin filled his face upon seeing the mangaka.

Recognize that irritating voice, Rohan looked at his left to see Josuke, it was probably the least of things that he was expecting! He had left Morioh and traveled to Akihabara to get a game without being bothered just to find this annoying brat.

“Well, this is awkard...” Josuke said.

“Tell anyone that you saw me and you are as good as dead, Higashikata.” Rohan glared at him, his eyes were filled of anger, he ended up changing directions with his hand and getting a copy of Pokemon Silver not giving Josuke much of his attention.

“I didn’t know you liked Pokemon! I didn’t saw you like the video game type!” Josuke tried to small talk while getting his game. He walked towards the paying exit matching Rohan’s pace. He smiled looking at the game and continued: “I bet we can trade pokemon, I have a link cable for that.”

A groan was heard from Rohan’s mouth, like he wanted to keep this conversation: “I just want to know what the kids like nowadays, nothing else!” he paid for his game as the same time as Josuke.

The teenager pouted, how could this guy be so cold? He was just trying to do some small talk, nothing more, nothing less, and now Rohan was just being… well, himself. He paid for his game too and started walking to the train stop where he would pick his train home.

“So yeah, see you Rohan.” he said not giving the mangaka much attention.

“Where are you going you brat? You will never get home in time.” He gestured Josuke to follow him while he walked to a car park. Josuke grinned a bit, it was nice that Rohan wanted to give him a ride home.

Going back by train would take around four hours, but only two hours and a half by car, he also would save the train ticket, so this was actually really handy for him. Also, the earlier he got home, the earlier he could unpack his game and start playing the game he had wanted for such a long time now.

Both men entered the car, Rohan started it and started driving trying not to make much contact with Josuke but ending up saying:

“I will take the mountain road, it’s the faster way.”

Not that the teen could say much about it, he wasn’t neither the driver or the owner of the car, he ended up agreeing and looking at the back of the game package reading the game description and imagining himself already catching all the creatures he could to make a great team. The radio went on playing some 1999 hits, the trip went well for the first hour, in an awkward silence, but well.

“We are going in a snowy part. I will go slower.” Rohan told seeing signs that announced a snowy road ahead of them. Josuke nodded not caring much, even if the trip took one hour more, it would still be less time than taking the train home.

“So… the game is for research?” Josuke tried to start some small talk with Rohan.

“Not quite.” he made a pause and then kept going “I actually got a special version gameboy color that was handcrafted with some pokemon on the cover, it’s a great piece, but it’s not for me.”

Josuke raised his eyebrow at the last sentence, something this fancy that was not meant for Rohan, something sounded suspicious: “Oh, I see, for a secret admirer~? Or maybe a little kid in your family!” he grinned trying to keep the mood cheerful.

“So only little kids play pokemon uh?” he gave a judgmental look to the teen as he eagerly held his copy. Josuke almost zipped his mouth shut, he now felt a bit embarrassed over his words. Rohan let out a sigh and kept looking at the road almost in a nostalgic way: “The gameboy and the game is for Hayato. I discovered the kid likes it apparently… I want him to have some fun. He always looks like he is down.”

The mood hasn’t any less of tense now… Josuke was aware that Hayato wasn’t okay ever since the Kira event that had took his father away. He was also surprised to know that Rohan had gotten out of his way to do such a nice thing for him. He ended up having a soft smile on his lips and said: “You really are a good guy Rohan.”

The snowflakes fell on the road and Rohan let out an annoyed sound.

“Of course I am Higashikata, I am always a good guy!” he said frowning. “When was I never a ‘good guy’ uh? I literally never did anything wrong in my entire life!”

Josuke bursted laughing at that sentence, he couldn’t believe how this guy was acting. Rohan was probably one of the most selfish, self-centered and annoying people he had met. He took his time to clean his now teary eyes and replied to that sentence:

“I am pretty sure you tried to kill Koichi.” he replied in a playful mood.

“That is in the past! He forgave me Higashikata!” Rohan’s grip tightened around the car wheel as he drove and got more irritated.

“And me?! Remember all the mean things you said about me?!” Josuke kept going. He wanted to play a little game of making the mangaka admit to his past mistakes. What he didn’t know is that the artist was more stubborn than what he had ever imagined.

“Oh yeah sure! Mr. I have burned your house and cheated for sure! You wanna talk about that Higashikata?!” He tilted his head angrily at the teen.

Josuke was now getting annoyed, that matter was so old that he felt spider webs covering it. He groaned and crossed his arms annoyed while facing Rohan, this guy was irritating indeed! He slide his tongue out as in a manner of annoying the driver and replied in a mocking sound:

“I never cheated, and you can’t prove it~!”

That pretty much did it. Rohan glared in fury over that, his house had burned down over that stupid joke, his eyes met Josuke’s eyes and he started angrily blaming Josuke more and more while calling him a cheater and a dishonest person. Josuke wasn’t gonna stay put, he recalled why Rohan pissed him so much and was fast to reply to the insinuations by stating that the mangaka was crazy and clearly delusional for implying that Josuke had cheated at Cee-lo.

What both boys didn’t noticed was that the snowy road was now starting to get covered in ice, in a sharp turn the car wheels slipped and Rohan gasped feeling the car getting out of control.

“Fuck! Turn back to the road!!” Josuke looked in shock as the car went out of the road in direction of a dense forest area.

As must as Rohan tried, the car refused to listen to him and ended up leaving the road. As it went out of its intended way, Josuke was fast to leave his place and shield Rohan by embracing him having his back towards the front glass. The car ended up hitting a couple of trees that did not helped it losing its speed, the erratic movement of the car made it flip into the air and end up falling on its side. It had been a bumpy ride, but at least the car had stopped for now…

“J-Josuke?!” Rohan finally got his breath back and touched the teenager’s arms scared of what might had happened to him, he couldn’t see very well since there wasn’t much light inside the car due to some snow blocking the sunset from piercing inside. He felt a wet sensation on his hand and was scared when no reply came from Josuke.

“Josuke! Talk to me! Are you okay?!” He was starting to panic now.

“R-Rohan…?” he finally replied with a confused voice. He didn’t seemed to be very aware of what had happened. He tried to move but let out a painful groan at the tinniest movement he did. Rohan held him on his place: “Easy! Don’t move!”
A few seconds later, Rohan’s eyes got used to the darkness where he started seeing that the wet sensation on his hand from some second ago was actually blood. He, scared, looked at Josuke’s face seeing that he was dripping some blood: “Josuke! You are bleeding!”

“It hurts to move Rohan...” Josuke said with his head feeling fuzzy from the impact both males had received. Rohan, worriedly, looked around Josuke’s body, his hands touched around him in order to feel what was wrong with the other boy. A painful yelp let out Josuke’s mouth when Rohan’s hand touched his leg. It didn’t look good…

“Your leg isn’t okay… Can I use Heaven’s door on you to see what is wrong with it?” he asked.

“Make it fast, it hurts like a bitch!” Josuke said, he lifted his face to see Rohan’s. He was shocked seeing that the artist had a cut on his forehead from where some blood was dripping. He touched his face while continuing with a pant leaving his lips: “Let me first-”

“No!” ordered Rohan making Josuke stop. “If you heal me, you may feel worse! You aren’t in good shape!” The small stand, Heaven’s Door, opened the teenager’s face like a book, it felt weird, but not as painful as his body was feeling. The mangaka quickly flipped the pages of the book to find written: ‘I have a fracture in my left leg. It hurts to move it.’

He ended up closing the pages on Josuke’s face bringing the boy back to normal. At least he knew that his leg wasn’t broken, but moving would prove to be a hard thing to do… He touched Josuke’s face trying to calm him while adrenaline still rushed on both bodies. “It’s okay… You leg isn’t broken... it’s fractured… You can’t move… Or something worse may happen...” Josuke nodded gulping more concerned about Rohan’s current state than his. “Fine.. I won’t move.” Josuke said, but as his hands quickly touched Rohan’s cheeks: “Just this first.” he focused and Crazy Diamond manifested itself curing the cuts and wounds Rohan had.

“ARGH!” Josuke screamed in pain over his action. Rohan couldn’t believe that this guy had refused to do as he had told him! He glared angrily: “Dammit I told you NOT to move!”

Josuke leaned on Rohan’s body in pain and now starting to shiver because of the cold entering the car from the broken windows. “I’m sorry… you had… a big cut...”

Rohan looked up to the sky from the shattered glass… It was sunset… almost night… they had crashed in a remote mountain area in between the woods… They would have to endure the cold night together… They sure were in a bad situation...