Snow

A/N: This is a story I wrote about a year ago, but I've dug it out again to try to polish it up, so constructive crits are highly appreciated:3

Everyone loves snow, or so I thought. As I watched the children play in the white fluff from under our hollow, Lariat stayed in the corner, shivering. He didn't used to get this cold… I worry about him sometimes, sitting there with three inches of dirt piled over him in an attempt to keep warm. Odd thing for a snow rabbit to do.

"Why don't you go outside?" I asked.

"Mmmfllervemoff." He replied.

"Eh?!"

"It's cold!"

"Oh. Well, why don't you warm up then?"

"Can't you see I'm trying?!" he said indignantly. "I can see that, but it just isn't natural. Plus, it'll mess up your fur." I said. Maybe I'll go try to build a fire or something… except we might suffocate in this rabbit-hole if it uses up all the air. I scratched the black tips of my snow-white ears. Some people said I must have been born to be a painter; my ears always looked so much like white brushes, dipped in black ink. Uncertain of what else to do, I stepped outside the burrow and sat in the snow, watching it disperse into the air like a the color of a teabag into hot water, turning everything white.

"I'm going to see Vellii." I said. Vellii is the apothecary rat. He watches over our warden and sometimes gives advice… though occasionally the rabbits that go to him don't come back. There have been rumors that he sometimes gives his patients the wrong medication; substituting the right one for one that will turn your body to mush. Then he drinks it in through his screwy eye.

"Don't!" Lariat shouts, his voice still shaking, but this time from intensity. From the look in his deep brown eyes, I can tell he's imagining my blood sucked up into the rat's eye. I looked away, hoping that he wouldn't remind me of that again.

"But you're not well. I'm your wife, and I'm going to get you medication, and there's nothing you or all the dirt you've got all over yourself can do about it." I said, and hopped out of our hovel. Vellii's shop was a few trees away from our warren, under a bush. We weren't keen on letting him move any closer. I bounded through the snow and arrived at the entrance to his hovel, peering in at the faint candlelight coming from inside. Vellii used anything and everything he found for his potions: essential oils, pool chemicals, dead snails, live mealworms, moss… he had them all in various oddly-shaped jars around the table he worked at.

"Hello?" I asked.

"Hay-loooo!" He called. I could almost hear him grinning. He didn't get many customers. I just wanted to get Lariat's meds and get out of there.

"I need to buy a warming potion." I said.

"Warming potion?" he repeated, "This ent a fetish store."

"No! No, not that kind of warming potion." I replied, pushing back my whiskers. "It's because Lariat's been unnaturally cold lately… I think he might be sick."

"He's not the only one. I had to buy a sock for me poor, nekkid tail last moon." He showed me a blue and green striped sock he was wearing around his tail.

"Well, that's nice, but have you got anything for him?"

"Who?" he asked, leaning forward with his protruding left eye, which was swollen to the size of a dinnerplate.

"Lariat? You know, my husband?" I asked.

"I hear ye, I hear ye." He muttered, irritated. "I've got just the thing over here."

I followed him, and he pulled what looked like a jar of purple sludge off his shelf, tossing it to me off-hand. "What do I do with this?"

"Make him drink it. You shouldn't have too many problems." he said, "It's delicious stuff." He grinned. I looked at the gloppy purple potion with disdain.

"O-okay." I said, "Thank you." I took a few roots from my pocket to pay him.

"No, I've got another payment in mind today, seeing as that's my best potion you're taking there." He said.

"What is it?" I asked.

"The inky fluff at the end of your ears."

"Umm… is this really necessary? It's my trademark." I said.

"It'll grow back." He said. I deliberated for a moment. Then I nodded my head, and he brought some shears from a rusty nail on the wall. I braced myself, half expecting him to cut off my ears along with it, but he really turned out to be very gentle. With ease, he had lopped of the hair from my ears, put it in a jar, and placed it carefully next to the jarred frog's eyes on the shelf. "Our business is done, and you must be going now." He said, bowing deeply with an unexpected elegance.

"Thank you sir." I played along, and curtsied out the door.
I came back to the house, and found Lariat right where I left him. "Lariat?!" I called, "I've got the medicine!" He didn't answer, and didn't respond when I poked him either. So I opened his mouth and made him drink the potion through his buck teeth. I waited for a moment, then was blown back by a fountain of flames issuing up from his chest and grew to engulf his whole body and begin to melt the icy ceiling. Raindrops (really melted snowdrops, basically same thing) were falling on my head as the flames were quenched by the dripping water. Where Lariat once was looked like a black, rabbit-sized lump of coal. I went to pull him out, tears starting in my eyes, partially for loss of Lariat, and partially for the unnecessary loss of my ears. I considered getting a flamethrower and letting Vellii know what I thought of him with it.

But then Lariat blinked his eyes open and said, "It's much warmer in here with a sunroof." He smiled, and I hugged him.
Lariat looks much different than he used to. His brown eyes and light grey fur have turned into orange eyes with ebony fur. As black attracts light, and heat, he's much warmer these days. Vellii is still getting old and selling potions, but luckily I haven't heard of any "He's dead? I didn't know he was sick"-style deaths lately – at least not caused by Vellii himself. Although, I've heard rumors he's got a son, and he plans to teach him everything he knows...