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"Addy!"

Adeline groaned, digging deeper into her bed. She'd made a soft, pillowy, blanket-and-stuffed animal filled hollow during the night, and she didn't really want to get up. In the morning, before she got in the shower and had a bowl of cereal (preferably something bland that she could add a load of sugar onto), she really didn't care if she was late for school, or church, or whatever she needed to get up for.

"Addy, Jake's here!" Something crashed into her bed, and Adeline peeled open her eyes to see the form of Jackson.

"Tell him to go away," Adeline grumbled, pulling her blanket over her head. Jackson was persistent, however, and eventually Adeline got out of bed. "Leave, now, I'm getting up."

Her younger brother complied, and soon Adeline was alone. She threw an oversized T-shirt on over top of the tanktop and shorts she'd worn to bed, put her hair into a ponytail, and began the search for her glasses. She didn't know where she'd put them down last night; between studying, reading, and daydreaming, she didn't have time to keep track of her glasses.

Eventually finding them wedged between her History and Biology book, she checked them for damages and put them on. Adeline opened the door and jumped. Jake had been standing outside her room the entire time.

"Hello, my fair maiden," he said, performing an exaggerated bow. Adeline rolled her eyes and pushed past him, not wanting to really deal with anyone until she'd had something to eat.

A gasp came from behind her. "There's no school today!" he said. This piqued her interest. She stopped and turned around. "Oh, and I think your mom was making pancakes. Chocolate chip."

Adeline blinked. "When did she learn how to cook? Oh, god, I've got to get down there before she blows us up."

Jake laughed. "You're funny when you're half-asleep," he remarked. "But, I think she was doing fine. Jackson had a few, and he's bouncing off the walls, as usual."

She nodded slowly. "Okay...so, if they are any good, what are we waiting for?"

Her friend grinned, and gestured toward the stairs. "Ladies first!"

Adeline made her way down the stairs, almost tripping over a group of toy cars. The house definitely needed cleaning. It was really too bad nobody felt like cleaning it. She heard Jake following her, muttering something in some sort of foreign language – probably a curse, he'd always loved looking up the meanings of swear words in other languages, just for the fun of it – as he stepped on the batch of toy cars, almost sliding the rest of the steps.

"Mom?"

"Yes, Adeline?" her mother called from the kitchen. She was making something, her mother never took the time to eat breakfast. Adeline shuffled to the kitchen, widening her eyes at the smell of melted chocolate and pancakes.

"Jake wasn't lying."

The woman laughed. "Sit down, Addy. Jake, do you want some?"

"Yep!" Jake said brightly, sitting down at one of the stools that was circling the bar in the middle of the room. Adeline slipped into the seat next to him. It was like when they were little, watching her father cook pancakes, when her parents weren't divorced. She sighed. It did suck that her parents had divorced, but she got to see her dad every other weekend, so it wasn't so bad.

"Addy?" her mother asked. Adeline blinked.

"Yes?"

"Are you okay?" There was a concerned expression on Quiana Parker's face. Adeline nodded her head quickly. The older woman shrugged and turned back to her griddle, flipping a pancake carefully.

"So, Sleeping Beauty...we're going to make a snowman today," Jake said, taking a plate piled with pancakes from her mother. "Thanks!"

"A snowman? Jake, you know I hate winter, and snow, and cold, and-"

"Yes, we know," he said. "But we've made a snowman every year since the first grade, you think we should stop now?"

"Yes!"

Jake laughed. The room lapsed into silence after she was given a stack of pancakes of her own, topped off with whipped cream. She dug in, loving the sweetness of the breakfast. She finished after only a few minutes and sat back, careful not to fall off, watching Jake. Despite his usual spontaneous attitude, he made sure to eat everything in order, taking a bit of his pancake, then a drink of milk. It was kind of weird, but it was Jake.

"Addy, you should go get dressed," Jake said. He was only halfway done. "An' don't forget to find snowpants," he finished, mouth full.

Adeline bounced up the steps, revitalized now that she'd had something sugary to eat. She reappeared a few minutes later in yet another oversized T-shirt and jeans, holding a pair of socks in her hands. She sat back down and pulled the socks on her feet, waiting for her friend to finish up.

After about ten more minutes – Adeline had a suspicion that he ate slowly just to spite her – Jake leaned back, almost falling off the stool, and sighed. "Okay, let's go."

The two suited up in snowpants, jackets, boots, hats, and gloves. They made their way out the door.

Despite not liking any of the components of snowman-building, Adeline found herself enjoying the time with Jake. Worrying about the Shifter thing all the time was taxing, and spending a fun day with her best friend was nice.

Splat!

Of course, she might have to rethink that revelation if he insisted on starting a snowball fight. She wiped the slush out of her face and glared at him, already bending down to scoop some snow between her fingers, rolling it into a ball.

"Perfect snow weather, don'tcha think?" Jake said, grinning. The snowball she threw struck him in the chest, and he left it there, filling his arms with the snow. He charged, causing her to shriek as he dumped the entire load onto her.

"Jake!" she shouted, shaking herself clean. Her best friend was sitting on top of a pile of snow left from the snowplow that had recently made it's way through Maple Street.

"Yes?" he asked, the grin never leaving his face. She scrambled up the mountain and tackled him, sending them both rolling down the mountain, Jake laughing the entire way.

At the bottom of the pile, which seemed more like a mountain – exactly how much snow had they gotten?, they came to a stop, both sunk into the snow. Adeline laid there, panting.

"Jake?"

"Yes, princess?" he asked. She turned her head to look at him. His face was red from contact with the frozen, cold, wet, irritating mess, and he was still grinning. "What is it thou desires?"

"I hate you."

The words hung in the air. After a few moments, both of them burst into laughter. "You up to building that snowman now?" Jake asked, gasping to regain oxygen.

Adeline nodded, sitting up and shaking the snow out of her hair. The cold took her almost immediately, and she began shivering. "Preferably sooner than l-later," she said.

Jake jumped to his feet and helped her up. "Let's get rolling!" he said, immediately getting to work on the bottom. Adeline perched on the snow mountain, watching him work. She didn't feel like doing anything until he needed help.

"Addy! Some help, here?" he asked, running a hand through his hair. It stuck up at odd angles, and Adeline couldn't help but giggle. She jumped down from her perch and began to help him push the snowball to the center of the yard. "It's absolutely monstrous!" Jake yelled, satisfied with the finished product. "To the middle and the head!"

Adeline worked on making the head while Jake pushed a relatively large ball of snow that would be the middle. He had to call her over for help to lift it onto the bottom, and by that time she'd been done with the head for a while. "I'll go in and get a face for it!" Jake said, his brown eyes bright. "Don't kill it."

Adeline sat back in the snow, looking appreciatively at the snowman. As much as she hated snow, the morning had been fun. Maybe they could get some hot chocolate-Was that a bat?

Yes, it was a bat, and it was barreling toward their snowman. Why was a bat flying in the middle of the day? Was it...could it be...

The bat slammed into the middle, and then Casey was laying in a collapsed pile of snow, breathing heavily. He was also shivering, possibly because he still wasn't wearing a coat, just his black, zip-up hoodie, and he had a dark bruise on his jaw. "Adeline, I need help."

Adeline blinked. "What happened?" she asked, staring at him.

"I-well-it...could we possibly go inside?" he asked. Adeline nodded.

"You just killed our snowman!" the indignant shout came from the front door. Jake stood just outside, eyes wide, carrying a mountain of snowman decorations. He looked shocked.

Adeline gritted her teeth. "I forgot about Jake..." she muttered.

"Anybody that's completely human can't really hear this..." Casey pointed out quietly, now standing, brushing the snow off of himself.

"Jake, can you...can you come back tomorrow? I..."

"You're busy," Jake said in a flat tone. "I get it. There's one thing I want to know...is he your boyfriend or something? Because every time you've been 'busy'" he made air quotes with his fingers. "he's been around."

"No!" Adeline said. She looked at Casey, who shifted his gaze to the ground. He looked uncomfortable.

Jake sighed. "I'll see you later, I guess," he said, turning around to go back inside. "I'm going to give these back to your Mom. We won't need them now." When he was halfway through the door, he looked over his shoulder. "It's nice you take friendship so seriously."

Adeline felt a lump start to form in her throat. She wished she wasn't a Shifter, wished it harder than she'd ever wished for anything. "We can go inside now," she said, her voice shaking. Casey bit his lower lip.

"I'm sorry for...I mean...well...I wouldn't have come if it wasn't a life or death situation..." he trailed off.

Adeline took a deep breath. "No, it's fine. I'm a Shifter, he's a human. It was bound to happen sooner or later. Come on." She stood up and began walking to the door. She heard him following her.

She passed Jake leaving in her front hallway, his face a stony mask that she'd never seen him wear before. He normally showed every emotion he was feeling, all the time. He'd told her why, at one point...something about it making him a better actor. She felt a pang of regret at not really listening to him, ever. He'd always been there for her, and she just took him for granted.

After taking off her snow-clothes, she led Casey into the living room. "How did you find my house, anyway?"

Casey bit down on his lip harder. A blush darkened his cheeks. "Google."

Adeline blinked and, after getting over the initial weirdness of the situation, turned to face him. "So, what happened?"

Casey looked at the entrance of the room. "Is it possible that someone could be listening in, or come in?"

Adeline glanced at the open archway that connected the living room to the kitchen. Her mother was still flipping pancakes. Adeline didn't know what she was doing, maybe making sure they had food for the next week, if the size of the pile was anything to go by, but identified her as a possible eavesdropper. "Yeah, we should probably go to my room. I've got a lock on the door. Should I grab some food?" she ask, feeling her stomach rumble. She was quite hungry after the physical activity of that morning, and she desperately wanted some hot chocolate. "I think I will," she decided, not waiting for his input.

She dashed to the kitchen, mixed up some instant hot chocolate and grabbed a few pancakes, and carried the tray back to Casey. "Ready?" she asked. He nodded, staring at the floor. He was weird, she decided. A lot different than Jake.

She led him up to her room. Once they got there, she set the tray on her desk and turned to him, picking up her cup and taking a tentative drink, making sure she didn't burn her tongue. "So, what happened?"

Casey took a deep breath. "I...well..."

Casey James Beyr woke at approximately 10:07 A.M., having heard the prediction of a large storm on the news the night before and not bothering to set his alarm. He drug himself out of bed and, seeing the piles of snow out his window, decided that today was most likely a snow day. He jumped into the shower for a few minutes, threw on jeans and a T-shirt, and headed downstairs, grabbing his black hoodie on the way down.

Everyone else was gone, or, in Mike's case, probably still sleeping. Casey decided that breakfast would probably be useless, so he just grabbed an apple and decided to go for a walk. Being the snow-loving guy that he was, he didn't have the foresight to grab a jacket. As yourself this question...was he just planning to embrace nature, or was he just stupid?

It wasn't that cold out; the sun was out, and climbing over the hills that had been built up during the snowplow's reign over the streets was actually quite enjoyable.

That is, before he spotted Luke's gang around the corner. Casey had the luck to see them before they saw him, and he got a good head start before being noticed. What they were doing in his neighborhood, though, he had no idea.

Once they caught up, young Casey didn't know where to go. So, he did the natural thing and gave up. But, he was scared, so he panicked, Shifted into a bat in front of them, and took off towards Adeline's house.

The End.

Adeline lifted her eyes from the paper. "You write about yourself in third person?"