Hellping

[86 Side Stories] Hot Cocoa

Achoo., in the night so chilly their limbs were freezing, even his sneezing was unexpectedly cute.

“…It’s cold.”

“…”

“Stop complaining, you idiot.”

They spent almost half a year in the same squad. For him, there was no need to respond to the person who always spoke crudely.

Sigh, Raiden had enough of him. He hated this squad leader of his who was also thirteen years old, and could not understand that aloof attitude of his.

For some reason, they were holed up in a hut made of hard concrete. After much difficulty, they managed to peer beyond a double-layered glass window, and there was a scene of snow outside. The endless horizon was dyed a pure white, and the snowflakes fluttered while the stars littered the black velvet of the night.

The light of the new moon and the stars shone upon the endless snowflakes, covering the winter night battlefield a beautiful blue hue.

“It’s cold…why do we have to spend the night here?”

“It’s too cold, and we can’t hurry back to base. Not like we got a choice.”

As he had noted, Raiden was simply complaining, not wanting to listen to reason.

It was still cold. Even though there was a fire lit on the concrete floor, and that they took out spare blankets from the survival kit of the warehouse, it was still freezing. Aside from complaining, there was nothing to do.

But Shinn would not understand. It was because of his direct retorts that Raiden would utter such nonsense.

Hmph Raiden snorted. In that case, he had to find another way to gain warmth.

He poured some water, sugar, and the leftovers in the cocoa can into a pot, some canned milk, brought the mixture to the fire, and stirred it as he let it boil. The pot was a personal belonging in the survival kit, and everything else aside from the water was taken from the warehouse.

As the advanced on the Republic’s battlefield, whilst most of the land was abandoned by its evacuating people, such nutritious food that could be stored for a long time were rare to
find.

He cut bits off the treasured chocolate bar found elsewhere with his bayonet cum knife, and Shinn, looking interested, looked on.

“This is?”

“Hot cocoa…don’t you know how to make this?”

Fact was that it was impossible to find such a thing in the Eighty-Six areas, but could be found within families, before they were deported here.

Shinn showed a look of regret.

“Really…I can’t cook.”

“Can’t cook? I see.”

As to be expected, he’s still a kid. so Raiden thought.

Immature he might be, they were both thirteen year olds, of similar age.

Nevertheless, to Raiden, Shinn was unenthusiastic about cooking, rather than he could not cook.

…I see. I need follow the method, add the ingredients, and stir them carefully. Maybe this isn’t suitable to make hot cocoa.

“So what are you holding?”

“That’s not what the recipe says.”

At that moment, Raiden started to recollect his memories.

“Brats at the dormitory…how nostalgic.”

The time when he hid there along with them, his non blood-related friends whom he ate with.

Every night, they slept together in the cramped space…though annoying, it was satisfying, and the feeling wouldn’t change.

It was unlikely there would be anyone left however.

He scratched his head, took up the pot, poured the contents into the aluminium mug, and handed it to Shinn.

In his hands, were was a mug with steaming hot cocoa, its warmth reaching the palms. He blew aside the white steam, and Shinn too did the same.

…How sweet. The sidelong face as he mumbled looked so immature.

But this guy just doesn’t like sweet things, huh? So he thought as he took a sip of hot cocoa. The hot fluid slid down the throat, into the stomach, and he sighed.

Achoo.. Even the way he sneezed was cute, though it was the second time.

“…It’s still cold.”

Raiden grumbled again, but there was no response this time.

When did this guy…so he thought as he drank another sip of hot cocoa, the silent grumbles blending with the white breath in the darkness

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