Stray dogs barked, their claws tapping on the sidewalk, stopping slightly to sniff at him who strayed the empty streets like them.

His feet slapped against the rain puddles that gathered in the dents of the concrete. His dark short hair was dampened by the rain that fell, and his slim muscled frame shivered from the biting cold weather, despite him wearing a jacket.

He sniffed, swiping a hand across his nose to wipe away the water drops that settled on the tip of his nose.

He walked aimlessly, no destination in mind.

Cars passed on the road, their headlights piercing through the dark. The passing cars carelessly ran through the puddles on the road, sending the water splashing towards him. He gasped slightly and jumped away, avoiding to become wetter than he already needed to be. He sent the car an agitated look before he continued on with his walk.

As he strolled down the street, he passed buildings with warm, welcoming lights that glowed softly through a few windows that were owned by bustling restaurants. He stopped and gazed through the rain-dotted window, looking through to see people laughing merrily inside, clinking wine glasses and having a relaxing night out.

His stomach growled. He sighed and pushed himself away from the window, not wanting to catch the tempting sight of freshly made food. He didn't get to eat tonight, or today for this matter. He didn't make enough money.

As he continued down the street, he sighed, hands tucked in his pockets. He then perked up as he caught a faint laughter sound off in a certain building. His gaze led him to a warmly lit building on the other side of the road. The building wasn't particularly old, but it wasn't new either.

Seats and tables were set up outside, with potted plants hanging overhead, as well as on the concreted floor. The building had a relaxing, welcoming vibe to it.

He tipped his head in curiosity. And before he knew it, he found himself hurrying across the road. His feet splashed in a few puddles on the way there and he cut across some grass, caking his feet in mud and grass.

He walked up hesitantly to the door of the building and he peeked through the window. There were only a few elderly people seated inside, chatting happily over a cup of tea and a few sandwiches.

"Good evening."

He flinched and looked to his right-hand side to see an old lady.

She had her legs crossed over each other neatly, her wrinkled soft gaze looking up at him. Her greying hair was done up in a delicate, precise bun, and a pale, wrinkled hand held a teacup, sending the boy a wrinkled smile.

"What brings a handsome, young man so far away from the house blocks? Are you lost?" she asked softly.

He shook his head firmly. "No, ma'am," he answered.

She looked at him for a moment, then nodded, gesturing for him to sit down on the chair across from her. He looked at the chair, then back to the woman, then obliged. He brushed back his dampened hair from his forehead and blinked away the lingering raindrops that gathered in his eyelashes. He cleared his throat softly and stared at the woman, his brown eyes slightly narrowed.

They sat in silence, the woman closing her eyes, taking a delicate sip from her cup. She sighed with content then rested her aged, brown eyes on him.

"Then why is it that you are here if you say you are not lost?" the lady asked, putting her whole attention on the boy.

He swallowed, his Adam's apple bobbing as he did the action. "It's nothing you need to worry about," he answered nonchalantly.

The woman's eyes frowned slightly, then she hummed a "Hm" then she let her gaze drift off, watching the raindrops fall. The woman breathed in deeply, her chest rising, then she exhaled, her breath crisp in the cold air.

"It's lovely weather, isn't it?" she murmured, sending the boy a slight glance before turning back to watch the rain.

He quirked an eyebrow. He wouldn't say it was the best weather. In his books, at least.

"If you say so," he murmured and began watching the rain like the woman.

After their small exchange of words, there was a surprisingly comfortable silence between them. But his mind soon wandered back to the main reason why he was out here in the cold. This was a much longer walk than he initially intended it to be.

"So, what's your name?" the woman suddenly asked, snapping him from his thoughts.

He looked at the woman and gave her a tight-lipped smile. "It's Ārepa."

She nodded her head, and said, "Ah, you're a Māori one, I'm assuming?"

Ārepa nodded. "Yes, ma'am. Can't you tell?" he asked in a cheeky manner, addressing his dark skin and features.

She chortled and waved a hand, wrinkled laugh lines appearing on her face. "You can call me Kat then."

He smiled and nodded. She's not so bad.

~

Slowly, their conversations became proper and Ārepa began to warm up to the old woman. Kat had an old radio (which Ārepa pointed out) sitting on the table and they listened to the latest news. They laughed along with a funny podcast that was chattering through the radio, and they hummed along with the songs that played harmoniously with a smooth beat.

Ārepa felt happy. Way happier then he'd admit. He liked Kat. She's such an old, and kind soul.

But, eventually, all good times must come to an end.

Kat sighed. This caught Ārepa's attention. He looked at her and he saw that she was shivering. She ran her hands across her arms in an attempt to warm herself.

"Well then, I best be off," Kat sighed, standing up.

Ārepa tipped his head. "Really?" he asked, a hint of sadness in the tone of his voice.

Kat nodded grimly. "My old body can't take the cold much longer," she chuckled. "Anyway, it's way past my bedtime A minute later and I'll be a cranky old woman in the morning," she laughed, her shoulders shrugging, "no one wants that."

She stood up and grabbed an old cane and used that to help support her weight. She slipped on a puffer jacket and tipped the fur-lined hood over her head.

"See you around, Ārepa," she smiled, her wrinkles deepening as she did so.

He frowned. He was sad to see her go. But nonetheless, he nodded. "Okay, Kat. Have a safe trip home," he replied, waving slightly.

She nodded softly and hobbled away into the rain, her cane tapping on the ground, occasionally splashing in puddles. She carried her radio that was tucked under her arm safely, protecting it from the rain.

Ārepa watched her go until she was out of his sight. He sighed and stood up. There was no reason being here anymore. So it might be best if he headed back home as well before his mum woke up.

But he had to admit, tonight was fun.



End.

(Sorry for any typos)

~KanaNeverSleeps

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