Cold. Empty. Alone. Its all he felt.

Samuel hadn't eaten much in days. He had a little bit to eat, a few things to find here and there, but with the feasts in front of him, he couldn't bear to fill his stomach.

"Love feels like this, doesn't it?" he thought to himself. "The pain of being lost, the silent screams inside to wish you understand... I hate it, but I can't do anything about it."

The cold northern wind didn't help him much. Freezing on the outside, freezing on the inside. He wished and prayed to be warm again, but it was no use. The winter parka he wore did nothing to shield him from the icy breeze, and his lonely thoughts didn't do much to avert his heavy heart. Winter had come early for Samuel, in more ways than one.

He looked up at the mountaintops, and saw nothing but snow atop them. He sighed, rubbing his gloved hands together for warmth. It was going to snow in a few weeks, maybe a few days, and he wasn't ready for it. A daily life amongst the cold... it was all he knew last winter, and he fears its all he will know this loneliness as well. Foot after foot of snow, and day after day of solitude.

Things had changed far too quickly for him the last week. What he thought he knew had been turned upside down, crashing atop him and breaking his faithful spirit. His ties to Laura were all but severed, and it was both his and fate's fault. Samuel blinked softly, a chilling tear flowing down his cheek.

"I wish you were still here," he mentally and physically whispered. "I miss you so much." Like all times these last few days, his pleas were heard on deaf ears. His last talk to her was one that he questioned about himself the next day, its content not only making him concerned about himself, but her as well. That bond that they had, neither her nor him could identify as something they thought they knew of, an interwoven mess of broken and stitched spatial and romantic connections.

He gazed at his hand, closing his eyes. Clutched within his fingertips was the necklace he wore for her, a silver pendant, one that felt cold both emotionally and spiritually. He hadn't worn it in days, his hands removing it the day their connection became almost severed. It glittered in the clouded sunlight as it turned to the motions of his hand, silver sparkles caressing its etched runic edges; he felt another tear fall, a little quicker than its predecessor.

"This is what I have left of hope, Laura. This is what I wish you could hold, no matter where you are, to know that I still care as distant and quiet as you are." There was a quiet, solemn sigh slowly escaping his lungs, barely able to pass over his lips. Samuel was nearly broken, the hurt within his mind and the memories of her barely holding him together. "I miss you so much..."

"Samuel..." His eyes closed gently, though his heart skipped a beat.

"I didn't mean to hurt you... I just don't understand myself anymore... I wish you could forgive me and understand me..." The voice had a texture to that of a silent sigh, and flowed like fog in the winter air.

"Things are changing Samuel... I miss you just as much, but I don't know if I feel the same..."

Somehow, he couldn't help but nod and keep silent. As dearly as he desired to hear her voice, it made his heart sink deeper, his mind clearer yet more chaotic.

"Please understand... I don't want to hurt you. I never did, and its what I fear I keep doing to you... you love me so much, and I don't know what to do now that my heart has returned to where it once was..."

He tried to speak, but all his breath was lost from the sigh he made moments ago. Lungs were filled, but words could not be spoken.

"I cannot ask for nothing but time, Samuel. I can't find anything to give you aside from the truth that I want to be there with you, to comfort you through these dark times and help you find hope once again."

Air found its way to his lips, and almost as softly, he spoke back. "I understand, Laura... I'm sorry..."

Moments he waited, seconds turning into minutes, minutes turning into hours. The only things he heard after that were whispers in the wind, autumn's breeze gliding amongst golden and crimson trees.

Winter had came far too early for Samuel. The leaves had only begun to fall, yet deep within, winter's icy grasp held onto his heart.