Return To Sender @willlowtree
Return To Sender

Winter's eyes opened to see the outline of her ceiling fan in the darkness of her bedroom. A dim, but very white, light peered through her window, and despite being layered under more than a few blankets, it felt strangely cold. Winter reached out and felt… Oh, right. Nothing.

Her hand hit the soft pillow, and for once she hated that feeling. It wasn't a soft and warm feeling, rather an empty and emotionless one. 

She knew why it was empty. And the reason ate at her heart every single day. Not out of guilt, but out of heartache.

She knew why it was empty. And the reason ate at her heart every single day. Not out of guilt, but out of heartache.

It had been almost 2 years since Samus had left for an urgent mission. Apparently, a new strand of the X parasite had been roaming the galaxy, and Samus, being the one who had killed them last, was contracted to kill them again. 

It wasn't that she was scared that Samus was dead or dying. Samus was way too strong to die like that. It was more just… the distance. That feeling of "Oh, right. They're gone". Like when someone dear to you departs for a better place, and you can't help but notice how much you really miss them. 

Winter pulls herself out of bed, putting those grim thoughts to the back of her mind. She pulled aside the blinds to see, shockingly enough, a thin layer of white snow blanketing the ground. More of it was following from the sky as well. Looks like she wasn't going anywhere today. But, she didn't mind. Actually, she liked having an excuse to get stuff done around the house. Live life like it was normal. 

After putting on her bathrobe, she walked to the kitchen, wondering what she was going to do first. Her train of thought, however, was interrupted by the ring of a phone.

Winter usually didn't answer her home phone, but she would often at least look, just to see who it was. Besides, maybe, just maybe, it was who she was hoping it would be.

She glanced at the LED display, and got a surprise. The caller’s number was unknown, but the name was “GF Flagship”. Was it…

Winter grabbed the phone, pressed call, and put it tentatively up to her ear.

“...Hello?”

“Hey there.”The voice on the other end… It was her! 

“Samus?! Is that you?”

“Affirmative, Doc. It’s me.”No one else called her Doc, except for Samus. It really was her. Winter had no idea how to respond, she was stunned into a joyful silence.

“So, uh… How’s everything at home?”

“Empty. Boring. Cold. Literally, it’s actually snowing outside.”“It is?! While I’m on a mission? Oh, come on!”

Samus loved the snow. She always thought it was so pretty, and she never got the chance to see it much.

“I’m surprised you’d want to come back to 20 degree weather after being in the depths of space for so long.”“Hey, if it means being back with you, I’m cool with it.”Winter giggled. “You’re so weird.”“That I am.”

“I’m glad that hasn’t changed about you. That’s one of my favorite things about you.”“...Winter, I’ve got co-workers nearby, don’t make me blush!”

Samus’ urgent whisper only made Winter giggle more.

“So, uh… How’s the mission going? Any updates?”“Actually, yes. And it’s good news.”Winter gasped in joy and surprise. “Really?! What is it?”“The containment procedures took a lot less time than we expected. We’ve captured every specimen in the area, and we’re taking them back to HQ for analysis.”“Does that mean…”“Yep. Mission complete.”“Wait, that means you’re coming home soon, right?!”

“You betcha.”Winter let out a sudden joyful yelp, doing a little dance around her living room. She’s coming home, she’s coming home, she’s coming home!

She flopped down on her couch and heard Samus laughing through the phone.

“You miss me that much, huh?”“It’s been two entire years, you birdbrain! Of course I do!”

“Actually, it’s been a little more than that. Light-years and all that.”“Oh, time conversions be damned. I’m just happy you’re coming home soon.”“Mhm. What day is it on Earth?”“Ummm…” Winter quickly looked at her phone. “October 30th.”“Alright, that means I should be home about… Late December-ish, if we leave within the next few days.”“Holy shit, that’s even better! You’ll be my Christmas present!”“Haha, sure. I’ll grab some gift wrap on the way home.”

“It’ll probably be closer to New Years, but still. It’s the thought that counts.”“Ooh, what do you want for your first meal back on Earth?”

“Honestly, after eating space food for the past two years, I will take anything. Especially if it’s your cooking.”

“Alright then, I won’t disappoint!”“Thanks, Doc. You’re the best.”Winter smiled, and then frowned. “You probably have to get back soon, pack up the ship, right?”

A sigh was exhaled through the receiver. “Yeah. I gotta go. Listen, uh… babe. I uh… Love you, OK? Stay safe, please. I know it’s been tough, but I’ll be back soon. No jokes this time.”Winter nodded. “Of course. Thinking about having you back is how I’ve been getting through the past few months regardless.” 

“Alright… bye.”“Bye… Samus.”

The end button felt suddenly heavy as she pushed it to stop the call. Winter sat on the couch, looking at the picture nearby of the two of them holding hands.

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