I think we should investigate, but I don't think it's safe for either of us to go out there alone...
Nathan nodded as he rose from his seat and ran his fingers anxiously through his hair. "I won't be able to sleep no matter what I do, but I especially won't be able to if I don't check this out." He turned to his coworker with a rueful smirk. "But I also think you're right about one thing: we should tell Alton. If it ends up being nothing, great. If it is something..."
"Better safe than sorry," Scott agreed, stretching and yawning one more time. "You wake him up; I'll get our coats."
The two nodded at each other, then crept quietly to their tasks (Avery was still asleep on the couch, after all). Nathan hoped that Alton wouldn't be upset about being woken up at this hour, but just as he reached to tap on his door, the door next to him -- to Lidia's room -- creaked slowly open. With his nerves already on edge, the writer jumped, but breathed a sigh of relief when he saw the angel standing there with the little girl in his arms. "I was just about to wake you," he whispered.
Alton nodded, rocking Lidia gently while she curled up against him. "I heard you two talking. Thought you might be up." He glanced down at the child. "We had a nightmare..."
Nathan smiled gently, watching Lidia sleep... though the mention of nightmare worried him. "Yeah. She's not the only one."
The angel gave him a curious look, then silently went back into the room, tucking Lidia back into bed before he returned, closing the door behind him. "She wouldn't tell me what hers was about," he confided in the writer. "But if you both had one at once, it may not be coincidence."
"Scott and I were about to investigate," Nathan told him with a nod, realizing Alton was thinking along the same lines. "After I woke from my nightmare, your cat became really agitated with something he saw outside. Scott said he didn't sense anything, but we thought we'd better check anyway."
Again, Alton nodded, following him over to the door where Scott waited with all of their coats. While the men prepared to go out into the cold, Adonis hopped down from his window perch and wove between his owner's legs, purring and mewling loudly.
"I know, I know," Alton told his cat, kneeling to scratch him behind the ears. "You stay here and keep a watch on the sleeping for me, okay?"
"Are we all set?" Scott had his hand on the doorknob, ready to investigate, but his brows furrowed as he looked over at Alton. Puzzled, he tapped the corner of his eye. "Where are your glasses?"
Nathan hadn't even noticed, but then it wasn't unusual for him to see the angel without them, and he wasn't surprised much when Alton chuckled quietly.
"I don't actually need them to see, but they help explain my one visual deficiency, at least by human standards." He shrugged. "Achromatopsia."
Scott still stared. "What?"
"You're colorblind?" Nathan asked, eliciting another confused look from his coworker for even knowing what the word was. Much like Alton, he shrugged. "I'm a writer; I gather all sorts of random tidbits of information." He looked over at the angel again, still waiting for an answer to his question. "So you don't see color? At all?"
"Not at all," he confirmed, urging the men to start heading out while he continued to explain. "I see in shades of black, white, and gray, but unlike humans with the condition, my vision is not affected by lighting conditions or otherwise impaired. Few would know that, but when I'm playing human, I like to have my bases covered, just in case I encounter someone who does know how the condition is supposed to work." He led them through the front of the store, since it faced the street, taking out his keys to lock the door behind them. "It rarely causes me problems, though I do have a lot of difficulty distinguishing between similar shades of different hues. Like white and yellow, or black and brown."
Nathan could have asked a million other questions about this, his curiosity piqued, but now that they were outside, they had work to do. It was still snowing, and the ground was already covered to the point that it was nearly impossible to tell where the sidewalk ended and the street began. But the three of them trudged through anyway, heading for the spot most easily visible from the bay window. Scott shivered.
"Didn't think we'd be getting so much snowfall already," he mused. "Weather said it wasn't supposed to hit for another couple of days. We were only supposed to get light flurries tonight."
"Weather can be funny like that," Alton mumbled, seemingly distracted. "And before it gets asked no, I don't think this is unusual, not for this time of year at least. Hmm, I always did love a nice, quiet snow."
Nathan was starting to ease more, now that they were outside and there was really no indication that anything had been out there. Even Alton seemed relaxed. Still, he scanned the area, just in case, looking for anything that might be even the slightest bit out of place.
That's when he spotted the corner of what seemed to be a folded piece of paper, sticking out of the snow. It didn't look like it had been slowly buried; oddly, it seemed more as if someone had stuck it there, pointing straight up, though there were no footprints to be seen around the spot (though they might have already been buried by the snow). For some reason, however, the paper gave Nathan an uneasy feeling in his gut. Like it shouldn't be there.
I know I don't think clearly when I'm tired, and I've already been disoriented by a dream once tonight. It's probably just a piece of paper, but... I don't know. Should I take a look anyway? Maybe I should point it out, let one of the other two see it. It's probably nothing... What should I do?