Notes: Previously posted on my ff.net profile under the same name.
Everything mentioned is symbolic for something. The gloves, scarf, sun, change in seaons, everything. The trick is to figure out what they stand for!
Staring at the sun,
Afraid of what you'd find,
If you took a look inside."
-Staring at the Sun by U2
The foot steps were steady. They were loudly crunching dead leaves as they got closer. Closer to Harry's safe haven, his bit of privacy, his sanity. Closer to the weeping willow Harry sat under, hidden by its long sagging branches.
The footsteps stopped. The person was looking at him. Harry felt self-conscious. He flattened his hair. He wished that everyone would leave him alone already! The footsteps led to him. The person sat down. Harry sighed.
"I didn't know that you liked the outdoors, Malfoy," he said with not real hate in his voice. Just general interest. Really.
"You wouldn't know that, would you?"
Harry fell silent. He adjusted his gloves–there were holes in them that let the bitter autumn wind in. Draco fiddled with the end of his scarf, watching Harry from the corner of his eye. The silence was steady, reassuring. Leaves swirled in the wind like little tornadoes. Harry stared at the rays of sunlight that penetrated the trees thick branches.
"Why are you here?" Harry asked softly. Draco didn't answer right away. His hands were still preoccupied with his scarf.
"Why shouldn't I be?" he asked. Harry sighed again. A question for a question.
"You hate me," he said bluntly. Draco's hands paused.
"Not everything is black and white, Potter."
Before Harry could ask Draco what he meant, he was gone.
The weak winter sunlight highlighted the frost that covered everything. The stone, the leaves, the grass, his blonde hair. The sunlight lit it up. Harry could've sworn that it was glowing. He sook his head, cleared his thoughts. His spot next to Draco was open.
"I thought you would leave," Draco said once Harry had sat down.
"Funny, so did I."
They fell silent. Harry adjusted his knit cap. Draco fiddled with his scarf.
"Can we have a truce this year?" Draco asked abruptly. Harry shrugged.
"Sure. I could do with one less enemy this year anyways."
It was Harry who left Draco. He shouldn't have added that last part.
Banks of snow were piled around to make paths for the students. The sun was hidden behind snow clouds. Thick flurries of snow descended on their bare heads.
"Why here?" Draco asked. Harry shrugged, watching the sun duck behind a cloud.
"It was a hidden place when it had leaves," he answered hesitantly.
"And now?" Draco pressed softly. Harry shrugged. He didn't respond. He turned up the collar of his jacket to keep his neck warm. Draco removed his scarf, welcoming the cold shock of air. "Here, Potter."
In his extended hand was the green and silver scarf. Harry accepted it without a word. Draco's warmth and scent still lingered on it.
The horrible thing about melting snow is the wet mess it leaves behind. The sun melts the snow, the snow becomes puddles, the puddles freeze overnight.
Draco was cautions as he walked the grounds. The tree Harry sat under was bare of leaves. Hundreds of huge icicles decorated the branches. The ground they sat on was wet. The Slytherin scarf was boldly displayed outside Harry's jacket. Draco wore the matching gloves.
"Don't they ask questions?" Harry asked.
"Where you go. What happened to the scarf you used to wear all the time."
"No, they don't. They're curious, but they'll never ask me. They'll spread rumors and suspicions about where I go until I hex someone." Harry nodded, but said nothing else. "I ought to ask the same of you. Don't they wonder were you got that scarf?" Harry leaned against the tree, eager for the sun to return.
"They wonder about it, whisper things about me when they think I'm not around, but I've stopped talking to the lot of them." Draco hesitated for a moment, then spoke.
Harry didn't say anything. He stared at his glove. At the hole between his index and middle fingers.
"I think we should go inside," he mumbled.
At the same time they stood. At the same time Harry slipped on the ice and Draco grabbed him to retain his balance. At the same time they fell. Harry had the wind knocked out of him. Draco had fallen on top of him, though he wouldn't lock eyes with the other boy.
"Why won't you look at me? What are you so afraid that I'll see?"
Harry hesitated, happy to see that the sun had returned. He looked into Draco's silver eyes.
"Me... I'm afraid that you'll see me," Harry whispered.
"Would that be so bad?" Draco asked in a strangled voice.
"Yes, it would."
"Because... Because the people who know me die. Because I don't know if I can trust you... Because I don't know if you can't trust me."
Draco continued to stare into his eyes, star-struck. The cold had turned Harry's pale cheeks pink, and his lips rosy. Paired with his hair and eyes, it was a sight that Draco had yet to appreciate.
"I think I can take that chance."