The Sound of Snow by twiddlekinks
Past Featured StorySummary: Scenic encounters in a silent winter; conversations amidst the snow. A bit of angst for the dgficexchange and acciofirebolt.
Categories: Completed Short Stories Characters: None
Compliant with: None
Era: None
Genres: Angst
Warnings: None
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes Word count: 1929 Read: 5747 Published: Feb 15, 2006 Updated: Feb 16, 2006

1. The Sound of Snow by twiddlekinks

The Sound of Snow by twiddlekinks
Author's Notes:
I actually wrote this for The DG Fic Exchange and for Acciofirebolt. Sadly, I didn't get a fic. In any case, the masterlist of all of the writers was just posted, so now I'm allowed to take credit for my story. It was my first foray into angst, so let me know what you think. :)

For accifirebolt, who asked for "a tone of sort of angsty and dramatic, but in the end, it turns out alright and the element of snow falling and entwining itself into Ginny’s hair." This is my first angsty fic in a while; I kept seeing scenes in flashes, and they always seemed just beyond the proverbial grasp. I think it added to the tone of the story, but would like to hear about reader reactions. Feedback is, as always, quite welcome.
Title: The Sound of Snow
Author: twiddlekinks

Rating: PG to PG13; Not Naughty
Summary: Scenic encounters in a silent winter; conversations amidst the snow.


-*-


Winter. The cold seeped, permeated, invaded. Through vacant rooms and veins. Through stairways and idle thoughts. Through Hogwarts and happiness.

She could feel herself ebbing away on the creeping grasp of dread. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was on the run or on the rise, and school was a constant reminder of the banalities of life. She had to get out. She left the castle, choosing a false sense of freedom while wandering through the grounds. She was freezing, inside and out.

And then she caught a glimpse of him.

He was the Ice Prince, sharp angles with a chill, the King of the Slytherins. He was cold and cruel, ruthless and blue-blooded.

He was beautiful.

He breathed. Just one sigh on a wintry day. A puff of crystallized air cut through the silence. And though she knew that his heart was frozen, her own heart ached, if only from disuse. She felt something stir in her, one tendril of "What if?" snaking through her spine.

She stopped along the path, just hidden, as if by accident. He leaned against a tree, tall and wiry and toned. His dark green scarf blended into his black attire, and for a single second, he looked peaceful.

A branch snapped. Had she moved? No. But his eyes flicked in her direction anyway. The grey orbs widened almost imperceptibly, and she realized she was still staring.

Immediately, the regal features were wiped blank. "Weasley."

It was not what she had expected. Where was the smirk? The cutting remarks? The familial insults? But he looked simply tired.

She nodded. "Malfoy."

It was beginning to snow.


-*-


He came out here often. To be alone. To be one with the world. To get a sense of all and nothing, simultaneously. To feel life and death at the same time, perhaps. To be focused, but distracted.

He knew about the whispers, about the surreptitious glances, about the fear that held girls in thrall and guys in awe. He had money, respect, intellect. And yet, in reality, he had nothing.

Out here, in the cold, he allowed himself one naked peek from behind the mask he always wore. He was bare before the stars. He heard a noise near him.

Reflexively, he looked up. The sense of disclosure did not have time to flee. Dark cloak, small stature, flushed cheeks, wide eyes. Red hair. Freckles. He had not expected company, and certainly not her. How much had she seen?

Why was she still looking?

"Weasley." After one moment of bleakness, his highly-mannered upbringing took control. His voice was neutral. His tone barely ruffled the wintry disquiet.

She nodded. "Malfoy."

There was snow in her hair.


-*-


For a long moment, they said nothing. Then her lips parted. "Malfoy?"

He ran his hand through silken blond hair. "You said that already, Weasley."

Inside, he was mentally shaking his head. He had long since learned that ice was more effective than fire. Coldly ignoring anyone displeasing had proven to be more efficient than quick-tempered ire. In the heat of anger, there existed the possibility of going past the limits, of breaking one's back, of exerting too much effort for too little gain. Ice, by contrast, was refined, cutting, deadly. Cool. No spitfire remarks were necessary. The entire Weasel family consisted of spit and fires.

But this one looked merely calm, maybe slightly amused. "Come here often?"

He was about to retort, when he noticed something. The corner of her mouth was twisted, ever so slightly, but her eyes were solemn. She was looking out at the snow, and it seemed that she was... Desolate? Deserted? Hungry? ...Did it matter? No.

"As a matter of fact, Weasley, I do." Affirmative. Case closed.

"Why?"

He was unprepared for her quick response. He was even more unprepared for his answer. "To be diverted, in order to refocus." It was the least of his reasons and the last of his thoughts.

"Ah." She looked sad.

"What?" he said irritably. "Do you have a better answer to a foolish question?"

"Not really," she replied. A pause. Then, quietly, she said, "I come to feel a taste of life and death out here." She cleared her throat slightly. "Can't have one without the other, you know. It's a bit morbid, really... Living, with inevitable dying."

He was silent. The wind swept by on a double heartbeat. "And what do you know about either of those topics, Weasley?"

"Nothing, perhaps." She looked at him.

The only sound was snow.


-*-


They met the next night, accidentally. And the next night. And the next. They adopted an uneasy alliance. Falling into it, unintentionally and unequivocally. Two warm-blooded creatures in an expanse of winter, barely united by an unspoken agreement. They crept away from the tainted silence of Hogwarts and wandered towards the purity of snow, if only to get away from the underlying tension, the waiting. She wondered, sometimes, whether he knew what would happen in the days ahead. She wondered, sometimes, if he knew what was expected of him. She wondered, sometimes, if she cared.


-*-


Introspection became an art, borne between two of the self-ostracized. She should have been flustered, uncomfortable, anxious. Yet, in the face of disparity, expression persisted. It might have been her fight against the silence, while blending into the calm. He couldn't tell.

"The snow is so beautiful," she sighed. "Like an angel, almost touchable, but sullying it would be unthinkable." Her eyes cut to his, and he saw a flash of ...regret?

He inclined his head. Was it a polite gesture now, or a nod of dismissal? Truth be told, it didn't really matter.


-*-


"The world is dead around us," she told him, later. "It makes me feel quiet. Yet alive, partially. Almost intrusive, but mostly just there. Existing is an excruciating art, out here. Existing in general is an art. Sometimes, I feel like I can exist. And then I wonder: what am I living for? I could just as easily have been a leaf. A tree, a rock, a cloud. Sleeping. Unemotional." She shook her head. "I have too many emotions."

"Perhaps," he said.

A snowflake melted on her cheek, and turned into a tear.


-*-


"You look so cold," she remarked, one day.

He almost cracked a smirk. "And you’re so warm, aren't you?" It would have been nasty, but he played it cool. Almost too cool.

"Some say I am." She offered a quick look. "Warmer than you, anyway."

"Why, Weasley – are you offering to ...warm... me up?" It was weak, and he didn't know why he'd said it. Years of practice, perhaps. A reflex, chatting.

She almost smiled. "Warm you up? Some might think so. It'd be a daunting task, however." She shivered.

He looked her up and down, his expression hardening once more. "You're colder than I am," he said, and walked away.


-*-


The next day, neither spoke of the cold. It was better that way.


-*-


She caught a glimpse of his inner wrist, once. He had reached up for a sprig of ice-immortalized evergreen, and his sleeve had edged down. He handled it casually, with inherent grace, lowering his hand and concentrating on the snowflakes falling as he leaned back against the tree. But she had known. Her eyes were somewhat wide as she regarded him silently. She searched his face, and could find nothing. He turned away.

"There's something that Muggles speak about sometimes," she said, breaking the uneasy tension. "It's known as 'The Call of the Wild.' The very pulse of life in the wilderness haunts humans with the sense of death, of being alone, and it doesn't relinquish its grip easily. It ultimately drives them mad, unless they make a fire to hold the darkness at bay." Her eyes wandered to the branch he had held. "I think the company of other people keeps the sanity, as well. Though, I guess Muggles don't really use wands or know any of the spells for light or fire. But there's an intrinsic grace to it. The warmth of light and life and all that."

He stiffened, then sniffed. "I detest Muggles."

She sighed. "I know."


-*-


"I haven't flown in a while," she said, casually, on one overcast afternoon. The Quidditch games had been suspended. "I miss it."

He shrugged. They were leaning against a mutual tree, laden with barely suspended snow. "It's rather cold, you know."

"I know. That's rather difficult to miss, really."

He shrugged again. "Accio Firebolt!" A broom came swiftly on the wind. She stared at him in surprise. A boy with speed and light in his grasp. It was beautiful. And oddly familiar, somehow. Like a peek into the past, or perhaps the future.

"I didn't know you had that model," she said. It wasn't what she had been thinking.

He shrugged for the third time. "Had to see what Potter's fuss was all about. It comes with a thermally warming fire-fast charm. Fancy that, eh?" And it seemed that his eyes held a vague fondness, before the cold returned. "Well," he said, mounting. "Come on, then."

She looked at him.

"What?"

He gestured vaguely at the space in front of him. She looked at the broom.

"You only have one?"

"We only need one."

"Oh."


-*-


"I've reconsidered," she told him, as they landed. Her cheeks were flushed and her eyes were sparkling. His arms were still around her, holding her steady.

"You’ve reconsidered what, exactly?" And why did he want to know?

"I don’t think you're really cold, after all."

"And that is where your mistake lies, Weasley." He shook his head. "Never underestimate the cold."

She shook her head back at him, eyes slightly laughing, fire slightly teasing. A thousand snowflakes shimmered out of her hair and onto his coat. He looked at them in surprise, then looked at her. She blinked.

And then his lips were on hers, and he was kissing her. Emerging from the cold, just kissing. He could feel the smooth coolness of her freckled nose, just touching the tip of his. Her lips were warm. He had been too cold. His own fire was almost out, and his time was almost over.

When he finally raised his head, he closed his eyes. He could feel her eyes on his face. He could feel her unanswered questions swirling on the wind between them.

"Tomorrow," he said shortly. "I'm leaving tomorrow." Her face fell.

"Well, whenever you want to come back, you can, you know," she said, awkwardly.

He nodded. "I know."

Around them, more snow was falling. But in that whisper of accumulated winter, they could both feel a hint of spring.


-*-


Author's Note:
"A tree. A rock. A cloud." is a short story written by Carson McCullers. You can find a version of it here. A quote from the story:

"Son, do you know how love should be begun?"
The boy sat small and listening and still. Slowly he shook his head. The old man leaned closer and whispered:
"A tree. A rock. A cloud."


-*-

Here's the link to it via DG Fic Exchange:
The Sound of Snow
(http://community.livejournal.com/dgficexchange/3066.html)

Also, I really liked the inspiration of a request. If you've got an idea or if you'd like me to write via your idea, let me know. :)
This story archived at http://www.dracoandginny.com/viewstory.php?sid=4190