Chapter One

Blinding white snow hung loosely on the wet, pine branches. Collecting more and more of the powder descending from the heavens, until the branches grew weary and heaved the melting crystals onto the ground below.

A young boy with chocolate brown hair and, what were usually, bright green eyes (now turned grey by the seasons and a sense of lethargy), closed the glass door behind him, embracing the cold into his open jacket. Fumbling with the zipper that was proving more difficult than the English test he had just escaped from, he turned his body towards the wide courtyard that had led him to his dorm for the past six months in counting. But something new stood out against the snow, something that drew Hale away from his coat. A tall man stood stock still in the middle of the courtyard, ankle deep in snow. His footprints behind him were fading and only his silhouette was visible through the falling powder. Hale quietly moved behind a pine tree and opened his eyes wide in curiosity.

Was this a new teacher? He didn't look official enough to Hale. He carried with him a long, but thin suitcase with a leather strap wrapping all the way around it. And although it was late January, he wore a dark, summer trench coat, his black pants being the only other article of clothing visible beneath that. The man looked around the quadrangle with pale blue eyes. He was thin, that was to be certain, and his hair was dark and matted from the snow.

A cold spell erupted down Hale's spine, reminding him that his jacket was still unzipped. He drew his gaze away from the man and took a step back in the snow, his foot crunching down harder than expected. The sound echoed throughout the courtyard, shaking the icicles suspended high on the ceiling and dropping a few pine needles to the snow. Hale's head darted upward to see if the man had noticed, only to make eye contact. Fear erupted in his eyes. How weird would it be on your first day in a new high school to find some freshmen watching you?

Hale's destination being across the courtyard, there was nothing he could do but wait. The man was still motionless, headed turned towards Hale, whose heart was calming down at the thought that maybe the he couldn't see him.

"Hey."

Hale froze.

The man's voice was quiet, but echoed nicely like the snow had. "I see you back there. You can come out now."

His mind was racing with different options. But Hale was unable to choose one. He reluctantly inched away from the tree, still hiding his face in pine.

He waited for another respond, but at his surprise, the man laughed. He had a nice laugh, "Hey c'mon, I won't bite. I promise."

As Hale fully stepped out, he noticed that the man wasn't nearly as old as he had thought. He was only a few years older that Hale: probably just a senior, a 6'4" senior.

The man looked at Hale for a few seconds, still smiling gently, "What's your name?"

His smile felt warm to Hale, it seemed nice.

"Hassieb."

At the name, the man paused, "That's Chinese."

Hale nodded, his face still expressionless, "Yup. My mom's Chinese. But you can call me Hale. It's easier to say.

"Well okay, I'm Roque." Roque's eyes gleamed blue as ice, a most fitting colour as the two of them stood silently in the snow. "You're going to catch a cold like that you know." Roque said, taking a step closer to Hale and placing a hand on his chest.
Hale made an attempt to step back but felt a cold, brick wall against him.

"Don't worry." Roque said softly, zipping Hale's jacket up, "I won't do anything weird to you." He picked his suitcase up from out of the snow and begun to walk away, "Though you are kinda cute. For a guy."

Hale starred as Roque walked calmly inside the building, leaving Hale alone in the courtyard.