Shades

For Xiani Jovel

Rest in Peace

He doesn't think he's ever seen anything so green.

That was stupid. Green is green.

"Hiya, Cedric," the boy says, and the glossiest of red twitches up into the tiniest of smiles. Cedric smiles back, only dull and a little pink. His robes are black as the binding in his books, and the fabric is soft as flesh beneath Cedric's fingers.

He blushes at the thought, soft salmon that touches from his nose to his ear. "'Lo, Harry," he mumbles to the grass - green, he notes, just ordinary green. "Listen, about the Potter Stinks badges ... " Harry pushes a hand through his hair, and his perfect golden brown (like toast or waffles or the flecks in his eyes) skin disappears into the midnight raven mop. "I asked my mates not to wear them." Every time Harry moves, he leaves tails of color, like little gifts to the faded world around him.

His eyes - green and gold, just like a galleon in the grass -- connect, and Cedric wants to paint a brighter, more shocking color over his own faded blue. But Harry smiles - that red! - and his hand settles on Cedric's shoulder. He shuts his eyes and quietly prays that some of Harry's vivid color will travel down his arm and into Cedric's own skin. "Forget about it, mate," he says, shrugging so low that the tip of his collarbone pokes out from beneath the whitest shirt in school.

He wants to reach out and touch it.

Harry's eyelid closes in a wink. The green is gone, but only for a moment. "Really, Cedric. Don't worry about it."

Cedric has to look away, because Harry's brightness hurts his eyes. "I'm just telling you," he says. "I wanted you to know."

"Thanks." He looks again, and can't look away. Harry's noise is wrinkled and his lips curled upwards into a smile. His hand hasn't left his shoulder yet and a shadow flicks across his eyes. "Thanks a lot."

Cedric smiles, curling his hand around Harry's fingers and prying them from his shoulder. They stand like that for a moment, staring down at their linked selves. Harry's perfect, flawless hand wrapped around Cedric's calloused and pale fingers. Like sand mixing with common, garden-grown dirt.

Then he pulls away and Cedric watches his hand float down, down, deep into his pockets. I leaves a little trail of brightness that joins them -- Cedric's hand to Harry's buried one. "I love you," he wants to say, but all he can manage is, "I'll see you."

Harry smiles, his lips puckering a little and the tiniest corner of his perfect teeth glimmer against the red, the shimmering, shining, glossy, vibrant red. "I'll see you, too," Harry whispers, and winks in a friendly sort of way.

But there's a trail from that, too, bright and beautiful and the color of Harry's eyes.

Green, he notes, pressing his fingers to his lips. Just ordinary green.