Author's note: I imagine this would be considered AU. I'm taking a few liberties, but it's set mostly in showverse. These chapters will be short, generally no more than 1k, and this story will be told out of order. Hopefully, it all makes sense in the end. Story title comes from the Emily Dickinson poem.
If you recognize it, it's not mine.
The boy across the street and to the left sits in the snow, his dark, unruly hair a stark contrast to the bright white powder and grey of the sky. The other little boy, the one across the street and to the right, watches him, eyes squinted and gleaming with curiosity. Boy Number One just sits and reads, reads, reads, until Boy Number Two thinks the dark-haired kid's backside must be frozen.
New people don't move in often, and Boy Number One is replacing the little old lady who had lived across the street and to the left as long as Boy Number Two can remember. His mom had said something like "she passed away" and Boy Number Two wonders where "away" is and why the lady has passed it.
Boy Number Two has never been shy, so he's not afraid of going to talk to Boy Number One, but there's something about watching someone unnoticed, seeing how a person acts when they don't know they're being watched that is thrilling. Something telling. Boy Number Two now knows, just from watching, that Boy Number One will be a good friend.
Finally, he goes across the street, to the left.
Boy Number One notices a shadow after several moments of Boy Number Two standing over him. He looks up, eyes squinting to make out Boy Number Two's face. Boy Number One says nothing.
"How old are you?" Boy Number Two asks.
"Eight," Boy Number One answers, the pupils of his eyes dilating and swallowing the color of his iris. He looks afraid, unsure, skittish.
"I'm seven and three-quarters," Boy Number Two replies, squatting down. "We're the same age." He smiles.
Boy Number One wants to smile, it's obvious, but still, he doesn't.
"Whatcha reading?" Boy Number Two asks.
Holding up the book, Boy Number One says, "James and the Giant Peach."
"Hey," Boy Number Two says, "one of my best friends is named James. Are you in second grade?"
"Yeah," Boy One answers.
"Where are you from?" Boy Number Two scoots even closer, so close he can smell the other boy's clean, snow scent.
"Texas," he answers.
"Wow. I bet you're cold here in Minnesota."
"I like it," Boy Number One says, and finally, he smiles—a hopeful, frail thing.
Boy Number Two likes to the way Boy Number One grins. His teeth are pearly white against his rosy mouth, and they aren't too big like so many other kid's teeth seem to be.
"You wanna play tag?" Boy Number Two stands and offers Boy One his hand. He takes it and nods.
"You can call me Logan," Boy Number One says.
"I'm Kendall," says Boy Two.
And they play until their fingers are numb, their voices gone, the sun hides behind the far off mountains.