When September comes, nothing seems that terribly unusual. At least, not compared with anything else. Once Draco accustoms himself to his mother's shoulders slumping in obeisance, and the constant need to move from place to place, and the thought that he's no longer entirely sure he wants to be exactly like his father, all other considerations--like not making a trip to Diagon Alley at the end of August--seem insignificant.
Halloween passes without much note either, although Draco does have to push back the traitorous thought that it might be nice, drinking pumpkin juice in a warm hall, waiting to go back to the boys' dorms and scare Vincent and Greg with haunting stories. All of those things are for children, though, and Draco isn't one of those any longer. He doesn't dwell on what that makes him instead.
It is the tiniest of things that breaks Draco out of his ability to keep moving forward. One tiny formation of snow, not even really a flake, falling out of the white-washed sky and onto his equally whitened skin. The cold of it feels like being pinched out of a dream, and it's all Draco can do not to gasp at what he sees around him.
They're in another hideout, Severus and he. It's easiest that way, most convenient. They're both running from the same people. At least, he imagines that's what Severus tells the Dark Lord. He's not usually allowed in those meetings. Despite realizing that not being allowed is safer, the thought still feels petulant.
Perhaps he's been outside too long, and that's why Severus comes to him. Perhaps Severus needs something, and coming to Draco is just a way of getting that. Draco barely feels the gloved hand on his arm, nearly covered in a dusting of almost-liquid ice.
"Draco," Severus says.
"The castle-" Draco starts, but he hasn't any idea of how to explain that he can't see the castle from here, that winter isn't winter without its spires, its fireplaces that are three times the size of even the ones at the Manor. He's lost for how to relate that coming up from the dorms to a level where windows have the ability to tell him winter has descended--literally--makes him feel safe, makes him know that things are as they always have been and always will be. All of those words are the words of a child.
Severus touches him again and this time the glove is gone. The heat of his fingers is far, far more painful than the relentless fall of the snow. He says, "The castle," and all of a sudden Draco can see it, covered in snow, standing and pristine and representative of something Draco is only just beginning to understand.
Draco says, "Don't," because it's what he's supposed to say when Severus overrides his mental privacy like that, but he clings to the image, even knowing it's just a memory. Just something he should be able to provide for himself.
Severus ignores his protestations. Draco lets him, tilting his head back, his eyes closed, letting the image wash over him more completely even than the snow.