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October prompts: Snowy day

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Corvo found him in the gardens.

The world was covered in white and the large snowflakes that fell from the clouded sky melted quickly as they landed on Corvo’s hair. He pulled the heavy woolen coat tighter around himself in effort to stave off the cold. It didn’t help much. It was the first snow of the year but the temperature was already close to freezing.

Corvo kept himself half-hidden behind one of the topiaries shaped to resemble a cat. The garden was quiet, the snowfall muting all sounds, save for the occasional chirp of a bird pecking around and looking for food. He watched as his target walked around the stone pathways. The Outsider wasn’t really doing anything suspicious, merely observing the world around him almost with a child-like curiosity. He had been doing that a lot - observing, that is - every since becoming free of the Void. Experiencing life for the first time in millenia. He still had not picked a name for himself, content with the old title until he found something that he deemed suitable.

Currently his attention was caught by the way snow weighed down the branches of some evergreen tree and how white contrasted with green needles. Corvo raised one eyebrow as the Outsider gathered some of the snow in his hands and held it up to his eyes, as if inspecting it for imperfections. He could hear the small, intrigued sound the Outsider made as he finally registered the cold sensation on his skin. Then, much to Corvo’s surprise, he held the snow even closer to his face and his tongue darted out to taste it.

Corvo only snorted at the sight, giving his position away and making the Outsider whirl around to face him. Corvo still couldn’t get used to actually seeing his real eyes, currently wide open in surprise. There was no way for the Outsider to hide now, not when his eyes were so expressive, giving away his every thought.

“What did you expect it to taste like?” Corvo asked as he crossed the distance between them. The Outsider looked down at his hands, where the snow had already almost melted. 

“I’m not sure,” he said after a moment, “I guess I was just curious if it still tastes like water or something else entirely.” 

“It is just frozen water, though. Surely you know about it.”

“I do.” The Outsider shrugged and let the snowmelt drop from his hands, wiping them down at the sides of his coat. “Yet it is still changed. I wanted to see if it tasted different too.”

Corvo took his hands after he dried them. They were red, irritated by the snow and even through his gloves Corvo could feel how cold they were.

“You’re going to freeze your fingers off,” Corvo huffed in fond exasperation even as he took off his gloves and rubbed the Outsider’s chilled hands between his own, trying to warm them up a little. The Outsider just looked down at their joined hands, as if surprised by the tiny spark of warmth the rubbing awoke across his skin.

“I’m afraid I’m unused to this,” the Outsider said with a shrug. “I’ve never actually seen snow, outside of watching it from inside of the Void.”

“You didn’t see snow when you were human?” Corvo gave up on trying to warm up those cold fingers and just pulled his gloves on the Outsider’s hands instead.

“No. I’ve never seen it before, not really. I know it was supposed to be cold, of course, but actually touching it? It’s a little fascinating.” 

“That may be so, but you still will get a frostbite if you don’t wear enough clothes. Come inside. The servants have added more wood to fireplaces.”

“I don’t know.” The Outsider gave him a small smile and undid two buttons of Corvo’s coat before slipping his gloved hands underneath. Corvo was pretty proud of the fact he had not flinched when the chill spread against his skin, even through the barrier of his shirt. “I’m feeling pretty warm right now.”