The boy shoved his hands in his pockets -- the first, but by no means the last time I saw that habitual motion -- gazed blankly about the shining wilderness with the snow swirled into occasional whirlwhinds by the biting breeze, and whistled softly.

"I don't s'pose you know your way back?"

I shook my head mutely, already shivering -- my face was colder than the rest of me as the damp paths of tears froze on my cheek, but somehow it was easier to face this perishingly bright morning -- this first morning that dawned on me, fatherless -- with the lanky, half-irritating and half-comforting boy beside me, a boy who seemed not in the least put out by my response.

"I wasn't paying attention when I...I'm not very good at directions," I offered in frail excuse. Visions, dim memories of the mad flight, snow pulling at my legs, brambles slapping my face -- vainly I tried to recall where I had turned from what must have been a more or less straight path away from the dormitories, but I could not even have guessed in which direction the building lay. Percy nodded, pursed his lips speculatively, and then shrugged.