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Warmth by julian steerpike
Warmth by julian steerpike
A break from June; an early merry Christmas to all fellow D/Gers. :)


When it is over, you hold onto the photograph, still because it is of an old Muggle camera, without colour and only with light.

There is something mobile within the static of the pose, though, and you can see just where the light kisses the cheekbones and the grey-toned eyes, the pale curved lip. In that moment, there cannot be anything more beautiful than she is, you think and had thought, in the haze that war leaves one in, more grey than red, really. The colours have slowly started to come back, but the sounds still reverberate within the caches of memory, dragged through you mind, through the inks and sepia of perception and thought, until the edges are dulled and you can live with them, without screaming.

When there is no warmth, you get up finally and go about the business of your tattered fortune, pulling together the falling vestiges of your world, for comfort and for the balm of the strange dynastic sense you are slowly acquiring in the wake of no warmth. Something always has to fill in the vacuum, and you ignore it slowly, letting it be filled.

And everything comes full circle eventually, just like your thoughts and your intentions and your memories, when you see her again.

Looking up at you, she is surprised, her eyes wide and her hair straight and long about her. You remember a younger girl, clad in pajamas, down the stairs and up again, quiet save for that expression.

The flush of your own cheeks, the embarrassment, reminds you acutely of how you had felt then.

‘Ginny,’ you speak, your mouth dry, ‘how are you?’

Hating yourself violently and coldly, that you should have to ask the question.

‘Fine, thanks,’ she says, slowly, tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear, a painfully childish action, or perhaps because you remember her like that.

‘I’m…’ you start to say, but stop, because just then he comes up from behind her.

‘Ginny, Lane’s just about ready now…’ he begins, the rest of the words lost as he whispers something into her ear, and then he shifts slightly, and sees you from about the corner, in the dimmer light.

And she shakes her head, laughing, and suddenly you think you almost see that point in time again, that memory, and the light kisses her cheekbones and the eyes and the pale lip perfectly, only real and in colour, and you almost forget to breathe, and then she looks up to him, properly, him with his grey eyes and light hair, and everything is swept away.

And suddenly you face the present, with its lack of remembering, now, because it is over, and even with none of her warmth, reality and something shattered bring with them their own kind of warm, quiet sadness. And when she smiles at him you know it is really different, not what your photograph of her gives you, and you know that finally you must let yourself go, for she left a long time ago.

And you don’t wait for them to answer, turning away.

As you leave, you feel the photograph cold in your jacket; you take it out. Children sing carols nearby; you finally hear their voices, and not sounds, edges torn and tattered.

You look at it, for the last time. The static of the pose suddenly untruthful. And then, taking a breath, the cold air rushing into your lungs, something breaks as you let go of it, letting it fly and tumble into the wind, and you feel something humanly and necessarily warm within you, in all its grief and its hope for her.

And when you turn back again, she is waving at you, waving goodbye, and you smile, even as one hand pushes your messy black hair back.

Wanting her to remember you like this, and let the image stay warm in her heart.

This story archived at http://www.dracoandginny.com/viewstory.php?sid=3986