When human beings are too engrossed in themselves to look out at the outside world, the outside world likes to sneak peeks at the human beings.
Categories: Completed Short Stories Characters:
Angst, Drama, RomanceWarnings:
Sep 25, 2006 Updated:
Sep 25, 2006
1. Window by Lirie Halliwell
Window by Lirie Halliwell
Betaed by the wonderful dragonsangel68 and written for her as well, as a thanks to all her dedicated and educated help.
Through The Window
Where was I when Tom attacked?
No, I wasn’t on the battlefield, fighting side by side with my brothers, my friends, my classmates, and all those faceless wizards that didn’t matter, and Harry. No, I wasn’t in the Hospital Wing, helping Madam Pomfrey with the seemingly endless torrent of wounded, shattered and lost. No, I wasn’t in the Great Hall, helping Professor Sprout to calm all those children down while the Hogwarts grounds were attacked by swarms of black clad beasts. No, I wasn’t at Grimmauld Place with my Mum, and the already wounded and useless Order members, clutching my chest and going mad with worry for every passing moment that we didn’t receive news from the battlegrounds.
I was nowhere where I should have been. I was nowhere I could have helped all those who so urgently needed help. I was nowhere even close to some perilous situation that would’ve excused everything.
I was with him.
Lying on a heavy black cloak on the Astronomy Tower’s floor were two desperately entangled bodies. Between heaving breaths they kissed the salt from each other’s skins. Hands, fingers and nails clung and dug into the other’s flesh; legs entwined with legs; muscles rippled in an attempt to keep no plausible space between them; sweat glistened in the streaming moonlight; husky voices whispered tales of forbidden pleasures and unheeded guilty consciences; and the vibrantly clashing locks of hair spoke volumes of the lovers’ pasts and their ongoing turmoil.
Neither knew what the breaking dawn of the next day would bring. Which of the two would be the one to lose everything in a battle neither initiated, nor participated in. Which would be the one forced into hiding, and a constant sense of paranoid fear of every lingering shadow. Which one would be persecuted relentlessly, and murdered at the hands of the other’s kin. Neither knew whether they’d have a chance to touch each other ever again, and it was the reason they latched on to each other with such despair.
She never particularly felt warmth in his arms. He was a cold person, he bore a cold heart, and spoke in cold language. There was no reason for his caresses to be anything other than demanding and bitter, just as he had been in person. The pressure of his fingers reached all the heinous caverns of her soul that still missed the handsome dark-haired wizard she entrusted with herself all those years ago. No, she didn’t give herself up to him because he resembled that baleful boy. He was a sharper chiseled scar on her unblemished skin, a deeper gaping wound in the middle of her chest, and a redder shade to her virginal blood. He was a source of every single poison she ever craved.
Yes, she felt frostbites at his touch, but he always licked the frost away, leaving scorching trails of heat along her body.
He never felt particularly at peace while holding her in his arms. It was quite the opposite, as a matter of fact. Her presence always made him even more paranoid than the continuous cerebral intrusions of his Master. Every time he laid his eyes on her, he could so vividly see those singed tresses covered in layers of blood and filth, her body blasphemed by greedy hands of rotten hounds sent after him, and her eyes shedding so many tears, while her lips prayed for salvation. He didn’t know why he continued doing this to himself. He could never fully comprehend why he kept coming back to this copious waif, or why his hands seemed to memorize by heart all the freckles and lines on her body, and those spots that made her arch her back pleadingly.
In unguarded moments he loved her.
Together they were mythical, they were primal. Together they were everything they should have never been during these troubled times.
Where was I when my Lord was defeated?
Well, I wasn’t on the battlefield, fighting alongside my social peers against my classmates, their friends and family, or countless others I couldn’t care less about, or Potter for that matter. I wasn’t in the Forbidden Forest, hailing for reinforcement from the giants, and the Dementors, and the dragon squads. I wasn’t raiding and destroying what was left of Hogsmeade like an avaricious swine, eager to get my grabby hands on anything shiny and expensive looking. I wasn’t rescheduling the ambush attack on the Ministry, because everything had spiraled completely and utterly out of control, and was plummeting downwards at the speed of a comet.
I was nowhere where I was expected to be. I was nowhere where I could have aided the lost cause I lost belief in so long ago. I was nowhere near immediate danger, though with the speed and fierceness my muscles were constricting, I knew danger was the least of my problems.
I was with her.
She was the first to see the green flash washing the sky in a blinding warning through the narrow windows from their perch. As fear speared through her, she bit his shoulder and bore him deeper into herself. It wasn’t the need for stimulation, or physical satisfaction that drove her to this, but the simple need to be as close to him as humanly possible. Her heart was raving painfully within her chest, against her eardrums, against his nerves. Pleas and prayers and futile promises were whispered against his skin as she invoked the memories of the ancient Goddesses she trusted from years long ago. Her hand snaked into his hair, the fine white wisps clinging to her skin in sweaty tendrils, and she assaulted his lips, her tongue invading him with brute desperation.
He was the first to see the celebratory red and gold fireworks that crowned the night skies, informing the whole of Britain that the ultimate threat, the evilest of wizards had been eliminated. He was the first to realize exactly who would have to flee in the morning, who would be hunted down like a cur and sent off to wither on a rock without a trial - not that the trial would matter, since he was indeed guilty – and who had lost absolutely everything that night. He didn’t say a word to her, letting her believe whatever she assumed, because it had made her hopeless enough to cling closer to him.
His cold eyes still stared placidly out on the windows, even when the fierce goddess beside him plagued his lips, his skin, and his arousal. A soft sound escaped her lips, something between a sob and a moan, and his eyes drifted shut when he tore his lips away from hers, just to press them hotly into the hollow of her neck. She hissed, and his hips bucked instinctively, silencing her with the easy intrusion, and making her arch pleadingly towards him again. She breathed his name as he slid in deeper, his muscles straining not to crush her with his hunger – holding back, giving in, and holding back again. She wrapped herself completely around him, digging crescent imprints into the sides of his thighs when he dared to inch away. She cried into his shoulder, and he licked her tears off her cheeks, repeatedly apologizing for things that were out of his control.
He growled in the single instant that his mind shirked all its worries and soared high beyond human capacity, sensing everything in him flooding her to the brim, like the Holy Chalice. The continuous motion of their two impossibly entwined bodies, and the thunderous arrival, however, didn’t satisfy his raging hunger, nor quench his burning thirst. Trailing a searing path down her collarbone, around the hard peak, down the luscious expanse of her stomach, he reached the reverent triangle.
She reeked of misery, and her taste was so sweet that it made him dizzy, and vague, almost like he was inebriated, not to mention hopelessly addicted.
When she reached her crest, crying out his name like he was a deity himself, he had toppled off of his own.
Behind the windows, a new day was breaking out, and with it an ending of their union.
Where was I when the last of Death Eaters was captured?
I wasn’t with my family when my mother heard the news, and allowed herself a deep sigh of relief for the first time in years since Voldemort was killed. I wasn’t near the rejoicing wizards and witches, celebrating the truly concluded reign of terror on their lands. I wasn’t in the assault team that had finally captured the renegade Death Eater somewhere in the Wiltshire countryside.
Instead, I was in a small room at the back of my apartment, retching my soul out, while my hormonal system was overwhelmed by the smell of coffee beans being carried up from the small coffee shop downstairs.
Playful rays of sunlight were streaming into the small bathroom of one of Diagon Alley’s apartment complexes, spilling gleefully over the orange curls of one particular figure. She was hunched awkwardly over the toilet bowl, heaving up everything that had passed her lips from the night before. She was shaking, and crying, and utterly powerless against the relentless waves of nausea. On the floor beside her, crumpled and smeared with the first traces of her recurring dinner, laid a newspaper with the bolded headline screaming out of it:
DRACO MALFOY CAPTURED ALIVE
END TO THE LAST FREE DEATH EATER!
Finally her stomach seemed to calm down, and she dared to lean away, sitting back on her haunches. One hand still propped on the toilet rim, she picked up the paper, and gazed at the sneering picture through glacial eyes. Tears rushed onwards again when she saw the moving photograph take notice of its spectator and change the sneer into a pained longing expression. She glanced up, seeing the curve of her bed from the opened door and still seeing him seated right there, tying his shoelaces just before he left. She could still hear him from the night three days ago, when he managed to get past everyone and into her apartment.
“I don’t know when I’ll be able to come again,” he said, propping his foot on the bed and busying himself with the lace, trying to avoid her eyes. “I’m afraid the Ministry dogs suspect something. They’ve tightened security in magical London so much, it's as if it’s Azkaban itself.” He stilled himself at those words; belatedly realizing he had uttered the word both agreed not to bring up. A small sigh drew his attention from his shoe, and to the redhead by his side.
“I don’t think I can do this anymore,” she said evenly, her voice as stark as his heart claimed to be. “It’s killing me.”
He was silent. Staring blankly ahead, he clenched his hands together, his fingers fidgeting as he tried to regain control. It was futile though, and soon he had to bury his face in his hands. He wasn’t crying, but he couldn’t let her see the helplessness in his eyes.
“I know. I’m sorry.”
A sharp intake of air and the loud echoes of a throbbing heart pummeled against her throat.
“But I can’t decide to leave you. I simply can’t.”
Neither could I.
Now, the Ministry officials had made that decision for him.
“I see you’ve read the paper.”
She closed her eyes against the tears, and tried to steady her breaths. He was the last person she wanted to see in this wretched state; or that she wanted to see her in that wretched state.
“You’re highly perceptive, Harry,” she mocked halfheartedly, imitating the intonation she knew by heart.
The jet-haired wizard paused at the door and leaned against the doorframe, hands buried deep in his pockets, taking in the disheveled sight before him. He didn’t miss the subtle sting in her voice, which made him sheepishly cast his eyes downwards for a moment.
“How about a drink?”
“How about you leaving me alone?”
“How about I’ll take you out to dinner?”
“How about you celebrate the event with someone else?”
“How about you get off the floor, then?”
She stopped sneering, recognizing that clandestine tone of his.
“It can’t be good for the baby.”
Her gaze landed on the emerald twinkle in his eyes, and she wasn’t sure whether she wanted to hack his head off or breathe a sigh of relief at the fact that at least someone knew.
Taking her silence as a good sign, he left his perch at the threshold and moved closer, helping her to her feet, and wordlessly leading her into the small kitchen. He sat her at the table, and put on some water to boil on the stove before taking the seat opposite her.
“How far are you?”
She stared at him for a long minute, partly wanting to send him where the sun doesn’t shine, but the temptation to speak of the matter overcame her. “Two months.”
“Can’t stop vomiting. Can’t stand the smell of coffee.”
Harry made a sympathizing face at that. “Bet Muldoon’s doesn’t seem all that appealing to you anymore,” he says, referring to the coffee shop on the ground floor. “Been to a Healer?”
She shook her head, clasping hands together and twirling her fingers wordlessly.
He watched her for the longest moment, before speaking up again. “And you’re sure it’s his?”
A resonating ring shuddered the windowpane, as the sound of her slap reverberated through the room. Her eyes flashed blood red as she watched him crick his jaw back into its rightful position, and eye her.
“’Positive’ it is. So what are you going to do?”
She shrugged. What could she do?
Harry sighed ruefully, absently rubbing his chin. “Whatever you decide, I want you to know you could trust me. I’ve defeated the Darkest of Wizards… one little baby couldn’t be that much of a hassle, right?”
He attempted winking at her, to lift her spirits with the silly joke, but her expression only saddened, and she slumped her head on her arms.
Where was I when the blasted Boy Who Lived was reported in the newspapers to have married the love of my life?
Well, I wasn’t invited to the wedding reception, so I wasn’t there. I wasn’t hexing my way through the human barriers of Ministry officials, with my wand spluttering the most hideous curses I could recall from my father’s vast collection. I wasn’t setting his house of fire, though the desire to spilled through my veins like a burning river. I wasn’t even planning revenge on him. Or her.
I was quivering pathetically in the corner of my lovely Azkaban cell, with my eyes wide, as the unseen horrors flared through my mind.
He was intently watching the sunshine bunny that frittered through the numerous magical wards around the rock of Azkaban and pranced about the floor of his cell in some giddy dance. The Dementors were nowhere near his section of the prison, and it was exactly why he allowed himself the indulgence of peacefully watching the frivolous creature trace its loopy way to the door. He almost cried out for the golden bunny not to go just yet, but something inside of him, some almost forgotten memories of pride and stoicism and sneering veneer, kept him from wording anything of the sort.
Just beside his feet, blissfully abandoned at the moment, laid last week’s newspaper, soiled and tattered, but still, unfortunately, readable:
BOY WHO LIVED IS A BOY WHO LOVED
HARRY POTTER MARRIES HIS HOGWARTS SWEETHEART
There was nothing sweet in the heart of that girl. She was the same poisonous snake all the others had always been. Only she shone crimson instead of emerald. Only she once loved him, and licked him, and held him impossibly close. And cried for him.
He couldn’t blame her. He couldn’t hate her. He continuously tried, but he didn’t succeed.
The sound of bolts unbarring sent him into a frenzy, and he tried scampering further from the door than was possible. He feared it was feeding time again, and the room would be flooded with the putrid presence of his malignant guards. However he was wrong. The face of his visitor only added to the surprise.
The two figures stared at each other for an uncomfortably long stretch of time – one still crouching on the floor in the corner, while the other stood high with a proud posture.
“Now I see why you invested so much time in your appearance, Malfoy,” the black-haired wizard said evenly, his voice laced with traces of jeer. “You look horrible in rags.”
He didn’t have to look down at himself to agree with his former nemesis – prison attire hardly complimented his complexion.
“What are you doing here, Potter?” he sneered, climbing to his feet with the support of the wall behind him. His legs were weak and barely held him, his palms were chafed and calloused from months of futile attempts to dig and scratch his way away from the invisible monsters.
“What do you think?” the bespectacled wonder sneered back. “I came to gloat.”
Harry Potter raised his hand, and for a moment Draco deemed himself blind from the sheen reflecting off of the silver wedding band. But after a moment of strenuous inspection, he saw that it wasn’t the ring Harry was showing him, but a small phial of sable colored potion. The raven-haired wizard took a step forward and extended his hand, offering the blond the potion.
“Poison, Potter? You came to help me rid myself of my pitiful existence?” Draco spit vehemently, glaring daggers at the opposing man. Time did him few favors – he was still pointy and stubby, shorter than Draco himself; he was still blind as a bat, with strong dislike of combs and was apparently still extremely daft. Good to know some things never changed.
“Rid you of your existence? Yes. Poison? Who do you take me for? You?” He seemed thoroughly insulted, and almost disgusted at the notion.
“Then what is it? What are you doing here?”
“Helping out a friend,” he stated simply with a smirk. “And myself. Now, are you willing to trust me, or should I leave you to read?” His eyes momentarily skipped to the soiled newspaper lying at the foot of Draco’s cot.
Draco followed his eyes, only to be stung in the chest. “Leave. Now. Go back to your wife.”
“You were never particularly bright, Malfoy, but I never thought you were this dense.”
“Potter, even if I look weak, I can assure you that the hatred I’m sporting for you at this moment will be more than enough to help me crush your windpipe with my bare hands.”
Harry barked out laughter, shaking his head. “Just take the bloody potion. Before your guards return,” he added seriously, offering the vial to Draco once again. At the sight of still present hesitation, Harry groaned in frustration. “You’re the Potions prodigy! Can’t you see what kind of potion it is?”
Irked that the other wizard was finding him frustrating, Draco grabbed the potion and uncorked it, sniffing the contents suspiciously. A subtle frown line creased his forehead as he examined the potion again, and his stare snapped back to the jet-haired man. “I don’t understand.”
“You wouldn’t,” Harry replied simply, pulling another vial out, this one of a brown muddy shade. “Now, if you will…”
Draco stared in disbelief at The Boy Who Lived twirling a strand of his own hair to indicate Draco’s. Was he implying…? What on earth was going on?
Harry smirked again, walking over and plucking a strand of hair from Draco’s hair, using a bit more force than was necessary.
Where was I when the last Death Eater had allegedly died in his Azkaban cell, and was tossed into the ocean by the heinous guards?
No, I wasn’t weeping over the bitter fate of my past lover, cradling my head, and my telltale belly as anguished tears spilled down my cheeks. I wasn’t rushing to the ocean’s shores in a sentimental, desperate attempt to catch a glimpse of his beloved silver halo before the sea winds whisked him away. I wasn’t regretting every moment spent in his arms, by his side, inside his heart. I was nowhere near the abysmal darkness his death would’ve brought upon me.
I was with him.
It was pouring heavily beyond the thick windowpanes, the rain pounding loudly on the rooftop of the small cozy cottage. Winds howled somewhere above the woods, swaying the treetops to their melancholic power ballad, trying to soothe the wandering minds of those who cared enough to listen. Inside the small cottage, however, it was dry and warm, the crackling fire spilling calming shades onto the walls and the occupants of its living room. All in all, to the naked eye, a peaceful image of a perfectly normal couple was presented.
The woman, with ripening stomach and abundant orange curls spilling down her shoulders, snuggled deeper into the chest of her partner, a bespectacled raven-haired man who was previously engrossed in a thick tome of some magical literature. At the sensation of his wife's unsubtle prod for attention, he slowly closed the book, and put it on the coffee table.
“Yes?” He drawled haughtily, arching an inquiring brow at her. “How may I help you?”
“I have an itch,” she said plainly, coyly batting her lovely lashes.
A smirk tugged at the side of his lips as he scanned the mischievous expression on her face. “An itch? Pray tell, where is this horrid nuisance?”
Her lips curled slowly, and the gleam in her eyes shone brighter. “Let me show you,” she whispered back, her hands pulling his from around her back, and guiding it slowly down her stomach and further south.
He inhaled sharply, withdrawing his hand from her grasp and replacing it on her shoulder, absently picking up the book. “You know the rules, love.”
She huffed begrudgingly, pouting at being so easily shunned away. “But Draco! Goddess only knows how long the Polyjuice will last, and I’m a pregnant woman! I have needs!”
He smirked, repositioning the glasses on the bridge of his nose. “You know the rules, Ginevra. There’ll be no needs satisfied while it is Potter you see. I don’t care how great of a person he is, how close of a friend, or how grateful I am to that four-eyed prat. These hands will get nowhere near you.”
“You are impossible!” she countered, the aforementioned needs sparking raging senses. “And your rules are ridiculous! I am quite aware of whose hands touch me, despite what my eyes say!”
“Love, I’m sure this potion won’t last longer than an hour and then there’ll be as much satisfaction as your body can handle, but until then… suck it up.”
She gasped in outrage. “Don’t tell me to suck it up, you git! I’m bearing a child! Your child! I should be waited on hand and foot! Even if carnal pleasures are what I demand!”
“Please, Gin,” he uttered pleadingly, squeezing his eyes shut. “Your talk of carnal pleasures isn’t helping.”
Huffing indignantly some more, she folded her arms across her chest and moved out of his range. Staring at the opposite wall for a long moment, she apparently decided upon something, and rolled onto her feet, marching into the kitchen. She returned a minute later and proceeded to busy herself with the fireplace.
Frowning at her, he tore his eyes away from the book again and watched her intently. “What are you doing?”
“Calling Harry,” she responded evenly, tossing a handful of Floo powder into the fire. “At least the sight of him will satisfy some of my carnal desires, seeing as you’ve obviously lost all interest in your poor, fat wife!”
A roar resonated around the room and before Ginny knew it, she was lying on her back with the image of an outraged Boy Who Lived hovering above her, bathed in green sheen of the Floo.
“Do you remember what happened last time you tried that line on me?”
She couldn’t hide the furious blush creeping up her neck. She did remember what happened last time, quite vividly, actually. It was the same week her mother had commented on the oddness of her walk, and Ginny had locked herself in the bathroom, trying to decide between laughing her rounded arse off or cursing Draco’s willingness to satiate her hormonal insatiability.
“Well,” she hesitated, her lips curling into a teasing smile. “It worked, didn’t it?”
She watched his glare harden even more, and sensed a rumble rising from his throat. His features began to ripple and fade away - his eyes took over a mercurial gossamer, his jet black hair was washed with silver light and soon enough a completely different man stared down at her. Instead of the oval jovial face of Harry Potter, the more angular and articulately chiseled one of Draco Malfoy stared at her.
“It did,” he agreed, dipping his head and finally giving in to his wife.
After a moment, the familiar voice of one Harry Potter carried from inside the fireplace. “Good God, guys! I don’t want to see this!”
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.