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Chapter 3: we break, we burn
prompt 05: everytime
[we're like crystal-we break easy]
Word count: 550
He tried to attend an Order meeting every once in a while, usually following a full moon, when the rest of the pack was scattered about and recovering. Seeing the familiar faces was comforting. Seeing her was, well, contradictory. He desired and feared it at the same time.
He’d be early, up in the front, the good boy, the star pupil, almost unnaturally attentive to each word spoken. She’d show up late and linger in the back, close to the door, staring dejectedly ahead. He’d glance her way every once in a while. He never could quite decide whether it made him sad or relieved that he never caught her looking back.
She’d approach him later, tentatively. It would begin as a neutral conversation. But, of course, nothing was ever neutral between them. It would always turn to his mission (pointless and suicidal) or him (obnoxious and stubborn) and his refusal of their nonexistent relationship (stupid because she loves him and he loves her and that should be enough). Sometimes both.
It would never really escalate to a full-fledged fight, though. He thinks they’re both a bit scared of quite literally falling apart at the sound of loud tones and harsh words. He’d try to keep calm but his composure would rapidly fade to irritation as her hissed remarks would continue to interrupt his carefully elaborated explanations. She would grow bolder by the second, her eyes retrieving that spark he loved so much, even in such moments when it was posed against him. He’d consider walking away then. By all means, he should have already learned to avoid such confrontations. But he couldn’t even pretend anymore that he didn’t humour her just to see her eyes alight with passion again. Even if it left both of them shattered and more damaged than ever.
She would decide, instead, when it was enough and leave, back straight and head high; leave him struggling for breath, as if he was the one being rejected, not the other way around. Though, in a way, he was. Ultimately, he was rejecting himself. He never voiced it, though. Noble Remus, he knew she’d jeer to that, face twisted in a sneer, desperate not to lose her patience with him and failing every time. No self-pity, entirely self-hate.
Sometimes, he wondered if she knew how much he wanted to reach out to her then, grab her hand and ask her to stay, to hold on to her and never let her go. He wondered if she knew how hard it was for him not to.
He stood to leave, resolved to be the one with the final word this time. She had slipped into the argumentative mode earlier than usual and managed to keep her voice steady even though her gaze, stubbornly fixed upon a spot about a foot over his left shoulder, indicated she was holding back tears. His hand had accidentally brushed hers and she grasped his fingers loosely, timidly. He held the contact. Foolish, he would berate himself later. Thoughtless. Unnecessary. Lupin, you pathetic, sentimental fool.
“All you have to do is ask,” she whispered, the tone of her voice a tender caress to his ear. “You know that, Remus.”
And then she was gone, left him speechless, breathless, like she did every time.
I don't know what to say, you don't care anyway
I'm a man in a rage with a girl I betrayed
here comes love - it's like honey, you can't buy it with money
you're not alone anymore
you shock me to the core, you shock me to the core
New Order - Crystal
prompt 06: faultiness
[...and you know that we're doomed]
Word count: 562
“I do hate it when you smoke.”
She doesn’t even budge at his remark and lights a cigarette with the tip of her wand.
“I hate many things myself,” she exhales slowly and the smoke twirls and spirals towards the ceiling. She gazes at it somewhat mesmerized, marvelling at the curious beauty of it.
They’ve managed keeping a rather pleasant interaction tonight, surprisingly. Whether it was a silent agreement to avoid Molly Weasley fussing over them or something else, she couldn’t quite tell. An improvement, in any case, since she had (she was quite proud of herself, actually) made it a point to ignore his presence nearly as much as he did hers. Kind of a reverse psychology sort of thing. He had his pattern: each of his words strategically designed to hurt her, in hope of driving her away. So maybe, if she acted the same, he’d see what it was like and... No, that was just the sort of thing he’d be pleased about, the stupid, self-sacrificing git.
He shifts in his chair and raises the newspaper higher so that it obscures most of his face. It’s ridiculously tight-set, she thinks, a hard, unfeeling mask he forced it into. She half-expects to see skin cracking along his jaw line from the sheer rigidity of it.
“Well, then?” she mutters distractedly, finally tearing her eyes away from his profile.
“You’re just dying to lecture me on how ugly a habit smoking is,” meeting his eyes, for the first time in months, still has that knee-wobbling effect it used to. She looks away nervously, hoping he didn’t notice. Stupid of her, actually-he notices everything.
He lowers the paper carefully before responding. “You smoke for the wrong reasons.”
She raises her eyebrows in question.
“In fact, a cigarette every once in a while doesn’t even qualify you as an actual smoker,” he starts to elaborate. “Wizards usually prefer pipes so you feel very sophisticated when you light one of these over a cup of coffee up in the office. Or, currently, here in Arthur’s den, with all of these Muggle gimcracks and mismatched furniture, it’s an extremely bohemian thing to do. It’s pretentious, actually. It doesn’t suit you.”
She stares at him for a moment before taking another drag. If he hates her smoking, she hates it when he tries to analyze her. An annoying habit of his she used to find endearing.
“Wow, Remus, you’ve totally missed your profession,” she comments dryly. If she lets him go on, he’d probably deduce fairly quickly she’d lit this one just to get a reaction out of him. “There are people who’d actually pay for hearing crap like this.”
The rigid mask of his face softens into something akin to sadness. She mistakes it for pity and looks away, cursing the damned smoke for making her eyes water. Her throat tightens and she despises herself for not being able to help it. The rustling to her left tells her he had dived back behind his paper and that it’s safe to move her head again.
“Well, nobody’s perfect,” she mutters eventually. “You deliver god-awful psychoanalytical speeches and I smoke without a proper excuse.” She stubs the cigarette out a little too aggressively, and stands up to leave, both of them knowing this particular fault now finally had a good enough reason behind it.
I'll make the most of all the sadness
you'll be a bitch because you can
you try to hit me just to hurt me
so you leave me feeling dirty
'cause you can't understand
John Mayer - Slow Dancing in a Burning Room