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Chapter 5: and now we're left eternally to burn
prompt 09: fragrant
[you’re going to reap just what you sow]
Word count: 617
The first time they kissed, he told her he liked the way she smelled after a bath. That the spicy, dominant scent of her body lotion went surprisingly well with the undertones of her fruity hair conditioner. It suited her, he thought, the contrast of the fragrances.
She remembered that eleven days after Dumbledore’s funeral. Seventeen days after his death. She didn’t like recalling that day. Her conduct then, a result of suppressed frustration and sheer desperation because of everything that had happened-she was ashamed of it. She should be satisfied, actually, since it did result with Remus finally coming clean about his feelings, but somehow she wasn’t. Stupid of her, really, selfish and immature, but she couldn’t quite help the feeling she had forced his decision. And that was not the way she wanted things to be between them.
So, given the circumstances, it wasn’t very hard for her to refrain from too much jubilation over her again properly functioning morphing abilities and keep her hair tones nice and boring most of the times, in all the proper hues of red and brown and blond even her mother would be proud of. They were supposed to be inconspicuous, at least Mad-Eye said so, and she had learnt long ago his advice was not to be easily disregarded. Or maybe she was becoming just as paranoid as he was. In any case, being at the scene of Dumbledore’s death had put in question her position at the Ministry. Not that she really cared much anymore, the state it was in, but a steady income was definitely a perk she wasn’t all too willing to give up. She was already starting to get the snub, having to do paperwork rather than being sent out in the field. Not to mention the stares and the whisperings every time she walked by. The word spread out fairly quickly-an occupational hazard of having a werewolf for a boyfriend. She didn’t heed those much, she knew there’d come a time when she’ll need to sort out her priorities and there was no doubt what-rather who-came in first. The downside, however, was Remus’ fussiness when he’d found out she’d been degraded at work. That was something she had a little more trouble dealing with. And of course, there was Bellatrix Lestrange, dear Auntie Bella whose own priorities had her very high on the ‘to hack off’ list. It was a lot to deal with but if only she knew, if only she could be completely sure she could count on his unconditional love and support-hell itself would be a walk in the park! She had no reason to doubt him, and yet...
Stepping out of the bathroom, it was no longer an empty room that welcomed her. He was seated on the sofa, browsing through a book she had been reading earlier. There was something in his eyes when he looked up-something present every time he looked at her. Something she liked to think was there only for her. He knew something was wrong. He had a knack for sensing tension, reading moods. But the thing she admired the most about him, was knowing not to nag with overly compassionate questions. He knew she’d confide in him on her own. She always did. Eventually.
Wordlessly, he placed an arm around her shoulders and pulled her towards him. She could feel his cheek brushing the nape of her neck and the tickle of his breath as he inhaled deeply. Burying her face in his shoulder, she settled into his embrace and closed her eyes. Nothing was right with the world. Perhaps it never will be anymore. But for the time being, she could pretend.
just a perfect day
you made me forget myself
I thought I was someone else
Lou Reed – Perfect Day
prompt 10: pieces
[and now I’m left eternally to burn...]
Word count: 511
There was a lingering graveness in her eyes now. He hated it. Hated how it made him hate himself even more. Because it was him who put it there. Not him the lycanthrope (that would have actually made it easier to bear, as morbid as it sounds), but him the man. The man he was so desperately trying to be for as long as he could remember.
She would smile more often now, of course. Laugh as easily as she used to, her eyes alight with that spunky twinkle they once (so long ago, it seemed) held at all times. One had to be rather attuned to her to notice certain subtleties that weren’t there before. Such as how prominent her cheekbones were because she had lost far more weight over the course of the past year than it was healthy. Or how she’d sometimes look at him with something very much like reserve, as if weighing his words and, his chest so uncomfortably tight with remorse and heartache and guilt, he knew she was Tonks the Auror now, hard eyes and constant vigilance, and it would take a breath or two longer than usual for his Dora to emerge again, with one of those falsely bright smiles he imagined meant something along the lines of ‘Sorry Remus, y’know how it is. Once bitten, twice shy.’
No pun intended, of course.
When she’d emerge from the bathroom with a scowl, he knew it was because it took her at least three (or four or five or ten) tries to morph her nose smaller or eyes clearer or hair more acceptable and that it still hadn’t turned out exactly the way she wanted it to. He knew it was his fault when she’d hug him too tightly, arms wound in a vice grip, nails leaving marks on his forearms and neck and shoulder blades, as if she was in constant fear he’ll simply vanish if she didn’t hold on tight enough. And when she’d wake up with a start, groping in near desperation at his side of the bed and appearing as if she’d only managed a proper breath once she’s seen him in the doorway, a scent of freshly made coffee drifting through the room, he’d startle himself with a thought that the werewolf may actually be a better person (or creature or being or whatever) than the man. And it rips and tears at his insides because one should cherish and protect those he loves, not destroy them (but does it count for something that he thought he was protecting her?).
Even so, she still seems to love him just the same, and it amazes him, just as it was amazing he had somehow gained her love in the first place. Underestimating her, just like he always did.
Though, some things, certain aspects of their relationship (little insignificant ones, really, such as trust and understanding and respect), are still broken beyond repair. Much like he himself is. He just never figured he’d be bringing someone else to pieces with him.
all I feel crawls across my skin
breaking through, slowly sinking in
and I can’t find what you’re looking for
nothing’s left, nothing’s left at all, nothing’s left...
Newton Faulkner – Straight Towards the Sun