A big thanks to Kalina (Elesphyl) for her prompt!! I would never have thought of writing this otherwise! Thanks love!!
Aphrodite Rising taste the honey of fallen night
Night falls with a breath and a sigh. Misery drops her cloak and she entertains thoughts of leaving.
There was a life once, and it was hers. A life filled with power and glory, in which she was a goddess, beautiful and strong. In this world, time shifts. In the darkness, it’s easy to imagine she is somewhere else, is someone else. In the darkness, she watches the wilderness grow from behind her shroud. She sees the end of the moon, which becomes an eye, searching for her and in her. There is no escape for the fate he has wrought for her.
The kaleidoscope begins. Her door swings and she smiles and pretends. She is exotic and ethereal – her skin shines, luminous as the moon, pinned against the indigo backdrop that is her hair. She is small in stature, her limbs languid, and her lips crimson. She is popular. They don’t seem to notice her eyes; cut glass, they are dull and lifeless.
It was never meant to be this way. She was meant to rule the world. When it all fell apart, when she left her old life by choice, she could never have predicted what lay in wait. How could she know he would beat her down? How could she know he would stomp on the flame that was her and twist her in ways she would never recover from? If anyone had of told her, she would have laughed at them. People like him did not behave like that, especially not towards people like her. She and he were the same, once. Peas in a pod. Fresh and new and filled with ideals.
Sometimes, it felt like she had fallen from the face of the earth; fallen into a palace of dreams, to be forgotten and extinguished. Pain tastes like the dead of night. The malice rotting in her heart made her less than human and she waits patiently for the day it will consume her.
Leaving her mother and all that she knew, had been easier than she had imagined. With her trunk floating behind her, she simply walked out the front door and into his arms. As disillusioned as she had been, she had still believed he would take care of her. He was supposed to be her protector, the one to take her away from it all, the one to help her build a new self.
He was never supposed to sell her, to use her and smile as she drowned.
His malice pulls her strings and she walks with her hands bound, with her feet bound, until she is bleeding from the thorns. She walks until her screams echo in the silence of her own imprisoned mind.
Light casts shadows, and she does not want anyone to see the shadows drawn on her soul. She is marked. She doesn’t want them to see the wounds that lay deep, festering and bleeding. There is no balm, no spell, no magic in the world that can soothe the torment and the hatred that rises inside her every time her eyes open.
But aren’t they cast in shadow themselves, to be here, with her, in this house of sin?
Relief rises with the dawn. It blossoms and helps her paint her face with cheer, but only for a moment. There are places she wishes to visit in the daylight – places from her childhood that may inspire her to pull herself out of the pit she exists in and move forward. The one time she had asked it of him, he had hit her and sneered.
“The world doesn’t want to be stained with your filth, Pansy. Now go and make yourself pretty,” he’d hissed, pushing her so hard that she stumbled and fell. She had torn her stocking and her hair had fallen from its careful creation.
Had the past been one reality then? Something lost that would never be recovered? She didn’t know. Part of her hoped so, because how could someone like her return to what she used to know? Absolute hatred boils in the wind, and she dances to his tune of temptation. His voice calls from the grave and she rises with the darkness to sing a song for him once more.
There is no other way to exist. Not now.
At night, the stars exist to haunt her, to mock her and she always turns her face away from the window. Even through the dust on the glass, their brilliance is too much – it hurts her eyes and disturbs that little slice of hope she keeps stored in the hidden places of her heart. Hope resurrected was a bad hope – it laughs when it watches her take off her clothes and lay herself bare for them.
She hates hope – she hated it in the beginning and so she hates it once more. Now, it has claws and it drags her kicking and screaming for one instant into the light. Her skin burns with memory. Faces press behind her eyes. Names recalled trigger moments of remembrance in her brain. Synapses fire and then die. There is no hope. Inside the iron chest of her heart lies a charred ruin of regret; an effigy of forgotten dreams. She is riding the wave on a runaway train.
Prayer is wasted, and so she does not do what she so wishes and pray for someone to save her. Why would anyone wade through her personal hell? He told her she was worthless. Maybe that was why she had not fought him yet, this phantom of dark longing and imagined desires. Maybe that was why no one had come to save her. She hears his wicked whisper in her ear, “I’m here to watch you fall.”
Through the dust and decay of another day a man has come to her. His eyes are downcast and she can tell through her experience that he does not really wish to be where he is. He is tall, with broad shoulders and he stands in the shadowed light outside her room. A slice of the dark moves when he moves and she knows that here is someone as tarnished with regret as she is.
The light in the hall blinks out and she hears him sigh. Reaching forward, she finds his hand in the darkness and pulls him inside. His skin is soft and she wonders what his hands will do to her. She vows to sigh and pretend, like always. She knew what happened to girls whose patrons complained, and no matter how low she had sunk, there were lower places. Humanity’s basest desires were bred on the street.
Her room is bathed in red – it is dark, the colour of blood. She likes it that way. She notices a shiver pass through him and her eyes lift to his face. Red hair. Freckles. A name flashes into her brain. Weasley.
“So which one are you?” she asks, her voice low. It did not really matter – he was her companion on this stage for the moment, sharing this spotlight of misery with her. He looks at her then, his skin drained of colour. Perhaps, like her, he did not wish to be recognised. He does not answer immediately, and when he does, it is not what she expected.
“I know you.”
She shakes her head, her heart beating double-time in her chest. He peers at her, studies her and her blood is hot in her veins.
“I do. I know you.” There is disgust in his voice – he cannot hide it and for a moment, she is angry. What right does he have to judge her? Isn’t he here, in this convent of hell with her?
“You can always leave,” she says, motioning towards the door. Something nasty stirs in her; it has teeth and gnashes its way out. “Does your girlfriend know where you are? Does your mother?”
“Does yours?” he shoots back. “You were listed as a missing person, did you know that?”
Her heart accelerates, grows wings and attempts to fly from her chest. She didn’t think her mother cared. Sorrow for what she has lost comes to life again and she sinks down onto the edge of the musty, unmade bed. Once, she had a room filled with lavish furniture – four-poster bed, gilded mirror, and a closet laden with beautiful gowns. She wonders briefly if things are still as they were.
He sighs and sits beside her – not close, but not far enough away to make her feel unwanted. She starts the show automatically, reaching up to undo the buttons on her shirt. Her fingers brush fabric that feels like sandpaper, like barbs. A desert has suddenly sprung up in her mouth and she trembles.
One of those soft hands covers hers and draws it away, stopping her. Rejection slaps her, hard and cold and suddenly, she wishes she remembered how to cry. He says nothing, and the silence deepens as she refrains from speech.
She wants suddenly to apologise, but she knows it will mean nothing. They were on different sides, she and he, even though she did not lift her wand to fight. A hot spurt of disappointment floods her– she was always non-combatant.
“What brought you here, to this place?” he asks.
“Do you really care?” She cannot help but sound snide. He shrugs.
“Not really.” An epitaph to the truth. She is not surprised.
The night grows older in the space outside her room and the silence between them is filled with questions neither of them wish to speak, or answer.
“Have you ever done things ...” she begins, sucking air into her lungs. It is dry and tastes like something dead, but she continues to breathe deep. “That you regret?”
He laughs, softly and bitterly, and for a moment she thinks he is laughing at her. “I regret every day. I regret that I am here and he is not.”
She waits a while before speaking. “It’s not your fault he died.”
“No,” he says, and his eyes flash to her face, filled with anger. “It’s yours.”
He shakes his head. “Not you specifically, but people like you, or, like you were.”
“And what was I?” Her voice is a whisper filled with such profound sadness that it surprises even her. Save me, she screams in her head, hoping he can hear it. Save me!!
He shifts uncomfortably beside her and she knows he is not going to answer. “Why are you here?” he asks at last and she laughs. Hysteria overtakes her and she laughs until she is crying and screaming. She balls her fists and clutches at him, sobbing and drowning in regret. He does not embrace her – she did not expect him too – he grasps her wrists and holds her away from him.
“Why don’t you leave?” he asks; there is indifference in his voice and she wants to shout at him to go away and let her continue to be submerged in her world of ruin.
“Because I can’t,” she snarls, pulling away from him and folding her arms. “He won’t let me.”
He frowns a moment, before his lips quirk in understanding. “Yes, I don’t suppose he would.”
She says nothing because there is nothing to say.
She laughs at him. “Draco? He doesn’t have the balls. No, Draco is happy in his little life with his little wife.”
At the word wife, his face drops. She watches him, waiting and wondering how long this strange evening will continue. When he says nothing, she smiles, a ghastly parody of compassion.
The look he gives her is like acid and ice combined. It burns her and freezes her and melts the skin from her face. Her smile deepens. It has been a long time since she’s been able to play with someone.
“You love her but she doesn’t love you?”
He scowls. The expression is odd on his face – it doesn’t quite sit right. “You know nothing about me,” he bites back. She shrugs, and it makes him angry. “I don’t understand why you choose to be here, letting your life fall apart. You’re alive, Parkinson! Surely that counts for something! Angelina ...”
He stops, catching his breath.
“Just because you lost Malfoy ... we’ve lost Fred, she and I, and yet, we go on. There is nothing else to do but go on, no matter how much I hate myself for failing to save him, and hate myself for continuing to love her.”
She stares. He is not speaking to her anymore. Somehow, she has become his priest, his confessional. His Mary. She wants to laugh at the absurdity but she cannot.
Reality is crucifixion in itself.
“Kill him for me,” she whispers fiercely. “Do this one thing for me, George. Help me be free!” The words tumble from her lips without thought. The long-held dream rises from the bottom of her mind and glares at her. She had never thought to voice her truest desire.
He looks at her as if she is insane and she wonders if she is. Could one go insane without realising it? She continues before he can speak. “This place, this room, this madness I’ve have been living in. It’s his fault! Blaise! It won’t be hard, I promise. He’d never expect it and no one would suspect you!”
He chews his lip, his eyes alight. “Why should I?”
“Revenge, George, revenge!” She feels right using his name now. “He followed the Dark Lord!”
“So did you,” he interrupts. Her stomach turns. “Should I kill you too?”
She sighs and closes her eyes. “I will write him a eulogy that screams at the devil!” Her chest rises and falls with the force of her breath and she looks to him, waiting. He shakes his head and she nods, accepting. He will not be the one to save her. She knew that all along. He smiles sadly and kisses her lips. The touch is human, electrifying, and it leaves her gasping.
“Save yourself,” he whispers, his breath warm on the ice of her skin. “Then perhaps you can help save me.”
He walks away without another word and she does not mind.
Outside, the darkness waits. Mother night rocks her in her cradle of primordial sight. She stands and crosses to the mirror, staring at her face – she smiles, barely veiling her fear. There is a monster beneath her skin – it creeps closer, laughing and she laughs with it.
Is it too late, she wonders, pulling back the curtains and looking out at the night sky. The stars wink at her and she smiles, forcing open the window. A chilly breeze steals across her flesh but she does not care. She sits and watches the night until the dawn comes creeping over the horizon, the suns rays brushing the tops of buildings and coating the world in gold. For a brief moment, she is happy, and she closes her eyes as warmth touches her face.
Her wand is in her hand when Blaise knocks on the door. She knows it is him. Three knocks. Always three; his holy trinity. She laughs again.