There was no one around. Her heels echoed loudly in the corridor and her long gown swished on the white marble flooring. The occasional patient or healer walked passed, muttering a greeting or flashing a friendly smile. She walked quickly and her heart fluttered nervously. Tonight was their four-year anniversary; she was excited and had heard whispers of engagement from her friends and cousins. A smile graced her features as she mumbled an apology to a dark stranger who she had knocked into, but her mood was so carefree that she ignored his grumpy retort. Her insides still dancing, she reached out her hand and opened the office door.
At first, she thought that he was sleeping. He looked so peaceful, lying there with his eyes closed. She could hear his ragged breathing. Hers stopped when she saw the extent of his injuries and the destruction before her. She dropped to his side, cradling his head in her lap. His face was ghostly white and it contrasted terribly with the dark red surrounding him. Tears came thick and fast and her shaking hands gingerly pushed his hair away from his forehead, and away from the deep wound above his right eye. She screamed for help, the blood seeping into her dress and her hands covered in the sticky, crimson liquid.
She checked for his pulse. It was still there, and although it was faint, it was there and she took a small comfort in that. She clasped desperately at his neck, thinking that if she didn’t feel the pulse, that it would go away forever and he would be lost. People entered and shouted orders but she didn’t hear them. She clung to his broken body and she would never let go.
“Do you know what happened?”
She felt her grip loosen.
“Do you know what happened?”
Her vision went black.
‘Do you know…’
I woke with a start. The moon was filtering through my open window. I was breathless, and a cold sweat covered my forehead but I was relieved that it was only a dream. A nightmare. Comforted by this, I rolled over towards where Lorcan was sleeping and it was then that it hit me. Struck me like the Knight Bus.
Lorcan was gone. My Lorcan was gone.
His scent still lingered over the pillow, and I clung to it like a lifeline. My tears drenched it, and I could taste the salt on my lips. I sat there for hours, the black sky turning from purple to red and then to orange. For the first time in years, I watched the sun rise. I wish he was here with me. I wish he hadn’t left me.
I tried - I wanted - to cry some more, but I didn’t have any more tears. I was bone dry. Shock and inconsolable grief had ripped through me, and it was almost as if I was left with nothing. No feeling or emotion, just an enormous empty hole where my heart should be. I felt lost and completely alone. Like there is no way forward.
I needed to do something to distract myself from thoughts of him; to go to work, or to the Burrow or Shell Cottage. But I couldn’t bring myself to move from my bed, to listen to the consoling words and the constant sympathetic glances from my family. I couldn’t face it alone. I couldn’t face it at all. I wished he hadn’t died and left me to deal with this. I know that was completely and utterly selfish, but I didn’t care. I wanted him back. I needed him back.
I tore my eyes away from the window and from the moonlight and looked across the dark room. His things were still scattered across the floor, across the desk, and they were taunting me. I wanted to throw it all away, to remove all memory of him from my mind, so that the grief wasn’t so impenetrable. But I couldn’t. Instead I rose shakily from my bed, and walked towards the dresser. Handling his letters delicately, I ran my fingers over the neat writing. Lorcan’s Quidditch jumper hung on the back of the chair, and I picked it up, running my thumb over the soft fabric. I slipped it on over my pyjamas and his smell engulfed me, comforting me.
Turning back around towards the bed, I caught my reflection in the mirror. My eyes were horribly red and puffy, my make-up running down my cheeks as black tears. My skin was deathly pale, and my blonde hair was lank and slightly greasy. I needed a shower. Glancing at the clock on the bedside table, which read 4.30am, I grabbed my dressing gown and opened the door.
It was then I heard the crash from the kitchen. I picked up my wand hastily, my Auror training coming into play. Sneaking across the hallway, I paused as I heard the tap being turned on. What sort of burglar helps himself to a drink of water? Pushing the door open slowly, I stepped foreword into the flickering candlelight. The living room came into view, and I saw several blankets and pillows on the sofa. I turned the corner, and lowered my wand exasperatedly.
“What do you think you’re doing here?”
Lysander Scamander was sitting at my kitchen table, holding a glass of cold water against his bruising cheek. His stubble, the terrible bags under his eyes and the scars on his face seemed more pronounced in the candlelight, and shadows littered his face. He glanced up at me through his dark brown hair, his eyes alight and the signature smirk dancing on his lips. I saw him take in my appearance, his eyes lingering on the Quidditch jumper.
“I brought you back from the hospital,” he said simply, as if it was obvious. Somewhere, in the back of my mind, I distantly remembered someone carrying me up the stairs to my door.
“And what makes you think that you are welcome in my house?” I demanded, hands on my hips in an attempt at an authoritative pose.
“Because you - and I quote – ‘love me like a brother',” he answered smugly, rising from the chair and pouring the water into the sink. It was then I realised that he was topless. I saw scars and scratches on his back, and I gaped slightly at them. What was he doing when he was ‘travelling’? It was worse when he turned around; a long, red scar traced down his torso.
“Like what you see?” He was smirking again, and it was very infuriating. I ignored his pretentious remark and simply replied with a short, scornful laugh. A fluttering of lust entered at the back of my brain as my eyes roamed his well-built body. I shook my head disbelievingly, and the intractable thoughts were knocked out of my mind.
“What did you break?” I asked, desperately trying to change the subject and I walked towards the kitchen.
“Before. You broke something and it woke me up.” I said angrily. I had reached the sink, and I saw fragments of glass in it.
“It was just a glass, and it didn’t wake you up,” he paused, “I heard you crying,” he added quietly, as if scared he may hurt my feelings. That made a change. Determined to put off thinking about Lorcan, I began collecting the pieces of glass. I could have done this with my wand, but it was on the other side of the room. Near Lysander. I didn’t want to see his face.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered into the silence.
My fingers slipped and a shard of glass cut my hand. I gasped in pain as tears filled my eyes, threatening to spill. Lorcan's death. Lysander's return. Both the memories coursed through my mind and I gritted my teeth against the anger that was bubbling up inside of me.
I heard the scraping of his chair on the floor, and I turned quickly, all the rage I had pent up since Lysander had disappeared was about to explode.
"You should be sorry! You disappeared and no one knew where you were! You didn't tell your parents, you didn't tell your brother!" I moved threateningly closer to him, the cut in my hand throbbing painfully with the motion.
"You didn't tell me, Lysander, and now I can't trust you anymore. It hurts too much." I ran a hand erratically through my hair. I must have looked a mess, but I didn't care. His eyes were full of guilt and pity, and I couldn't stand it. My anger had blinded me. I wanted Lysander to know how much he had hurt me.
"When Lorcan and I had arguments I had no one. I wanted to go to Rose but she was too busy with Scorpius and Noah and everything. I needed you to be there for me." My voice was cracking. Lysander approached me, his arms outstretched.
"Don't touch me!" I shouted in disgust, swatting his hand away. Tears were now falling down my cheeks in great waterfalls and my breathing was ragged.
“Fine!” He bellowed and for the shortest of moments, I was scared. It looked like Lysander had finally lost control, and I had never seen him like this before. He laced his fingers violently through his hair, as though he was about to pull it out. He shut his eyes, and inhaled deeply, apparently trying to calm himself.
“It’s not always about you, Dom,” he said quietly. “Other people cared about Lorcan too.”
“You had a funny way of showing it.”
His eyes flittered open, and I saw that they had darkened dangerously. His usual ice blue eyes had turned piercing steel, and it frightened me. Suddenly, he threw the glass at the wall where it shattered. He looked as if he could do the same to me. I froze, my hands shaking and my eyes red and sore from my tears. My heart was beating turbulently, my chest rising and falling in great gasps of hysteria.
“Don’t think that you understood my relationship with my brother,” he snarled, his voice quiet but deadly, “you were to blame for most of it. How would you feel if your brother - your best friend - was dating the girl you liked? And he knew that you liked her?”
I was reminded of my schoolgirl crush on Teddy and how superficial it seemed compared to my situation now. It was surreal. I didn’t want him to tell me this. Not now, not when Lorcan had only just gone. Guilt coursed through my body as I was reminded of anarchic thoughts about Lysander and me when Lorcan was alive.
“No...Lorcan would never...” I muttered weakly, desperately trying to defend the one I loved. I thought I loved. I backed into the corner of the kitchen, vulnerable and alone. Lysander marched over to me, grabbed me roughly by the shoulders and forced against the wall. Pain shot through my arm from the cut in my hand. His eyes locked with mine, and the power of his gaze startled me.
“Yes, he would have,” he said harshly, “Lorcan was that sort of guy. He wanted the perfect life, and he got it by treading on the nobodies,” he laughed mirthlessly, one hand leaving my arm to run through his hair. I knew I should have argued with him, but I couldn’t. I was too weak.
He continued. “Nobody seemed to notice it, apart from me, so he got what he wanted - the perfect life with the perfect job and the perfect girl.”
My breath caught in my throat, and I turned my head away from his face and from his stare. He moved his hand up my arm to my neck, his fingers brushing against my skin. He forced my head around to face his, and his eyes bored into mine. I noticed that they had softened, returning to ice blue, as they searched my face. I was uncomfortable under his gaze. His bare chest was pressed against mine and I felt calluses on his fingertips, and I shuddered in repulsion. I didn’t need this. I didn’t want this. I didn’t want Lysander. I had wanted Lorcan, and that’s all I’ll ever want.
But somehow, now, I wasn’t quite so certain. I was so confused, so lost. Lorcan was dead. Lorcan was gone. And now Lysander was declaring his love for me, and guilt was flooding me. I loved Lorcan, but Lysander was so...free. With Lorcan, I was taken to balls and dinners, expected to play the beautiful trophy girlfriend. I liked that, of course, but it was nothing to exploring the grounds and forests of Hogwarts with Lysander. But when I was with Lorcan, I had been safe and secure, and I knew that he loved me. That had comforted me.
“To me,” Lysander said quietly, and I shivered as his warm breath tickled my skin. He stroked my hair away from my tear stained face, his hands now gentle and soft instead of rough, “to me you are perfect.”
I let out a breath I didn’t realise I was holding and I lost myself in his eyes. Lysander seemed to realise that he had gone too far, and he stepped away from me, his hands flying to his hair and running through it violently. He turned away from me.
“It was like you, and Victoire and Teddy. Except it was so much worse.”
I was confused about how he knew about my childhood infatuation, but then I was remembered of a time when I used to tell him everything. The schoolgirl rumors had been true, and I had been unconsciously avoiding it that entire time. Now, it all made sense. His voice was depleting, the anger leaving it, and exhaustion settling in.
“I could have killed Lorcan...but obviously someone got there faster than me,” he finished, slumping dejectedly onto a kitchen chair. I should have been hurt by this comment. I should have slapped him, yelled at him or something. I realised that he must have needed me that much, and that scared me. It was only then that I fully appreciated that Lysander had been Lorcan’s twin brother, and that being strangers to each other when Lorcan died must make the grief so much harder for him. I didn’t want to kick him out. I didn’t want to leave him all alone. He looked so broken, sitting in the wooden chair, his head in his hands. I wanted us, more than anything, to be friends again. I stepped cautiously towards him, considering my words carefully.
"I need you, Lysander, but not in the way you need me. I want us to be just us again, but promise me you won’t disappear on me again, or I’ll...or I’ll...” I failed to finish my whispering words and instead surrendered myself to my tears.
Lysander tried to comfort me, to hug me, but I beat him away, my fists thumping weakly against his chest. He persisted, chuckling softly at my defiance, and I felt myself collapse into his arms, the blood from my hand smearing onto his bare skin and tears still coursing down my cheeks. He stroked my hair gently, his comforting arms surrounding me.
"You've got me now, Dom. I'm here now."
I breathed deeply against his skin, trying to steady my hysterical breathing. I was wonderfully relieved that Lysander and me were friends again, and that everything would one day be back to normal. With this thought brought new pangs of guilt, of what Lorcan would feel if he saw me now, curled up in the arms of his twin brother; his enemy.
“I don’t think I will ever need you in that way, Lysander. I’m sorry.” I said. I thought it was true. I wanted to believe it myself.
“I understand,” he said, and the tone of his voice startled me. It was sincere, with the slightest trace of sorrow. He was upset, that was normal. He had just been rejected. But back at school, he was lively and opinionated. Something had changed. Something and broken him, and it wasn't just his brother dying or my dismissal, although these were major factors. He must have seen things when he was travelling, bad things, because Lorcan would have fought for me. He didn't. I was grateful; my emotions weren’t up for another argument.
I let Lysander sit me down on the sofa, and I pulled my knees up to my chin and wrapped my arms around them. My face pressed to his chest, my hysterical breathing evening out. He stroked my hair comfortingly, making gentle shushing noises. When I had stopped crying, and pulled away from him, we sat awkwardly for a while, me sniffling noisily and Lysander whistling some incoherent tune under his breath. I saw him sneak glances at me, but I didn’t want to talk. I didn’t want to relive the feelings of guilt, and of confusion.
“Want a drink?” He asked, standing up and walking over to the cupboard.
“Do we have any glasses left?” I asked timidly, the awkwardness falling around us like some sort of blanket. We had both said things that we might not have meant.
He laughed, and I heard the clinking of fresh glasses. He slumped onto the sofa next to me, placing the bottle on the table and pouring us two glasses of firewhisky. The amber liquid burned my throat, and I spluttered, coughing violently.
“You never knew how to handle your drink, did you Dom?” Lysander asked, swigging his drink down in one.
“Yeah...” I said, laughing weakly. I cupped the firewhisky in my hands, my skin cold because of the glass and the cut in my hand still stinging. I gulped down another drink against the pain.
“Still hurts?” Lysander asked. I nodded.
He picked up his wand from the table beside the sofa, and pointed it at my hand. He muttered incoherently and my hand turned very hot, and then the cut began to heal. I smoothed the new skin with my thumb before grabbing another glass and looking up at Lysander.
“I did learn a thing or two from my brother,” he said, grinning warmly. I smiled weakly and my eyes searched his face, taking in his features.
“You look a lot like him,” I said quietly, my heart blazing at the thought of Lorcan, and I was filled with a sense of contentment but also of grief. I missed him.
“Yeah we got that a lot. There was this one time when...” He began.
The warmth from the candles and the heat from the firewhisky drowned me and I felt my eyelids starting to droop. Lysander’s voice was filling my head, along with the songs of the early morning birds, and the sounds of Muggle London. I forced myself to stay awake.
“Dom? Do you want to go to bed?”
My eyes shot open at this, wild and inexpressible thoughts thundering through my tired and slightly intoxicated brain; but innocence flashed over Lysander’s face, and my breathing regulated. I stood up hastily, smiling wearily down at him.
“Yeah...I forgot it was so early.”
He stood up too, and the awkwardness returned. You could have cut it with a knife. Do we hug? Do we kiss on the cheek? Do we kiss? These corybantic thoughts just made the silence even more unbearable, and they raced out of my mind as exhaustion and tiredness settled in.
“So...I’ll just go,” I said, uncomfortable. I made an ungainly gesture towards my room, but it looked like I had some sort of twitch. He raised an eyebrow at me, his hands shoving themselves into their pockets. Now I look like an idiot. I had to walk past him to get to my door, and he made an odd gesture - as if he was going to pat me consolingly on the shoulder.
I walked past him, silence seeping between us. I pushed my door open, and entered my room.
Yeah, at this moment, a lot of the writing is the same as Monster - apart from the ending of this chapter. I loved writing this. I love writing arguments. Maybe it's because I don't have many with my friends/boyfriend (touch wood) so it's awesome to write them. Anyway, I wanted to get this up. I've been in Spain for a week on an exchange, and I am going to Italy tomorrow. I'm such a jetsetter. Happy reading, and remember to feed the magic box below!