Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, nor anything affiliated or associated with it. No copyright infringement is intended.
Note: Written in response to the Dance in the Rain Challenge by KatieRoo.
“More than angry words, I hate this silence, it’s getting so loud.” – Savage Garden, ‘Hold Me’
A small, dark-haired girl sits on a bench, absentmindedly dragging the toe of a delicate shoe through the wet grass that her feet rest upon. She does not sit in the middle of the bench, but on the side, as though she is trying to hide from the world around her. Her head is bowed, her shoulders slumped. Her fingers listlessly play with the hem of the dress she is wearing. Her gaze is unfocussed and she appears lost in thought. Small puffs of air escape her lips as she exhales, condensing in the chilly night air, barely visible under the soft moonlight that envelopes the garden.
A grand house stands a few hundred yards behind her. Light pours from the window, laughter echoes out from the open windows. The sounds of many people enjoying themselves filters into the garden, but the girl appears to shrink away from the noise. She wants to be alone, away from it all, away from the joy, the celebration and the festivity. She wants to be alone with her thoughts.
It is raining. Rather than a heavy rain that would be followed by booming thunder and lightning that would flash across the dark sky, this rain is gentle, softly caressing the bare skin of her shoulders. This rain is gentle, like the feel of silk brushing across naked skin. This rain is light, as light as the feet of a dancer. This rain is soothing, like the fingers of a loved one brushing across a forehead.
She does not want the rain to be gentle. She wants the night sky to burst open and pour heavy torrents of rain. She wants the rain to numb her. She wants something, anything to get rid of the pain of being here tonight. She wants to get rid of the pain of seeing him.
As though the leaves rustling in the night breeze can hear her thoughts, footsteps approach the bench behind her. Her body stiffens. She knows who it is. She wants to turn around. She wants to turn around and scream into the night air. But she remains on the bench, frozen, terrified of what he will say.
“Dorcas?” His soft voice caresses the night air and she closes her eyes at the sound of it. It has been so long since she heard it.
“Dorcas, please.” His voice is soft and pleading, yet she still cannot turn to him. She knows that the second that her eyes meet his soft grey ones, she will break down. And they had promised each other all those weeks ago: there would be no tears.
He sighs softly and walks around the other side of the bench, hesitating for a moment before sitting down. Out of the corner of her eyes, she can see that he is staring at her. She knows that he wants to sit closer to her but he refrains. She loves him for it. And she hates him for it. She loves him because she knows that if he sat closer, the pain inside her would grow. And she hates him because she wants nothing than for him to envelope her into his warm embrace and soothe her, the way that only he can.
The two sit in silence for a while, both lost in their thoughts. The silence grows between them until it is so thick that Dorcas feels like she might break with the intensity of it. It is not supposed to be like this. She had come tonight with every intention of ignoring him and his ever-charming presence. She had known it would be difficult, but had not anticipated just how hard it would be to watch him from a corner of the ballroom as he chatted absentmindedly with those around him and not be able to walk to him, speak with him and touch him. After only an hour, the silence between them had suffocated her and she had rushed into the comfort of the shadowy garden, desperate for a breath of fresh air, desperate for anything to avoid the thick wall of pain that existed between them.
A door leading to the patio several yards behind the bench closes with a loud bang and she jumps, startled at the sound that echoes into the night air. As she does so, she turns her head to the left and is startled once again at how close he is to her. She has focussed all her energy on ignoring him in the last few minutes, so much so that she did not hear him inch closer to her on the bench.
He is much too close. She can feel the warmth emanating from his body and her heart beings to beat faster. The rain is falling down in soft sheets and small droplets are clinging to his eyelashes, yet she does not notice. She is frozen, her eyes locked into his intense gaze. Tears come to her eyes as she relishes in the familiarity of it. It would be so easy to close the distance between them but she swallows, closes her eyes and drops her gaze back down to her lap.
“Sirius, I can’t...” Her voice is merely a whisper and she cannot stop a few tears from escaping her eyes as she tries her hardest to not succumb to his presence. “It’s too hard. I can’t do this.” With this, she begins to cry softly, making no effort to stop the tears from falling onto her cheeks. It is too hard. She cannot be so close to him and not touch him, hold him, kiss him.
“Dorcas...” His voice trails off and she knows he feels as helpless as she does.
“I can’t be this close to you,” she says, her gaze still on her lap, not daring to turn and look at him. Her small hands are gripping the skirt of her dress tightly and the thought of looking into his eyes is too much. The first time was hard enough. She does not know she can do it again without breaking. “It hurts too much. I can’t... I can’t just pretend that I don’t... that I don’t... I don’t lo...” She cannot say it. Every word she says is like a knife into her heart.
“I know.” His soft admission softens something inside her and she turns her head and is surprised to see his eyes shining with tears. “I know,” he repeats, softly. The pain in his eyes is evident and the hole in her heart grows at the sight of it. She cannot bear it, this awkwardness between them is too much and she does not know how much more of it she can handle.
A soft brush against her shoulder startles her and she stiffens immediately; her breath catches at the sudden spark that rushes through her. His touch is so warm, so familiar and her skin burns where his long fingers leave a trail against her arm. So engrossed is she in the memories that his touch evokes, she does not hear the rustle of clothing as Sirius stands and comes to a stop in front of her.
A shuffle of his feet on the wet grass draws her attention to him and she raises her head to look at him. The rain is still gently falling around them and she slowly drinks in the image of him standing in front of her, a slight smile on his face. His right hand is stretched in the air and she stares at it for a moment. She knows that she should not take it. The fire from his earlier touch still burns inside her and she knows that taking his hand will only cause it to spread. Yet, every part of her body is screaming for her to take it. She longs for it, for that familiar embrace, for that warmth to spread through her, for that rush that comes every time he touches her.
It is the honest and open expression on his face that has her take his larger hand into her smaller one. The genuine affection in his eyes makes her heart beat faster than it has in many weeks and, before she can stop herself, she slowly stands and stands in front of him, face to face. The two simply drink each other in for many moments; neither gives any heed to the rain that still falls around them. The air is charged with emotion, emotion that both have tried to suppress for so long. In this one moment, the world seems to stop. It is only the two of them, shivering slightly in the rain, gently clasping hands and feeling more alive than they have in weeks.
She opens her mouth to say something but stops when he brings a finger to her lips. A silent communication passes through them. She understands. Speaking, breaking the silence between them, would ruin the gentle moment between them. A shiver runs through her as his finger runs gently along her lip to crass her jaw. Her eyes slip closed of their own volition as his fingers move to caress her cheek. The gesture is so tender, so familiar; all she can do is stand and remember to breathe.
Neither is sure who makes the first move but they soon find themselves in a gentle embrace. She leans her head against his chest and sighs. Everything is so familiar, the gentle touch of his hands on her back, the firmness of his shoulder, the warmth of his breath against her neck. She has always loved the way he holds her, firm enough to make her feel protected, yet loose enough that she does not feel stifled. And, there, cocooned in the warm encircle of his arms, she takes what seems to be her first real breath in a very long time. She does not know how she went so long without him. Her head against his chest, his cheek pressed against her hair – it makes sense.
He draws her closer, if possible, and she gently presses her body against his body in response. She knows that he is savouring this moment as much as she is. They both know that when they parted ways, it was permanent. She knows this will not happen again. She knows it is the last time they will stand in each others’ embrace. She knows it is the last time she will feel the safety of his arms, the gentle thump-thump of his heart, the gentle opening and closing of his fingers against her back. And, though the thought hurts her more than she can comprehend, she pushes it to the back of her mind. If this is the last time she will stand in his arms, she does not want to think about anything else other than him.
The two stay still for a long time, basking in the feel of each others’ arms, before Sirius presses gently against her and the two slowly begin to revolve on the spot. There is no music, the only sounds that pierce the night air is the pitter-patter of the rain as it reaches the ground, the rustle of the trees surrounding them and their soft breaths. The rain is falling heavier now, the two are almost soaked to the skin the grass is becoming wetter by the second and the wetness is slowly seeping into their shoes. The gentle chill of the night air has penetrated through their light clothing and both are beginning to shiver.
Yet, it does not matter. None of it matters. In this moment, in this second, the only thing that matters is each other, this one last embrace, this one last dance. These last few moments with him have healed her heart more than she ever thought they would.
She feels a soft, feathery pressure against the top of her head and shivers as the warmth from the soft kiss runs through her body. Lifting her head to meet his gaze, a slow smile spreads across her face, her first true smile since she had walked away from him in a deserted corridor so many nights ago.
And, so, bathed in the soft moonlight, their clothing soaked to the skin, the two dance long into the night, ignoring the chill in the air, ignoring the rain. Neither willing to let go, neither willing to leave.
It is not perfect, no, but it is enough. They are both shivering. They are both filled with sadness. They are both clinging to each other for dear life. They are both aware that, come morning, they will have to depart once more.
Yet this one night, this one dance, this one moment – it is enough. And that is all that matters to either of them.
Write a Review Whispers of Yesterday: Whispers of Yesterday