Chapter 1 : falling away with you
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You can see the smudges of crimson on your father’s cheek darkening in hue and swelling to a blotch while he spews out word after word. All of them coagulating. All of them forming something nonsensical. He is a rage of colour, everything thrown together to make a murky brown where everything lies in confusion.
Fortunately for you, the object of these cries and shouts isn’t you. It’s not Hugo who crept out ten minutes ago; deciding that what he hoped to be an entertaining spectacle had turned into something much more. It’s not even your mother, the usual receiver of his moaning, who is now simply sat in the chair beside you trying to puzzle out the situation.
You first meet in the art gallery, your art gallery. You’re patrolling the corridors up and down, round and round, doing the normal blah blah stuff a curator usually does. The only difference being the gallery is approximately three rooms big, because using an old shop in Diagon Alley doesn't help space wise, and all the pictures are waving down at you, not motionless like in a Muggle art gallery.
It's now closing time and its your turn to round everyone out. You hover close to him, one of the remaining few still in the room, and he looks up at you. You recognise the face straight away. Who couldn’t? It was plastered all over your History of Magic textbooks. Ever since the second wizarding war occurred, Binns finally got his act together and changed the syllabus, hence you knowing his face.
Anyhow, given how he was in the same year as your parents, and your mother's occasional tormentor you would have known him anyway.
‘Erm, excuse me sir. The gallery’s closing in five minutes so could you make your way to the exit.’
You don’t look at him once during this encounter, the close-up encounter that is. Your eyes are fixed on the floor, the chipped floor occasionally splattered in paint when crazy artists try and make their installations there. It's a happier prospect than looking at him. Besides, you can't, look at him that is. You know who he is, what he did, his multitude of sins, all of them swirling around in your head making you want to run.
It was the same with his son, the same with the whole family. Not that they are a family any more. Their divorce covered the front pages of the Prophet. A Death Eater failing in society is always top news no matter how many years have passed since the final battle.
The man nods slowly but he doesn’t move. You give him a pointed look, having to raise your face from the ground now. He looks at you too, smirking away, before raising himself from the bench and walking out.
It’s the first of his many trips to the art gallery.
At first, he gives you small, slight looks. Sometimes, only when you acknowledged those small, slight looks, mind, he would smirk at you before turning away. You can always remember those grey eyes, the ends of them bending upwards as he smirks. You wonder whether it’s a game for him.
Later, he begins probing.
‘Excuse me, Miss Weasley, could you possibly tell me what era this painting came from? I previously thought it was from the Middle Ages but then I noticed the brush work, and the fineness of it so it made me think otherwise.’
You look at him, eyeing him up, to see if he’s sincere or not. He’s sincere enough to not hide away from the decaying effect that ageing tends to have, you note. His balding head is lined with wisps of blonde, each bending inwards as if to try and shield the incriminating evidence of it. Evidently, though, not doing the job very well. Then his face is beginning to be masked by wrinkles, like when you begin to pull your tights off and the tautness leaves them shrivelled up in a ball.
‘It’s the end of the Middle Ages. You can tell from the brush work that it’s soon becoming the Renaissance.’
He nods at you, and you smile in return.
‘Thank you, you’re the first to give me a proper answer. When I’ve asked the other curator she never replies, almost as if she can’t hear me.’
It’s your turn to nod this time, a slow nod. It’s your way of showing agreement to both parts of his answer. You know what Andrea, the other curator, thinks of him. You know what other people think of him. But then it almost makes you want to think differently. One person can’t be the subject of everyone’s hate, it’s too much for them. Then again, you daren't even call him by his name. Draco Malfoy. It's weird to even say it in your head.
‘It’s no problem.’
One final smile which he returns. It soon becomes a pattern for both of you.
Draco never really mentions his family, like you never really mention yours. You know it will cause too many complications for both of you. At times, the unsaid is the only thing which is keeping the two of you together. Besides, the only thing the two of you tend to talk about is art.
It’s strange how a topic that covers such controversial things is the only safe thing the two of you can talk about. That it’s the only thing keeping these meetings normal. You don’t mind though. You’ve grown so accustomed to them that letting them go would be too much for you.
‘Did you hear about the new exhibition in Paris?’ he asks you in the impressionist room.
You wait to reply, almost skipping down the wooden floors as you think of your latest painting. You can’t help but wonder about the cause of the sudden change in material and colour. Before it was the lightness of watercolours, careful streams of colour merging into one. Now it’s the black and white of charcoal and chalk.
Looking down at your hands, you can see their faded pigments merging into your skin. The white tipped thumbs contrast against the ebony coloured nails. It’s almost as if they’re saying they can never mix, that they are like oil and water.
‘Yes,’ you reply, arching your eyebrows at him. You have learnt that Draco is not one to ask a question without another motive to it.
‘Are you planning on going?’
You almost want to laugh but given that the room is crowded by elderly people who believe they are art connoisseurs, you dare not interrupt their silence unless you want to risk getting a warning. Instead, you lightly touch his elbow, noting it's the first bit of physical contact between the two of you, and drag him out of the room and into the corridor leading to the entrance.
‘Are you serious? I'm a curator at a small art gallery, and an artist in my spare time. Those jobs don’t really imply that I have a lot of money.’
You watch a blush slowly seep into Draco’s ivory face. It’s always strange to see colour on him, he’s always been painted in black and white, like your hands. He’s the ends of the spectrum but with no bits filled in the middle, apart from now that is.
‘You could always come with me…If you wanted to that is. I was planning on going at the end of the month so it wouldn’t be too much for you to come too.’
It’s your own turn to blush, ducking your head downwards to the oak floor. You hear other people murmur in the impressionist room about a certain artist’s technique and how they like it, another person mentions that they’re peckish and should they head to The Leaky now. You, though, you don’t say a word.
‘I’m sorry if I seemed to forward, just forget about it. It doesn’t matter,’ you hear him mumble somewhere. The medley of his words and your thoughts mean that both messages are incoherent.
‘No, I don’t want to forget about it. I’ll come with you. It will be interesting to see the exhibition.’
Another smile is shared between the two of you. The only thing that provides you with some comfort about cavorting around with a former Death Eater, is that he’s a divorced former Death Eater.
The two of you meander down Paris’ cobbled streets. The exhibition was more than you could ever have dreamed of. The finest collection of magical paintings they loudly proclaimed and they were proved correct. Dare you say it, there were even finer than the many which bedecked the walls of Hogwarts.
Dusk has already fallen across the city, the slight warmth of February is taken with it, and a chill has fallen among the streets. The only comforting thing is that unlike London, where the shadows tower over you as night falls, the buildings here are low, allowing some sort of light to seep through the dark.
‘Did you enjoy it then?’ he asks you.
You answer fervently, ‘It was far better than I had ever anticipated it to be. Thank you for taking me there, Draco.’
He lets out a small smile, an almost rare occurrence for him, and then laughs. ‘It wasn’t a bother as the Portkey was already organised. It’s nice to see that you enjoyed it so much.’
‘I know, I just wish I could tell Mum about this. She would have really enjoyed it too…’
A smacking sound is heard as you clasp your hand to your mouth, uttering the unmentionable. It’s almost an unspoken rule by now that all mentions of Scorpius, his former wife and your family are off the table. You know he sees Scorpius every so often, their relationship being tense at best. You see your family regularly, your relationship being fairly different, but not a thing is said about these trips out with Draco.
‘Sorry, I shouldn’t have said anything. My mouth got carried away,’ you mumble.
Your body begins to shake, back and forth. You’re not sure if it’s from the cold or from the mention of your family but what you are sure is that you feel a heavy material being wrapped around you as you watch him place his cloak on you.
‘It’s fine,’ you hear him mutter in your ear, as he stands beside you. ‘We can’t skirt around our family all the time. They do exist, after all. We should head back though. You’re frozen.’
You feel the warmth of his breath quickly leave you, a gap for the cold to come rushing in. The moment came and went so quickly that you barely realise it even happened.
A canvas is mounted on a stand, taking up most of your bedroom. The painting’s nearly done. The swaths of black are clouded over by the white, merged into something less threatening, less harsh, but you know there still needs to be something more.
You think of when you started painting this, why you started painted this, and then you know what to add. Stepping over to your shelf of paint, you pull out the red, white and yellow an begin pooling them onto the palette.
Once that’s done, the red’s blended in. Your red, his red too. You know with this addition the painting will be nearly finished.
You’ve painted something for him. You can tell it’s for him with the monochrome colour and the splash of red in the middle. The red of his cheek, the interlude of you in his life. You hope he likes it as you carry it through to his living room. This worry is evident with the splashes of paint on your hand, stained while doing the final perfections.
Handing it to him, you step back and wait and wait a while because of the silence. There isn’t much else to look at in your living room other than him. The brown leather chair is occupied by your cloak being thrown upon it as you ran ahead of him, wanting to bring it down right away. The walls are covered in various paintings and posters but none draw your interest given that the painting is in his hands.
There isn’t much else in the room you realise so perhaps this is an excuse to redecorate. But any excuse will do if it takes the attention off of you, him and the painting.
‘Rose, it’s brilliant. It’s better than anything I could ever have imagined.’
‘You like it? You really do like it?’ you manage to garble out, practically falling over your words as they run ahead of you.
‘I do, I really do.’ Each word of his causes your body to seize up, the thud, thud, thud of your heart. The sound you’re so used to is threatening to fade at those words.
The painting is placed on his chair and he stands slowly. You note him take one final look at it, eyes lingering on the dashes of red, and he walks towards you.
‘Thank you, Rose,’ he whispers to you.
Thud, thud, thud. You’re not sure if it’s the sound of your heart or you stepping slowly towards him.
‘You’re welcome,’ you whisper back.
Your breath is intermingled, you can smell the peppermint of his and the strawberry of yours. They’re merging though, coagulating, not like the black and white of Draco and the red of you. Perhaps things aren’t as defined as you thought them to be. You hope so, because then you think the thing you experienced in Paris might have chance of living for longer, that your parents might come round to the idea of it.
One, two, three, one two, three, you can hear your heart say as if it’s counting up to the moment and won’t stop until you do something, anything, once it reaches the three. Your fingers shake as you place them on his shoulder, they’re out of time to the one, two, three, but it doesn’t matter so much now. It will happen now.
He leans in, looking into your eyes to seek approval. You give a small nod in return and you don’t need to check whether he noticed or not. His lips press against yours, the pressure light and then pressing. Pressing because if he doesn’t do it now, he never will. The faint thud, thud, thud of your heart’s no longer an issue as it strains against you. You press your lips against his, your hand moving from his shoulder and winding around his neck, his hand is in your hair, coiling around the red.
You’re like the painting now, allowing black, white and red to merge and be one. You feel his feet move backwards, heading for the chair with it on. You stop, and you can feel his grip around your hair tighten as you do so.
‘Shh, just a second.’
Whipping your wand out, you move the painting away and push Draco towards the chair. You feel his legs collapse beneath you, falling onto it and you mimic his actions. A laugh erupts out of both of your mouths, and you stare at each other.
‘You don’t think this is strange, Rose, that I’m older than you?’ you hear him murmur in your ear.
‘No, not at all. If you think about it age is just a human thing, in the natural world it doesn’t really exist.’
You hear him laugh again before he presses down on your lips and you return the kiss.
‘Do you have any idea how old she is?’ your father screams at him, not caring that his tonsils might be ripped apart by the sheer amount of noise he’s generating. ‘She is twenty four years old, twenty four years old! Do you understand what this means, Malfoy? She is twenty six years younger than you. Does this not mean a thing to you? Am I the only one who thinks this is wrong?’
You watch him turn from him to your mother who simply gives a shudder of her head before he turns away. He doesn’t even bother looking at you.
‘Yes, Weasley, it does mean something to me, but Rose isn’t a child. She’s an adult, a mature one at that so there is nothing wrong about this situation.’
You turn to Draco then and give a small smile. He doesn’t return it. His face is too weary for that. They’re all weary. They don’t have the youthful hope you seem to possess.
‘This is ridiculous, I can’t believe she did this.’
You tense up at him, as if you have just noticed the fault in the painting all along. Except the painting is your father and you’re the fault. Right now, the only solution seems to be whipping out your wand and getting rid of the mess you and Draco have made.
‘How did you even meet her? Do you stand outside Hogwarts ready to prey on the next innocent child?’ he hisses out.
You feel your body lurch forwards, unsure whether it's to protect Draco from his barbs or launch an offensive attack on your father, but your body is stopped by your mother jabbing out her arms and pushing you back. Though the physical threat has been stopped, the barrier to the verbal one is much harder to knock down.
‘Dad, it’s not like that. I would have told you about him, and how we were friends but I knew you two would be like this. We met at the art gallery where I work, that’s how. We talked about art, became friends and then you can figure out what happened.’
Your effort to help salvage yours and Draco’s relationship is futile in your father’s eyes. He lets out a grunt before walking out of the room. You can hear the bang, bang, bang of his feet firing out like artillery as he prowls out of the room. Your mother gives you one faint look before chasing after him.
Several of these ‘meetings’ have occurred, and you’re still a little unsure what to call Draco. You know well enough you’ve moved beyond friends, but boyfriend sounds strange. Well, strange for him. For you, having a boyfriend is a rather normal concept as you linger in the early twenties. For someone who’s just entered the realm of the fifties, that concept is one closely tied to their Hogwarts years.
Most of the time you forget about his age, only at times like these are you reminded that there is quite a big difference between you and him.
You’re currently curled up on the sofa. He’s been telling you about the artwork his mother used to collect before she died, and how it was she who made him like art. You nod and say mm, not really paying too much attention to what he’s saying, more his voice. You always thought he had a nice voice.
Turning your head in his lap, you face him. You raise your hand and trace his jaw, the rough parts of his jaw where his stubble is emerging rub under your finger. The softness of his skin disappears to the pointedness of his bone before you pull it downwards and meet him the middle. His hand delves under and supports your head while he continues to kiss you.
Having got him in a good mood, you break free ready to confront him. ‘Draco, what are we? Are we dating, are we seeing each other? Are we anything?’
He doesn’t respond to you answer straight away. Instead, he dots kisses down your neck, tracing your oesophagus. You push his mouth away and attempt to glare at him. You've never been very good at demanding things, and this is another example of it.
‘Draco, I’m being serious. I want to know so I know what I should commit to us.’
This time, his reaction isn’t nearly as pleasant he drops your head into his lap, admittedly done gently, before sighing. If you had to do a portrait of Draco you wouldn't know where to begin. You might want to linger on the soft pinks for his tender moments, but the fiercer abrupter ones such as now make you lean more towards the crimsons.
‘What do you want us to be?’
‘I don’t know, something.’
‘How about dating, then? Does that work for you?’
You want to shriek out in happiness, that he actually wants to date you but there’s something about his tone which makes you think otherwise. ‘Yes, dating’s fine.’
‘Great, because then I get to meet your parents all over again.’
He smirks at you and you hit him softly round the head. Everything seems ok for now.
It's been six months, three weeks and four days since you’ve started ‘dating’ Draco and that doesn’t even count the strange few interluding weeks where you weren’t entirely sure where you both stood.
Rolling onto your side you look at Draco’s back in the pale morning sun. The light has a strange yellow tint to it which reflects off of his skin, showing every dot and speck which has been collected over the years. You think it can almost be a dot to dot if you look carefully enough.
Soft crinkles line his neck, bending back round to his chest and round and round, again and again. Draco always asks you to not point them out; it only makes you both remember the elephant of your relationship. You, though, you like them. You like how they can almost tell a story, how they’re something different.
You almost wish that you had them too.
‘Rose, stop staring at my wrinkles. I thought I told you not to,’ you can hear him murmur, his voice rising slowly up through the sheets.
‘I’m not staring at them. I am merely lying on my side with my eyes happening to be in that direction.’
He lets out a small chuckle before turning over to face you. You always like these moments, these small moments of just you and him, no one else. It makes you think that you can be together, the dragon and the rose. That there can be a you and him.
You watch his head bend down and he presses his lips softly against your forehead, catching a slight hint of his morning breath as his head returns to its position. You smile up at him and he returns it. This is why you like mornings, you can have moments like these.
‘Rose,’ he says, drawing out the last syllable of your name.
‘Rose, I think we should tell your parents about us. This has gone for long enough now, and they have the right to know.’
You feel your heart flip, not knowing what it wants. You should be pleased that he’s agreed to this, that this means something if he’s prepared to tell them. But you don’t. All you can think of was how much they feared you growing close to Scorpius at school, so if they find out about you and Draco you daren’t even begin to ponder the consequences.
‘Are you sure it’s time for that? That it will be fine?’
‘Yes,’ Draco replies sternly. ‘I think it is time. We can’t go around doing this forever. It wouldn’t work.’
You know he’s right, that this is the only way to go about it, but it doesn’t make you want to do it any more than before he said that. You almost wish that you could carry on living in your cocoon like world.
‘Ok, we’ll tell them,’ you murmur in reply.
Their absent chairs act as a stark reminder of what your life could now become. You think back to the twenty minutes before, the twenty minutes before when everything was unknown and still hopeful.
You remember pressing your finger on the bell, smiling nervously at Draco as he squeezed your hand. You remember standing there and waiting, listening to the cries of who would get the door. You remember Hugo winning the race to the door, then the look on his face showing he wished he wasn’t so hasty.
You remember a lot of other smaller things like that. The only other two important ones are your mother’s face dropping before she murmured something and ran off, probably to distract your father so she could deal with the issue at hand. Then you remember seeing your father’s face as he laughs at your mother and heads for the door.
After that, all you remember is being quickly ushered inside and then yelling and yelling and yelling. Nothing ever stopping it. The remnants of it are still penetrating into your ear.
‘Draco, Draco, what should we do?’ you murmur to him, about five minutes after the storming out of your father.
‘I don’t know, I don’t know,’ he sighs before turning to you. ‘Look, Rose, I think it’s best that I go. You can talk through our relationship with them. They won’t be so angry with me not being here. It will be better for both of us.’
‘You mean, I have to deal with the fallout of this, despite you being the one who wanted to meet my parents and tell them? That’s not exactly fair Draco.’
He stands slowly, not really noticing the glare upon your face. He then slowly kisses you on the cheek before giving a twitch of his hand and leaving. His actions are all so fast that you barely even hear the door click shut behind him. He's a blur before your eyes.
You sit there for twenty more minutes, your parents seemingly forgotten you, Draco isn’t going to return, Hugo is now encased in his room upstairs and shows no signs of returning so it’s just you. Waiting won’t help you in a case like this. So you decide to stand up, think of your flat and then apparate away.
You see each other again that night. He drifts into your flat at nine o’clock, the usual time he comes to see you but it doesn’t feel like the usual time. It feels different, strange.
The brown faded leather of the chair you’re sitting is about the only point of interest in the room for you. He hasn’t said a thing since he came. You haven’t said a thing either to be fair. A muted hello and nod of your head doesn’t really count as gripping conversation.
‘Draco, what are we going to do?’ you whisper softly, praying that he will hear you because you don’t think you can take to uttering those words again.
‘I don’t know, Rose. I really don’t know.’
‘Do you think they’ll ever accept us? Want to see us together?’
‘I don’t know. You know your parents better than I do.’
The stilted response cuts through you but you want to try one more. One more question might trigger an answer of some sort. Not these I don’t knows.
‘No, I don’t know the answer to whatever you’re going to ask.’
‘Sorry, I was just trying to solve this problem. At least I want to think there can be a future for us.’
Draco gives a throttled laugh at that point and you resume to looking at the faded leather. The small cracks of white where the stuffing is beginning to pierce through the skin is a matter of great interest to you.
‘I’m going, Rose. I need to think,’ he suddenly says, leaping to his feet. ‘I’ll see you soon.’
Before you have a chance to say goodbye he’s disapparated. It feels as if Draco's becoming a blur to you, that he's slipping through your fingers and you can't find a way to grab onto him.
You haven’t heard from your parents since going to see them. You haven’t heard from Draco since he disapparated from your flat. You have a feeling that you might not hear a thing from them in a while. That it’s all too raw. The only thing you have gotten is a letter from Hugo politely saying it would be best if you stayed away from home for a while.
Wandering around the gallery isn’t fun anymore. You don’t expect to see Draco’s face pop up anymore. He stopped coming as regularly after you went to Paris together, but that was because you saw him outside of here. Now, you don’t see him at all.
A middle-aged woman asks you for the toilet and you point her in the right direction. A man asks you whether you know the opening hours of Gringotts, you reply that you don’t and advise him to check with Mags, the person who sold him the tickets. Those encounters are about your only interactions for the day.
You head towards the staff cloakroom, your shift being over. You transfer your wand from your robes into your cloak pocket, slip the cloak and are about to turn around when you note the door sliding open and him slipping in. Just like the shadow which has been you haunting you throughout the day and night.
‘How did you know I was here?’
He shrugs his shoulders before giving a small smile. ‘Mags told me, she said your shift was over so you would probably be here.’
You sigh in return. You don’t want to leave, but then you don’t feel as if he deserves your attention in a way. Instead, you turn towards your locker and make a big show of sorting out the piles of parchment in it, sifting the more torn and shredded ones to the back and moving the newer looking pieces of it to the front.
‘Is everything fine?’ you ask, almost feeling the silence break, the crack, crack, crack, cracking more things than the lack of words.
He sighs. ‘Rose, what are we doing?’
‘What do you mean?’ Your voice quivers up and down, mimicking your hands which have begun to shake. ‘We’re going out. That’s what we’re doing, isn’t it?’
A damp imprint of your finger has been left on one of the pieces of parchment. Looking down you can see the sprinkles of sweat glisten in the light of the room. It’s hard to think that one single question can trigger such a response from you.
You can hear his feet move towards you, the loud crash on the wooden floor acting as another crack, though this is a louder, more menacing crack. You turn and see he is a few strides away from you. Perhaps this has all been a dream, the Draco that you could date that is. Perhaps the real Draco is this menacing one. Perhaps you'll never know, perhaps you just created the Draco you wanted him to be, like you create paintings.
For the first time in a while, you really look at him, every area of him. You can tell that he has aged, the events of the past week possibly weighing him down too. His eyes are lined, the charcoal spreading all around his eyes. It’s strange that despite all the things that have changed, the charcoal always remains fixed.
You raise your thumb and place it on the ashen lines. Rubbing away at it, nothing fades unlike the real thing. Your thumbs are still the peachy pink bearing no imprint of him.
‘Rose, don’t make this harder…’
The pause at the end only makes you want to cry out even louder. Everything was fine, more than fine, before going to see your parents. Now it feels as if the two of falling away from one another, not with one another.
‘It doesn’t have to be this way. I don’t care what they think. The age gap isn’t so bad, there have been bigger ones. I’m sure Mum will come round, she always does. Dad just needs his time to strop too. My family might too because Scorpius has always been good to us. There’s nothing to worry about.’
The more and more you repeat those lines, the more and more he shakes his head. You feel your legs collapse beneath you as he does so and you find yourself on the floor. You can’t think, you can’t even ponder. It’s too strange. All of it gone because of those twenty minutes at your parents. Perhaps if you had never told them it would have been fine. You and Draco would still be together.
You can never discuss art again, you can never paint anything for him again, you can never go to a gallery with him again, you can never wake up and look at his wrinkles again, you can never see his smirk again. All of those never agains. That’s the worst thing about them, knowing that you can never, ever, get them back.
You look up and you see him slowly nod his head up and down. ‘Rose, it would never work out. Just think in twenty years, I’ll be in my seventies. You would be looking after me; I would be an old man while you would still be young. It’s fine to think about now, but sometimes you have to look past that and into the future. It’s not fair for me to take away your life so you can act as a carer in my old age.’
‘But what if I want to be your carer? I love you Draco, and I want to do that for you.’
Your mumblings slowly fade into nothing the more and more he shakes his head at you. You begin to feel as if nothing you can say will save him, save Draco.
‘Sometimes we have to do things, Rose, because we both know it's for the best. Even if you took away the age difference it would never work out. I was a Death Eater, and you’re the sign of hope which is meant to correct my mistakes. Those things never mix. You saw what your parents said, and they're your parents, so imagine what other people would say. You could never go outside again. I wouldn't want to be the one who did that to you, because I know what it's like to go out every day and fear what the next person might say to me.’
Your head lolls back and forth, you feel so lost you don’t know whether this is in support of the decision or opposition to it. At the moment you don’t really know anything.
Watching him, you see him give you final nod of his head before he drifts out of the room, leaving you there, leaving you alone. You almost can’t believe this is happening. That he’s falling away and leaving you here, alone. You know your mother will tell you it was the artistic side to you which drew him, your love of stories and different things, but you know it’s more. It will always be more.
He was the dragon and you were the rose, and only the two of you will be able to understand what art can truly do.
Author's Note: I would like to thank Muse for writing an amazing song, Falling Away With You, which helped inspire the title and the story. I would love to know what you thought of the story because I've never really written a ship like this before, and it's a little different for me so it would mean a lot to know your thoughts! Ooh, a fun fact is that this is my longest one-shot so far, so yay for that!
Ooh one final thing, thanks to Maia and teh for coming up with such great challenges! It was a blast writing this :D
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