Beset by Owls
Title: As Close as I'll Ever Get
Characters Used: Harry Potter and Hermione Granger
A/N:I refuse to insult you with explanations.
My shoulders tighten as I watch the twisting of the knob. I close my eyes against the far-away melody spilling in through the opening door and breathe in deep, waiting for the assault of gardenia to overcome the cold, mineral smell of stones and mortar. It never comes, and my eyes open to a sliver of a different silhouette, the purple night sky shimmering behind her.
I hear her sigh, but nothing more, as she stands still, peering down at me through the tiny crack between the door and the frame. I wait for her to step inside. She’s never felt she needed an invitation, before.
The seconds stretch, and I finally have to say, “Come in,” before the crack creaks wider and she slides through. She pulls the door as close to shut as possible, then takes one step before turning, gripping the knob, and closing it completely.
28 days, I think.
“Everyone’s looking for you,” she says.
“I know,” I say. “That’s why I’m sitting in this broom cupboard.” I gesture around. Sometimes the truth sounds so absurd when one speaks it aloud.
Her face is haloed in fire yellow as she passes in front of the candle burning beside the door. She sits down next to me, the rustle of stiff fabric filling the space around us.
“What’s your poison?” She asks, nodding at the sweating tumbler on my other side.
“Water,” I say, carefully picking up the slick glass. “Would you like a sip?” I pass it to my other hand.
She tips her head and takes it from me. I hear her breath bounce against the glass and the water. The sounds of her swallows are close and wet.
4 weeks, I think.
Week One, I’m adequately occupied. After ten months together, we could use the space.
She’s still not there, but the second week, out of habit, I keep expecting to see her face. I stare at doorways, waiting for her walk through. In sixteen days, I’m hoping every conversation will turn up her name. By day twenty-two, I’m gazing vacantly at the freckles and tea-coloured eyes that stand in front of me, feeling stupid, and guilty, and lost.
She passes the glass back to me. The edge is rimmed with her lipstick. I believe this is the colour that girls refer to as ‘mauve’.
I place my lips to the glass, over the waxy, mauve ring, and take a drink. The condensation from the outside of the glass rolls down my wrist, soaking into my sleeve.
The glass clinks against the stone as I set it down between us. My hand rests at my side, millimetres from her cool, moist skin. I don't wait for an invitation. I reach out with my grit-flecked little finger and curl it over hers.
Her fingertip finds my knuckle, and there’s a crinkling sound as she leans over and rests her head on my shoulder, both of us staring forward at the door to the outside world.
Fierce Banner by Julia/ the opaleye