|snarryhols (snarryhols) wrote in snarry_holidays,|
@ 2008-11-23 09:56:00
|Entry tags:||fic, giftee: purpleygirl, rated: nc-17|
Fic: This Heart
Title: This Heart
Word count: 2,661 (short and –hopefully!- sweet!)
Warnings: Le angsting, implied (very implied) le sexing, le pretentious quoting.
A/N: Many thanks to Purpleygirl for such an interesting and wide prompt – I really enjoyed writing this, and hope that you enjoy reading it! With apologies to Rumi, Shakespeare and T.S. Eliot for mangling their work – sorry, dead poet guys.
This that is tormented and very tired,
tortured with restraints like a madman,
I - January
This is not death, you understand. No mortal sleep could be this unkind, so plagued with dreams. To die would be a luxury that I could not afford. No, this is living, day in day out, every day spent atoning for what cannot be undone. This is my new life, and I spend it with the Boy.
Albus is dead. I say it to you now, and it is just words, a collection of sounds. This mouth can be used for singing, or shouting, or cursing or gasping in pleasure and now it shapes three simple words. Nothing happens. I have murdered one of the few people who ever cared for me – and it was murder, Albus you old fool, even though you told me to do it. You knew I would find that out – and yet I continue to exist. I am not guilty of the crime. They saw the memories you left, and let me go. If anything, it was euthanasia. You were dying anyway. The greatest mind, the finest wizard of centuries, killed by one Severus Snape, and they call it euthanasia. Even in death, Albus, you are one step ahead.
I was expecting Azkaban, but they put me here instead. ‘For your mutual protection’, they told me, mine and the Boy’s. I could waste time pointing out the supreme irony of that, but I’m tired. I’m too old for these games. He was expecting to go back for his final year of schooling, or so he has told me in those rare moments when we are not screaming blue murder at each other. When I was a murderer, it wasn’t blue, it was green. Enough. They came for him with his broomstick and schoolbooks, the Order, and they brought him here. Even I don’t know where ‘here’ is – the Fens somewhere, I’d guess, but neither of us has much interest in our surroundings. When he saw me, I thought he was going to explode. He knows I was acquitted, of course, but he will always hate me for Albus’s death. Were I in his position, I would too. The man was like a father to him – and a far better father than Potter would have been. He is, of course, too concerned with his own feelings to even consider the fact that Albus might have been like a father to me too. A manipulative bastard of a father, just like my own. We get what we deserve.
He has been quiet tonight. We see very little of each other, which is remarkable, considering the tiny house that we are shoehorned into. I have the library-cum-study, he has free reign of the sitting room-cum-bedroom. The kitchen is mutual territory, as is the bathroom, and the tiny garden we alternate between us. It works. He is surprisingly easy to live with, though it pains me to admit it, practically at least. He is small, tidy in his habits, irritatingly clean. The fact that we hate each other has almost become a mindless domesticity – I snap, he shouts, he sulks, I brood, we eat together and go to bed. One bed. I don’t know who designed this house – the singularly poor layout is too bad to be even Muggle architecture – but they had a cruel and unusual sense of humour. The first time I pointed out that there was only one bed, I thought the Boy would faint – talk about a blushing virgin. It was awkward at first for me too, to be honest, considering that the last person I shared a bed with was his mother, but we have been here too long now to care about modesty and decorum. Everything is easier with time, even the Boy. He doesn’t touch me, of course. We never touch.
II - February
He has been angry today, restless and snarling when I remonstrate him for pacing like a caged tiger. I know the cause, though I pretend not to care to save his overblown teenage pride – I am being considerate, clearly such long confinement is beginning to addle my wits – it is because the Swot and the Weasel have not written to him this week, as they solemnly swore to do in the note that awaited him when they left him here. The note, I might add, that he promptly burned. I don’t know why he’s so upset, as their letters invariably serve to make him angrier about this imprisonment, bound to some Fenland hovel when he should be fulfilling his destiny killing the Dark Lord. He sleeps badly, and I can always tell when he is dreaming - this sounds like the worst kind of sentimental frippery, I am well aware, but the days are long and I am an educated man. My Lord called me last night. The pain was excruciating, which is easy to say, but difficult to recall – I have tried to forget it, to be honest, the feeling like a hundred needles piercing skin, muscle, bone – and the Boy woke as I tensed against one of the waves of pain. He didn’t say anything, but passed me the pain potion I was reaching for and watched me drink it. It was the last one we had. His eyes had a strange, steady look. I slept without dreaming.
III - March
An argument – one of the worst we have had. I normally enjoy it when we argue, because it is only words and words are ephemeral, no sooner uttered than forgotten. We are both fractious; I have had no update from Minerva this week about the war, and am feeling forgotten. I chastised him for leaving his books out on the table – an unusual act of untidiness on his part, I realise in retrospect – and he snapped. I was sarcastic and unkind, and he was all too easy to hurt. It felt good, like old days, like he was getting what he deserved, and what his father had deserved, and what his mother had deserved for choosing his father over me…and then he cried. Crying perhaps is not the word for it, he just stood in front of me and tears fell from his eyes; tears we both ignored. His eyes met mine. He turned away. Later, I made tea. We drank it together. There is no peace, but it felt like it.
I can hear him downstairs now, getting ready for bed. Tonight there is only enough hot water for one – it is my turn, really, but I will let him have it. I am too tired for arguments. I wonder how he must care for those sexual urges all teenagers have, those slight compulsions. Either he is a saint, or his time spent in the bath is not due to the fastidious personal cleanliness that I originally suspected. Maybe he is doing it now, his lithe body moving in the lukewarm water, stifling….I am so tired. I am a man old before my time, and I have seen too much for this. He is seventeen years old. I held his mother in my arms.
IV - April
Today the fire hissed and spat out two messages – no owls here in our Fenland stronghold, barely even a crackle of magic between us. Mine was the same as his. Minerva is dead. She died in battle, the way she would have wanted – what am I saying, nobody wants to die, except me of course – and saved five of her Gryffindors as a result. Hogwarts was badly hit, but remains untaken. When the Boy read his note, he gave out a great unearthly howl and then fell trembling into silence. He is young, despite nearly being a man, he has not learned the ways of grief, its practices. I had no comfort for him. I cannot be his comforter, because he hates me. Instead, I made tea. We drank it in silence, as usual. Then – and I cannot explain this because how can I explain something I myself cannot understand? – he reached his small hand across the table and placed it on mine. Neither of us said anything. It lasted a moment, five seconds at most, enough time for me to absently mentally note the contrast between his small hand and my long and yellowed fingers, then he withdrew. Later, we argued, and I bathed. Soon, I will go downstairs and we will sleep. His hand was strangely warm on mine, I had forgotten….I could not remember…..how cold I am, tonight.
If I am to be honest, as I thought I would try to be, I could easily seduce him. He is a boy, a man, he wants skin and companionship, blood, as Shakespeare’s Angelo had it, thou art blood. What I want is irrelevant. I am a servant, after all, to fate. I am capable of love.
V - May
He is angry. I am angry. He is in my face, closer than he ought to be, his face red with exertion as he tells me how much he hates me, exactly, and how often. I open my mouth to reply. No answer comes. I close it, and turn away.
He follows me, still shouting, out of the room. Now we are in the kitchen, mutual ground. He touches my shoulder, furious, wanting me to turn around. I turn. I meet his eyes. And I kiss him.
I close my eyes and the scene replays over and over in the flickering cinema of my mind’s eye. His small mouth opened in surprise and I covered it with my own. It was too sudden, too unplanned. I had not decided to seduce him. I did not want to seduce him. I did not want this – but he tasted so beautiful. I am not a good man, and I could not help myself. So we kissed again. I tasted delight.
I have found satiation in sex, but there is no greater pleasure, in my mind, than kissing, in that moment where the body and soul collide. He kissed sweetly and imperfectly. I pushed him away, hard, against the kitchen counter.
I could see the shock in his eyes, but I did my utmost to ignore it.
“You don’t want this.” I said flatly. He didn’t deny it. Who could deny it – he has always been a poor liar, and it is the truth. Funny; before I said it, I had not realized that there had been a ‘this’ between us. Hypocritical of me, really, to refuse him considering I initiated it, but I was banking on him not noticing that. He kissed me again, regardless.
And now we are here in our separate rooms, waiting for night to fall so that we can go stiffly, awkwardly to bed together. I can hear him in his bath below, yet he seems miles away and I can’t help but wonder how we arrived at this moment. Understand this; my feelings have not changed. He is the Boy; irritating and selfish, every inch his obnoxious father. He is headstrong and obstinate. Albus, Minerva, I’m not you. I am no martyr. I kissed him back.
VI - June
I can not – I will not touch him. I have kissed him, hard and often, and that is enough. I will not despoil him. He is not for me, he is for some other charmed life and I have already taken what is not mine. He doesn’t seem to understand the temptation…he is so ridiculously naïve. I will not do it. I will not do it.
He is calling me – he never disturbs me when I am in here. It must be important. I must…
He is to leave me. How ridiculously melodramatic that sounds, but it is true – they have decided that enough is enough, and that he must face the Dark Lord now. He has learned nothing from me except how to punish a child for the sins of his father. I am to stay here. Of course, I will stay here. It is too dangerous for me. They will send a defenseless child into battle against the most evil creature ever to walk the planet, but I must hide away here and pretend that I no longer exist. He can leave. He is welcome to leave. I am fine here alone. I prefer it that way. I will tell him this, and then he will leave. We will both survive.
A month of being alone now. It is easier like this. There are no arguments. I wonder occasionally what he is doing, but he didn’t say he’d write. He said nothing at all in fact, left in a rage after I told him how utterly unaffected I was by the news of his imminent departure. I sleep late now I am alone, eat little. It tastes like ashes and wormwood in my mouth. Occasionally, I turn my attention to a scholarly article – something I could never do when he was here, banging and crashing around the place. Complete silence. As I said, this is not death, you understand.
Why do I talk to you? Why am I wasting the precious supply of magic I have left into casting and recasting the simple spell, expecto patronum, and speaking to you when you appear? You seem to be listening. The patronus is a reflection of the soul, after all, and you are mine, Lily, you were always mine. Maybe this is somehow imprinting upon you, maybe you’re recording this sad old man talking to himself in the dark. Keep listening. Don’t stop. Please, don’t fade. This is not death, you understand. It’s important that you understand. This is not death.
Something is happening overhead. I heard explosions a few hours ago. This house is shaking at the foundations. One of the beams in the roof fell into the kitchen, dividing it neatly into two. Divine irony. I am afraid. There is a time for everything, and now I am being honest. I am afraid.
This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but a whimper.
VIII – August
You always did have a penchant for heroics. All the same, I’m not entirely sure that it was entirely necessary to break the door down upon your return. It’s no use pretending that you’re not listening, Boy. Oh. I suppose so. Harry. Oh. Well, I was glad that you destroyed the Dark Lord, yes. Was I glad you came back? Of course not. Who could be glad that such a….what are you?! No! Oh. Well. Yes. Yes.
This will be my last message. I am grateful that you have listened, Lily, even though you can’t possibly hear me. Lately, I have been learning to suspend my disbelief.
We’re leaving tomorrow. I don’t know where we’re going, but Harry says he wants to travel. I’ll follow him, I suppose. He seems happier. I am the same person. I live – a little differently now, I’ll concede – and I will die. I have done things which I regret, and will regret until the moment when the final breath catches in my throat, when there is no need to breathe any longer. But there is warmth, and human comfort here, and we draw near, pull away with a reassuring regularity, governed by the physics of the heart. Yes – that is exactly it, although I hope you will indulge me in the metaphor. I was a fixed point and now I am orbiting. He orbits too; we orbit together, around each other, in this age-old, complicated pattern of love and regret. Be patient, heart. Some orbits must collide.