Sometimes, a thing can be broken beyond repair. Often we're the ones that make it so. A snapshot of the dying gasps of a relationship, post-Voldemort. Muggle OFC, but not in the way that you think.
Genre: HP. Drama? Not sure. Suggest something better and I'll adjust.
Word count: 1,465
Rating: PG-13/R for swearing. F/F relationship.
10 bucks says you don't have it in you
to conquer fear and quit believing what they tell you to
you are careening shamelessly into oblivion
you will live alone with your chemicals and gin
--Dutch Courage :: the Spill Canvas
"Are we alone?"
She shrugs, slices the knife cleanly through the heart of the tomato spread at her mercy on the countertop. Perhaps not quite the enthusiasm one looks for in ones lover, but it is the responses I have learnt to deal with.
"I have something to tell you."
Still no response and I stand in that perfectly French room, watching her massacre a fruit-vegetable under the overhead rack of copper pots and pans. Its insides spill across the limestone countertop, a seed or two escaping to run down the raw doors of the French pine cabinets.
"I'm sleeping with Draco Malfoy."
Her hand stops its cutting motion, the knuckles whitened around the handle momentarily before she places it calmly to the side, the small clink resounding loudly in the silence. Not even the tap is daring to drip, as it has done incessantly since she bought this place.
She turned, is looking at me now, her brown eyes dulled by a veil of no emotions. She regards me coldly, no expression, and it is remarkable how naked she can make me feel. I am wearing the patterned stockings, pencil skirt, Victorian-style blouse and blazer of all in my profession. The Armor. Under her eyes, though, I am naked.
"How long?" she asks, leaning one wrist against the counter. I cross my arms, settling them beneath my breasts, meeting her eyes. I swore to do her this courtesy.
"Since my promotion. The celebratory Ball. We met there."
"Two years. Impressive."
She turns back to the countertop, takes the knife up again against the ever-present threat of the onions.
"Well, I try."
Her refusal to acknowledge me, the situation, anything else propels me from the room. It is not the bravest move, but all I can do.
The lofted living room is the next room, and sufficient escape for me. It is her work room and magpie clutch, assortments of shiny and half-painted canvases propped against rough-hewn walls.
An old guitar lies discarded on the spill canvas spread across most of the floor. It belonged to someone important, I know that. Someone with an unhealthy obsession with brooms and snakes. Turpentine bottles sit by litres of paint, discarded paintbrushes with bristles clumped and hardened in a rainbow of colors.
"Being a coward is not a legitimate career, my dear," she says, and I turn to see her standing at the edge of the room, leaning back against the dark wood of the doorjamb.
"No," I reply, smiling, pushing an escaped auburn curl back into the butterfly clip that is a permanent fixture of any hairstyle of mine.
"But at least I'm not a liar and a cheat. Well, not much of one. Not the only one."
Her face remains the stony mask, unaffected as she wishes to appear to all. I smile again, tilting my face down to the floor, watching a high-heeled pair of 1940s Mary-Janes make their way across a paint-splattered spill canvas towards a paint-splattered poster child for the lifestyle of Dutch Courage.
The glass is in her hand again, and I reach out to pull it from her. "A Gryffindor never needed the liquid form of their defining characteristic, according to my sources."
"You're fucking Draco Malfoy, dear. He's not exactly the most reliable or informed." She jerks her hand back from mine, some of the clear chemical in her hand spilling over its crystal-cut edges.
"No, true," I allow, shrugging. "Jealous?"
The answering look is pure sarcasm, distilled with a dash of disdain.
"No, didn't think so," I say with a tight smile. "Bully for me. Can't even achieve that."
There is silence, and I am rather disbelieving of how quiet this apartment can be. A drunken artist should, by all rights, make large amounts of noise at all hours.
I turn back to the canvas standing against our living room wall - her living room wall. The packet of cigarettes in my blazer pocket digs into my hip, and I pull it out, jiggling it lightly to shake one loose. The lighter slides into my palm, as a smooth stone from the creek that runs by the front of the property.
"You shouldn't smoke."
"Fuck off," I reply, void of any real animosity as I light it and take a deep drag. "I'm the doctor. I'm supposed to say things like that, not you. You're the one that's supposed to smoke."
"Everyone. It's how you Bohemian types get your insight into all things whacko and angsty."
"I was never the Bohemian in the relationship." She's right. Ironic; the straight-edge, anal artist and the barefoot bohemian Doctor-turned-Curator.
"I have to get back to the Museum," I say, to break the silence. An ashtray balances precariously on the edge of the coffee table, and I put the cigarette out before pushing the ashtray back from the edge. She snorts into her glass, taking another drink. I turn on my high-heel quickly, snapping my arm out to slap the glass from her hand. It shatters behind her, pieces scattering and scratching the immaculate polished timber.
"My mother gave me that glass." She hasn't moved, hardly even blinked, just dropped her hand and turned her eyes to me. Her voice has a lack of emotion that, even for her, scares me.
"And she'd have kissed me for that. She'd be utterly disgusted. As inebriated as you can get off your latest paycheck," I can't help the small snort that escapes me. "You're going to drink yourself to death before I ever get lung cancer."
"Says you." She pushes off the doorjamb, stands toe-to-toe with me. My heels and her flats have me eye-to-eye with her. "I want you out of my house. And everything of yours." I raise an eyebrow at her.
"I'd expected as much. It's all already packed." I can see behind her eyes, the wince that comes from her predictability. She always hated that I could know what she would do or say before she did it. She hates that I remain, in that one respect, unreadable to her.
"You're so clever," she says, voice hushed and restrained. "You've deceived me more artfully than anything I've ever produced."
It is my turn for the silence. Hermione's old friend though it is, we are not such strangers.
She leans forward, just slightly, slides her lips across mine. She tastes of gin and Her, her tongue sliding slowly, easily, familiarly against mine, and the unruly curls of her hair tickle the sides of my skin as she bites into my bottom lip viciously.
"Sometimes, I thoroughly despise you."
"No," I reply, stepping back, licking the droplets of blood from the broken skin. "You hate them. They're the ones that left you."
"You're leaving me," she tells me baldly, still without emotion.
"Once more, baby, with feeling." I snort, taking a step back from her, the crunching sound of glass under my feet.
"They died. They had no choice."
"You haven't given me much of one either. You're not exactly the most accessible woman."
"I don't care. You're little more than his whore, now. Get out."
Her eyes are fire, finally, emotions roused by blatant disrespect.
"No. Spell me and I'll have you up in front of the Wizengamot for Use of Magic on a Muggle With Malicious Intent. What's that, ten, twenty years in Azkaban and no further contact with Muggles of any sort without Auror supervision?"
She makes a noise in the back of her throat, picking up the china vase my mother gave us as an anniversary present last year and hurling it at my head. It flies well wide, and I smirk, though I find little amusement in this.
"You've been talking to Miranda Snape, haven't you? Merlin, you bitch, you planned this. Oh, you're /perfect/."
"What pisses you off more? That I spoke to a lawyer, or that I spoke to Miranda?"
She hisses her breath out, gives me a look of pure poison. It is low, I know. I swore never to mention them in this house, to let sleeping dogs lie. I really am a bitch.
"That's been over for years. She's welcome to him, the surly, greasy, ugly arse."
Methinks the lady, she doth protest too much.
"Wasn't so over at the last Ministry Ball, was it?" Swirling skirts and robes, the smell of the lavender she'd dotted at her pulse points and the rising of a distinct cologne from her clothes. He was all over her skin, light abrasions and invisible fingerprints and that scented calling-card.
Her silence is, for once, all the answer I need.
"Maybe I'm not the only one who's /perfect/. I just did it better."
This time, I'm more than happy to oblige her.