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Disclaimer: The characters arenít mine, moreís the pity.
With a yelp, you wake. The June heat is stifling, and you struggle to kick away the sweat drenched sheets that stick to your body. You breathe deeply in the relief of the air that hits your skin and engulfs you.
Fleeting images flash into your mind, memories of the fitful dream. Skin against skin, hands against hands and mouths against mouths. His on yours, yours on his. It seemed so real, the way that you felt the sharp stone of the wall pressing into your back, your heart racing ten times its normal pace.
You shake your head. It was a dream, nothing more.
You lie still, but the images keep on coming. They blaze through your mind even though you try to block them out. You need to sleep, you tell yourself. Itís past midnight, and you have to be up for classes tomorrow morning. But you couldnít possibly sleep; youíre more awake than ever. You canít stop thinking, imagining.
You sit up straight. Itís no use, itís too hot. Peering through the darkness, you realise you canít see anything. You grope around on your bedside table until your hand clasps around the familiar metal frame of your glasses. Putting them on, you see that the window is, indeed, open. The air outside is still, and there is not even a hint of a summer breeze. You run a hand through the dark hair that is sticking to your head with perspiration. There was no way youíll sleep again tonight.
You pull yourself out of bed and walk to the window, careful not to disturb the other sleeping boys. You wrap your hands around the silver jug that sits on the windowsill, grateful for the cool of the metal on your clammy skin. You tip it up to pour out a glass of water but only a few drops trickle out. The jug is empty.
Your heartbeat has calmed a bit by now, but your face still feels flushed, the heat rising from your body in waves. The room is suffocating, as if the darkness is closing in. You peel off the worn, sweat drenched t-shirt that serves as a pyjama top and a sigh escapes you as the air hits the skin on your bare chest. Anything to stop the heat. The air isnít cool enough though, and the room is still just as oppressive.
A walk, thatís what you need.
You ponder for a moment on whether to wear the invisibility cloak, but decide against it. A cloak in this heat is not something you want to consider, but maybe youíll carry it with you, just in case. The map? More things to carry, the idea isnít particularly appealing. With your wand, the cloak and the map, you may as well start carrying round a handbag. But you need the map if you donít want to get caught.
You wrap the wand and map in the cloak, before deciding theyíll be far too cumbersome, and crossing the room. The door is heavy and creaks slightly as you push it open, but you know your roommates are too deep in their sleep to notice. Lucky them.
You shut it behind you with a tiny click. As you descend, you notice that even the stone steps under your bare feet arenít as cold as they usually are. The common room is deserted, just as you expected. The fire has long since died.
You reach the portrait hole in a few long strides. Stepping out, you ignore the reprimands of the Fat Lady who wants to know what a scantily clad young Gryffindor is doing, prowling the corridors at night. You decide which way to turn, and soon her words fade to nothingness.
The corridors are better than your dormitory. They stretch on as far as you can see in the darkness, and you know you can walk as far as you want. You feel no urge to light up the path ahead.
The silence amplifies the sounds around you. The footsteps on the stone floor, though muffled as you wear no shoes, ring in your ears along with the rustling of your trousers at every step.
You are beginning to relax, but the unwanted images keep coming back to you; his breath on your neck, his hair between your fingers, his hand on your cheek. Theyíre stupid images, you tell yourself. Theyíre just your imagination, just the heat. But something deep inside you says you wish that wasnít so. You squash that feeling, the ridiculous lie. You banish it to the furthest corner of your mind, never to surface again.
Green eyes looking into the grey, and the silver gaze boring back, almost as if to penetrate each otherís souls and search for answers. Answers that would never come. What answers? You donít want any answers, you remind yourself. You donít have any questions.
Those grey eyesÖ
You realise that wandering the castle isnít doing any good. You want to expel the thoughts, but the stone walls merely trap them inside you.
You find yourself walking down the marble staircase and staring up at the great oak doors. Theyíre even larger than you remember, though you see them every day. Theyíre closed now, but it stands to reason that theyíd only be open during the day. Yet thereís nobody on guard. Filch must be patrolling the corridors somewhere else. You remember wondering once if the man ever sleeps and deciding that he probably doesnít, at least by the look of him.
You cross the last stretch of floor before stopping in front of the doors. They arenít actually closed, as you had assumed from further away. In fact the left door stands ajar, leaving with gap wide enough for a skinny someone to fit through. Apparently, however, not you; after pushing the door open a few inches further, you thank Merlin that the hinges didnít squeak.
As you step out into the grounds, moonlight dances off the grass stretching out in front of you, making the atmosphere almost ethereal. The moon isnít particularly bright, but you can see the dim silhouettes of trees in the distance, down by the lake.
Now that youíre outside in the open air, you feel your skin breathing like a sigh of relief. Itís still warm and stifling, but the compression of the stone walls that enclosed you has gone. You still canít detect a breeze, so you quicken your pace. If the air wonít rush past you, then youíll just have to rush past it. Nobodyís here to stop you.
You slow down again when your heartbeat begins to pound once more, taking in deep breaths and gulping in the night air. If you were to look back, you would see the castle, with all its shadows and reflections of the moon, receding behind you.
But the images are never that far away; it seems you canít escape them. They donít belong to your bed, your dormitory, or the castle. They belong to you. You donít want them to. You wish they didnít. But you canít escape them. Itís not just the dream any more.
A fleeting glance across the classroom. He would look at you at the same time, and your eyes would lock. Once upon a time, there would be a sneer from him, a scowl from you, and you would both turn away with a snarl. That was only when you decided not to insult each other. Now, now itís different. Your eyes lock. You stare for a moment before remembering who exactly it is youíre staring at. If he realises first, a red tinge creeps into his cheeks, and he looks away quickly, focusing on anything other than your presence three desks away. If itís you, you do the same, concentrating as hard as possible on whatever it is youíre supposed to be working on. Well, trying to concentrate, you never can.
Feelings speed along with the memories, reminding you of that strange twisting feeling that clenches your stomach; a feeling that you have never felt before, a feeling that you donít want to feel, a feeling that you never wanted to feel.
More images surface. Youíre walking along the corridor, more often than not late for your next class, and a shoulder barges into yours. He used to do it intentionally. Youíre sure itís still intentional, but when you look behind, thereís no sneer. You lift a hand to your shoulder as Ron begins his familiar rant, Hermione chastising him for his crude language although you know she agrees. Your shoulder tingles, not with pain, but as if his presence still lingers there.
The enmity had been so much easier.
But what is it now? Nothing, itís nothing. Of course youíre still enemies, you always have been and always will be.
As you continue in your mindless path away from the castle, you come to accept that you canít escape the sharp images that flood your mind, at least not tonight. They mix together, the memories and the dream, and become one. They leave a shadow over you that you donít think will ever disappear, so to be honest, thereís no point in trying to block them out.
When did the animosity become thisÖ whatever it is?
What is it?
Itís nothing, but how can something be nothing? Something that, so obviously, is something; a something thatís taking over your thoughts.
You stop walking and shut your eyes tight. You try to stop thinking, wanting just a minuteís worth of peace. You raise your hands to your face and press your palms against your eye sockets, pressing down until you see stars. Itís no use.
You slowly lower them again, blinking, and take a deep breath before turning to head back towards the distant castle.
As you get closer, you walk in the shadows that the moon has cast of the huge building on the grass. You can feel it under your bare feet. The dryness of the weather of late has made it dry and scratchy, but you hardly even notice. Youíre so engrossed with your own thoughts that you donít notice youíre about to collide with something until itís too late.
Youíre knocked backwards to sprawl on the ground, your heart pumping loudly from the shock. Your glasses fall from your face and nestle unseen into the grass. Everything is blurry.
You peer upwards, blinking and trying to make out what it was that knocked you over. It couldnít have been a wall, surely. Well, the castleís actually much closer than you thought now youíre concentrating on your surroundings, only a few steps away, but youíre facing the wrong direction. A tree then? No, not around this side of the castle.
You finally make out a shape in the darkness.
It is completely still as you squint at it. From what you can see, which isnít much, it is around your height and is staring at you with wide eyes, mouth open in an air of surprise.
If only your glasses hadnít flown off somewhere, but you canít look for them, you donít need to any more. Youíre frozen to the spot, looking up into those eyes without a doubt in your mind about whatÖwhoÖyouíve hit. Crap.
Eventually a blurry hand is extended and you grasp it, letting it pull you effortlessly to your feet. Now youíre standing up, now youíre closer, you can see the figure more clearly. Itís wearing pyjamas in what seems to be green and black silk, which makes you realise how inappropriately dressed you are. Its hair is tousled and messy as if a hand had been run through it in thought more than once during the night.
The face, when you look back at it, has been schooled back from that surprised expression. The mouth, that rosebud pink mouth that you canít help staring at, has been closed in a dignified manner, and now the grey eyes bore into yours.
You want to start babbling excuses. You want to apologize a hundred times and run back to the castle, leaving your glasses lying somewhere in the grass, to the safety of your own bed. You would to do anything to escape this moment, but you canít tear yourself away. You canít make your mouth form words or your legs move. You canít take your eyes from the intense gaze that you are sharing. It is almost like your heart has stopped beating, as if time has frozen.
You donít even realise that your hand is still enclosed in his.
He takes a step forward and without thinking, without knowing whatís happening, your lips meet. Blood rushes around inside your head as if your heart has just remembered its job. After a second of stunned shock, you lean into the embrace. You feel his arm snake around your waist and pull you closer, deepening the kiss. You feel the prickling sensation running up your spine as the skin of his arm brushes against the bare skin of your back. You feel your hand reaching up to the back of his head, your fingers threading through his hair. You feel like this is right, as if you could stay here, like this, forever.
Skin against skin, hands against hands and mouths against mouths. His on yours, yours on his with desperate touches everywhere. Your back comes into contact with the wall, pressing against the rough stone, and the dream becomes reality.
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Dreams and Reality by bewarethepossums
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The Patronus skin was created especially for The Petulant Poetess by TarahFae.