|Drowning (Antonin/Pansy; PG)
||[Oct. 15th, 2014|02:24 am]
Pairing(s): Antonin Dolohov/Pansy Parkinson
Word Count: 1,164
Summary: Pansy is in way over her head.
Pansy stands with her hands on the windowsill, watching as large raindrops fall from the grey sky and splatter against the window, slowly sliding down the cold glass. It has rained for over two days straight. Not the almost-warm shower that could be expected in April, but a long and cold rain, falling from low-hanging clouds that obscure the sky – the sun in day and the stars and moon by night. The chill from the wet onslaught permeates everything, invades every room not warmed by a fire.
Pansy can imagine herself as a young girl, playing outside in the puddles, running through the rain in a light dress as her mother watches on in disapproval from the porch. Her dress becomes wet and heavy, it sticks to her legs and she becomes tangled in its skirt, nearly falling over. But that was all years ago and there are no little girls playing outside anymore. Only Pansy, wrapped in her dark cloak, watching the ceaseless rain, waiting with almost baited breath. For something.
She can count the grey raindrops the way she used to count the steps from the girls’ dormitory to the boys’, tiptoeing as to not alert anyone to her indiscretion. But that was when she was Draco’s intended, back in another lifetime before the war. Before the rain. Now she waits for something that may never come – for a reprieve, a command, a reason to run headfirst into the slowly fading light – and the waiting has taken the lightness out of her movements, made them heavy and determined.
If victory every comes, Pansy wonders if she will be able to go back to being so light and carefree as she once was.
She closes her eyes and listens. Beyond the pattering of the rain are heave footsteps coming down the hall. She opens her eyes once again and begins to count once more, her knuckles whitening as she grips the edge of the windowsill even tighter.
She does not want it to be him.
Yet that is all she wants. Otherwise, why would she be here, instead of at home?
The slow creaking of the door echoes a far-off rumble of thunder and Pansy lets out a breath she did not realize she had been holding. “You’re here.” He does not sound surprised and Pansy turns slowly away from the window.
She is framed against the rain, blending in with it. The raindrops sliding down the glass disappear into her hair and under her cloak. She watches him with dark, tired eyes, hands hidden in the folds of her cloak. “I don’t know how to do it anymore.”
“Not think about the war. Forget myself. Be happy.” She pauses and watches the neutral, just barely thoughtful expression on his face. The rain seems to be reflected in his eyes.
He goes to stand beside her, by the window, and looks out into the bleached courtyard, at the drooping, wet trees and sleek cobblestone. “Bleak, isn’t it? Well it won’t end just because we want it to.”
Pansy tips her head, looking up at the side of his face, leaning back against the windowpane. “The rain?”
He smiles, sadly. “The war.”
“Oh.” She looks down at her long-fingered hands; they seem strangely empty these days unless she’s holding a wand. “Is that why you’re always here, Mr. Dolohov?”
“Antonin,” he corrects, very quietly. “Please.”
“Is that why you’re always here, Antonin?” It should not hurt to say his name. But it does and Pansy bites her lip, a fresh wave of shame coursing through her. Hot flashes of the night outside Alnwick plague her and she shivers.
“I’m here,” Antonin says evenly, without taking his eyes off the rain, “because I have nowhere else to be. Same as you.”
“I—I don’t...” Pansy begins to protest but stops, gnawing on her bottom lip in nervous frustration. She cannot stand being so close to him. She cannot stand that he is right. Everyone, everyone she knows and loves is fighting. The war creeps closer and closer every day with silent, gliding steps. The steps of Death itself. The rain has now washed away all the pretenses, colored the world in its true colors. It is easy to pretend in the sun, but in the rain the outlines of all the things lost and yet to be lost are clearly drawn.
She can feel his eyes on her and turns slowly, the color rising to her cheeks. She knows what he is thinking by the murkiness of his gaze, which stays, irreproachably, on her face. If Pansy had ever had any doubt, she had stolen that way out from herself and he had sealed her surrender with his hands and his lips. “We never should have,” she whispers, breathless. Her voice echoes in the empty conference room, amplified by the large, empty spaces. Everything is empty here.
“No, we shouldn’t have.” That smile of his is back, just barely outlined in the corners of his mouth. She never knows what he is thinking but he seems to see her inside-out. Sees every fear and hope she has, every weakness. “But we did.”
“I don’t know what I’m doing,” Pansy confesses. She does not know if she means with him, or with the war or both.
“It’s best that way, trust me. Things are so much worse when you know exactly. You start picking yourself apart, your entire life. And when you misstep, you cannot forgive yourself because you were supposed to know better.” Antonin reaches out and takes hold of her wrist.
Pansy looks down at their linked hands. In her ears, the drumming of the rain increases, deepens. She feels herself drowning, slowly. She looks up and meets his eyes, wondering, again, what he is thinking and what he sees when he looks at her. She wonders if he sees a recruit and a student, the daughter of one of his old friends, or a lost girl of seventeen who threw herself in an adrenaline induced delirium at the first man who seemed to understand. “I should go.” She wait for him to refuse, to claim her. She almost wants him to do with her what he will, because making choices is too difficult as of late. She waits to be put in her place.
Instead, he lets her go.
She is almost to the door when Antonin’s voice stops her. “If you come to the formation drills tomorrow night, I’ll know.” Pansy slips out without giving an answer. She has a portkey home, but tonight she decides to walk to the perimeter, cross the patrol and apparate instead. She wants to feel the rain on her skin, soaking her cloak and hair. She wants to become one with it, allow it to fill her. She wants to accept it before coming in for drills, before telling him she is certain.
Because hiding and staying dry has not done her any good.