|Youth is Wasted on the Young
Author: Mariel Nightstalker PM
Matt meets a kindred spirit in a library. CROSSOVER HET Matt/HermioneRated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Hermione G. & Matt - Words: 1,205 - Reviews: 17 - Favs: 67 - Follows: 10 - Published: 09-13-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6323414
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Youth is Wasted on the Young
Matt didn't like being young. He didn't look the dirty looks old people would give him just because they expected him to act like a hooligan. Sure, he'd been in and out of criminal circles and had done some things he wasn't proud of, but he liked to think that he was a little better-behaved than his peers.
He wasn't like Mello or Near. Mello deliberately dressed and behaved in ways (provocative, violent, loud…whatever his mood led him to do) that would draw attention to himself, and acted out to get attention. He always was needy like that, not that Matt was stupid enough to confront him about it. And Near…Near just didn't care. His coloring (white hair, white skin, red eyes) had set him apart as an oddity since birth, so Matt supposed that he'd just never known anything else.
Still, he wished that someone would acknowledge that he behaved himself. He didn't like disappointing people, tried to be an upright person. He was probably over-analyzing everything like Mello said.
They were in Paris one hazy summer day, Mello there to have a meeting with some crime lord. Matt wasn't invited to the meeting, and he didn't want to be. Instead he wandered around the city, eating pastries and drinking coffee to his heart's content. He eventually found his way into a library, as he always seemed to do.
Finding it mostly empty due to the beautiful weather, he perused the shelves at his leisure and in peace. He'd come to appreciate the times when he was apart from Mello's loud and sometimes vulgar presence.
He found a thick book detailing the history of video games and their nuances. He decided to read it, even if it was five years old, and brush up on his life-long obsession. Lately he'd been so busy that the only time he had time for his gameboy was in airports or in elevators.
Sitting on the dusty floor, he stretched his legs out across the aisle and began to read.
Some time later, a soft cough drew him back to reality. A girl, maybe fifteen, was standing to one side of his legs and looking at him apologetically.
He pulled his legs up to his chest so she could pass. When she was no longer looking at him but at the shelves filled with histories of popular culture, he took advantage of the moment to get a good look at her. She wore dusty tan-colored shoes, with flat rubber heels. He knew they weren't in style, and they certainly weren't flattering.
Perhaps she had a practical streak?
She wore them with pale blue socks that went half-way up her legs, though one had drooped into an undignified rumple around her ankle. There was a long scratch of a scar down the back of her right calf, and he wondered how she'd gotten it. It wasn't a surgical scar, and it didn't look like the sort of injury you'd get while playing sports.
With this, she wore a denim shorts (and not the short-short kind favored by her peers) and a long-sleeved shirt with the sleeves rolled up. An over-the-shoulder bag cut diagonally across her back.
He returned his eyes to his book, a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth against his will. She was a kindred spirit, a fellow rebel in the face of rebellious youth that resembled each other too closely.
She pulled out a book on hairstyles of European monarchs throughout the ages and sat down across from him without a care for the dust.
Her legs touched the shelf against which he leaned, and he realized that she must be tall. She didn't look at him or speak. She just cracked the cover of the book and began poring over its contents, her cloud of thick brown hair surrounding her head like a halo gone mad. He smiled at her, though she didn't see it, and wondered what her name was.
It was nice to know that he wasn't the only one.
After she'd skimmed and taken rapid notes (in English, he noticed) on four different books, he worked up the courage to ask her (also in English) if she was working on a project. She seemed to have a theme- trends started by or endorsed by the nobility, be they ideas or art.
She started and replied,
"Not officially. I was just kind of seeing what I could find."
They were quiet for half an hour until she initiated conversation by asking, "Aren't you warm in that vest?"
He plucked at the collar of his customary fur vest and shrugged, "A little, but it cushions me from the shelves behind my back."
She gave him a prim smile and grabbed a fresh volume, dedicated to petticoats during the nineteenth century. She had a good ten pages of notes now, and was scribbling down references to connected literature, presumably to look at later. He bit his lip, and then held out a hand.
"I'm Matt, by the way."
She shook it, her handshake firm and dry and reassuring.
He raised his eyebrows, "That's an interesting name."
She smirked, looking as though she heard that all the time, "It's Shakespearean."
She smiled then, blushed, and looked back down at her book. He caught her sneaking peeks at him from time to time after that, and felt gleeful about impressing her. When it hit late afternoon, he stretched and stood.
Looking up from her book, she asked if he was going home.
"Actually, I was going to go get a snack," he waited a beat, reading hope in her eyes, "Would you like to come with me?"
"I'd like that."
He helped her up and then launched into a sketchy dissertation on why Marie Antoinette was such a trailblazer of a queen despite her many faults and follies. Hermione's eyes practically glowed as she joined in, making fresh observations that he'd never considered before.
He was sorry to part ways with her several hours later when she had to meet her parents for dinner. Apparently it was their custom to go to France for several during the summer when she was away from school. According to her, they normally spent their days doing separate research and reading for pleasure alone.
It sounded like heaven, and the thought of returning to his cramped hotel room (in which he had to share a too-small bed with Mello, who kicked) grew more oppressive of a concept. He was sorry to part ways with her, and she apparently felt the same because she shyly handed him a slip of paper with a phone number on it.
He resolved to call her the next time he wanted to hear a reasonable and intelligent person under the age of 30.
So…this was random and I have no real excuse for it.