Nymph

She can't figure out, for the life of her, why he calls her by her proper name. Every time she corrects him, he apologises profusely and might even use the right name once or twice, but then after a few minutes he calls her Nymphadora again and she corrects him all over again.

She doesn't know why she doesn't just give up on him entirely. She suspects it's that same old Black stubborness running through her blood. She's determined to win this battle.

He's sitting across from her, sipping at a mug of sweet tea. The smell of the tea is so strong it drifts around the table, a delicious-smelling phantom dancing circles around them then out the open window. For once, he's let go completely, and he's leaning back, his sock-clad feet propped up on the chair across from him and next to her. He's wearing a simple white button-up shirt, a button unbuttoned at the top. She guesses he's warm, and decides to hit him with a water jet spell as soon as she finishes her afternoon tea.

She leans her head on her left hand, lazily stirring her own coffee, loaded with four sugar-cubes and a whole lot of milk. She watches him pick up an old Prophet and scan it, as if willing for any interesting news to jump off the yellowing pages. He's done that five times already today. She supposes that he's bored, and tries to think of anything remotely interesting they can do.

Finally, as he puts the paper down, obviously disheartened by the lack of anything interesting to do or see, she asks him why he doesn't call her by the name she likes best. Thoughfully, he stirs his tea, causing the tea leaves to swirl about in the chipped mug as a myriad of jagged green bits and pieces, then picks up the paper again, to re-read the front page.

She drinks deeply from her mug, savouring the taste of the pungent coffee, and waits for him to answer. Meanwhile, she decides to change her hair to short perky blonde ringlets, then decides against it and morphs back to spiky blue peaks. She tugs at one misplaced blonde curl flopping over her forehead and vaguely wonders why she'd missed that particular lock.

"I met a nymph once," he says offhandedly, "she was a pretty thing."

He pours some more hot water into the mug. Little puffs of steam rise from the boiling liquid in his mug, and he peers interestedly into the murky liquid. She changes the blonde bit back to blue and peers at it in a conjured mirror, satisfied.

"Not like a nymph of the ancient Greeks, or Romans, I suppose," he adds thoughtfully, as he continues to stir the tea. She pushes a lock of the damp blue hair out of her eyes. She reckons it's a bit too warm to be wearing her Weasley jumper, but doesn't try to take it off.

"She was pretty, yes, but in a strange sort of way," he murmurs, looking back at the old newspaper again. "She was very brightly coloured, of course. Demeter's daughters are meant to be colourful."

She gives a little yawn, smothering it just enough so he knows she's not bored of him. She takes another sip from her mug, tasting the brown liquid gratefully. She wonders why coffee must always taste so good even when it's boiling hot outside.

"The Greeks had it wrong, though," he says, "she wasn't very graceful at all. She invited me for tea in her hollow tree, but she said she'd accidentally broken her teacups a few days ago. She was fairly pretty, still."

He fiddles absently with a little leather cord around his neck. "She didn't just live in her tree, though," he remarks. "Apparently she had been in a few logs and rocks and meadows around the place, too. She was a polysmeid, or so she told me. Polys for the ancient Greek much, actually."

He's stopped talking now, and is draining the mug of the rest of the tea. She notices how he conserves the little bits of leaf at the bottom, swallowing all of the mug's contents.

She tilts her head in thought as her mind processes what he has said. "I thought nymphs didn't exist," she says conversationally. Tapping that catchy little tune she had heard on the Wizard's Wireless on the smooth mahogany table, she watches him run a hand through his silver-streaked brown hair. She thinks he's aging too quickly for a good-looking man like him.

He smiles, a weary, but cheerful smile. "That's what people think. There aren't many of them left, most have just drifted off and turned to puffs of air. A pity, really."

She drums her fingers on the table, then puts her bare feet on an empty space on the table with a gentle plunk, wiggling her toes all the while. "Sounds like me," she jokes. "Not many of me left. And a pity."

She licks the teaspoon she's used to stir her coffee. The dregs sit glumly at the bottom of her mug, dark and watery. The sunlight streaming through the windows casts bright light on the rather dirty furniture in the house; the rays of light filter through spots of dirt on the glass panes. She thinks about cleaning those windows again sometime soon.

"I asked her to stay with me," he says. She looks quizzically at him, and wonders whether the nymph stayed. He looks at her with musing amber-brown eyes, and leans over the width of the table to give her a kiss on the lips.

When she pulls away, she grins. "There wasn't a nymph at all," she says knowledgeably. Her fingers have uncurled from the handle of her cracked mug, and she doesn't even think about buying a new set.

He raises an eyebrow. "Maybe," he answers mystically. He leans in to kiss her again, and when she pulls away this time, she decides she doesn't want to know why he doesn't call her by the right name.

She decides Nymphadora is just fine.


A/N: Another random piece. My, I'm in a writing mood today. ;-) Review!