She watches him tangle into the muslin sheets, soft white pleats clutched loosely in his slender fingers, knuckles tumbling over the hems. Her hair is glaring, almost tangerine against the milky bedcovers, but his is a illuminated, pale, golden.

He is an angel in his sleep, she muses. Looking at him, he is the portrait of innocence, of sugary dreams.

If only that were the truth.

Mutely, with the soundless touch of someone on their guard, she peels the edge of the sheets over his bare shoulder. The sinister skull is blaringly dark in the room, and it looks as if it is a web of his own dark blood, clinging against his smooth skin. Impulsively, she presses a shaky kiss against his other shoulder, as if protecting it.

He murmurs something into the mattress, his lips muffled against the downy pillow he's burying his face into. She can just see his eyelashes crumpling against the elbow he's thrown under his head.

He is so beautiful when he sleeps. When he is awake, often he is callous and sometimes he is charming and genuine and always is he alert. But in slumber, he is perfect.

She's not sure how he can sleep so freely when the rest of them are true insomniacs, sleepers so light they jolt up, fling a hex at the slightest creak on the floorboards. She's roomed with Hermione, Ron, Harry, and handfuls of Aurors and Order members--those who have experienced the most are perpetually on their toes. It saddens her to see Harry jump to his feet at midnight, eyes wide and flurried with trepidation and rage and supple fear, when the wind whips against the side of their tent.

So how can he sleep so well?

For a moment, she lets herself entertain the thought that maybe he is only so loose around her. That perhaps he trusts her so implicitly, that she is in his pulse, his blood, lowering his walls.

But the instant passes, and she snorts, unladylike. She is a dreamer, but not delusional. They are not lovers who whisper sweet nothings. They are fused and infused, bodies and fierceness and heat.

And that's how it will always be, she guesses.

She would have minded, before. But now, she truly isn't sure if they'll make it. She doesn't know who'll be triumphant, and what are the odds of them surviving this war?

So she revels in the warmth strung between him and her, the comfort of the bed, the bareness of her toes peeking at the side of the mattress, her leg dangling over the side carelessly, revealing a web of scars.

They're both dripping cuts and scars. There is a streak of red between her pinky and her elbow, there are little holes peppered into his calve, there is a little bunch of hair that ends at her ears, an x at the nape of his neck. And their souls are bleeding, bleating, desperate for...

For what, really?

She watches him stir. He'll wake soon--they have their respective jobs to return to. She is playing bodyguard with an array of Order members, Hermione included, for something-or-other, and he is...well, she doesn't know what he is. Or what he's planning to do.

They never speak of such things, typically. To do so would prove that they're more than just odalisques and pleasurers and symbiotes.

It would prove they're something more than a kiss and caress.

Which they're not, of course.

She bites her lip, nibbling on it thoughtfully. What if they are?

That's wistful thinking. And dumb thinking. She doesn't even know him--they barely ever exchange words, as if a string of sentences is dry to them. Sometimes she likes to believe they're above speaking, because they use the language of thumbs and toes and skin.

But really, she knows it's because they're not sure what to say. What can a pair like them chat about, after all? The weather? The war?

No. But as his eyelids flip open, and his nerves are fizzing again, she is prompted to speak, because she is so curious.

"You look adorably rumpled."

She smiles slightly as she says it. It's endearing, but surprisingly unawkward.

He blinks at her, then grins, an almost-feral baring of his teeth.

"Of course I do. You look like you've been up for a while."

She has. Studying him.

"I have."

"What were you doing?"

Watching you. Thinking about you. It's what she always does, though she'll never admit it.




What else? She's in his bed, clad in only his satiny sheets, and he asks what about?

She understands, though. She always understands. It's just that she doesn't know if he does.

"About us."

A pause. Ginny drums her fingertips along the edge of the mahogany bed, making a light rattly noise.

"What are we?"

She's shocked that it's he who asks that. She always expected him to be cold, curt, to turn away from her, barricade anything and everything from her.

Maybe it's those skewed, frayed expectations that have halted them.

"We're lovers."

She whispers it, nearing him, and the word hangs between them, thick and perfect. Because the moment she says it, she knows it true. He looks at her, piercingly, and her breath catches. And then, he gives her the slightest nod.

And that's all she needs, for a throbbing, full joy erupts in her, and she wraps her arms around his neck, tipping them both over.

For once, they've truly spoken.