Another one shot; just my verbal doodling. It's very similar to my last one shot, "Like Parchment," but... different? I dunno. Either way, I hope you like it. L&C chapter seven coming soon.

J. K. Rowling pwns their asses.

Sea of Doubt

She watches you in between sheets of paper and dyes the white red with her blush, admiring the flirtatious curve of your mouth as you talk to another boy, the careful way you toss your hair with the back of your hand to accentuate your slender neck. She can see the pulse in your throat when you laugh and she traces your collarbone with her eyes, wishing she could run her fingertips across the fragile white, feel the hard beneath the soft.

She wishes for a lot of things, though she presents herself to be so down-to-earth. She talks to you and she's praying, oh, god, talk to me like you talk to them, referring to the boys you pay attention to – so much attention to, not enough to her. She's your study companion, your brother's love interest – not that she has any interest in him, and you know it, but since that night that she kissed your cheek so soft and you felt her breath so tantalizingly against your mouth, you haven't spoken of love or interest. It was an unspoken mistake; just a moment taken the wrong way. She hates that you do that – ignore the important incidents that really define your relationship with her, the ones that could ignite something so powerful that neither of you could ever imagine the flames in each other's eyes.

She invites you to her much more private prefects dorm, just a couple of girls in one room and most of them are usually out, but most of the time you just smile sheepishly and decline. Instead, you invite her to your dorm, where there are always huddles of girls giggling and gossiping, so privacy is out of the question. Privacy for what, you don't want to think about – oh, but she does, and you know that.

The fact of the matter is that you do think about it when you're alone – what it would be like. Summer isn't too far off and you'll be sleeping next to her every night, the sticky summer air keeping the state of dress at indecent levels and spelling the doors locked and silenced so the boys don't try to sneak in on your mostly-naked forms. You cuddle together over the summer; you look forward to it, the comfort of her skin against yours, the sound of her breath close to your ear. You secretly enjoy when she wakes up early and assumes you're still asleep and simply watches you. You flutter your eyelids open only slightly to catch the expression on her face – longing, but content. You know it, because you look at her the same way when she's not looking.

But you're scared of secret flirtations not being so secret anymore. After all, you're a popular girl – so many obligations to uphold, so many boys' hearts to break. You enjoy the game and the company, but not the messy parts – the groping of hard, clumsy hands, the smacking of untrained lips. You think that, even though she's never kissed anyone, she would be perfect.

And that's why you're scared. She's perfect – too good for you. She doesn't think so; she doesn't think she's pretty enough for you, which is why she doesn't try to win your attention. She plays much subtler games than you do, which is why you generally don't catch them – the invitations to walk by the lake, or trips to the kitchen for hot cocoa – you just assume she's just being polite, even though you know better in your heart. But why take the chance?

She invites you again to spend time with her in the prefects dorm; she tells you it's empty – everyone's still at dinner. You say yes, heart pounding. She blushes and leads you inside, swallowing the sea of doubt she's watered in her heart and once the door is closed she turns to you with soft eyes.

You expect the kiss but not the softness, not the heat. It's so chaste; unlike boys, she doesn't go right for the kill, tongue manic and sloppy. No, she's perfect, it's perfect, the moment is perfect: your hands clasp her hips and her hands go around your shoulders and no one can tell you to stop.

You don't, not for a long time. Your bodies move for the bed of their own accord and you're laying on top of her, petting her hair and running your hands over her body over her clothes, afraid of how far to go, unsure of what to do – but it feels right just to admire her curves. She's really very gorgeous, you've always thought so. She hides it all in slightly oversized sweaters, the sleeves hanging over her hands. You think it's endearing how she hides herself. She thinks it's for the best that she does.

She's praying to an unnamed god as you're kissing her and touching her that this is real and not another fantasy she's created; she's wanted to feel you on top of her for so long she isn't sure what to do, but it's everything she ever dreamed of. She's the one to start pulling off your shirt, tugging at the buttons and looking at you with eyes so wide and fiery that you can't help but comply, helping her. After all, you want it just as bad as she does.

One by one, your clothing comes off and she's bewitching the door so people will remember they forget something elsewhere and not bother the two of you. You grin shyly and she returns it, face aflame with blood beneath her cheeks, growing redder as run your hands seductively down her taut stomach, to the heat between her legs.

She clutches at you, digs into your skin with her chipped nails. You can feel the broken skin on your back. And when she comes, her teeth clamp down on your neck, biting hard, making you moan unexpectedly, the pain shooting liquid heat between your legs. There will be a mark, you think fuzzily, before you feel your positions flipped and her fingers slipping inside you.

She holds you, watches your eyes. You kiss her fiercely, biting on her lip. Your entire body is on fire; you hear whimpers in the back of your throat and wonder what kind of temptress could make you feel like this. And when you come, it's like being underwater, hearing nothing but breaking waves above you and feeling the current brush against your skin, making it tingle pleasantly from the back of your skull to the tips of your toenails.

Neither of you talk and you're not sure why. You hold each other and doze off for a while. No one wakes you, no one even comes upstairs. She falls asleep, still wrapped up in your embrace. You wonder if you could do this all the time. You wonder if you have the courage to.

Your eyes close and imagine the possibilities – the consequences. You wonder, hypothetically, if one girl is worth the loss of your family, your friends, your social status. You wonder if one girl is worth lying for, worth dying for, worth spending god knows how long in secret. Switching pronouns; evading questions; true rumors.

You've already been through this. Your first and second year; even now, people still whisper about you and the Chamber of Secrets. It hurts you. Would you let a girl hurt you? Would you let them hurt her like that?

That's your reasoning for your clothed state when her eyes flutter open. She looks at you with a hurt expression already forming, turning her eyes dark and wide, and pulls the sheets closer around her still nude form.

It's the reasoning why you sigh and avoid her gaze when you tell her, "I can't do this. I'm sorry." No explanations and you don't give her a chance to question. You simply stand calmly and walk out, hearing nothing as you do – and knowing that it's her heart breaking swiftly in her ribcage.

But you realize your mistake as soon as you return to your own bed, heart burning so painfully you can scarcely breathe. You spend the evening curled in a ball in the middle of the sheets, staring with blind eyes at the bloody mess you've made – a new Oedipus, distraught and hiding. You expect the worst the next day – a bawling Hermione, unable to come to breakfast, lunch, dinner, wasting away, but she approaches you so calmly and sits next to you so easily that you almost wish she were upset. And then you notice the mechanical movements of her hands, the way she nods on auto-pilot to the conversations around her – and you understand the nature of a broken heart.

She still wishes; but she no longer watches you over her books. You haven't seen her eyes in months. But you watch her, hoping that one day she'll look back again.