Disclaimer: Should J.K. Rowling be writing a literary analysis of Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy instead of penning tales set in Harry Potter's magical world? I thought so—that's why I'm her. And, if you believe me, you should be writing my Kyd paper.
Important: The following three scenes are not set during consecutive days. They should be read as though several weeks have elapsed between each encounter.
Why is he always leaning? I mean, the boy is forever propping himself on walls and doors and window frames and potion supply cupboards. It's like he can't support his own weight—or he knows how barmy it makes me. How am I supposed to concentrate on my Transfiguration essay when he's leaning on a nearby armchair, purposely placing himself within my viewing range?
And now he's grinning at me. The nerve of him! Who does he think he is—smirking like that?
Oh Godric, he's coming over here, ruffling his raven-colored hair as he saunters around an end table to reach my chair.
"Evans," he bobs his head in a cheery manner as he says my name and perches on the arm of my chair. I valiantly attempt to suppress the chill that courses through my body as his thigh brushes my shoulder. His eyes skim my figure—nearly imperceptibly—in recognition of my reaction to our touch. Why does he have to affect me so much? It would be loads easier to convince him to leave me alone if my body didn't send signals so contradictory to my words.
I cross my legs underneath me and tilt my head up until I catch his twinkling hazel eyes—a mistake, I know, as I feel another thrill trip through me, but this time I successfully limit it to an internal tingling.
"Potter, won't you let me work in peace?" I ask, a bit of a whine present in my voice. His smirk grows wider—if that's humanly possible—as he leans on his arm and slides it along the back of my chair. Darn his leaning! And his touch! I noticeably move forward to avoid it.
"Aw, Evans, don't be that way. You know you'd miss me if I let you be for even a second." He leans in over my shoulder to say this—his mouth treacherously close to my face. I scoot to the edge of my armchair, tilt my head to the side (exposing my neck—why, Evans, why?), roll my eyes, and choose not to dignify that with a verbal response.
Wrong choice. This appears to only encourage him. He slips off the chair arm and moves in front of me, trapping me in the chair with his long, lanky frame in front and his arms on either side. He's leaning on them again.
"Evans," he moans, "Pretend to ignore me all you want, but I know you better than that." He lifts a hand and, with his forefinger, tilts my face up to meet his gaze.
I'm rather woozy at this point—what with the leaning and the touching and the moaning. I have to get myself out of this situation before I lose control.
I jump up, colliding with him, but, nevertheless, I manage to free myself from his pinning. He grabs my waist and spins me around, successfully catching me off my guard. My head whips around to face him, and my red ringlets smack him in the face. I don't know what he reads in my eyes in that moment, but he looks absolutely giddy. And giddiness in Potter is never good.
Suddenly very aware of my body, I feel Potter's hand still on my waist. He's touching me again. Oh no, he's leaning towards me, too. So I do the only thing I can—I run.
Because dangerous things happen when we touch. And when he leans.
"Evans," someone above me whispers. "Evans, wake up."
I mumble something incoherently and roll over.
"Evans, get up," the voice insists again, this time grabbing my shoulders with its large hands.
My eyes instantly shoot open as an electric shock hits me at the touch. Exactly as I had suspected the moment I felt that tremor course through me, the voice and the hands are Potter's—and he is leaning over me.
"Finally," he says from an uncomfortably close proximity, "I've been trying to wake you for the better part of the last century."
I blink a few times to get my bearings. Besides instinctively noting the angle at which Potter is leaning above me—it's far too acute for my liking—I gather that I'm on a couch in the common room; it's dark except for the faint red glow from the fire's dying embers.
Potter seems to take my silence as an invitation to sit down next to me—only then taking his overly large hands off of my personage. In order to take his seat, he shoves my feet off their place on the cushion; not only does that require touching me again, but it's just plain rude.
"Hmph," I sound in a still-sleepy tone. "Leave me alone, Potter."
"Sorry, can't do it, Evans. You need to get up to bed." He looks cheekily sincere—only he can pull that off.
"What time is it?" I ask as I straighten up and a yawn slips out against my will. The words come out distorted because of my gaping mouth and unexpected intake of air.
His glittering eyes follow my arms, raised above my head to stretch the kinks out of them, before dropping back to my rumpled shirt and eventually meandering up to my face. "Just after three," he answers distractedly.
"Oh. What are you doing up?" I reply, finding it annoyingly easy to overlook his ogling—I should have berated him with an angry feminist tirade about it—and, instead, moving on to combing my hands through the matted hair falling past my shoulders.
"You know. Out and about. Business to attend to." He is leaning all the way against the rear cushion of the couch, his head laying atop the back and turned to look at me. His grin is infuriatingly delightful—teasing and inviting at the same time.
"I see. I'm guessing my innocent little ears don't need to hear about the illicit 'business' that flourishes during the grueling Hogwarts nights."
He crosses his arms behind his head and does something quirky with his eyebrows. "I was out roaming with the boys."
"Oh," I say again, feeling incredibly thick tonight but not really sure why. I chance another glance at his relaxed form. His eyelids have drifted down, and his arms somehow managed to stretch themselves along both sides of the couch back without my noticing—his fingertips are mere centimeters from my shoulder. His head is leaning straight back now with his slightly long nose pointed to the ceiling—drat! I curse myself for noticing those minute details about Potter.
"Evans? What's going on in that head of yours?" he asks suddenly—at least it seems suddenly to me, for I had dazed off trying to fathom why in the world I was examining Potter so closely.
I jump at the sound of his voice, and my eyes focus back on him. Only his arm closest to my body remains on the couch, and he's turned to get a better look at me with those keen hazel eyes he possesses. The distance between us has shrunk considerably, and he's leaning forward over his crossed legs. It's maddening—his posture…so distracting.
After a moment passes, I remember that he's asked me a question I've yet to answer.
"Oh." Did I really just say that again? A curtain of red swirls around my face as I shake my head in self-disgust. "Sorry. I think I'm still half-asleep…somewhere between reality and dreamland…semi-conscious…zombie-like—"
"I got it, Evans—you're tired and having trouble concentrating. You really should go to bed, you know. That's what I got you up for anyway." He understands. How sweet—too bad my explanation isn't the truth. Well, maybe it is—it could be…partly. Wait! Did I just call Potter sweet? Because he's not. Definitely not.
He stands up and offers me one of those large hands; I hesitatingly accept it. As he rocks onto his heels and leans backward to pull me up, predictably, another chill seizes temporary control of my nervous system.
"Cold, Evans?" he asks in a voice even I'd swear was genuine—had I not seen the triumphant flash in his eyes.
"Something like that," I mumble as he tails me to the staircase that leads to the girls' dormitories. After a few seconds, it occurs to me that he has no business following me over there: "Potter, why are you following me?"
"I'm walking you to your door. I thought it very gentlemanly of me." I can feel his smirk over my shoulder.
"Did you?" I ask almost playfully before quickly correcting myself. "Well, it's not."
"Then you must be attracted to ungentlemanly behavior."
What? My eyebrows must be up around my hairline. That's very presumptuous of him. "Excuse me?" I exclaim. "What exactly is that supposed to me?"
He shrugs and leans against the doorway in response.
This time I'm the one walking towards him—no, I'm walking towards the doorway leading to my sleeping chamber; he just happens to be leaning against it. I take one step too many, and I know it. My toes are almost touching his, for goodness' sake.
But it will be alright because I have words to say to him—words about him being arrogant and frustrating and presuming and bold. I know I'm losing my harsh negativity towards him simply by analyzing that list of adjectives. And then I lose it entirely.
My tongue freezes as he brushes a loose tendril off my cheek and tucks it behind my ear. His hand doesn't leave, though; he keeps it at my face—his palm framing my jaw line. I'm desperately fighting my heavy eyelids to keep them open. He's no longer up against the doorframe; his body is following his hand. My face is heating under his touch. He's leaning towards me as his thumb begins to trace circles at the corner of my mouth.
I can't think clearly. I don't know if I'm ready for this.
I grab the doorframe before he can lean any closer and propel myself past him up the stairs. Still several stories from my own dormitory, I stop to collapse against the wall. My breathing is shallow, and I'm fingering my face where we were touching—the vision of him leaning towards me replaying in my mind. I can still hear my retreating footsteps echoing up and down the stairwell. But I did the right thing—I'm sure I did.
Because dangerous things happen when we touch. And when he leans.
My breath generates little clouds on the frosty window before me. Looking out into the waning light, I can just make out the shedding trees, depositing their last remaining leaves into the chilly breeze. Adjusting my gaze to the glass itself, I glimpse Potter—he's been sending questioning glances my way for the past several minutes.
I don't blame him, I suppose; my behavior is a bit peculiar. I had been over there studying with them, Potter included, when, somewhat abruptly, I announced that I needed a break and walked over to the window. Frankly, I'm not sure what came over me, but my unproductive revising was irritating me, I couldn't focus, I was worn out, and I decided that some space would be nice. I've been alone over here, staring aimlessly out the window, ever since.
Unfortunately, my solitude is about to be invaded. I watch as Potter's reflection grows larger in the windowpane until he is standing right behind me—so close I could lean my head back against his chest. Allowing personal space has never been among his many talents.
We're both silent for awhile. His deep breaths combine with mine to enlarge the foggy patch on the glass. My fingers come up to doodle in the mist, mindlessly sketching squiggles and designs. He's studying them intently, as though he'll be able to interpret my thoughts from those few markings.
In my exhausted melancholy, I have an unusually strong urge to rest my head against the chest behind me. Why must I want that? Even though I'm struggling with all my might to keep my head erect, it still manages to tilt quite a few degrees to the back before I can right it. Potter, ever observant, notices—of course, he notices.
"Don't be ridiculous, Lily," he mutters, not without an eye roll, as he completely circles my waist with his arm and pulls me to him. I inhale quickly but don't fight him. Instead, my head lands with a soft thump against his left shoulder. His arm stays firmly in place.
"Where'd everyone go?" I ask, leaning my head back into him to reference the abandoned books and parchment in the common room behind us.
"It's dinnertime, Silly Lily," he quips, rocking us a little by shifting his weight from one foot to the other.
"Corny, Potter—much too corny," I inform him, though, for some mind-boggling reason, I'm still tolerating his arm around me.
"Tsk, tsk, Evans—there's no such thing." His voice is a deep whisper that's only playful in a serious sort of way now; my perennially uncontrollable brain instantly busies itself thinking up other things he could say to me in that tone.
We're still swaying ever so slightly. As we move, his fingers slip up and down my waist. Unsurprisingly, the chills come, and my body tingles from head to toe. I don't even try to hide them this time; it's not like he doesn't know that he has this effect on me.
When he feels me tremble, his motion halts, and a tense stillness lingers over the room. I think my lack of denial floored him for just a moment—only a brief moment, though, for Potter is never taken unawares for very long. After that tiny lapse in time, he resumes his movement with a slight chuckle, and our breathing falls back in sync. This time, instead of leading us from side to side, he leans into me and rocks us forward; then, smoothly pulling me back to him, we lean away from the window.
We're both staring at the image of ourselves in the glass. His blasted arm is still around me, but, strangely, I don't hate it…and I'm not tempted to flee, either. My bright eyes roam the would-be mirror, scrutinizing our coupled reflection. At my full height, I just reach the base of his neck—he could comfortably lean his chin on my head if he so desired. He's much bigger than me—his broad shoulders and long arms engulf me, easily visible on both sides of my reflected body. Even though my mind is racing and my stomach is in knots, the girl in the window looks perfectly relaxed—almost as if she belongs in mirror-boy's arms.
Potter catches my eye, and, in a move that rouses my suspicion of his mind-reading abilities, he wraps both of his arms around me and leans his chin on my head. How does he always seem to know what to do? To know just how far to push me?
"Evans?" Potter's chest rumbles against me as my name rolls off his tongue.
"Hmm?" I acknowledge him with the sound, but I'm pretty sure I'm unable to speak actual words right now.
He pauses briefly, as though mulling over my response. Finally, in a voice he reserves for momentous proclamations only, he says, "You know you're going to bear my children, yeah?"
I turn completely in his arms and lean back to look up at him—he hasn't cracked that silly grin of his, and he wears a questioning gleam in his muddy eyes. He wants an answer.
My laughter comes out in a loud snort, and the corner of his mouth twitches as he battles to keep it in a straight line.
"I suspected as much," I inform him after taking a deep breath to compose myself. My giggling resurfaces almost immediately, though, and I bury my face in his chest, wrapping my arms tightly around his back. He quickly envelops me with his own arms—before I have a chance to criticize my ridiculous behaviour—and squeezes me even more snugly against him. I can feel his gargantuan-sized smile filling my body with warmth.
I strongly suspect that I've just committed my life to Potter—that he'll probably hold me to those words until I'm old, gray, and baking cookies for our grandchildren. Although, honestly, I think I gave him permission to take me with him—wherever he may roam—a long time ago. It was granted in the nervous gawking of two awkward kids, in the passionate spats of arrogant teenagers, in the witty banter of maturing young adults, in the meaningful glances of late—all of these things sealed our fate. And whatever we're doing now is confirming it.
Potter backs me against the window, and I release him to lean on the sill behind me. He runs his hands lightly up and down my arms.
"So, now that we've established that we're one day going to be doing the sorts of things that will cause you to have my offspring, does this mean I can kiss you?"
He's using that voice again, and it makes me shiver. The nerves in my arms are on fire as his fingertips dance over them. He catches my gaze, and I don't look away—I can't this time.
One of his hands reaches up into my hair and tangles itself in the mass of red. He uses his hold to tilt my head up towards his. As his eyes memorize every square inch of my face, his other hand gently brushes across my cheek. And, still, my eyes remain locked with his.
He's slowly leaning down to me—closer and closer. After several endless seconds, he places a tender kiss on the side of my face. My eyes drift shut at the contact. He moves to my jawbone, leaving several soft kisses as he edges down to my chin. His lips linger on my skin as he kisses the corner of my mouth.
We're both breathing deeply. His moist breath grazes over my lips. Another long moment passes.
Then, I'm leaning all the way against the window, and Potter's leaning against me, and he's kissing me like I've never been kissed before.
We break apart breathless and proceed to stare at each other. The intensity in his eyes is intoxicating. I lift my hands and run them through his untameable hair. Neither of us blinks. He drops his hands to my waist, and I savour this new touch.
He's leaning towards me again. And my heart beats a little faster at the thought.
Because dangerous things happen when we touch. And when he leans.
Author's Note: Much time and effort went into this, so please, please review, and let me know how you feel about it. Any and all critique is welcomed.
Further Notes: Large chunks of this story, especially the last section, were written while listening to songs from the Ben Lee album Awake is the New Sleep. In particular, the song "Ache for You" really influenced my mood and tone while writing the conclusion (I repeated it about 15 times while finishing this up last night.). The song and the entire album are amazing, and I highly recommend them.