I'm not JK Rowling, so anything you recognise isn't mine
Author's Note: This was originally written for rtchallenge on Live Journal, for the prompt second person. Feedback is always appreciated :).
You stop in the doorway, hear voices within.
You know you shouldn't listen, but you do anyway, telling yourself that if they'd really wanted to keep this private, they'd have closed the door.
You've watched them, closely enough to see the accidental brush of fingers on purpose, to hear their voices soften when they say the other's name, to see them both look up in hopeful expectation when the door opens, just in case it's the other.
It's all so very subtle, but you know him well enough to know he's smitten, know girls well enough to know it's mutual.
You're happy for them.
He deserves it, and she no less so. Neither of them has had an easy life, through no fault of their own, and the thought of them finding solace, or understanding, or just plain old lust in all its uncomplicated glory – whatever it is that they've found – is the only real light in this grim old house.
You peek through the gap between the door and the jamb, keeping to the shadows so as not to be seen.
They're sitting on the floor, curled together.
In the firelight, he looks half his age, and it suits him – although after a moment's thought, you wonder if it's her and not the fire's glow that's the cause of the effect.
He always seems so much more alive when she's around, like he's got hope for the future, something to believe in, when before there was nothing.
They're talking in a low whisper, even though they're the only ones there, and touching in a way that's entirely studied, yet appears absentminded.
His fingers trail up over her arm, dally on her neck, while hers play on his knee, toying with the loose threads on his trousers.
You lean closer, wanting to hear what they're saying, trying to make it out from the way they form their lips, but the look in her eyes as she glances up at him stops you in your tracks. He gives her the same look back, mouths something you can't make out.
The fire crackles, and she laughs.
It's not a girly laugh, not a pretty laugh – it's the laugh of a soldier – knowing and desperate for something happy to cling to, and when he joins in, his is no different, though it's wearier, yet more hopeful too.
You're glad they can laugh. Lord knows you can't.
She rests her head on his shoulder, closing her eyes and breathing him in, and he rests his chin on her hair. He reaches for her hand, twines his fingers through hers and echoes her relieved expression, and all of a sudden, you know what they've said.
You tell yourself you're happy for them.
And wish you were.
Your heart balls itself into a fist in your chest.
And it's not jealousy, although at first you thought it was.
War time is no time to fall in love.
Decisions get made too quickly; declarations equally so.
You've seen it before. You know where it leads.
You told them it was folly, too, but they didn't listen. Didn't want to, in case you were right and they were wrong and love wasn't the great saviour after all.
He's saying something, but you can't hear what. You suppose it doesn't matter, because from now on, everything he says will just be reiteration. She nestles closer to him, squeezes his fingers, and you know they won't listen either.
Everybody wants to believe in something. Who are you to say they shouldn't?
And so you slink away down the corridor, and leave them to it; leave them to their hope, and their comfort, and their love, in all its ill-timed foolishness.
You sit in the kitchen, drinking Firewhiskey, and wonder what they're doing, if they're making love in front of the fire, or if they've snuck upstairs, or if they're still sitting there, whispering jokes to each other to hide how scared they are.
After a while, it dawns on you that you hope you're wrong.
You hope it's not folly, that this will have a happy ending, that things will turn out as well as they both deserve, even though history and the fist in your chest tells you that it won't.