AUTHOR'S NOTE: These seven double drabbles (200 words each) were written for the 7snogs challenge on Livejournal. The rules were that they had to each incorporate a kiss in some fashion, even if not literally, each had to be set at night, and each had to utilize the prompt listed as the 'title.' They were a delightful little challenge to write, as I am usually so long-winded, and I hope you enjoy them.
The smell was thick, cloying, too sweet and too heavy and so sickly pervasive he knew it would never wash from his memory, even if there was ever soap strong enough, water hot enough to strip it from his skin. There was no mistaking the smell the moment the door opened, and it made him search longer than he'd wanted to, even after he'd seen the stains, the mark, looking for bodies; finding only the cat and a refrigerator that had become the only motion in the abandoned home, a restless teeming of flies and maggots gorging in primal frenzy in a corner of suburbia where civilization had given up her reign.
He hadn't gone back, would never go back, but the smell still haunted his memory, the sound still buzzed in the back of his mind. And after the dreams where he did find them, it was only soft hands smelling of violet and lanolin, sweet lips steady and calm that could slow the heart that fluttered like the iridescent wings. When he dozed off in the common room, they were real, when he woke, sweating, in his own bed, they were longed for, but always, they were enough.
"It colors everything, doesn't it?" Demelza clutched her hands tightly on the strap of her bag, watching the tense, pale faces as the little cluster of first-years passed. "I hate how the Carrows have consumed everything good in this school."
"At least you can tell yourself we're fighting back," Colin offered. "As long as we have the D.A., have each other, there are some things they can't take."
She frowned, her dark curls falling from her braid as she shook her head. "They took your family, they took --" But then she was cut off, his mouth on hers, his hand cool on the side of her face, and the kiss was too passionate to be so gentle, even though the desperate tone that filled their lives still spoke urgently in the rhythm of his tongue between her lips. It was mad and dangerous and right and --
"Creevey!" Alecto's triumphant shout yanked them apart, but he grinned as he turned towards what they both knew was about to happen.
The curse came almost at once, but before it struck, she heard his whisper. "She still can't take what's already done." And then he was screaming, but she knew he was right.
Firelight could make anyone beautiful, but it made Demelza almost too lovely to look at, and the warmth that enveloped him came from within as much as without as he held her before the flickering glow. "I never thought it would be a Ravenclaw," he mused. "I thought there might be another beating this year, but I assumed it would be one of ours."
She shifted into him, nuzzling his neck, and her breath on his ear made him shiver. "I'm just glad it wasn't you."
"Or you," Colin replied sincerely. "I couldn't just watch that."
"You wouldn't...I mean...." A tiny frown creased her pretty face. "You wouldn't tell, would you, if they used me against you?"
He paused, knowing what he wanted to say, but knowing the truth, even if it wasn't what she might want to hear. "No, I honestly wouldn't...but I think I'd wish to God I had for the rest of my life."
She was silent, utterly still, then she kissed his cheek softly, and her smile was far too old for their years. "And that's why I've fallen for you," she murmured, and he could only answer with a kiss of his own.
"That looks like it hurts." Demelza appeared like a ghost out of the shadows of the dorm, reaching over his shoulder to touch the livid bruise that splashed across his chest.
"Some," he admitted," not too much."
"Then why are you up here glaring at your reflection like it's Amycus in the mirror?"
"I wish," Colin replied bitterly. "At least he's a grown man. I hate that it's still so much a kid looking back at me. It's not fair. I feel like I've grown a lot, but...."
"I don't see a child at all," she retorted, her fingers sliding to his shoulder to squeeze the firm roundness there as he looked at her in surprise. "These aren't a boy's, or these," she traced the lines of his stomach where the long hours of training had carved away the smoothness, "or these," soft hands skimmed beneath blue eyes, "or this. This is definitely not a child's."
Her hand was firmly over his heart now, she was between him and the mirror, and it was easy to catch her mouth with his and revel in how in some ways, really, she was right, and maybe he was becoming a man after all.
His fingers were shaking too much to do up the buckle, so he left his belt undone as his head fell back against the wall, his mouth dry even as sweat clung his hair to his forehead. "God, Demmy, that was mental, but why – I mean, you've never…."
"We're going tonight, Gwen and I," she didn't look up as she tugged her own uniform back into place. "I didn't want Millie having a chance of making you forget me."
"I'd never – wait! You're leaving?!" His eyes widened as she nodded.
"We're the last two of-age Gryffindors. It's run now or risk being caught. And I let Amycus overhear that we're using a Fidelius anyway."
"You!?!" Colin's mouth fell open in horrified betrayal. "Demmy!?!"
"I said it was me! The Fidelius doesn't keep you from lying, and I wanted you to be safe while I'm in hiding. If they think it's me and I'm gone…just promise me." She kissed him, harder and more furiously than she ever had before. "Promise, my brave, stupid Secret-Keeper, promise me you'll stay safe!"
He couldn't, she knew it, but he kissed her until she pulled away, crying. "We'll be back."
"I know. And I'll wait."
The leaves were so pale as to be almost baby blue, depending on how the moonlight fell. He could have sworn it hadn't been there that morning, there it was, four tiny leaves on a seedling stalk as thin as a strand of hair reaching stubbornly from the window-ledge. It was late April and there was nothing special about things growing, but he steadied the camera nonetheless, ignoring the chill of the night air as he angled carefully to frame it just right.
He wanted the hard lines of the iron windowpanes behind, the cold reflection of the clouded night sky, the weathered stone with the single crack like a lightning-scar, a photo that would be almost black and white except that one bit of delicate green. It was probably just a weed from a bird dropping, but if the picture came out, he knew he would keep it. This one image more than anything else summed up the whole year for him, and he knew Demelza would understand once he could show her.
It was sparks from eighty wands. It was a stolen kiss. It was a defiant smile after an Unforgivable curse. It was hope in the darkness.
They'd come back. The fool, the insane, wonderful fool had turned the tide, and she didn't know if she should kiss him, slap him, or both, but everyone was so covered in filth that she couldn't find the one blonde head among the dozens; faces bowed, wands sagging from exhausted fingers as they took healing potions and cups of water with equal gratitude.
Part of her worried he might be upset, knew her wounds were more than shock suggested, that she might be disfigured permanently and certainly looked a ghoulish horror now, but it couldn't really bother her. Even with one eye, she had seen too much for that.
She spotted Ginny, copper hair still shining, and hurried over to pluck at her classmate's sleeve. "Have you seen Colin?"
Ginny didn't answer, but her mouth opened, then closed, she shook her head, and that was more than answer enough. Demelza's legs give way beneath her as her friend moved on, and she was shaking, flakes of red-black crackling from her cheeks into her hands in place of tears too shocked to shed. "No…oh, no…not you too. You were the Secret-Keeper, you were so young…you were so brave…you were…you were mine."