December 9, 2013
379 words according to Google Drive.

Sometimes the sight of her baffled him. When Draco thought about the war and the things that both of them had suffered through and done, it never ceased to amaze him that either of them had survived, let alone both of them.

They'd survived in whole, but both of them were changed, tortured people because of the war. He knew that from the letters they'd sent each other through the years. She still had nightmares about not only losing her brother, but her whole family, too. She didn't like to be touched, though as weeks of their fake relationship passed, she learned to trust him again. Occasionally, they held hands; sometimes they kissed, but they never did what he longed to do and just hold her in his arms to assure himself that she was real and alive.

She didn't look the same. Her hair had shone like bright copper at school. In the three years since the war, her hair and freckles had dulled, the lines of sleeplessness under her eyes had been etched into her skin permanently, and her complexion had paled. Only the occasional but rare blush brought color back to her cheeks.

She was still beautiful to him. The sight of her still made him hold his breath and then release it in relief. They'd survived. And they were together. He didn't care that what they were doing wasn't real. Thanks to the plan, he had a reason to talk to her, to be seen with her, to occasionally hold her hands and—when she could bear it—to sometimes kiss her.

She had dulled, but she still warmed him in a way that nothing had after the war, not even his motivation to earn back his family's former glory. Not even his own mother's life.

His life had lost meaning until he'd tried to capture her attention, and now that he had it, even if it was only for a short time, he couldn't think of how to keep her. When this farce was over what would he do?

He was afraid of the day when the sight of her no longer gave his life meaning, but more than that, he was afraid that one day she would no longer be around for him to see.