For the Finals of Men's Football — Tom Sr/Merope.
Also for HedwigBlack's Weekly Challenge — write about a canon pairing.
A massive thanks to everyone who's opinion I asked about the ending — sorry, Sam, but you were in the minority, love.
Her hands shake as she brew the potion for the first time. Some part of her can't believe that she's doing this — but a bigger part of her has already decided. She loves him. And she knows that he will love her, in time. He just needs a bit of a push in the right direction.
(some part of her knows that she's only fooling herself, but she shoves that part into a cage and locks the door. Does it matter?)
Her hands don't shake as she tips the potion into the glass and swirls it. She inhales, catching a whiff of the heady scent of him — a mixture of the crisp scent of the air on a cold, wintry day and the sharp scent of his cologne.
She isn't afraid anymore. This is her way out, and she will do anything, anything for it to succeed.
The first time he kisses her, her hands are trembling. Amortentia is strong — there is no gradual emergence, no stages of infatuation. One minute he treats her like the dirt on his heel, the next his hands are tangled in her hair, her back pressed against the wall, his lips crushing hers. His lips move to her neck and her trembling hands wrap around his biceps.
"Tom," she gasps.
He doesn't reply. Some tiny part of her wonders if he even knows her name, but she pushes that to the back of her mind and relishes the moment.
This is what she wants. This is exactly what she wants.
He beams at her and kisses her cheek. "Smile, love!"
A smile spreads across her face. She can't help herself, not when it's him.
"There it is! Now, hold that until I get home!"
She giggles as he dashes out the door on his way to work. But the minute he leaves, the smile fades. What am I doing?
But she can't stop, because that would mean leaving her husband and returning to face her father and brother, and that is something she will not do.
She forces her lips to twist back into a smile. This is what she wanted.
(exactly what she wanted)
Her hand shakes as she swirls the potion in the glass. He slings an arm around her shoulders and she jumps. He presses a kiss against her temple. "So jumpy, love."
Before she can second guess herself, she hands him the glass. He beams at her and swallows it down. Setting the glass on the counter behind her, he wraps his arms around her and kisses her fiercely.
The taste of Amortentia is sickly-sweet on his lips. Repulsed — repulsed by the taste, repulsed by what it means — she pushes him away. He stares at her, shocked, wounded.
"I'm sorry," she murmurs. "I just… not now." She slips out of his arms and flees to their bedroom, closing the door firmly behind her.
(some part of her knows that her perfect world is crumbling, but she ignores it. This is what she wanted)
She just wanted to be loved. Is that so wrong?
She runs her hand over the bump in her abdomen and she knows. There isn't proof, and the bump is small, and she's been eating more lately — but that only makes her more convinced. She's eating for two.
She can't help but beam as she runs her hand over the bulge. A baby. A child. The combination of her and Tom.
Her smile drops off her face. She can't force him to love a child. Even disregarding the fact that she cannot physically accomplish it — batches of Amortentia don't mix — she simply can't.
But he can't hate a child — his child — can he?
She runs her hand over her stomach one more time and tells herself she'll decide later.
Later becomes tomorrow becomes the next day becomes the next week.
She has to brew another batch. She tells herself she'll do it after he leaves; she'll do it after she cleans up the kitchen; she'll do it after she rests for a bit. She tells herself a lot of things for a long time until she can't live with excuses any more — her supply is gone. Not a drop remains, and she realises that by not deciding for so long she's made her decision quite clear.
She doesn't want to live a lie anymore. And she believes — or at least she hopes — that after so long, some part of him will love her truly.
(the deluded voice in the back of her mind tells her that he will love her, loves her, has always loved her — no potion necessary)
(She tells it to shut up — she won't give in to the madness of her family)
(It doesn't listen)
She hands him a glass of water the morning the decanter runs dry. He grins that quick grin of his — she memorises it, in case this is the last time she ever sees it, and she hates herself for being such a pessimist. His lips land on her cheek and then he dashes out the door. He's gone.
He never comes back.
(even she can't delude herself after that)