Cold ComfortAuthor name: modestyrabnott Team:
She would do anything for him. Maybe that was the problem,
she’s thought on more than one occasion. Cold Comfort
Parvati tries not confuse what they have with what they are.
It's one of the many things she struggles with.
They try so desperately. They are always trying to help each other. But not because either of them is particularly incompetent; it’s just that he needs to do things for her the way she needs to do things for him. It gives them purpose. She tergeos
his boots; he makes her tea. They spend their days trying to find ways to help each other help each other.
She would do anything for him. Maybe that was the problem,
she’s thought on more than one occasion.
They make love without words and in the dark.
It feels like crying.
Always from behind—like that first time—a fact that she tries hard not to examine. And she tries not to know that he’s not thinking of her. He grips her hips so hard, and pushes so hard; like he’s trying to push through to another place and time.
Ron thinks often about how Parvati tumbled into his life. That critical night they drank much too much and joked—in a way that wasn’t funny at all—about being ‘lonely together instead of alone’ before stumbling back to his flat to have the sort of rough sex you only have when the alcohol isn’t quite enough to numb the pain.
She was as broken and battered as him, having lost her sister, friends, family. They clung to each other like they were drowning.
He’s not certain how it progressed from there, how he ever allowed her to become a regular part of his life when he has nothing to offer. He’s all too aware that through his weakness for her touch, for any
touch, he fails Parvati.
The same way he failed someone else.
Sometimes when they fuck, he lets himself imagine she is
that someone else. One hand on her hip and one hand lost in the tangle of her hair. It’s not the same, the hair—it's longer and straighter and smoother—but if he just keeps his damned eyes closed he can fool himself.
He feels guilty afterwards, of course. After he feigns sleep and she leaves him. He's not a monster, after all. At least he's trying not to be.
He wonders all the time, in the darkness of being alone, exactly what he cries for, mourns for.
Is it for death?
Or for life—the one he’s compelled to live, but can’t, because he’s trapped in a state of suspended animation.
She loves him, and he knows it—hates himself for it, even—but he doesn’t know how to find a solution.
Ron’s still in love with her; Parvati knows this to be true. Even though she’s been gone for two years.
Parvati feels the bitter sting of this. Because by this indisputable logic (and she's tried to dispute it, to be sure), she herself is respite and consolation, not the final fulfillment she had at some point along the away allowed herself to imagine she was.
Or at least might become.
But she hasn’t. Nothing has changed in all the time they’ve been together. He comes to her not as a destination, but in the sad and apologetic practice of diversion. Distraction.
This knowledge doesn’t seem possible when she first realises it, given what they share in their private realm of truth among their losses and scars, but once imagined, it doesn’t any longer seem impossible either.
And it gnaws at her conscience. It undermines her ability to be optimistic and her capacity for hope.
Everyone expects him to move past it eventually, even though no one ever comes out and says it to him directly. Which he finds infuriating.
But people don’t think it’s healthy—that despite the war being over for two years, he keeps his bags packed to flee in case of Death Eater attack. That he visits her grave almost weekly.
She was never a flower person, liked them better growing than picked, she said, and so he brings her trinkets instead. Pine cones, shells, smooth river stones. They collect around the cold gray of her tombstone in piles like little colonies of ungranted wishes.
On especially difficult days, he reads to her. From a book he pretends he just happened to have in his rucksack, but in truth brought along for the purpose of sharing it.
He tells her that he’ll be joining her someday (some days he thinks someday soon
), although he’s not sure he can ever lie next to her in a Granger family plot. They weren’t married, after all. Not on paper anyway.
"We’ve all lost someone," Parvati tells him, knowing where he goes even though they never speak of it. She hopes against hope that these words don’t seem to minimize his loss or to exploit her own.
They don’t. He is filled with ache for her loss as much as for his own.
Sometimes she finds herself so aroused and wet, almost unbearably so, and filled with such a confusing amalgam of emotions for him, that she believes she’ll surely die before she finds release.
In this state, she’s vulnerable to whatever he needs.
He draws her up on her knees and she can feel the head of his cock pressing against her as she kneels in front of him. Overwhelmed by the generosity of no more than a single kiss on her spine, her head falls forward and her eyes strain to focus in the dark on the pattern of the sheets beneath her.
She pushes her hips back into him, grinding her senstive flesh against him mindlessly, incoherent words tumbling from her lips.
"Are you ready?..." his breath hitches on the last word and he takes her, hard and fast and just as brutal as she wants. One of his arms wraps around her just below her breasts, and she sees the faintest trace of the scars on the skin of his forearm.
She comes with a loud cry, the pleasure taking away all the pain and uncertainly and unmade promises. There is only the moment, and nothing more.
Sometimes, if the circumstances are right, their eyes will meet at this moment. And his are soft and clear and reveal the smallest glimmer of hope, so different than the hardness she is used to seeing in them.
"I’m sorry," he sometimes says, which hurts the most, and then with a low grunt, comes undone, too.
And for a few brilliant breaths, as they collapse into a sweaty heap on the bed, she thinks he maybe there is a chance.
Parvati tries for a long time not to say I love you
until the night she says it.
"We had a rule," he says, raking long fingers through his hair.
"I know. I broke it."
She asks him what she’s needed to know since they made that first step toward nowhere a year ago. "Is this real?"
He says he can’t answer the question because he doesn’t know what’s real. He knows even as he says it that it’s evasive, but he’s sincere, so what else is there to say?
"You can talk to me, you know," she says quietly. About her,
is the rest of it. The part she doesn’t say.
"I don’t want to hurt you," he says.
"It hurts more to know that you don’t want to hurt me," she tells him. She knows he understands what she means.
"How can you still be here?" he asks her.
"I’m not angry," she says simply.
"You must be."
"I'm the one who broke the rule."
"I'm the one who made a rule we can't live with."
And there it is, laid bare. Her first tangible clue that their days of status quo are numbered. The single spoken can't
that crystalises every half perceived tone of voice, every barely noticed glance she's tried to desperately not to piece together these last few weeks. Can’t
keep doing this...Can’t
"You’re leaving me," she says, no query in her voice.
"I don’t know how to live."
"I don’t either, but I’m trying."
"I don’t even know how to do that."
There are things she wants to scream at him, but she knows they’ll hurt him. So she buries them deep inside and lets them hurt her instead.
She wonders briefly if she could stop him, save it. If she could wrestle him to the ground and force him to love her.
But she doesn’t know whether she should ask him or tell him or beg him.
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