Title: Touch
Author: Dusk (dusk@goldserve.net)
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: H/D
Rating: PG
Archive/repost: ask first
Website: https://www.angelfire.com/falcon/dusk/
Disclaimer: Not mine. No money made. Just telling a story.
Summary: Sometimes a touch means more than a thousand words.
Written: 04/10/02

***

He can touch me. Not just differently than other people, because there is nothing I can compare it to.

He can touch me. Lay a hand on my chest and tell me what he wants by the tension in his fingers, the pressure he puts on the heel. That I look at his eyes when he does so is only to confirm what I already know.

He can touch me. Without a tremor. To be touched without violence, just once, turned my life around. To know he'll do it again, when I need it, when he wants it, when he has something to say and not the words to do so, gave me knowledge greater than any lesson learned in dungeon or classroom.

He can touch me, and when he does the old chains fall away and I can feel their replacements settling about me, heavy beyond measure, and I carry them with ease. I feel the press of ghostly manacles at my wrist and neck and I wonder that no one else sees them to realise that in binding me, he set me free.

He can touch me. His eyes ensorcelled mine and will do again, for the one thing no wizard can fight is something he longs for. His eyes can trace a path down the lines of my face, the pressure against my skin more real than that left by the fingertips that follow.

He can touch me. His core blends with mine, polar opposites that can no longer clearly define their boundaries, when his heat touches my skin, when his eyes meet mine, and each time I feel myself closing in on his centre, my prison, and I don't yet know if I'll lose myself there or find myself.

He can touch me. How he gained this talent, earned this right, may never come to light. But he can, and each touch is a trophy, hoarded for the fuel of a colder future without him, inevitable, or impossible, I cannot say. Fear is an old friend, but before now, it never occurred to me it might be myself I lost.

He can touch me, and the loss is like oxygen, more than a craving, a need so deep it needs no word of explanation.

He can touch me, and the musing calls the action, because I can feel his hand against my chest a second before contact. My eyes lift to his and I know he can read every thought in them. Ice in shadow into emerald, gateways of communication more eloquent than clumsy words and harsh gestures. No tension when they meet, for there is no comparison in strength, and his dominate mine too soon to know there was ever a possibility of turning away. I can feel my descent and it is that which raises me up. Direction, I have long determined, is purely subjective.

He touches me, and I wonder how can he not realise what power he has... but of course, he does. My life has never been my own but there is freedom in giving it willingly.

He touches me. A blessing, a curse, a wound, a healing.

He touches me, watching my thoughts chase each other across my eyes. Does he know as I do what it is to have your loyalty divided? To know what's right, yet feel that perhaps the other is more right? Right in another sense.

He touches me and that, as everything, is subjective. There are other eyes than ours and they see a brush of two forms, nothing more, just as they see neither chains, nor light, nor darkness. The world is clear in their eyes, and such subtleties as we have are outside their perception.

He touches me and in allowing it, I make my choice, as I have made it again and again, every moment since the first time he did so.

He touches me because he knows he is the first to do so.

He touches me because he understands the complexities and confusion within me as those around him fail to.

He touches me and I realise, in the seconds that followed, he spoke. He regrets, I know, that my choice must be made so regularly. He regrets that it ever needed to be made at all. So much simpler, for him, if I'd been on his side without question, but he knows, as I do, that allegiances can be changed, by word, by deed. By touch.

His touch lingers and my eyes close, as they must this and every time, to hide the fluid building behind their lids. A difference, though, the pattern shatters and I cannot hide the single tear that escapes, evidence that any illusion I had of control is long gone under the warmth he provides. Mere moments have passed and the faintest incline of his head, felt through the fingertips and confirmed by raising my eyes to his, is the only indication he has seen once more what others have not, but a tear leaves no lasting evidence of it's passage, and he will be the only one to see.

His touch lingers and my name is repeated, a low murmur for my ears only. I know what he asks, what he wants me to say. A response aloud is impossible, but I long to answer and do so by mirroring his own gesture, an incline of the head, insignificant to anyone save the one giving it and the one receiving it.

His touch fades as he turns from me, message received, but it is never absent, not even as he walks away, to any eyes but mine uncaring of the body he brushed against in the corridor. He must, as I must, be what is expected of him, and I can take small comfort in knowing that his reputation is a reflection of himself distorted beyond measure. As is mine.

His touch is gone and yet I feel each small pressure. He is gone from my line of sight but I know I could see him if I watched, a glimpse of a robed figure amid a hundred others, standing out in some indefinable way. I don't watch.

He can touch me, and he will, moments stolen in a hostile environment where neither side can truly understand. Rarely alone, both of us too notable to be long out of someone's sight. It can be managed, with caution, deception, cunning and luck in the right combination.

He can touch me and I lose all I had, and never care while the touch remains. Only when the heat fades can I recall what choices I have made, and what consequences await me should those choices become known. Should, or when, rather, because I know that he won't let me go, set me free, and at that time, I'll have to admit that I'm not what anyone expected or hoped for.

He can touch me and it's a blessing in the form of a curse, and it brands me as a curse once branded him, though my wounds are less visible. There is no flash of lightning across my forehead. I need not suffer so publicly.

He can touch me and this time, he learned what he asked of me, that I can maintain this facade for the foreseeable future, fortified only by such illicit moments as can be stolen undetectable to those surrounding us. My walls will not crumble, save under his control.

He can touch me and that is how he knows I am strong enough to stand alone. That is how he knows that I stand alone and wait for the next fleeting moment of grace he can offer me.

He can touch me and I wonder that no one has yet seen how the ice they see in my eyes melts at the slightest provocation in his presence.

He can touch me and I already feel the absence of that touch like a wound as I draw my name and house around me like a mantle, not knowing when or how he will next find me and ask the same unspoken question before departing without ceremony. Neither of us can risk more. Not yet. Not here. Months, years, perhaps the next Christmas holiday, perhaps only when the halls of Hogwarts are long past us, may we have, as we have had before in time stolen from other causes, intimacy that needs no silence and lies.

Harry may touch Draco, but Slytherins do not allow themselves to be touched by Gryffindors.

[end]





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