I saw my husband tonight. For a few hours, in a sketchy Muggle pub in a terrible part of London, we were alone. A few hours together. More than I thought we would get. I thought he was dying, broken. I was broken, dying, ready to kill anyone who would keep me from him, regardless of the consequences. We were both entirely fragile. But he looked at me and in just seconds, I was the girl with pink curls dancing with him in his living room to Sarah Vaughn.
When he speaks in Russian, I remember how it was when we were strangers. I remember who he and what he showed me of his Papa, the Neva, and the lessons in the Hermitage. He is the prodigal son returning. And that's who I fell in love with. I knew it then and I know it now. He belongs to them as much as he belongs to me. It just happens those two things can't exist at once.
And yet they do, and yet they can't.
He had so many new marks. The Dark Mark. A violet on his ankle, for me, and two green leaves for Van and Katya. A cat, on his left calf. It marks him as a thief. And he is. Is it wrong for me to delight in that? In how good he is at it? Is it wrong for me to know who he is and love him anyway?
I would do anything for him. I've turned my life upside down for him. I've let him go. I've let him walk back into the welcoming arms in his family, knowing I could lose him a hundred different ways. And not just to death. The ties to family are always strong, even I know that with all the conflicting lessons I was raised with about what family means. They love him, they raised him, they made him the man he is, the noble man, the art thief, the man I love. They made him strong and I can't blame him for missing them.
He kisses rough and hard, in a hurry to tell me, with just the heat of his mouth, how much he wants me. His hands were like sandpaper and a few of his fingernails were still awful, jagged edges but his touch felt the same, greedy and reveling, and he always slides his fingers under my breasts the first moment they're bare and it undoes me every time, because no one has ever touched that spot, not like he does, like he's undoing wards, deft, skillful, unwrapping my body when it's already naked.
And who knew someone so skinny, so wiry and tall and all arms and legs could have so much force behind him, but it's all in his hips. Oh, his hips are glorious things. They look perfect in a pair of Levis, and they look like artwork when he's laying on his side, like food too beautiful to eat except that my tongue knows the feel of them. My tongue knows the underside of his cock, and soft crease of his arse. I know the sounds he makes, short, clipped, the ones he tries not to make, the ones that escape. I make him make those noises. I know his fingers press against the back of my skull in spasms as I take his cock down my throat and this is intimacy. Not just doing, but knowing.
All I could think as he slipped my legs up over his shoulders, as his eyes went unfocused and he pressed into me, his hair wild, his forehead sweaty, all I could think was yes, yes, yes, because it was being this close, in this moment, where we are both lost in the feel of one another, pressing closer and closer to the edge, to a moment of blind ecstasy, where there is no one but each other.
My magic is in my body. When he touches me, he touches all of the power I have. He knows where it lives, under my heart.
We did not say goodbye. He returns to the service of the worst evil we have ever faced and he is still my husband. I teach a group of newly graduated Aurors how to investigate and uncover that evil, how to fight and how to survive, and I make toast in the morning and I watch our children grow and I pretend that I know what I'm doing, that I have a plan and everything will be fine and all that matters is that he lives, whether or not he's with me, this man whose become half my life.
Two hours in a disgustingly dirty room above a disgustingly dirty pub. Two hours I never thought would happen. He tells me he loves me in Russian, the language of his family. He tells me I am his in Russian, the language of his home. He is a spy but he is not pretending to be a Dolohov. And I love him, and I'm not pretending it doesn't break me apart.