Chapter 1 : Drab as a Fool
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Passersby spare no second glance: his demeanor is too stern and his face prematurely lined. His eyes are solemn, his mouth is pensive, but he is not plain: he might even be handsome.
(Only his sister knows he reckons his glasses make him look like a rock ‘n’ roll icon.)
His mind is miles ahead of his step. He reaches the answer before the question is formulated. Quick to speak, slow to conclude, and regret follows close on the heels of his words, though he’ll rarely admit it.
(Only his mother knows he secretly hates the sound of his own voice.)
He is the sum of his parts, no more, no less: books, numbers, wristwatches, and perfectly pressed trousers.
(Only his brother knows he’s always preferred Muggle clothes to wizard’s robes.)
He’s an engineering triumph; an achievement in design. A piece of land perfectly planned, a map carefully plotted, a dignified plant meticulously potted.
And still, someone sees through all the structure, straight through to his core; it’s not as concealed as he means it to be, for someone who cares to pay attention – someone who looks past what he’s made of, to what he simply is.
Because his honesty is in his efforts, and his truth lies in his toil. And his worry is where you will find his soul – bare no longer, long since wrapped up in a tidy box with neatly folded hospital corners (in plain brown paper, of course, for to be nondescript is to be secure, to be sane, to be certain).
But there is sincerity in his hands. His fingers move in earnest, whether pushing a quill across parchment or brushing through a veil of dark brunette hair. There is hesitation in his touch, and doubt dances over the footprints left by freckles across his cheek.
And his heart strains against bars of marrow within his chest because it has betrayed him before – has betrayed others, too – has heaved itself upon the ground and taken him with it. It could not be trusted, he determined long ago, and so he has always kept it close. It was too wild for civilized society, and so he has kept it locked away.
She sees what they do not – those who mistake his carefulness for coldness. They see what they want to see, but that has never concerned her.
For there is compassion in his silence, and there is faithfulness in his sigh. There is wisdom in his scruples, and in the circles under his eyes. And he places his trust – every last crumb of belief – in certainty and sanity and the love of everything secure.
And his strength is in his weakness, and his meekness in his might. His focus is a distraction; for his essence lies in his troubles, and it has since before the world knew enough to judge him.
Only she knows he is far from proud of who he was, and what he is. Only she comprehends his frustration at the fickleness of his purpose and the uncertainty of his path.
And this is where she’s smarter than the smartest man she’s ever known:
Though his penance lies in isolation, she will not let him walk alone.
A/N: Meh. I'm not sure I'm happy with this, but after several days of bashing my head against the wall, I just decided to post it. It may require lots of editing at some point, but for now I'd like to see what your thoughts are. It's meant to be a very short drabble - I didn't feel this was something that should be dragged out. I just don't know if it turned out quite the same way it occurred to me in my head.
I didn't list the main character, though I think it's painfully obvious who it is. So why would I delude myself into behaving like it's even relatively mysterious? Maybe I just need some variety in my life. XD