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Standard Disclaimer: JK Rowling owns Harry Potter and the title is from the song "5Rebeccas" by The View.


4.






REBECCA THE FOURTH
1993




The once gaping wound in my heart was now closing to be a mere shadow on the surface of my mind. I still missed the Rebecca of The Smiths, slinkies and non-conformity, but no longer ached for her as I once did. Besides, I had Rebecca the Dragon to take care of now.

She was far from the pup she’d once been when I first got her. She’d grown up into a fine Hungarian Horntail, fully capable of making any seasoned Dragon Keeper awestruck. Rebecca had a new playmate now, Norbert, a name she maintained even after the discovery of her being female. She and Rebecca got along as famously as chocolate and cheese.

I had a lot on my hands, with two dragons to care for, despite only being on the job for a little less than three years. My friends thought I could use some vacation time, time to relax and forget about dragons for a little while. I couldn’t understand it. I had just gotten back from a free trip to Egypt with my family. In my mind, that was far from lacking. But they were insistent and managed to get me away from Rebecca and Norbert, to the pub for a taste of Bucharest’s finest.

My first genuine time out of the camp, my own enjoyment was shoving previous doubts down my throat and I continued to drink my weight in firewhiskey, beer and wine. Anything alcoholic. All in large quantities.

Then I met her.

She was the only thing that stood still while the room swam into a haze of melted colors. She had short hair, showing a tiny dot on the back of her neck. She had a birthmark in the shape of a clover. She looked like she wanted to dance every moment of every day. She had a laugh that made her sound like skipping notes played on the violin.

I didn’t know her name. But I like to think that it was Rebecca.

And, for once, I wasn’t in love.

But when I looked at her, I felt like I was. Or rather, I felt dizzy. Maybe from the gallons and gallons of alcohol that I’d consumed throughout the evening. Maybe from the lack of oxygen in the crowded pub. But the sight of her made the room swirl and when I tried to stagger to the exit for some fresh air, she held the door open for me and looked on as I vomited in a garbage can.

She didn’t laugh. But she didn’t help me either. She just looked on - perhaps in the same strange fascination that you usually have while watching a train wreck. There wasn’t an ounce of judgment in her. No pity. No emotion at all. Just distance and fascination.

After I’d finished, I sat down beside the garbage can at the curb of the street and ran my hands through my overgrown hair. To my surprise, she helped me up.

“Coffee, yes?” she said to me, in her strongly accented English.

Rebecca took me to the nearest coffee shop that side of Bucharest and had me down three cups before she started talking. Neither of us had told our friends that we’d left the club, but neither of us seemed to care.

When we talked, it wasn’t like two strangers talking. Neither was it like two friends. It was just words. One after the other. Like recovering coma patients learning his first mammas and pappas all over again. She didn’t seem to understand a word of English other than Coffee, yes and no. I didn’t know a word of Romanian, period.

After an hour, I understood that she was a student of some sort. Of what, I couldn’t make out. But I could see the passion she had for it. I’d never seen someone so passionate. As if every word had the fate of the world in its letters, or as if every facial expression could stop a war. It was wonderful to look at. If she didn’t prod me to talk, I probably wouldn’t have. I would have just stared at her in awe. She seemed to have more soul than the whole world put together. Certainly more soul than I had.

But I couldn’t understand her. What irony.

I tried to tell her that I worked with dragons, but that didn’t seem to come across well either. Perhaps I lacked hand gestures or slow-loud talk. For all I knew, she might have thought I worked with spitting snakes.

But in the end, understanding each other didn’t seem to matter to us. I talked for the sake of my own sanity. I talked to keep myself awake. She seemed to talk just to know that she was still here, still alive, still existing.

After our seventh cup, she took my hand and led me through the bare, dimly lit streets of the eerily enchanting city that I’d taken for granted. I’d been so occupied pinning for the Rebecca I’d lost that I’d barely even noticed the almost fairy-like glow of the streetlamp lights as they reflected on the rippling puddles of the sidewalk. Bucharest was magical. Quiet and still, it was like the whole world had stopped and we were the only ones moving. The only ones living.

She brought me to a flat, her flat I was to assume. She took off my clothes as if she were unwrapping a present. She ran her fingers down my spine as if she were touching the keys of a piano for the first time. She whispered a Romanian song in my ear as if she’d learned it from the birds.

She kissed me.

She kissed me.

She kissed me.

I didn’t stop her.

I didn’t want her to stop.

I didn’t want to stop her.

She held me.

She held me.

She held me.

I didn’t let go.

I didn’t want her to let go.

I didn’t want to let go of her.

It all seemed like a song. We seemed like a song. Our bodies felt like the melodies. Our movements felt like the lyrics. The streetlamp’s light shone outside her window and we held each other, touched each other, loved each other, until it went out.

I left her flat the next morning. She watched me as I felt the floor for my socks and turned over all the pillows to find my keys.

There weren’t any words to explain or any attempts to.

Romanian or English, we both knew what the night had been. And we were grateful.

She kissed me on the cheek before I left.

The moment I got back to the Reserve, my mates asked me where I had been and how lucky had I gotten. I just smiled and went back to Rebecca the Dragon.

I didn’t feel broken-hearted anymore and for the first time since The Smiths, I felt like I could love again.

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