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Fall

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The fall’s cold frosted across the windows, clouding the morning light filtering in through the orange trees. Hermione awoke first, as she always did, and found her way out of bed as to not rock the elegant creature beside her awake. 

Her glance fell on Narcissa and her calmness in her sleep. She seemed at peace for the first time in months. For once the toll of the war and her sister’s death didn’t weigh on her features. 

Hermione padded her way to the kitchen in the small cabin. The wooden floor icing her feet as she went. She started to brew a breakfast tea when she heard a yawn come from the bed.

Narcissa sat up and stretched, combing her fingers through her blonde hair. It caught the morning light and nearly glowed. Hermione sucked in a breath and blinked. Narcissa looked like an angel awaking. She pulled the covers up onto her chest and shivered. 

“Damn cold,” she said. Her blue eyes found Hermione, and they weren’t their usual iciness. “What am I to do when my warmth leaves me?” She pouted. 

She ignored the blush forming on her cheeks and carried a mug of tea to Narcissa. “This should help.” Hermione smiled, but her gaze lingered too long, and she pulled away, off to sit outside. She brought herself a mug of tea as well, and a book, sitting in a chair, surrounded by the crisp forest air. 

She peaked up from the pages of her novel to see Narcissa watching her from the window above the bed, just sipping her tea. Hermione smiled but focused back on her book as the annoying blush returned. This getaway was only supposed to help Narcissa recover. The caveat of sharing a bed wasn’t a problem, or maybe it was...

Her glance returned up, but the bed was empty, and the glare from the sun on the window stung her eyes. She sipped her tea, enjoying the warmth it sent through her chest, going back to her novel. 

The chirps of birds and other fall forest life made an ambient backdrop, one that eased her restless mind. Small clanks and clinks of dinner wear inside the cabin could faintly be heard, and it distracted from the peace she’d built that moment. Hermione rolled her eyes. She hated being interrupted reading. The book slammed closed, and she stood out of the chair but bumped elbows with Narcissa. She held a plate of cut fruit in one hand and had her blanket tucked in the other and thrown around her. 

“Silk sleeping wear does not do the job of keeping out the cold,” she said. Narcissa sat parallel to her in a rocking chair, popping the pieces of fruit in her mouth. Hermione nearly dropped her jaw. She’d never seen Narcissa this relaxed or common—especially how she curled in on herself in the chair with her legs tucked to her chest. 

They sat in silence. The ambiance of the forest around them taking the front of audible noises, along with the creak of Narcissa’s chair. 

Hermione watched her from the corner of her eye. It was going to be a strange week.