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I Need to Love Myself

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Romilda Vane was tired of sketching the same old people at her local pub. She had gotten so used to drawing the same features, the same rotation of clothing and hairstyles, to the point where it wasn’t challenging her anymore. The place needed some new blood so that she could finally sketch some new people. She needed a damn muse already - the same drunken regulars definitely weren’t cutting it.

And then she walked right through the door.

Romilda picked up her pencil and started drawing without even looking at the girl’s face. Instead, she focused on the tight jeans that clung to thick thighs, the loose black top that was cut low, the red heels that drummed across the wooden floor.

The girl was a collection of features - dark eyes, thick lips covered in red lipstick, a large nose dusted with a few freckles. It was only when Romilda put the finishing touches on a her quick sketch that she realized she knew these features, she knew this girl. She was also pretty sure that she was supposed to hate her.

Sure, Hogwarts was a long time ago and all of those old house prejudices had supposedly been repaired, but there was still a little voice in Romilda’s head that couldn’t quite help it. Millicent Bulstrode was a Slytherin no matter what, and Romilda was still a Gryffindor, and those two didn’t mix.

Either Millicent hadn’t gotten the memo or she didn’t recognize her, though - she had caught Romilda’s eye and seemed to think that her attention meant that she wanted some company.

Or maybe Millicent did know who she was and wanted to have an old-fashioned Slytherin-Gryffindor smackdown.

Romilda didn’t know Millicent that well. Millicent had been two years above her at Hogwarts, the same age as Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy and other prominent Gryffindor and Slytherin students, although she hadn’t belonged to that group. She wasn’t pretty or popular enough to fit in, so she had fallen into the background.

Romilda had always been one of the pretty girls, which meant she had been one of the popular girls as well. She had only noticed Millicent because she had been bigger than the other Slytherin girls, and she had been so obviously uninterested in the regular Slytherin antics. She had occupied a very small part of Romilda’s brain, and she had lost that spot before she even graduated from Hogwarts.

All of these thoughts were running through Romilda’s head very, very quickly in the time it took Millicent to finally reach Romilda’s small table, which was out of the way. Romilda didn’t come to this pub to be seen but to see others, and she wasn’t sure how to feel about this turn of events.

“Whatcha drawing there?” Millicent asked, instead of starting with a standard greeting.

Romilda looked down at her drawing. It was a simple sketch, only just capturing the many things that made up Millicent. It wasn’t meant to be perfect or detailed, but it also wasn’t meant to be shown to anyone, let alone its own subject.

“Um, nothing?” Romilda tried, hoping that it would work as an answer for her.

It obviously didn’t, so Millicent leaned over and grabbed the notepad with such speed that Romilda didn’t have time to react until it was already in Millicent’s hands.

“Hey, that’s mine!” Romilda jumped up and tried to grab for the pad, but she had missed an important detail: Millicent was big in many ways, including her height. Romilda was short even among her friends, but compared to the statuesque subject of her sketch, she was practically childlike. She didn’t even come up to Millicent’s shoulders, let alone her outstretched hand, which now held the notepad.

Millicent tilted her head to the side as she looked at the picture. She didn’t see to mind looking at it from that angle, her neck strained back slightly as she held it up as far out of Romilda’s reach as possible. Her mouth quirked into a small smirk before the look disappeared and she looked down at Romilda.

“You could use some practice.”

“Excuse me?” Romilda narrowed her eyes as she finally stopped hopping up and down in an attempt to reclaim her drawings.

Romilda started pointing at various parts of the picture, her fingers lightly tracing the two-dimensional recreation of her own body.

“The proportions are all wrong. You got my hips right, but then you made my waist too small. I have a big waist, I have rolls and stretch marks and lumps like anyone else - you don’t have to be scared to show that. And you made my breasts way too small.”

Romilda found her eyes, almost without permission, slipping down to the low vee of Millicent’s shirt. When she was standing still and looking at Millicent head-on, her eyes were at the same level at her chest, and it was quite clear that the sketched Millicent had a humbler chest than the real version. However, Romilda wasn’t going to give the older girl the satisfaction of being correct, so she just stepped closer, her eyes moving up to Millicent’s.

“Prove it.”

As taunts and retorts went, it was pretty weak, something that a child would use when they have no verbal practice. It didn’t even make sense - how exactly would Millicent prove anything other than by standing there, her real body so obviously better than the sketch.

The smirk returned, much bigger this time, and Millicent reached down for Romilda’s hands. “Whatever you say.”

Romilda’s hands had been hanging at her sides, and she didn’t really understand what was happening for a few seconds. It was like her brain had short-circuited slightly as soon as Millicent’s cool hands looped around Romilda’s arms and lifted her hands onto the older girl’s ample decolletage.

Romilda hadn’t figured out that she was pan until she graduated from Hogwarts. Sure, she had noticed gorgeous girls like Cho Chang or Ginny Weasley or Fleur Delacour (she should have realized that girls might be in her future after the way she thought about Fleur during the Triwizard Tournament, even though Romilda had only been a second year at the time), but she hadn’t understood her thoughts about them then. She thought she just appreciated beauty and was a bit jealous of them as well, especially the more concerned she became with her own appearance. It wasn’t until she saw her fellow Gryffindors, Lavender Brown and Parvati Patil, groping each other in an otherwise empty corridor that she first started to wonder. She had been a fourth year, though, and she was still somewhat new to all the hormones that seemed to be running through her veins at all times.

She had really known that she liked girls when she ended up on an empty couch with Astoria Greengrass, a Slytherin who had been in Romilda’s year back at Hogwarts. That was the first time that she had had a friendly interaction with a Slytherin, let alone slipped her tongue into their mouth.

As she found her hands moving, nearly squeezing - once again, without her permission, traitorous hands - she mused on the fact that it might not be the last time she got to know a Slytherin on a more intimate level.

Millicent was still smirking down at Romilda, and it took the latter a few seconds to realize what was happening. She tried to step back, but her legs ran into the chair that she had been sitting in moments earlier. She put a hand out to steady herself and suddenly Millicent’s hand was in her own.

“Damn, you didn’t have to take the criticism so hard, Vane.”

So Millicent did know who Romilda was. That was a surprise - Romilda had always figured that Slytherins had even more trouble acting friendly toward non-Slytherins; she realized, though, as soon as that thought had run across her mind, that perhaps she was the one still struggling with those old rivalries, not the woman standing before her.

And Millicent was certainly a woman. It wasn’t just that Millicent was two years older than she was, and that she was taller, although Romilda had always thought that her lack of vertical gifts made her seem even younger than she was, even in her own mind. No, it was the way that Millicent held herself - like many other women of her age, she was comfortable in her body in a way that few teenage girls ever were. She was larger than most of the other women in the pub, but Romilda could tell, just by looking at her, that she had long gotten over any insecurities over her body, if she ever even had any. Romilda was thinner than Millicent, but she had spent the past decade or so of her life finding something to hate about herself. For the past year or so, it had been the stretch marks that were starting to slice their way up her thighs, the small dents that reminded her that she was no longer the thin teenager that she had once been.

And yet, when she had been that thin teenager, she had still found ways to dislike her appearance, a new fault to obsess over before the next took over. She didn’t know if Millicent had ever felt that way, but it was obvious that her days were no longer weighed down by those petty concerns, and Romilda found herself wanting to reach into Millicent’s heart, her very soul, and find that confidence.

But that wasn’t possible, even with the wand that she had stuffed into the purse laying on the floor by her feet, so instead she simply reached for Millicent.

That surprised Millicent - Romilda could taste the “O” of surprise that her lips formed before the older girl’s lips relaxed and responded. Romilda reached up, one hand intertwining into Millicent’s own while the other grabbed at Millicent’s waist. She felt Millicent’s other arm lowering onto her shoulder, and something hit her in the head. She leaned back to see that her sketchbook was still in Millicent’s hand.

Millicent saw what had caught Romilda’s eyes and she smiled a wicked grin before leaning in to whisper in Romilda’s ear.

“I knew you could appreciate some constructive criticism. How would you like to see the parts you fucked a bit closer?”

Romilda’s mouth was dry, the moisture showing up in different parts of her body. She looked Millicent in the eyes before her own dipped lower, taking in the sight of Millicent’s shirt, which had already slipped even lower during their quick exchange of kisses. Her jeans were skin-tight, and Romilda found herself licking at her dry lips as her gaze trailed down Millicent’s legs. Something about Millicent made her body do things without her permission - like nod in answer to Millicent’s suggestion.

But Romilda knew that she wasn’t doing any of this without her permission - she was all in, even though this was the first conversation she had ever had with the girl. She wanted to run her hands down Millicent’s thighs, wrap around them and see if she had lines that matched Romilda’s own stretch marks. She wanted to pull Millicent’s shirt down and see firsthand just how much she had underestimated the size of Millicent’s generous chest.

So she pulled at Millicent’s hand, just barely remembering to grab her purse before leaving (the lust haze in her brain hadn’t made her forget that she was in a pub full of Muggles and it would be unwise to leave her wand behind) and she led the other witch into the hall that led back to the toilets. She barely had the piece of mind to open the door of a small closet. She had been in it previously thanks to a little fling she had had with the bartender; he hadn’t lasted as her partner or a bartender, but she hadn’t forgotten about the closet, which had a “Staff Only” sign on it. That didn’t matter to Romilda, though - she had a wand that could lock doors behind her, even if it took a few tries for her mind to remember the simple spell. Millicent didn’t seem concerned with privacy and was already sucking at Romilda’s throat, her hands nimbly finding their way to the zipper at the front of Romilda’s jeans.

Romilda dropped her wand as one of Millicent’s hands slipped lower and the other trailed across her chest, her lips slipping up to Romilda’s ear.

“I’ve never wanted to be a life model before, but I think I might change my mind for you.” Her voice was low, her breath hot against Romilda’s skin.

“Next time,” Romilda gasped out. “Right now my fingers couldn’t hold a pencil enough to draw a straight line.”

“A pity - I wanted to see what your fingers could do,” Millicent said with another wicked smile.

God, how could Romilda have missed this goddess at their shared years at school? She decided to make up for lost time as she dragged the straps off of Millicent’s shoulders, pulling her shirt down so that it billowed to the ground, slipping past her waist. She reached out, showing Millicent just what she could do with those shaking fingers, trailing them across the goosebumped skin at the top of her strapless bra. Those talented fingers pulled at the front clasp, and they made wicked grin on Millicent’s face turn into a relaxed and awed grin. She found every imperfection on Millicent’s breasts, cataloguing each in her mind for future drawings, each becoming a thing of beauty in both her thoughts and her eyes. She kissed every mark on Millicent’s stomach, pulling at her pants until she could find them all.

She showed every one of her own imperfections to Millicent, who made every scar from old acne marks and lines from unwanted pounds become a new favorite part of her own body. She hadn’t really pulled the confidence from Millicent, and yet it was leaking into Romilda’s very veins, becoming a part of her.

She had found her muse in a woman who was already changing Romilda to her core, all in one delightful, sunny afternoon.