feel your weight in arms i’d never use
Silence had always been their thing, but James was suddenly stifled by how quiet it was, her ragged breathing and his shallow breaths in panic the only sounds that they both made.
The winter air was crisp against his exposed cheeks, but his hands were warm inside gloves and wrapped around someone else’s. Freya leaned toward him slightly, her arm wrapped around his and their fingers entwined. The tall couple wasn’t much for public displays of affection, but for them, this was about the maximum of their limits. They cut an imposing figure in the streets as they continued on their way home.
Freya let out a hiccup and then laughed as they rounded a corner. “I think I had a bit too much to drink.”
“You think?” James lifted an eyebrow as he glanced quickly at his girlfriend, a smirk curving up his lips, “I had to stop you from getting onto stage and doing karaoke. That would have been a nightmare.”
The blonde girl snorted and nudged him in the side with her hip. “And why’s that, James Major? Can’t you handle my rendition of old One Incantation?”
He snorted in reply. “What, you used to listen to them?” The eighteen year old asked the other in disbelieving amusement.
She paused, and her lips curled up slightly at the corners. “I did before Zap Magik left,” Freya confessed with another quieter hiccup punctuating her words. There was a pause. Then she added, “You tell anyone that, and I will gut you, understand?”
Her boyfriend laughed and was about to answer, but was quickly cut off by the sound of approaching footsteps. It was late at night and the streets were deserted as far as he could see, but when James twisted around to check behind him, he was met with a punch to the jaw that knocked him backwards, stumbling onto the ground. “What’s your problem?” he snapped at the two men who’d ambushed him.
Immediately, it became obvious that it was not him that they were after, but his girlfriend. One grabbed Freya by her throat, shoving her roughly against the wall of the nearest building. She lashed out with a kick, but the other one ducked out of her way and used his wand to bind her to the wall.
James reached for his wand as well, but his fingers met empty pockets. In his panic, he suddenly realized that the two of them had left their wands at home, knowing that they were going to drink that night and probably shouldn’t be left with a wand in their drunk states.
The man who’d pinned her against the wall spoke now, his tone guttural, “You’re a rich one, aren’t you, Cavanagh? Tell me exactly how to get into your Gringott’s account and we may just spare you.”
The blonde woman stared at him, her upper lip curling in disgust. “You want money?”
At this point, James was standing, but the second man who’d bound Freya’s legs had seen him. As the eighteen year old grabbed a rock on the ground and lunged outward, the other man acted just as quickly. A flick of his wand and James stumbled back to the ground, ensnared by ropes, his mouth bound too. He cast a look at his girlfriend, blue eyes wild, and their gazes met for a panicked moment before the man apprehending Freya roughly turned her chin back so that she faced him instead of James.
“I’m not giving you a cent, you pathetic bastards,” Freya hissed at the man, punching at his stomach with her hand. The man doubled over and she was able to duck from under his arms – only to stumble, as the bindings around her legs held them tight together.
The man who’d doubled over was angry now. He bent over her, scowling, his wand out and pressed to her throat. “I’m going to give you one more chance,” he muttered sinisterly. “Tell me how to get into your account and we’ll clear it out and leave you two alone.”
His tone invited no complaints, but Freya, from her place on the ground, scowled up at him: “Rot in hell.”
This was the final straw. The man bending over her snarled and then swiftly swiped out with his wand. James barely saw the man’s lips move or hear the curse he murmured, but the young man did see the scarlet slit that appeared on Freya’s throat and the surprised gasp that accompanied it.
The man stood now and spat in her direction before he turned and fled with the other man, who flicked his wand. The rope bindings on the two young adults disappeared just as their assailants disapparated from the scene.
Immediately, James had crawled toward his girlfriend and hastily held onto her, shifting her head onto her lap. “Shit, shit, shit,” he murmured under his breath, but he was cut off by her when she reached out a hand and tightened her grip on his arm.
She had no energy left to speak, and the red scar along her throat was pooling blood down her deathly pale skin, but she managed the briefest pull up of her lips toward him.
Silence had always been their thing, but James was suddenly stifled by how quiet it was, her ragged breathing and his shallow breaths in panic the only sounds that they both made. Wordlessly, he wrapped his arm around her, blue eyes caught on hers. They were too far from a hospital, too far too call for help, even if he’d considered it desperately at first.
She’d never feared death, but he’d always kept his distance warily. Except for now; he wouldn’t let her be alone in her last moments.
Her breaths grew shallower, matching his, and he leaned forward quickly, planting a swift kiss on her forehead. “Freya,” he murmured, the words suddenly bubbling up in his throat, words that he hadn’t believed in for so long but now immediately seemed so obvious that he could’ve groaned aloud at how long it had taken him. But in his grip, suddenly she slackened. He drew back and stared in horror at her sightless eyes.
I love you.
But now she’d never know.