threshold moment

The apartment scene . . .

C’mon y'all.  You know that apartment scene deserves some extra analysis. It immediately stood out to me as a re-write or perhaps a companion to Sasil’s first time together in Naomi’s house, but we get to see how far they have come since then.  (Which in “real” time, is only a few months)

For starters, the first scene is set at night and there are candles, which makes the mood a bit romantic.  But here it’s daytime and the light is harsh, which represents the tough situation that they are in.  Also, the place is sparse and dirty not cozy like Naomi’s place.

Rather than climbing through the windows, this time Sally Ann and Hasil get to walk through the front door like proper tenants, further legitimizing them as a couple.  (Thanks to the writers for the whole carry over the threshold moment.  We know you read the fan fic!)

And once again, Sally Ann is leading and Hasil is following.  He hesitates both times but ultimately his trust is in Sally Ann for no other reason than love.

While Sally Ann lingers in the door ways to observe Hasil’s reaction, he makes himself at home by going to a corner, not taking up too much space (Go back and look: the blocking is almost identical in both scenes) but attempting to put her at ease.  He strips down naked back in season one, and I guess you can argue that he strips down emotionally here by confessing about the fights and then declaring that it’s just the two of them now.

Much has been made about the first time he says “Come here” (still swoon worthy) and he says it again here: “Here is good.  I like here.  Here it is then. Come here.” But now they have history, and he knows that she’s stubborn and won’t just do what she’s told, so he just pulls her in for The Lift (also a call back).  

I just want to thank the writers for packing so much in one scene and also to ACTORS for pulling it all off.

I know I missed some things!  What else??

Abyss

Title: Abyss
Rating: PG13 for language
Words: 2,307
Recipient: @ronaldreindeer/weasleypumpkin
A/N: Happy Holidays, Charlotte!! I share your weakness for Shell Cottage fics, so I wrote you one based on a prompt from the list you suggested: Things you said under the stars and in the grass. I hope you enjoy it!!


Lying awake in the dark, Ron heard the light shuffling of feet on the wooden floors and the rustling of clothes, and he wondered who else was having trouble sleeping tonight. The front door opened, the light on the porch illuminating the threshold for a moment, and Ron knew at once who it was. He’d recognise her everywhere. And now, after everything that had happened, he’d follow her everywhere just to make sure she was safe.

Ron got up from his camp bed and crossed the small living room, trying not to accidentally bump into the others, as his mind raced with questions. What was she doing up this late? What if she was in pain and didn’t want to bother Fleur? Was she having nightmares, like he’d had since they’d arrived here a couple of days ago?

He closed the door firmly behind him and walked after her.

‘Hermione?’

She stopped in her tracks and turned round, waiting for him, so Ron quickened his pace to catch up with her.

‘Is everything okay?’ he asked, checking for any signs of pain on Hermione’s face. She was only looking questioningly at him, though. ‘I saw you leave and I thought… Do you need anything?’

Hermione smiled, her hands fiddling with the ties of her dressing gown.

‘No, I’m fine. I couldn’t sleep and thought I could come out here and watch the sea for a while… see if the quiet helps.’

‘Oh… I’ll go back in, then—I mean, you’d rather be alone—’

‘I wouldn’t!’ Hermione exclaimed as Ron took a step back. ‘You can stay if you want to…’

Ron looked up at her and saw her looking back at him with a slightly worried expression.

‘Do you want to?’ she asked him softly.

Without a word, Ron moved forward and followed her, wherever she went.

***

They sat on the grass, right before the beach stretched towards the sea. Hermione glanced at Ron’s profile next to her: it was selfish, but she had been hoping he’d be awake too. She hoped… she knew he’d follow her.

She was grateful to have a roof, regular, satisfying meals, the company of familiar faces beyond Harry and Ron, even if it was only for a limited time. At the same time, though, there were moments when she felt as if the place was too crowded and she needed to get away for a while. Hermione also missed having Ron almost for herself.

‘Looks like we’ve got a plan again,’ Ron commented. Griphook had finally given them an answer that day and agreed to help them break into the Lestranges’ vault. They had started planning right away, coming out of the little room only when Fleur called them down for dinner. Hermione didn’t feel the same rush of energy and optimism she’d felt as they planned their break-in at the Ministry of Magic: this time, it felt more dangerous. It made her uneasy to think of it.

‘Yes, but at what cost? I still don’t think it’s right what we’re doing to Griphook.’

‘Come off it, don’t start with that again,’ Ron told her, annoyance creeping into his voice. ‘We are going to give him the bloody sword, aren’t we?’

‘Oh, I don’t know, are we?’ Hermione snapped, scowling at him. ‘We could have told him, we could have been straightforward with him!’

‘He would have refused; you know he’s a snarky little fellow as well as I do!’ Ron said angrily. ‘I’m not saying it just because; goblins aren’t house-elves! Bill’s always told us, not all of them are bad, but they’re always trying to get one over on you and pass it as settling debts. And you can’t possibly ignore how nasty this one is—that comment he made about how the wizarding guards could use an Entrail-Expelling Charm…’

‘I’m not defending just Griphook’s interests!’ Hermione retorted, just as angry. ‘Have you considered that perhaps this isn’t going to benefit us at all? What if he realises what we’re doing? What if he wants to take the sword right after we get the Horcrux?’

‘He won’t, and if he asks for the sword right away, then we tell him it can’t be.’

Hermione glared at him, still unconvinced, and opened her mouth again.

‘Look, can we not talk about Griphook right now?’ Ron cut her off, running a hand roughly over his face. ‘I’ve got a feeling we’ll be spending far more hours with him than I’d like for the rest of our stay here.’

‘Fine,’ she said after some internal struggling. ‘But you know I’d hate to be right.’

Ron laughed.

‘No, you wouldn’t! You’d hate the consequences of being right, but you’d still love to be proven right,’ he said, smiling smugly at her.

‘Shut up, Ron.’

They fell silent as the wind picked up, making Hermione shiver as it came through her too-thin dressing gown. She hugged her knees to keep herself warm.

‘You’re cold,’ Ron stated. ‘Here…’

He started shrugging off his jacket.

‘Don’t, Ron, I’m fine and you’ll be cold then—’

‘I don’t mind—’

Hermione put a hand over his arm to stop him. He looked up at her, one arm already out of the big wind-breaker jacket he seemed to have borrowed from Bill.

‘Perhaps… we could share? So neither of us is cold?’

Ron looked surprised for a moment; then, he silently reached a hand out to drape part of the garment over Hermione’s shoulder. She blushed as she scooted closer, clutching at the lapel. It was silly. The physical distance between them had become shorter and shorter ever since Dumbledore’s funeral, to the point that all her doubts about Ron’s feelings had disappeared. That was until he left, however. She hadn’t felt this close to him in months. Shehadn’t let him get too close.

‘Better?’ he asked. Hermione nodded. ‘Have you had any pain?’

He’d asked her the same thing yesterday. It made her tremble again, but not from the cold. It wasn’t only that he kept showing he cared; it also reminded her of what he’d done for her… while it happened, and after it’d happened. She’d forgiven him before that, but it was only then that she had fully accepted his truth. What he’d said and what he hadn’t.

‘My muscles still ache a bit, like after you’ve done a lot of exercise, but that’s—that’s all.’

‘Are you sure?’ Ron asked her, frowning at her.

‘What do you mean?’

‘Harry said your arms and legs might seize up for a while, and I thought—’

It was her turn to frown.

‘Why did Harry say that?’

‘I asked him,’ Ron said simply. ‘About how it’d been for him. Have they?’

Hermione chose to shrug instead. She wouldn’t tell him. He didn’t need to worry more than he already was.

‘I’m fine, Ron. I’ll be fine. What about you? Why…?’ She took a breath, bracing herself to ask him something she hadn’t been able to figure out on her own. Looking down for confirmation, she saw it: his hands, resting on his folded knees, still looked awfully bruised and cut, even if the blood had clotted. ‘Why haven’t you let Fleur heal your hands?’

Ron’s expression changed from concerned to caught, and he tucked his hands under his legs, out of view.

‘There weren’t any broken bones.’

‘I’m sure it still hurt. Have you got your wand? Do you want me to fix them for you?’ Hermione offered.

‘No, it’s fine,’ he mumbled, and Hermione had the feeling she wasn’t the only one hiding things from the other. Although in Ron’s case, she didn’t know what was there to hide.

‘All right, if you say so.’ Hermione sighed. ‘You couldn’t sleep, either?’

Ron seemed surprised again.

‘I mean, since you saw me coming here.’

‘Oh. Yeah. I s’ppose it’s all the night watches… it’s made me more alert. Or I think so. I dunno,’ Ron finished, prodding at the grass with his toe.

Hermione stared at him, his profile barely illuminated under the moonlight. He looked tired. Not the obvious tired that came from lack of sleep; he looked the kind of deeply tired she felt. But she knew he wouldn’t say it, because she also knew he was still repenting, trying to atone for what he’d done. Showing them he didn’t regret coming back. So she said it for both.

‘I wish it was over.’

‘Yeah.’

He didn’t take his eyes from the shore, where the low waves came to die in clumps of foam, so she looked at him some more, contemplating…

‘Lie down.’

‘What? Why?’ Ron asked, turning sharply towards her and looking almost scandalized.

‘Because I want to lie down and we’re sharing a jacket, if you haven’t noticed,’ Hermione explained. ‘Come on, I’ll show you something.’

Ron leaned back, indirectly pulling her down to the ground with him, and she felt her face heating up.

‘I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but the night sky in the cities is very different from the sky you see here, or at The Burrow or Hogwarts,’ Hermione said, focusing her eyes on the velvety black expanse above.

‘Really?’

‘Yes. I grew up in a city, and the sky is always a little bit orange or purple, from the lights. It looks almost dirty,’ she explained. ‘When I was younger, my parents and I went camping to… to the Forest of Dean. My dad and I lay down on the ground and he told me to look up. I don’t think I’d really seen the sky like that before.

‘It felt mighty, all that dark space… after a while, it feels like the earth has turned upside down and you’re staring down into the abyss.’

She fixed her eyes on the twinkling dots above, contrasting against the bottomless black, until she could almost believe it. It had been her favourite optical illusion ever since that camping trip, but it was both a beautiful and a scary game.

‘I fear I could fall into it,’ Hermione said quietly, an oppressing sensation bearing down on her chest. She felt like she could hardly breathe, the air passing slow and heavy through her nose.

Hermione felt a warm, gentle weight on her and, looking down, she saw Ron’s arm wrapping around her stomach, his long fingers curling on her side. She turned her head to look at him, her racing heart making her feel dizzier than she already was. The way he was facing her, she doubted he’d even looked up at all.

‘I wouldn’t let you,’ he said. It wasn’t a passionate speech; he didn’t look like the hero in a novel, bright-eyed and face screwed in fervent admiration. He said it the way he’d made every promise to her and Harry: with ease, with confidence, straight-faced and bare of any joking. Promises that, to the best of his abilities, he’d carried out. She’d told herself once she wouldn’t open her heart to any more promises from him, not until she was sure, not until he’d showed her, again, that he meant to keep them. But now she would, because he had.

She blinked away the daze of her thoughts, still staring at him. Her fingers let go of the jacket and stretched down, tentatively brushing Ron’s arm, then resting atop the faint swirling scars on his skin. She thought she felt him shiver very lightly next to her.

‘If the world’s upside down, we’re both going to fall anyway, though,’ she said.

‘Perhaps,’ Ron said, shrugging. ‘Or we can try to sit up and make it right again, can’t we?’

The simplicity of a solution she knew and forgot as she got lost in the moment made her laugh, the first time she heard that sound coming from her in a long time, and the dizziness, the shortness of breath, the heaviness dissipated as the earth returned to its original position and they were, once again, not looking down into an abyss but up to the sky, gravity tying them securely to the ground. It could be that they were both talking about more than an optical illusion involving their present physical position, but somehow, Hermione thought the solution still applied.

‘You want to get up?’ Ron asked her, the ghost of a smile curving his mouth. She took a deep, calming breath and let it out.

‘Not yet.’

Hermione turned slightly on her side, resting her head on his shoulder, and his fingers moved further around her back to hold her.

‘Griphook is foul,’ Ron said, ‘but he’s the best we’ve got.’

‘So you’re going to stop calling him foul?’ Hermione asked him, hopeful. He snorted.

‘Yeah, but only because I don’t fancy him making wizard pie out of me when I’m asleep.’

Hermione laughed in spite of herself. She couldn’t see his face, but his voice sounded serious again when he spoke.

‘Not telling him about the sword is the best we’ve got, too.’

She sighed.

‘Truce?’ Hermione offered.

‘Yeah.’

‘I still don’t like it one bit.’

‘I know, but it’s a compromise,’ Ron said with a yawn. ‘See, like here. We’re sharing a jacket. If we don’t compromise and get up at the same time, we won’t be able to put the world the right way up again.’

‘I suppose,’ she said with some wonder at Ron’s analogies, finally feeling like she could fall asleep. If only they could stay out there, on the grass, together…

But the world was upside down, and they had to keep trying to get up, to make it right.

And perhaps one day, when they did, they would be able to hold each other like this and say what they really wanted to say, and the abyss would be just the sky again.

If happiness, if reaching out for new happiness, is in any sense what fetters living creatures to life and makes them go on living, then perhaps no philosopher is more justifed than the Cynic: for the happiness of the animal, as the perfect Cynic, is the living proof of the rightness of Cynicism. The smallest happiness, if only it is present uninterruptedly and makes happy, is incomparably more happiness than the greatest happiness that comes only as an episode, as it were a piece of waywardness or folly, in a continuum of joylessness, desire and privation. In the case of the smallest or of the greatest happiness, however, it is always the same thing that makes happiness happiness: the ability to forget or, expressed in more scholarly fashion, the capacity to feel unhistorically during its duration. He who cannot sink down on the threshold of the moment and forget all the past, who cannot stand balanced like a goddess of victory without growing dizzy and afraid, will never know what happiness is — worse, he will never do anything to make others happy. Imagine the extremest possible example of a man who did not possess the power of forgetting at all and who was thus condemned to see everywhere a state of becoming: such a man would no longer believe in his own being, would no longer believe in himself, would see everything flowing asunder in moving points and would lose himself in this stream of becoming: like a true pupil of Heraclitus, he would in the end hardly dare to raise his finger. Forgetting is essential to action of any kind, just as not only light but darkness too is essential for the life of everything organic. A man who wanted to feel historically through and through would be like one forcibly deprived of sleep, or an animal that had to live only by rumination and ever repeated rumination. Thus: it is possible to live almost without memory, and to live happily moreover, as the animal demonstrates; but it is altogether impossible to live at all without forgetting. Or, to express my theme even more simply: there is a degree of sleeplessness, of rumination, of the historical sense, which is harmful and ultimately fatal to the living thing, whether this living thing be a man or a people or a culture.
—  Friedrich Nietzsche, On the uses and disadvantages of history for life
The Summer Society has a squeaky front door.

It has never sounded better, more like home to Danny, and she thinks that must be what makes her stop in the threshold for a moment. She had been scared to open the door just a moment ago, but she couldn’t think of why. She looks around and it’s just the lodge: that rug, those stairs, that stuffed deer head they called Lola. That sound, resonating in the front hall, and the sight of the girls curled in front of the television just to her left. Their heads lift and turn to her in comical unison, and there they all are, her favorites, her Fridays, the ones who love her best. It makes her heart full just to count each smiling face and she can’t put her finger on why. 

“Danny!” Dasha yelps, and they all wiggle around their puppy pile for a bit, tripping over each other to get up, until Claire quiets them with her hand on someone’s head and her arm outstretched for Danny to join them. The way they smile at her feels like lying in the sun.

“Jeeze, what took you so long Dan?” Claire asks as Danny settles under her arm. “Trying to run all the way back to Canada again?”

Danny pauses and considers. She does feel tired. She has been running, yes–that sounds right.

“I had…some things to do? They took longer than I thought.”

“Well, it doesn’t matter, I guess. You’re home now.” 

Danny looks at all those dear faces, the familiar room, at all the places their limbs are touching.

“Yeah. I’m home now.”

There comes a time when the pain of continuing exceeds the pain of stopping. At that moment, a threshold is crossed. What seemed unthinkable becomes thinkable. Slowly, the realisation emerges that the choice to continue what you have been doing is the choice to live in discomfort, and the choice to stop what you have been doing is the choice to breathe deeply and freely again. Once that realisation has emerged, you can either honour it or ignore it, but you cannot forget it. What has become known can not become unknown again.

~ Gary Zukav

Sacred Dreams