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Pink

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The burn of rum heats Neville from within, and out on the balcony of Harry's flat, the night air feels good on his skin and gives a near-plausible illusion of sobriety. He shivers, but doesn't want to go inside — not with Luna at his side, leaning her hip against the railing and laughing with him.

No matter which way she turns, the wind seems to change direction and keep blowing her hair into her face. Each time either of them says something, it happens. With a grin that wrinkles her nose, she gathers her hair back, making a precarious ponytail with one hand as she brings her drink to her lips with the other.

The heavy glass is big for her slender fingers, and on a careless, dizzy whim, Neville reaches out to hold her hair for her, brushing strands away from her warm temples. Now he holds the ponytail, and they both giggle at that, the glow of drink making it seem funnier than it is.

Her hair is fine and ticklish in his hand, and he has to be closer to her now to keep from pulling on it. Inches apart, he thinks he can feel the heat of her body even in November's chill. Through the fogged-up glass door beside them, the music inside fades into a muffled rhythmic hum, and the partygoers are just colourful smudges moving like ripples on water.

Luna is holding her glass in both hands now, looking up at him through pale lashes with a hint of a question in her eyes. Her cheeks are pink with cold or Firewhisky or both, and for a moment Neville sees in his mind's eye other things that are pink: the pink of her feet when she pulls her socks off, the pink of her inner thighs flushed with need, and the pink of what's between them when they open.

Her mouth, too, is pink, as is the tip of her tongue when she wets her lips. She lifts up on tiptoe and presses her mouth to his — a bit off-centre at first, but that doesn't matter — and the tinge of whisky in her kiss sends desire thrumming through his body like vertigo. Just the taste of it on Luna's tongue is liquid courage, and tonight Neville will be brave enough at last.