As previously stated, this entry is a wibbly wobbly timey wimey spacey wacey temporal spacial anomaly, so it will forever stay at the top of my new little archive here.
 
So, first and foremost;
 
Disclaimer: This is a universal disclaimer for the entire set of content contained here. I will not post individual disclaimers. If you recognise something and you don't know me personally or talk to me several times a week, it doesn't belong to me. Harry Potter settings, characters, or other universe specific concepts do not belong to me. The same applies but is not exclusive to:  to Doctor Who, Torchwood, Sherlock, X-Men: First Class and any further fandoms I eventually write about. I also do not own John Simm, David Tennant, or James Mcavoy. Those people tend to belong to themselves. I make no profit from any of this, never have, and I likely never will. 

Next up;
 
This is very important, so please do try to pay attention. I have taken to writing an extremely significant amount of gay porn. Extremely significant amount. Now, if that is not your thing, that's fine. I tag everything within an inch of my own existence, so it should be plenty easy to spot before you get yourselves into a situation that makes you uncomfortable. 

However. Don't come here and rage at me about things being disgusting, or crimes against religion, or unrealistic, or anything else of that nature. I tend to become slightly agitated and you really don't want that. This is my space, for my work to be archived. You are welcome to have opinions and express them, just like everyone else. If you express them in such a way that makes myself or my various writer friends feel uncomfortable, angry, or attacked, that is another matter entirely. My house, my rules.

Right, that seems to be about all of the things that currently need saying. Peruse at your own risk, then... <3
 

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Saturday, 17 September 2011 12:50 am
 It was not at all as if it had happened overnight after Lisa's death. If anything, he had been rather dense about the subject. It had likely not helped that he almost felt as if he should not exist. He had been dead. He had been dead and then he had very suddenly been extremely alive. Jack had brought him back. How or why, he had no idea. But the feeling of just being... wrong, that had lingered for weeks afterwards.  

Ianto remembered being furious all the way to the countryside where people were going missing. He had plotted the route specifically to irritate Owen with the most exposure to the outdoors. But he had hardly seen the views as he drove. Every time he started to ask Jack what had happened, something came up, or he lost the nerve to ask, or Jack had simply disappeared.

Not that it would really have mattered, had he not made it. Once you were part of Torchwood, Torchwood owned you, alive or dead. Not just you; all of your belongings, your entire life, as well. 

But that nagging idea that he really shouldn't exist plagued his mind for weeks. He might have, possibly, been a tiny bit more abrasive than was actually necessary. 

The look Jack had given him after the comment about snogging Lisa had not exactly implied that he was pleased. No matter. Ianto was not pleased either. Feeling dead and not dead was not a pleasing thing.

 

 

Everyone else thought… well, everyone else thought that it had been simple. Just to forget about everything and walk right to Jack… And sometimes it was. Sometimes, it was entirely simple to just go to him and forget everything and everyone. Jack could make a good case for never leaving a room he was in, he was somehow excellent at making the world fall away in favour of indulging in him instead. Sometimes.

Everyone else thought he just stopped caring about anything, and started sleeping with Jack just to do it. To imagine that it all had never happened. 

It had never been that. There had been those moments, at the very beginning, in between saving one another. Catching Myfanwy had been the most obvious moment that it had started. Conflicting things that had started there. It was all there, from the beginning. A sort of tension that simmered under the surface in every interaction. 

Then there had been Lisa, and while Ianto may have been flexible in his definitions of relationships, he was nothing short of a faithful partner. All of the things happening in the background had to fade to white noise in the face of her pain, and the need for her to be well again. It would have been a betrayal, then.

 But then Lisa was gone. All of her pain, their pain, the pain that had sometimes filled the space between them, until there was no room for anything else. All of the guilt for what he felt when he wasn't with her. All of the ties that made it so he was kept to one place and time. There was grief, yes of course there was. But eventually... It was more like he had been mourning her for a very long time. Since the battle of Canary Wharf. Since the War. Since Torchwood One. He had been grieving for so long, even while she was still 'alive', that it didn't seem so inappropriate to try to step past it so soon after she 'died'.

And this, this tension between himself and Jack. It had also been there for most of that time. Waiting for the moment when it could fully make itself known. 

This wasn't new. This wasn't abrupt, or sudden, or flighty, or a whim. It was inevitable. It was only a question of when.

 

When John saw the interview a few hours later, he was burying his face in his hands, but he was also laughing. He’d had the best of intentions, he had managed to sneak out of bed before Dave was even awake that morning. He was showered and dressed in less than fifteen minutes. He was halfway through a plate of eggs and toast, reading the paper, an hour before the interview, when the arms slid around his waist from behind, and there were lips pressed into the back of his neck.

John managed to laugh out a good morning before his mouth was commandeered for other purposes, but that was almost all. After that, the arms around his waist tightened and the lips became teeth trailing a line across his collarbone and back around his neck. Dave had him tipping his neck for more instead of attempting speech. There was a nip at the lobe of his ear and that was all he managed to remember coherently before the bedroom.

He made it out the door ten minutes before he was supposed to be recording the segment, and barely managed to be there before they started to harass the keepers of his schedule.

In the clip, his shirt is slightly wrinkled, you can see traces of where Dave’s teeth had been only an hour before, his hair is all but a lost cause, and there is still a faint flush in his cheeks, but it was worth it.

The fingers tugging at his hair, lips and teeth making a trail up and down his neck to his back, the last few moments before he has to rush out the door. Those are worth it.

 The fifth part (and still not done, though it was supposed to be.)

Percy had smoked through an entire pack of cigarettes and started on another before he stopped being furious. He was still angry, but at least now he was not taking it out on the bar anymore. The bartender was very pleased about that, at least.

Everything was good! …Okay everything wasn’t good. At all. But it was reasonably in order, and fairly calm. I was resigned to leaving my inclinations alone for now, and the secret was safe. I’d nearly forgotten about even making an attempt at having a normal relationship. Why the bloody hell did Oliver have to come along and ruin it all? As if it could ever be possible for things to be open. And the night was going along fine. We were drinking, we were smoking, we were eating, we were talking and grieving for our mentor, and it was all perfectly fine, before he forced it out of me. And then of course there’s all that rubbish about how he felt in school, and having a thing for male redheads “with a bit of height to them”. He had to emphasise that, and show how badly things are beginning to go for me. Why couldn’t he just leave it alone?’ Percy was ranting to himself as he chain-smoked.

He had forgotten that he was in a Muggle bar. A Muggle bar in which someone was obviously having a horrible night, because they had put a seemingly endless amount of quarters into the jukebox for one song: Savage Garden’s Gunning Down Romance. ‘It really isn’t a bad song, actually. …In fact, it’s rather good, if you happen to be in a very angry, depressive mood. …On second thought, this song might be perfect for me,’ Percy thought sourly.

Apparently, though, the person who had started up the jukebox hadn’t put all the quarters on that song, but merely very much enjoyed Savage Garden in general. Percy lapsed back into his internal monologue without wasting any time identifying this new song, ‘Why is it so important that I see things the way he so clearly sees them? He’s such an infuriating prat, no wonder I haven’t made time to go see him the last few times he’s been in town.’ But a nagging little voice told him that he knew very well that that was by no means the reason that he had not gone to see Oliver Wood when he came home in-between Quidditch matches elsewhere. He hadn’t gone because he knew that it would be all too easy for his oldest friend to figure out what was troubling him. Oliver knew him too well, and his deepest, most guarded secrets were like child’s play for Oliver to figure out and extract from him without any effort beyond the lifting of a finger.

Percy was now chiding the inner voice that served as what was left of his conscience. ‘I don’t see why that’s relevant. That’s only more reason not to see him. He knows too much, and he sees right through me. It’s like trying to teach a pig to sing. It only wastes my time, annoys the pig, and provides absolutely no useful result.’ But his conscience wasn’t giving up that easily, ‘You’re sitting in a bar. Smoking as if your cigarettes were suddenly going to completely disappear if you don’t. Ranting and raving about the fact that your best friend, and indeed, the only friend that will still speak to you, had the nerve to try and get you to see the light of reason on what you are hiding from everyone and denying yourself of. And you are about to burn yourself.’

Percy quickly lit the cigarette in his mouth, before the flame on his lighter managed to burn him. ‘I don’t see the point of trying to live the way that I want to. It will only ruin what is left of my life. Not that there is that much left of it to speak of in the first place, but really. Who is counting?’

The fact that he was quite literally having a conversation with himself had not escaped him, but either way, he didn’t much care. His conscience piped up again, ‘Fine, your life is a wreck, your family is a disaster, your friends won’t speak to you, and the only thing that you did all of this for is your job, which you don’t even like all that much any longer. Yet, the one friend who is still speaking to you invites you over and ends up trying to make you see sense, and you attempt to alienate him, as well. Are you trying to become a priest, or is self denial just fun for you? Because you’re acting like a first class prick.’ It was kind of sad that his own mind was ripping Percy to shreds at this point, but it wasn’t really much different from his whole life anymore, so that was to be expected. There was only one thing left to say, really. ‘But what do I know? I’m just a little voice in your head. But at least I’ve not managed to get into an argument with myself in the middle of a bar and then lose.’

Sadly, his conscience was right. He had just managed to get into a fight with himself and lose. Percy kept smoking his cigarette, thinking about how the whole night had gone up to this point.

Actually, it had been going rather nicely. The drinks and the cigarettes and the talking were exactly what he had needed in order to feel like a person again, instead of just an invisible helper deemed only mildly better than a house-elf. The food had been great too. He still had his share, of course, but eating in a bar didn’t appeal to him at all. Oliver’s flat had been the ideal environment for his one evening away from work and dull existence.

Perhaps his friend was truly trying to help him after all, rather than push him into doing things that would ruin his life further. And then there was that bit Oliver had said midway into the night…”I’ve always been content to let you take the lead,” he’d said. What did that even mean?

He thought back to the collapse of limbs on the floor, while trying to get to the Firewhiskey, and the easy conversation that had gone on up until Oliver’s speech. Then the cloak that he had left there. It was the only one he had at the moment. Perhaps he would go and retrieve it, and find out what Oliver had meant by that while he was there.

That seemed like a very good idea, which is how Percy ended up all the way back at the door to Oliver’s flat at midnight that night, and knocked.

 Oliver started with just a simple question, “Why would you believe that I would lie to you about something like that, Perc? When have I ever lied about something important?” he asked.

Percy just shook his head. He couldn’t form the words properly to establish what he had been fearing for six months previous to this meeting. At last he managed to force out, “I’ve had to keep it quiet. Anyone could tell the Ministry, and then I wouldn’t have a job or privacy or any of my friends. No one I’ve talked to has been accepting, and they had to be threatened in order to keep them quiet. I suppose I just assumed that you would be the same.”

Oliver closed his eyes and shook his head. Then he returned, “I can see that this is going to be very difficult to make you understand, much less believe.”

Percy shrugged, but had no response for that.

Oliver pointed back over his shoulder, asking, “You see that team photo on the mantle?”

Percy nodded.

“The man on the far left, second row. Ginger-ish hair, fairly tall, sort of smirking at the camera?” Oliver wanted to make sure that Percy understood.

His companion nodded again. Clearly, he was dealing with a mute.

“I guess it would have been about… oh… two months after I joined the team, we started to become lovers. It only lasted about a month after that, but it would appear that, specifically, I have a thing for redheads. Male redheads who have a bit of height to them,” he emphasised.

Percy gulped. “Please stop,” he intoned.

Oliver shook his head, “I’m not finished yet, Perc, calm down. Have a drink, light a cigarette, and relax. We may yet be here for a while,” he said, moving around to pour the other man a drink.

“Now, when I’m done, you can leave. You can run away screaming, never look back, never speak to me again if you do not want to. I’ll never breathe a word of it to anyone if that is the way you want it. You can turn your back on me, if that is what you truly wish to do, but for now you are going to listen to what I have to say. Is that clear, or do I need to use small, clear words so that you can comprehend through your… apparent shock?” Oliver taunted.

“As long as there’s an exit clause in this contract,” Percy replied snarkily.

Oliver grinned before continuing his speech, “Well, well. At least you are well enough to make jokes now. I rather thought that you might just pass out at any moment. You do have a very weak heart, for a wizard, Perc,” Oliver paused to make absolutely sure that this was taken as the light-hearted teasing that he meant for it to be, before he carried on, “Now, I did have a thing for you at Hogwarts. For all of our sixth and seventh years, and half of our fifth, to be exact. I spent a lot of time hiding it from you. As well as more time on the Quidditch pitch, practicing. than was actually necessary. I stayed awake with you at night for months on end, despite being exhausted…And then finally, I just forced myself to ignore it. Penny’s constant, never ceasing presence helped. But it never went away, Perc. And it’s not some horrible secret that is going to be the end of anyone’s career or the cause of their losing all their friends. If you want to see men, then see men. Don’t hide behind being too busy at work, and don’t use your work to ignore it, and don’t avoid your friends in order to block it out and hide it from them. It isn’t fair to the people who know you to not really know you, and it isn’t fair to do it to yourself either. Trust me, I learned it the hard way. It’s not like you make some kind of announcement, you just go about your life with whomever you want the same way you would had nothing changed.”

Oliver stopped talking for a moment because he realised that he was becoming far too involved in this, and far too passionate about the subject. He took a breath, and then, “All I’m saying is that you are making your life far more difficult than any of it needs to be. Your internal conflict is hurting my external observations. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion, Perc. Don’t do it to any of your friends and don’t do it to yourself. It’s not fair to anyone involved,” he finished.

Oliver threw himself into the corner of his couch, lit a cigarette, and did not say another word.

Percy very slowly came out of his shocked stupor and got up. He turned to Oliver and said, “Goodbye, Wood.” Then he gathered his things again, and this time actually made it out of Oliver’s front door.

He found himself wandering around the streets outside Oliver’s flat, having shrunk all of his things into a size that now fit into the pocket of his trousers, as he was only now realising that he had left his cloak on the heater inside. But damned if he were going back in that place anytime soon.

Percy lit a cigarette and wandered over to the pub down the street. He didn’t bother to order a drink, clearly he was already more foxed than was really advisable. He merely sat at the bar and smoked.

Oliver stood in the doorway from his lounge into his kitchen and stared at his front door. He was going to regret that speech, he was realising now. He knew that he had just lost a friend for a long time. As he turned to go back into his lounge and drink himself into a stupor, as had been the original plan, he saw Percy’s deep crimson cloak still sitting on the heater where it had been left. His friend had been so upset that he had left without it and would probably be too angry to come back to retrieve it. He sat on his couch, shot his whiskey all at once, and put his head in his hands.

 The two men continued to look at each other silently, surrounded by the food that they were still consuming, the second and third empty bottles of Firewhiskey, the fourth that they had just opened, the various empty packs of cigarettes that they had gone through, coffee cups, wands, empty Chinese containers and the music that was still playing in the background.

Percy knew it was imperative that he keep his secret from his old friends, but especially this one. No one could possibly be more offended by his latest epiphany than Oliver. Perhaps he should just start writing letters to people that they never saw, again. That would be easier. He could live in secrecy and still feel as if he had told someone.

Oliver was musing in his own corner of the carpet in front of the fire, stretched out against the coffee table as he ate. He was thinking on what would make Percy so desperate to keep his secret, ‘I wonder why he won’t just tell me that he isn’t interested in women anymore? I was the only one who didn’t abandon or ignore him while he was being such a prat to his family, and I stuck by him at Hogwarts, when he went on his rampage… Could he still be afraid that I would disown him? Or is it something deeper than that, is he afraid of losing face at work, losing his job with the Ministry entirely? ’ but now matter what Oliver considered, he couldn’t find the reason that his friend would be so afraid to tell him the most important decision he had ever made.

Finally, Oliver gave up trying to understand it, and proceeded to go with the direct nudging approach, saying, “You know, back then… when we were still at school, I used to have a bit of a thing for you. I used to wonder what would happen, and if you knew what was going through my head when no one else was around us. It seems so silly now, when we’re in the most horrid conflict the Wizarding World has seen, but back then, I lived in a sort of terror that you would figure it out and tear me down.”

Percy snapped his head up and looked quite startled as Oliver finished his speech. He lit another cigarette and took a large gulp of his Firewhiskey, hoping that it looked a bit more subtle than it felt to him. He couldn’t say anything at all for some moments, and he felt a lump in his throat that must have been roughly the size of the entire city of London. When he finally felt he could speak without betraying what was racing through his mind he said, “As if I were ever the type who could tear you, or anyone at all, down. And anyway, Wood, don’t poke fun at me, that is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my entire life. You, having a thing for me. In school. Sure. Bloody liar. At least lie well if you’re going to lie to me!”

Oliver smirked to himself a little, “I was having a go at forcing you to tell me the secret that you’re guarding so closely to yourself, Perc. What’s this ‘Wood’ bit again? Honestly, it’s like we don’t even know each other, if one were to look at how you talk. Besides… who said I was telling a lie, Perc? Everything I said, I meant. I would not joke about that. Why would you ever think that I would?” he inquired.

Percy just stared at him. He couldn’t say anything, and he was getting angry. Finally, he spat out, “This isn’t funny anymore, Oliver. You are the only person laughing here. Fine, you figured out my secret. Yes, I like blokes for more than mates. I’m gay, alright? There. I admit it. Are you happy now? I didn’t want to tell you and you forced me to and I don’t know what I will do now if it gets out, damn you to the bloody depths of Hell. And now, if you do not mind ever so much, I’ll be taking some of the food and leaving. Thank you for the drinks and the company, such as it were. I’ll deal with my flatmate, he will just have to suffer,” Percy was gathering half of the remaining food into a bag, pocketing his latest pack of cigarettes, and gulping down his drink and walking towards the door as he spat his final words over his shoulder, “and I swear on everything that I hold dear, if you let this get back to the Minister, I will make sure that every dirty little secret you have somehow finds it’s way to the press. I’m sure the Prophet would love to get ahold of the news that a famous Quidditch player likes boys. They would have a field day. You would never get them away from your door!” he exclaimed, halfway to the door.

Oliver may have been faster on his broom, but he was still very quick on his feet, and he rushed up behind Percy, relocated the bag from his hand onto the breakfast table, spun him around just as he reached for the handle on the door, and pressed him up against it in one swift motion. Percy blinked rapidly and shook his head a bit, then stared at his friend. Oliver smirked at him, “Are you quite ready to listen to reason, now, Perc?” he asked.

Percy nodded mutely, but made no other move. He didn’t even indicate any inclination to run or avoid this little chat.

Oliver smiled in a way that somehow seemed dangerous and led his friend back to the lounging room. Percy sat with his back against the coffee table and waited for the worst that he knew was coming, the inevitable announcement that it had all been a joke, as he had thought. And he waited for the condemnation and the threats and the disownment he knew was coming.

Oliver said, “Now, will you sit here and listen to what I have to say, and try to see reason for just a few moments? I assure you, it won’t take long if you listen. Are you willing to lend me that much of your time?”

Percy nodded again, without a word.

Oliver took a deep breath and prepared to begin what he was sure was going to be a long, slow, painful explanation. Although he was doubtful that it would be more painful and hurtful than the discussion which would follow it.

 Alcohol and the late hour had begun to dull the senses of both men. It was strange how they were both barely adults, but at this moment, in the shadow of mourning for their teacher, they looked so very old.

Percy was still hesitating, fidgeting and glancing from Oliver to the window every few seconds, as he had been for the last ten minutes. Finally, he pulled a cigarette out of the pack he’d been keeping in his pocket and asked, “Do you mind if I have a smoke, Ol?”

“Go ahead, I was going to have a couple myself. Ashtray’s on the end table.” Oliver replied, sitting up.

Having appropriated the ashtray to the coffee table, both men lit their cigarettes and then slowly exhaled. All of the tension seemed to leave the room, or at least lesson considerably. Percy had always liked to watch other people smoke, there was a sense of calm around it. It revealed a lot about a person without asking much.

Percy started chuckling softly, “It’s like we’re third years behind the Quidditch shed again, bloody hell…” he said.

“At least now we don’t have to worry about Snape or Filch…. or worse, McGonagall sneaking up to chastise us for having a smoke,” Oliver replied.

“Oh, you never know, one of our old teachers could decide to visit you and burst through the door at any moment to admonish us for smoking these frivolous things! Not as if they hurt Wizards at all anyway,” Percy continued, still chuckling.

“But Perc, we were not using our time on an activity that they approved of!” Oliver began to chuckle too.

“Oh of course,” Percy started to say, when there was a knock on the door, “Maybe I shouldn’t have doubted their ability to know that we were having a smoke.”

“Maybe not,” Oliver returned.

“I’ll get the door, then,” Percy said, rising.

“I’ll go with you, so we don’t confuse anyone,” Oliver replied, rising also.

Still carrying their cigarettes, they went to the door, just as the knock sounded again. Percy opened the door with Oliver behind him, only to reveal another old friend behind it.

“Oh, hullo, Lee, I almost forgot!” Oliver rushed to the closet across from the front door, retrieved a brown paper package and handed it over to Lee.

“Thanks, Wood. See you next Thursday?” Lee asked.

“Of course, Lee,” Oliver replied and closed the door, wandering back into his lounging room.

Percy followed him back and asked, “What was all that?” as he reclaimed his seat on the couch.

“A bunch of people from our year get together every other Thursday. Sort of a smaller version of the Order,” Oliver replied, “This will be the first time that I’m going,” he finished.

“Ah. Want company?” Percy asked, taking a drag from his second cigarette.

“I thought I had company right now, actually. But I wouldn’t mind if you tagged along, no,” Oliver teased.

There was a silence for a few more moments, while they enjoyed their drinks and smoked a little more.

“What were you about to tell me, a little while ago, Perc?” Oliver asked.

Percy tensed just a bit, and took a drag from his cigarette, “My roommate is sleeping, and he won’t appreciate me coming home foxed at four in the morning, which is where this is headed.” he answered.

“Oh… I get it. He’s about as much of a prick as you’ve been?” Oliver attempted a joke about it.

“I could take lessons,” Percy replied.

“Just relax, drink up, and don’t worry about it,” Oliver suggested.

For a while they talked over their memories of Hogwarts and Dumbledore, and what would happen next. Then it became worry over their families and a mention of Oliver’s younger brother and sister, Jordan and Sonja. Finally the two just decided to stop talking about the depressing things that were so stressful, and put on a record so they could drink and smoke themselves into a stupor.

“You listen to Muggle records, Ol?” Percy asked, a little surprised.

“I think that it shows better artistry than our music does. They put more work into it, you know? Any wizard can bewitch instruments to play along with them while they sing, but these artists actually put together a band, or play themselves.”

“I think you’re right,” Percy admitted.

They listened through REO Speedwagon’s Keep Pushin’ and then Building The Bridge in relative peace.

A few songs later they had both decided it was time to go for coffee and food.

Tucking their cigarettes into pockets, Oliver clamped a hand on Percy’s arm and Apparated to Olivia’s.

“What is this place, Wood?” Percy asked, after they sat down.

“The best little take-away place in our world. Any kind of coffee you can think of, along with endless amounts of different kinds of food. Chinese being my personal preference. Any objections to that?” Oliver asked.

“None at all, it sounds great.” Percy replied.

They ordered far too much food; fried dumplings, sweet and sour chicken with the sauce on the side, two separate types of rice, some kind of shrimp and pasta, black pepper potatoes, chicken eggrolls and regular eggrolls, shrimp on its own, scallops, three orders of homemade fortune cookies, egg noodles, and three large boxes each of French fries and tator tots. Then they made sure they had two white chocolate mochas apiece and took all the food back to Oliver’s place.

“I think we may have out-ordered ourselves, Ol,” said Percy

“Nah, we’ll just pretend that we’re still growing Hogwarts students. Dumbledore was always big on everyone eating as much as they could take,” Oliver grinned.

“I can’t remember the last time I got to smoke and drink while I ate, much less the last time I had time to eat this much,” Percy said, between doing all three.

“Oliver Wood: Professional Force-feeder,” said Oliver with a grin.

“Surely not as bad as that time that you charmed your door, your quill and your broomstick to say ‘I can only please one person each day. Today is not your turn. …Tomorrow is not looking good either.’ if you tapped it, whenever someone annoyed you. At least not yet,” Percy was finally teasing back.

“People ask too many questions. Specifically, the same questions. Repeatedly. I don’t like repeating myself, you know,” Oliver responded, but he was still grinning around his food.

“Sorry, what did you say, Ol? I couldn’t quite hear you,” Percy smirked.

“I’m going to choose to ignore you. Hey, did you know that people have been saying that they’ve been seeing you around London’s more… quiet restaurants without anyone? There’s talk that you’ve stopped seeing women,” Oliver looked at Percy quizzically.

Percy hesitated. Then he tried to casually say, “Oh? I hadn’t noticed. I have been having dinner and supper with my business contacts frequently, lately. I don’t suppose any of them are women.”

Oliver nodded, but privately he was thinking, ‘Well, that confirms my suspicions.’

Percy lit a cigarette and Oliver followed suit, neither saying a word for a while.

Halfway through his smoke, Percy asked, “Have you noticed that most of this evening has been a series of long awkward silences and hesitation?”

“Mmmhmm,” Oliver mumbled through the smoke he exhaled.

“You don’t mind? It doesn’t bother you?” Percy inquired.

Oliver shook his head, “I’ve always been content to let you take the lead.” he murmured.

They looked at each other for a moment, considering what that meant.

 This is a little something that I wrote for a plot bunny challenge that I had forgotten. I hope you like this first chapter!

It was strange for a Gryffindor to have such a dark, green coloured scheme in a place of their own, but then Oliver was never a fan of sticking to traditions. It was darker still in this little flat, for he had only decided to light it with candles and oil lamps for the evening.

After all, the mentor that everyone had looked up to was gone. Dumbledore had fallen to the one man he had trusted with everyone’s safety, and even his own life. McGonagall had called to question whether or not Hogwarts would remain open for the next year. Those in open resistance to Voldemort’s tyranny were now targets, even in their deep grieving for their unofficial leader. Darkness was to be called for, after all of that. It was appropriate.

The knock on the door was not at all a surprise, Oliver knew exactly who was at his door at this late hour. The funeral had been… draining and motivating at once. He had wanted to sit down and drink himself into a stupor, smoke through a pack of cigarettes and try to block it out for a time, but he had also wanted to do what Dumbledore would have wanted them all to do. Dumbledore would have wanted them to put aside old prejudices and to bond together in his absence, just as he wished they would have in his life. So in effort to give tribute to his old mentor, Oliver had invited the half-shunned Percy Weasley over for a drink at his flat, for later that night.

When Oliver opened the door, he found a very awkward Percy leaning against his door frame, wrapped tightly in a deeply red cloak and looking for all the world as if he’d had the wind kicked out of him.  He also seemed to be very wet.

“Hullo there, Percy… You’re a bit more watered down that I expected our drinks to be tonight,” Oliver greeted his guest.

“Hullo Wood. It’s raining. Pouring, really. It’s an absolutely torrential downpour. Appropriate, don’t you think, given the occasion?” Percy returned.

“Quite. Come in,” Oliver said, opening the door a bit wider. “Put your cloak over on the warmer, there really isn’t any hurry, is there?” he asked.

“I think I can safely say that tonight, I will neither be interrupted by work, nor suddenly inclined to rush away from an old friend and a few bottles of stiff liquor.” Percy responded.

The two exchanged the smallest of wry smiles, as it was well known that Percy was not only antisocial, but that it was not helped at all by constant owls from the Ministry because his bosses needed something from him.

Oliver gestured towards the table, on which rested two glasses, a small ice dispenser and one of several bottles of Ogden’s Finest Firewhiskey.  They were both sorely in need of a very stiff drink and the sight of the bottle and glasses hurried them towards their seats.

For a few moments both just sipped at their drinks and became very interested in the crackling fire, without saying a word to one another.

“Do you remember what he said at the Feast at the beginning of term, your brother and Potter’s first year?” Oliver said, smiling fondly a little, at the memory.

“Everyone thought he was a few wands short of a store that night. The expressions on the first year’s faces were priceless. But I’d only just made prefect, and I couldn’t afford to be seen as anything other than a leader figure! Or so I thought.” Percy recalled, smiling as well.

“Eh. You were certainly a bit of a pompous arse those last few years, but I think I managed to keep clear of the brunt of it. You were always scribbling on something though. Not your notes, or homework or anything of that sort, it looked like you were writing an endless amount of letters, but never sending them. Either way, it kept you distracted enough for me to scrape by.” Oliver smirked at his companion.

“It was something like that. I had a little book that I wrote letters to people in that said exactly what I wanted to say to them. Things I couldn’t say, in my position. Dumbledore actually saw it once or twice during Head’s meetings. I always wondered why he didn’t take away my place.” Percy said.

“Dumbledore liked people to have a bit of rebel in them, else I would have been kicked out years ago, Percy. Merlin…” Oliver trailed off without finishing.

“Merlin what, Wood?” Percy asked.

“It’s just something I’ve been thinking since I heard the news last night… About him being gone… about Snape…” Oliver said.

“I’d heard something about an Unbreakable Vow he made. But really, he should have died rather than betray Dumbledore,” Percy responded.

“That’s just it, though. I don’t think… Albus Dumbledore was not a stupid wizard, Perc. He wasn’t weak or mad or witless or even impulsive. And he was always the best judge of character of any of us. I just don’t think he would have fallen for an act. Do you think that maybe…” Oliver trailed off again, looking at Percy.

“That maybe Snape isn’t evil? Dumbledore wasn’t wrong? Even the most careful men are fallible, Oliver. How could he not be wrong?” Percy asked.

“I dunno… but did you catch a glimpse of Dumbledore this year? His hand was black and shrivelled a bit and he seemed… weaker. As if he didn’t have much time left as it were,” Oliver said.

“You think that maybe he had asked Snape to finish him off? That’s next to impossible.” Percy said.

“Maybe,” Oliver returned.

Percy and Oliver both lapsed back into silence for a while, finishing their third, forth and fifth drinks each. Percy went to reach for the bottle to pour himself another and realised they had finished the whole draught.

“Oh.” Oliver said, and he went to rise.

Both men had headed for the bottles on the island at the same moment and proceeded to crash into one another with much flailing of limbs and tripping and landing awkwardly atop one another’s legs.

Oliver looked at Percy, only to find shocked eyes looking back at him, and then he fell back against his carpet laughing hopelessly. A moment later, Percy began to chuckle as well, surveying the disaster of their tangled limbs.

After a moment of this, Oliver finally managed to untangle his limbs and  none too gracefully climb to his feet. Upright again, he offered his hand to Percy, who accepted it, still chuckling to himself.

“I think I’ll grab two bottles, just so we don’t fall all over ourselves again, eh?” Oliver smirked at Percy as he placed the Firewhiskey on the coffee table, instead of his breakfast table as before. Percy was still smiling as Oliver went back to the table and grabbed their glasses and ice, placing them on the coffee table in the next room as well.

When Percy had recovered himself, finally, and joined Oliver in the common area of the flat, Oliver was seated in one corner of an overstuffed couch, and well into his sixth drink when his old friend sat down and poured his own.

“Maybe Snape was just fulfilling a promise to Dumbledore. It isn’t like he’d be the first person to make an ill-decided promise to the Headmaster,” Percy said.

Oliver nodded and sipped his drink. Then, after a moment, he asked, “Where does Penny think you are tonight, Perc?”

Percy hesitated for a moment before he answered, “She won’t be missing me. After all the owls from the Ministry and my general lack of time for her, she decided she needed to find someone who was more available to her. We haven’t been seeing each other since about the middle of November.” He gulped the rest of his drink down, and poured himself another upon finishing the statement.

“Is she really something to rush fine whiskey over, Weasley?” Oliver inquired.

Percy glanced up from his glass to say, “If it were over her, I would say no. There are other people in the world. However… most will want the same as she did: more of my time, more of my attention. The things I can’t give are the things I need to.”

Oliver paused to consider this for a moment, “I see what you mean. My life is much the same. Or rather, it was.”

Percy glanced sharply at Oliver over the last sentence.

“There doesn’t seem to be much point in playing Quidditch every day that I’m not home when there’s a war on, does there? I’ve decided to resign, at least for a time, and put my talents to better use elsewhere for a while,” Oliver said.

“Someone said something to me a long time ago that I completely ignored, Wood, and now I regret it. ‘Never lose your childish enthusiasm, and you’ll find what you need,’ she said. I didn’t listen. Now I wish I had,” Percy told him.

Oliver suddenly became very interested in his firewhiskey. Finally, he broke the silence by admitting, “My childish enthusiasm is just directed towards different things now, Perc. I’ve lost interest in the sport, and while I do want to pursue something else, I also think I should be less than useless before I do it. Or even while I do it.”

Percy nodded in understanding, and both drank in silence for some time after.

“Say, Oliver?” Percy said.

“Yes, Perc?” Oliver returned.

Percy was hesitating to say something for several minutes.


I: And this is the time of night...

“When you don’t plan it, the most absurd impulses you act on can be the best ones. The ones that end up creating the best times you will ever have.

Tonight was one of those times. I can’t explain the whole turn of events yet, because I really do not understand how it happened, but I had the time of my life in a moving vehicle from eleven pm on. I’ve just returned, and it is the absurd hour of six am.” -From Brenna’s Journal


That was this morning. She hasn’t yet been to bed. Not even remotely close to tired. The facts are harder to understand than you might think, sometimes. Even when it’s just happened, even when you have it all very clearly in your head.

You know those moments in your life that change everything, or at least make it seem like they change everything? It’s an instant, a split second decision. Like a phone call you make, on a whim, without thinking that it could possibly end in anything other than a ride home.

Then you realise you don’t want to go home, not really. So you ask a tentative question, and the answer surprises you. Then someone later on makes a few comments that set the wheels turning. The conversation makes a slight detour, just enough to allow for the occasional little quip. You both laugh at the person who made the comments to begin with, but now the idea is there, in the background. Tempting both sides towards discussing it.

There’s no rush, really. Neither party wants to make a decision without a signal from the other, but things change subtly. A few tentative remarks are exchanged, and while everyone involved knows exactly what the situation is, there is just this period of feeling one another out.

First nights are always the most intriguing, the most fun, the easiest to manage. After the first night, doubts start to creep in, within hours. Confidence falls away, and both parties start to consider changing their minds, thinking that the other has already backed out.

It’s a very dangerous, and somewhat thrilling game. As soon as someone raises the stakes, it becomes a challenge. It becomes a few parts of an entertainment, and the pieces of the story cannot wait to play themselves out.

II: When the moonlight shines down...

It was like a trip down the rabbit hole. Whereas on first nights, things are always tentative, and very little actually physically happens, second nights are always intensive on everything. Second nights take everything from first nights, and put it under a microscope.

If the circumstances, the people, and the timing are right, then everything becomes a new level of intense. All the questions are loaded. Every glance, every touch, every word, becomes something of importance, worthy of being pondered and analysed.

This can go on for hours, if you aren’t alone. Hours of every look being a communication, fingers poking back and forth, jokes that no one else but the two involved understand… The music on the radio becomes a source of hilarity, because somehow the disc jockies know, and they know that we know that they know.

By the time it all calms down and you get a moment to breathe, just between the two of you, it’s already three in the morning. There is an obvious, blatantly defiant tension in the room. But you blow it off, because the more you let it build, the more likely things turn out on the right side of interesting.

Both of you said something about this. One said that they wouldn’t make the first move, while the other said that they have no self-confidence whatever in their abilities. You had reached a stalemate. It was almost pleasant.

But now, alone in this dark room, after the last nine hours of pure running, something has changed. The way they look at you, the way you look at them… Those looks are still charged, but this time there seems to be an intent behind one set of eyes.

The games have been intense this far, and the level of tension between the two of you could be cut with a knife, but the moment one person makes a decision, and that look begins to show signs of intent… You are already lost, it is merely a matter of how long it takes to give in.

A kiss is a kiss is a kiss. Yet somehow, they feel so different between one person and the next. Once you begin, though, it becomes near impossible to stop. It’s far easier to tumble onto the nearest flat surface.

But duty calls, and you must stop, so you pull away, and run for the door to the car before they can change your mind. It’s this. This little fact that the phone can ring at any second and interrupt you that makes it that much more fun. And then it does, and you curse it, because that was the last time that night you would be alone.

Until the next time the sun sets, and darkness takes over for a few hours. It promises to be very, very interesting.

This will end poorly.

III: And we can reveal who we truly are...

The third night is much like the first. The doubts have finished creeping in, and people have changed their initial decisions. The songs that trigger a good time play early on in the evening, before it is even half dark out in the world. This turns out to be a fairly bad sign.

There is a bit of a tug of war going on between what is really there and what isn’t. It becomes a choice of what is right, and what is easy. But the lines are thin here. The black and white blur together and then everything is in shades of grey. Both parties have made a radical switch in positions

That bothersome self-confidence issue presents itself in rare form on the third night. The other party has made some choices that frustrate you, and by extension, you begin to play the aggressor. There is still kissing, still touching, but… the other one, their heart just isn’t really in it.

A challenge has presented itself. So in the morning, you bathe and get yourself into the correct mindset. You cut your hair, and wear something from another time period. You begin to get ready for the following forty-eight hours, and the event that will make you so tense that if you happened to be a bow-string, you would snap.

But above all, you put a blanket ban out on the following day. You will not answer who, what, when, where, why, or how questions for the next forty-eight hours. On this day, you feel no need. There is truly absolutely no desire to account for one’s self, or justify one’s actions.

A taste of freedom

IV: And I may be bad...

This is the void. The world is quiet here, as if it were asking for permission. The feelings of people are almost not in existence at all. Someone has turned the volume dial down to a mere whisper, as these preparations are made.

She chose the clothing carefully. She had already made her plans and the deals associated with them for the night. She wanted to tame her hair into gentle curls, set her mind in the right place for the evening, and just act.

There was no emotion here at all. Nor was there really a plan. She had openly told everyone involved not to call her, because she wouldn’t pick up. She had made sure that no one would tell her ‘no’ on this day. She had ensured that all things would be within one plan, but she refused to plan the rest of the evening at all. She would merely act on what she felt, and pay no mind to any sort of justifications. It had already been stated that she was a whole different creature today.

On this evening, she would not answer how or why questions.

She would dress, put on makeup, slip out silently, and fall away into a void of music, laughter, intensity, and cigarettes until the next morning.

This night was her own.

Though, this would likely end poorly

VWithin the darkest, most depraved, of joys...

When the tension finally breaks, it is more a matter of being an inevitable occurrence than a moment of maddening passion. By this time, both sides have been teasing one another for so long that it becomes anticlimactic. It is more a game than it is anything else, and whomever gives in first loses the round.

The repeated request from one to the other that they just stop thinking and act on what they really want becomes incredibly irritating after about the fourth repetition. At this moment, it is merely a matter of who gives in and starts it first.

Then afterwards, it becomes a blur of several things happening very quickly, there are a few games of blackjack, several cigarettes, and the obligatory questions that must be asked, facts established. The answers are surprising, but welcome. One side does have the grace to inform the other that their impressions of themselves are wildly wrong, and they should start believing it.

It could be dangerous, this believing someone about themself. It could be dangerous to believe that it stops when they want it to, and not otherwise. It could be dangerous to play these games to begin with, in all real honesty.

But both are only human, and following rules aside from their own is not something that humans do very well.

VI: But I'm perfectly good at it...

“But what happens? What happens when you stop knowing where you were and when you were there, or even how you got there to begin with? What happens when you aren’t sure what was real and what your mind just made up as it went along? What happens when you’ve been blacking out for two weeks, losing four or five hours at a time? What happens when you don’t even remember how the whole evening ended, several days in a row? What then?” - from Brenna’s Journal

 
VII: Sticks and stones may break my bones...


There are of course those moments when you can’t remember what’s happened. Those must also be addressed. That split second when you realise, ‘oh… Oh I see, so that’s what’s causing all the trouble?”

Too much contact is a bad thing. That’s why there are rules. Rules about never during the week. Rules about secrecy, about hoops and casual arrangements. Rules that were mutually agreed upon.

They never go looking for trouble. That is the trouble. Trouble usually finds them. Because… well, we’ll save that for later.
 
VIII: So if you're afraid to say...

Because the whole world must stand still and turn around them. Something it is not necessarily agreeable to.

They would find out very soon, of course. Tonight, in fact. April, the twenty-third, 1995.

Or is this how the whole ordeal ends for the both of them? With adultery and whispers, secrecy, hoops to leap through, the whisper of the truth?

This will end poorly.

 

 In which Hermione may or may not have a secret cabinet of tea.

“I just don’t understand why you would make it so complicated!” said Hermione from the corner in her over cushioned  arm chair.

Three heads turned and looked at her.

“Make what so complicated?” said Harry.

“The ending of one Professor Severus Snape, JD.” Hermione returned.

“And how do you suppose I make it less complicated, Hermione,” Harry asked.

“Well it’s simple, isn’t it? You poison his afternoon tea, you tamper with his car, you get him alone and inject an air bubble directly into his heart. Not difficult!” Hermione said matter-of-factly.

Harry, Dean, and Theo looked at her, dumbfounded. 

“What? Really. You want someone dead, you knock on their door, they answer, you shoot them! Easy.” To her credit, Hermione said this with a straight face.

“I don’t want to go to prison for murder, Hermione, I just wish that the man weren’t so infuriating!” Harry exclaimed.

“Maybe you should be more careful what you wish for, Harry,” Hermione responded.

Theo stared at Hermione and hesitated for just a moment before saying, “Hermione, sometimes I really forget to make notes not to anger you.”

Hermione scoffed, “As if I am at all dangerous., Theo!”

Theo just shook his head and wandered into the kitchen.

 In which Seamus may or may not still have a producer.

Ginny was making margaritas when Seamus walked in.

“Oh lord. What happened now?” he said when he saw the tequila.

“Jordan broke rule #13.” was her reply, without looking up.

“Erm. How?” Seamus knew he was going to regret that question.

“They have to call in someone to look at the paperwork,” again, Ginny didn’t take her eyes off the blender.

“How does that… I’m sorry, remind me what Rule #13 entails, again,” Seamus was used to Ginny’s rules by now.

“Rule Number 13: Never, ever, involve lawyers. For any reason,” Ginny said matter-of-factly.

“Lawyers. Oh dear. Is Jordan still living?” Seamus actually was a bit worried about that. Ginny took lawyers very seriously.

“For the moment. His luck may or may not hold. Depends on the lawyers,” she said.

“Please don’t kill him, where on earth will I find another producer?” Seamus was almost pleading, now.

“In Oxford?” Ginny didn’t have any remorse when someone involved lawyers.

Seamus was silent and still. It only took a minute before Ginny gave in.

“Oh fine. How about I make you a margarita? I can make it a virgin!” she offered.

Seamus leaned forward to whisper in Ginny’s ear, “I doubt that.”

Ginny finally looked up as she gasped, “Offensive! Very offensive!”

Seamus just walked away, laughing.

 In which Snape thieves from people.

It was pouring. Of course it was. How could he have expected any different?

He wanted a smoke, though, and he was bloody well going to have one.

Just as he lit the cigarette, he heard the footsteps.

Light, almost silent, but decidedly behind him and walking directly towards him.

Harry sighed and took a drag, forcing himself to relax into it.

“Potter,” said the voice belonging to the footsteps: his boss.

“Professor Snape,” he responded.

“Those things will kill you, you know,” Snape informed him.

“So will alcohol and fast cars. Think anyone stops doing things with those?” Harry returned.

Snape hesitated for just a moment. “Could I bum one from you?” he inquired.

Harry silently held out the pack, then flicked his lighter under the other man’s cigarette.

“Hypocrite,” he accused.

“You saw the freshmen, Potter. And we all have our vices for dealing with the terror of people.” Snape rejoined.

“I’ve been your TA for six months, Snape. They are far more likely to come out of this scarred than you.” Harry said.

“Vices, Potter, are what keep good teachers sane, and good students in fear.” his boss replied.

“And yours is, Professor?”Harry asked.

“Stealing cigarettes off my Teaching Assistant. Now come on, we can’t catch them being late if we aren’t there ourselves.” Snape snapped back.

 In which Draco is over-dramatically frustrated.

“Library books.” he murmured, looking at the stacks.

Pansy nodded.

“Library books?” he stared at her. “Really?”

Pansy fidgeted a little under his gaze. “I have them from every city I’ve ever lived in. I’ve been doing it since I was ten.”

Draco glanced at the books again, then back to her. “You never get to call me insane again.”

Pansy fidgeted some more. “Done.”

Draco walked out of the room mumbling “She steals library books?” under his breath.

Pansy watched him for a moment, then picked up The Rivers of Zadaa and set up camp in an overstuffed chair.


“Oh, not this again!” Said a voice from the door.

“Do shush, Draco.” said Theo from the couch.

“Must you insist upon watching this rubbish at least once a week? Really?” demanded Draco.

“Must you consistantly complain about it? It’s not as if I tie you to the couch and force you to watch it with me.” Theo shot back.

“Yes. The Constant Gardener does not qualify as quality entertainment, Theo. Tessa and Justin be damned, you don’t need to cry like a little schoolgirl every single weekend,” proclaimed Draco loudly.

“If you had ever bothered to watch this movie, Malfoy, you would know that The Constant Gardener is not about just the romance. It’s controversial, and for good reason,” Theo explained absently.

“Wouldn’t you rather read something? Wander through the seas in Moby Dick? Become unstuck in time with Billy Pilgrim? SOMETHING intellectual?” Draco cried in desperation.

Theo finally looked up, pushed Draco down into sitting on the couch, turned back to the movie and said, very quietly, “Sit still. Hush. Watch.”

In which Terry turns the tables


“But there are just too many of them…” Terry was going on for the third time.

“Tough. Deal with it.” Said a frustrated and amused Hannah.

“But… Seventeen! And all of them married. And my mother there, hovering about, introducing me to all of her single friends. Who ‘just happen’ to be my age. Last year she even included single men!” he looked comically distressed.

“So don’t go. Not my funeral. But didn’t you say that all of the Boots have terrible tempers? Something about shoe jokes…” Hannah couldn’t help giggling.

Terry’s mother had called with a spur of the moment invitation to a family party, to celebrate his eldest sister’s engagement. She’d invited the whole family, and what sounded like half the city.

The trouble with it was that Terry was the only member of his immediate family who was not married or seriously involved with someone.

He groaned loudly. “Not funny, Abbott. Horrendously unfunny. Grievously sinful toward the very nature of funny.”

“Oh, it is. You have no idea how much. Just go, Terry, it won’t be as bad as all that!”

When she looked up from her tea, Terry was grinning at her deviously.

‘Oh no.’ her brain cried, but she calmly ate toast and waited to shoot his argument down.

“Fine.”

Well, this was odd. Hannah narrowed her eyes. “Fine?”

“Yes. Fine.” he paused to let her have a moment of victory before… “But if I’m going, you’re coming with me, Abbott. Come on, up, go get dressed. There will be plenty of food there.”

Hannah sat there with toast already in her mouth and stared as he left the room.

“But…” she paused to swallow. “I don’t wan-“

“Tough. Deal with it.” Terry cut her off, calling out from his bedroom.

 In which Peeves is truly frustrating.

“Hey Gin, hows the shop going?” Charlie walked into the living room and slumped into his father’s favourite arm chair.

“Dead standstill,” She murmured without looking up. “Can’t seem to find a reason for the hero to come in and purchase any books.” she closed her laptop with a soft ‘click’. Ginny was a writer, and her Uni classes were forever the bane of her creative existence; or so she said. She took a glance at Charlie.

“Oh. What did Peeves do now? Bloody prick…” she mumbled the last bit.

Everyone knew that Charlie was in a perpetually tormented relationship with a man called Jared Peeves. He was forever putting the breaks on or starting endless arguments over nothing, disappearing for weeks at a time, only to come back guilting and cajoling Charlie into accepting him again

Unfortunately it was painfully obvious that the man was silly in love with her brother, or Ginny would have had a few choice words with him a year or so back. But no one dared tell Charlie. Peeves was a dangerous specimen. Still,it was tempting at times like this.

“Nothing, he’s just holed up in the studio again. Has been for a week. I’ve nothing to do.”

Ginny hid her amusement. If only Charlie knew what Peeves was up to in there…

A Note: This was written purely for amusement purposes, and thus far has five and a half chapters.

Stories must be told... )
 
Only for now, though. Soon the story would begin to eat at them. It needed to be told. And stories were not known to take ‘no’ for an answer.


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September 2011

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