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.

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.




September 2011

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