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17 November 2004 @ 11:14 pm
My karma ran over your dogma  

Had a great day bitchin', as usual. Oh, and woodwork and sculpture and stuff. Maquetry hates me even more than chisels and coping saws. What can you do? It's a cruel aul' world. And Edinburgh and Slade want me to submit portfs to them in January. One each. What, am I supposed to clone them?! *mutters* stupid colleges...

Enough with the boring stuff, and on with the fic! Opening quote: Erica Lang, title: the Cardigans. (Or it could be the Jumpers...*snerk*)

Chapter Four: LOVEFOOL

Jealousy is all the fun you think they had.

Sev walked though the school gates on Monday morning at a quarter past nine, a vague, although undoubtedly satisfied, look on his face. As his feet crunched on the gravel of the schoolyard, there was a squeal of tyres as a small, battered car with a taxi sign pinned to its roof peeled away from the curb.

He shoved his hands into the pockets of his trousers – Friday’s trousers, and Friday’s shirt, all smelling strongly of days old Calvin Klein for Men and sex. That would certainly give Selina a start. In the brisk coldness of a grey Monday Sev was coming to the sudden and unwelcome realisation that there might be hell to pay for his debauched weekend of hedonism....

~

Hermione smoothed down her skirt, which Blaise’s mother had taken up for her on Saturday night. She had refused to wear it rolled up at the waist, but was now wishing that she hadn’t been so insistent on that point – if she hadn’t been, she could have pulled it back down now, as her nerve failed her.

The first person she passed on her way to class was Seamus, who gave her a friendly grin and a “Howya.” She passed him by, slightly confused, and met with Blaise coming the opposite way. Before she could speak, Blaise rolled her eyes.

‘Gay. Duh!’

~

Remus didn’t feel one bit of regret. Not one. That gnawing feeling, in the pit of his gut, was clearly –indigestion. Exactly. Just because he’d never got indigestion from eating cornflakes and drinking tea before – or indeed the fact that he’d never suffered from indigestion in his life – did not make it any less of a plausible explanation.

~

Draco slumped – as far as it is possible to slump on a backless lab stool – and brooded, much as he had done all weekend, about Hermione’s kiss. He had got no further on figuring out her motives than “What the hell? Was she dared?” He didn’t want to tell Vinnie and Greg, for not only were they far from being souls of discretion, they weren’t exactly given to deep introspection either. And what with his father thinking he was the ultimate Prince of Smooth – Lucius had actually rung him on Sunday evening, asking him to come round during the week for a confab on the French teacher’s love life, for some reason – and his mother looking on him as being only one step down from an agony aunt, he could hardly turn to them for advice, even if he had been in the habit of doing anything so wimpy. So all in all, he was rightly screwed.

And then Hermione walked in.

For some reason, Snape, who was always a model of punctuality, and never failed to be in his “dungeon” (as he called the chemistry lab) to meet them at every class, wasn’t there. But Draco would hardly have noticed if he sashayed in wearing a grass skirt and a yasmak, he was so busy drinking in Hermione’s appearance like she was a drinkable thing.

All of the little changes that she’d been perpetrating – with Blaise’s encouragement – in the last few weeks slotted together at that particular moment in time and left Draco with an expression last seen on someone hit with a large hammer. The long ribs of hair, smooth as satin now, the slick of lip gloss and hint of mascara (she had point blank refused more than that, maintaining she felt like a clown), and the suddenly short skirt were things that would barely have merited attention on their own, only for the fact that Draco noticed most things about Hermione.

Hermione, for her part, had been fretting about how she was going to treat Black now that she had kissed him. She could barely remember it, in truth, what with the excitement and the fright of the whole episode, except that it had been – nice. She hadn’t managed to gage Black’s reaction to it, either; for all she knew, he could be hopping mad that she had forced herself on him. She hoped it wasn’t so, however.

She perched on her seat, and gently set down her neat pile of books, arranged in order of size – some things never change. Then she turned to look at him, at his immobile, sharp-featured face and pale gold hair, immaculately slicked back now. She found herself wishing he’d left it as it was, realised the impossibility of having permanently wet hair, and said the first stupid thing that came into her head.

‘Where’s Snape?’

Hermione mentally smacked herself. After all that pain and sleeplessness over what she was going to say, and she came out with an inane comment about a teacher! For some reason, though, Black looked almost – relieved, and she realised that they had managed to skirt the whole kissing issue entirely.

She couldn’t decide whether to be delighted or upset, and settled for neither.

‘Um, I don’t know, actually,’ Black said, sounding unnaturally subdued.

They sat in silence for a few moments, appreciating the view of whatever was above and slightly to the left of the other person’s head – in Draco’s case, a row of conical flasks on the shelf on the opposite wall, and in Hermione’s, a deeply interesting wall poster concerning the discovery of ammonia.

For once, the entry of Snape provided a welcome distraction. But when Hermione clocked his appearance, which was on the rumpled side of ‘slept-in’, she gaped unashamedly, and turned to raise her eyebrows at Blaise.

Blaise was sitting two desks behind with a self-satisfied little smile on her face. When Hermione caught her eye, she grinned wickedly and mouthed: ‘Somebody got laid!’

Hermione shook her head in mock disapproval, catching sight of Black’s astonished expression as she turned to face the front.

Without looking at her, he sniggered under his breath, ‘Jeez, looks like someone got some!’

Hermione just grinned as she realised the parity of their comments with the observational evidence she alone seemed to have picked up. For when Snape had gone to sit in his accustomed chair behind the front desk, he had visibly winced, and hurriedly took a standing position instead.

Nor did he sit down for the entire class.

~

Sev’s extended lesson with 6A meant that it was breaktime before he managed to gain the peace of the staffroom and some blessed caffeine. His legs were killing him, but he was uncomfortably certain that the act of sitting, now the whole libidinous glow had worn off, would be distinctly worse. He smelt worse than ever and had belatedly remembered, halfway through the class, that his boxers were still on Marv’s bathroom floor.

Marv. He allowed himself a small half smile at the memory. Marv was unlike anyone he’d ever met. He appeared to have no conscience, no qualms. The sexual exploits that he had recounted – when they actually talked, which was not often – were – varied, to say the least. He hadn’t seemed fazed by Sev’s lingering, unsubstantiated guilt about what he was doing, although nor had he offered any reassurance on that score. He just – kissed him, clearly thinking that if Sev wanted to stop, he’d stop, and that either way was fine with him.

Emotionally uninvolved, to say the least. But the sex had been great. Now, Sev was willing to admit that he was at least bisexual. Maybe even a little more defined than that, for if it came to a choice between, say, Marv and Selina, well, there was no choice –

And what about Remus? said a little voice quietly. Sev ignored it. Remus and Marv were two different people. Yes, he’d had sex – lots of sex with Marv, and he was okay with that.

And you’re falling in love with Remus, are you okay with that? the little voice said, a shade sarcastically.

Sev decided he needed some human converse, quickly, before he started seeming little green men or something.

The staffroom, when he pushed open the door, was in shade, and apparently almost empty. A few hunched shapes that could have been teachers, or there again just piles of coats, were slumped in two or three vinyl chairs. Quirking a frown, Sev headed for the coffee machine like a bee to nectar.

Remus' voice made him look up from the polystyrene cup he was filling with slightly viscous brown sludge. The sight of Remus, standing in the door and talking in a low voice with Mrs Sprout, made him lose control of his jaw muscles and simply stand there, with scalding coffee cascading out of the machine, all over his hands.

His – hair and and what was that in his – and what was he wearing and is he standing right in front of me?

Sev’s swirling thoughts were broken in on by Remus' voice, and was he imagining it or did it have a timbre of uncertainty, a resonance of nervousness, in it?

‘Severus? How are – I mean, look, you stupid man, you’re pouring coffee over yourself!’

His words awakened Sev’s nerve endings, previously paralysed from shock, and he howled in pain.

‘Shh, don’t be silly now,’ Remus' voice was low and placating, as if he was dealing with a frightened foal. Without Sev quite registering what he was doing, Remus had taken his left hand, wrenched the cup from his grasp and was now leading him, with the aid of one arm curled around his back, and the other lightly gripping his burnt hand, to the kitchenette sink.

Not removing his arm from around Sev, Remus twisted on the cold tap, all the while making soothing sounds which Sev imbibed in a heady mixture of agony and no-holds-barred lust. Remus' arm was firm around him, the closeness and warmth of his body – with a faint scent of some musky aftershave – was intoxicating.

‘I’m an idiot,’ he muttered.

‘You are,’ Remus agreed, without malice. He carefully removed his arm, shoving his hand into his pocket, and Sev felt suddenly bereft. He looked down at the grubby sink, letting the icy water soothe his red, angry skin, and trying to think of nothing else but the water.

Then he remembered, and looked up at Remus – who did, after all, have an inch or two on him, a long, gangly, lean, sinewy – stop, mind! Sev commanded. He counselled himself to consider only Remus' appearance, which had caused the whole situation.

It wasn’t just clothes. They weren’t much different from what he usually wore, only the jeans were slightly more fitted and clung to his legs, and the black mohair jumper was oddly free of running seams or holes, and was a narrow, close fit. It was mainly his hair.

He’d cut off all his beautiful hair, leaving only a faint chocolately stubble, with an artfully gel-spiked crown. In addition, one of his fine eyebrows was pierced – the right one, with a simple, yet striking, solid silver bar.

‘You look – wow,’ he fumbled.

Remus smiled, because for him it was worth it, just for that.

~

‘Look, there she is!’

Seamus rolled his eyes and continued inspecting his nails.

‘Do you think I should call her over?’

‘You went on a date with her. You snogged her. You woulda felt her up only you’re too much of a gentleman. So, no, I think you should just stand here lathering up like a dog. Or Dr Hyde.’

‘You are so much help, Seamus.’

‘I aim to displease.’

Seamus watched in mild amusement as Dean tentatively waved a hand, and seeing he’d caught Ginny’s attention, half-beckoned her over. He had to admire the girl’s cool. She smiled enigmatically at Dean, then turned back to her group of friends. Dean looked over his shoulder at Seamus, a woebegone expression on his face. With difficulty, he restrained himself from slapping him.

‘Belt up,’ he advised his best mate. ‘She’s playing hard to get. Listen to me and for once don’t argue. Turn and face me, then laugh – normally, not like a dying donkey.’

‘I don’t laugh like a donkey!’ Dean sounded injured, but at least his back was now turned to Ginny.

‘Sorry, did I say donkey? I meant horse. Never mind! Just chortle, there, go on.’

Looking highly suspicious, Dean complied, albeit a little hesitantly.

‘It worked,’ Seamus said, crossing his arms in satisfaction and nodding in Ginny’s direction. She had looked up when Dean laughed, and as she watched, Seamus pulled an amused face and clapped Dean on the shoulder, as if he’d said something worth applauding. And indeed, Ginny was now meandering purposefully their way.

‘Is she coming over?’

‘Yep.’

‘God, for a gay guy you know an awful lot about chicks.’

‘Some would say that’s the point. And for Jesus’ sake don’t call her a chick.’

‘Why – I mean, I wasn’t going to!’

‘Yes, you were. And just to make it clear, in case you hadn’t noticed, she is neither yellow nor fluffy.’

‘Hi Dean,’ Ginny interposed in a seductive growl. Seamus nodded amiably at her, unmoved, while Dean was reduced to a state of near catatonia.

‘I’ll push off then, shall I,’ Seamus asked rhetorically.

‘No, hang about for a sec,’ Ginny said. Seamus declined to point out that that was even more insulting than just telling him to leave, as he wanted to know why she requested his presence. He hoped to god that she wasn’t bored of Dean already. He acted like a twerp around girls, but that was exactly it, he needed some practice.

‘Listen, I was wondering,’ she was saying, ‘if you’re both interested, I thought we could go on a double date this Friday – nothing special, only the Leaky Cauldron.’

Seamus’ heart sank. Dean was looking at him hopefully, and even if he hadn’t been Seamus knew he couldn’t let him down. But still, the thought of an entire evening with some young girlfriend of Ginny’s – all sparkly lipgloss and obscene clothing – made him almost physically ill.

He forced a rictus of pleasure onto his features.

‘Sounds like fun, Ginny! Count me in.’

And Seamus forced himself to look away from the pathetic gratitude in Dean’s eyes, because that wasn’t, and would never be, what he wanted to see there.

~

Minnie had come to the staffroom for her lunch and with the secondary motive of finding Bertie, to confirm with him that she could take a half-day on Thursdays to attend lectures. However, when she got there, Bertie was nowhere to be seen. The staffroom was occupied only by Sybil, who was reading Remus' star sign to him while he listened with a fixed expression, and Sev, who was asleep on a chair cradling one hand on his chest. Minnie gave it up as a bad job and went to the mini-fridge to get out her fat-free yoghurt and celery sticks.

She seated herself next to Remus, who looked like the wind had changed. Peering closer at him, she noted that the wind seemed to have given him a makeover too – Remus was sporting a distinctly better-groomed appearance than usual. She wondered if it was for the sake of the man who was snoring slightly opposite them, and with a sinking feeling remembered that Sev had had his date with Selina that weekend. Perhaps the new look was more out of desperation than a real desire for improvement.

Sybil was still droning on about Venus in the Houses, and Remus was propping his eye open with two fingers. Seen from the right angle, it almost looked as if he were making a rude gesture in her direction. In fact, coupled with the rebellious new eyebrow piercing, it could almost certainly be taken as such. Minnie hid a smile, for some reason glad that Remus wasn’t all sweetness and light, after all.

Sybil, finally tired of the sound of her own voice, or more probably Remus' lack of reaction to it, abruptly rose from the table with the murmured excuse of needing to check her crystal ball. Remus jerked his head upright and groaned in relief.

‘Thank God! I thought the woman would never shut up! And why is she convinced that I’m a Leo? I told her at least three times that my birthday was yesterday –’

‘Your birthday was yesterday?’ Sev jerked awake suddenly.

‘I thought you were asleep,’ Remus said in mild surprise.

‘So did I,’ Minnie said pointedly. ‘I’ve a feeling that he was just faking his patented “ooh I’ve had a late night especially when Sybil’s around” power nap.’

‘You left me to listen to her on my own? You bastard!’

‘Your birthday was yesterday?’ Sev persisted with the tenacity of a king crab.

‘Yes, you must have heard me say it those times!’ said Remus in exasperation.

‘I thought you were just trying to foil her.’

‘Why would I lie?’ Remus asked quizzically. The question seemed to stump Sev, for his head slipped beneath the level of the table once again.

Sev was gritting his teeth. Of all the times to have a sexual revelation . . . he could have been – well, potentially anyway – celebrating with Remus – no wonder he’d been in a bad mood, he had thought no one knew, or remembered.

Minnie, meanwhile, was feeling thoughtfully in her pocket, where she had put a certain scrap of paper this morning, meaning, today, to give it to Remus. And what better time than on his birthday?

‘Here,’ she whispered to Remus, shoving it into his hand while he regarded her with a bemused expression. ‘I found this on the table after Selina asked him out.’

She picked up her celery and headed for the door, intending to go outside and eat. To his credit, Remus did not ask her whom the ‘he’ whom she’d referred to was. It wasn’t like he didn’t already know.

He unfolded the paper – A4, lined, torn hastily out of a notepad – carefully; trying not to make any excess rustling noises. He read:

My eyes deceive me.

Are you a brilliant radiant

royal blue Ulysses butterfly –

Or just a dull grey moth?

The light shines on your face and I know for an instant –

Once gone, I am all confusion and doubt.

Remus. what are you doing to my head??

Remus hid a smile in his hand as Sev raised his head to blink at him.

In truth, he didn’t know what to feel about this. Sev had never given him permission to read his poetry and yet he had. He’d written a poem that was inspired by, or at least someway connected to Remus, and if he’d wished Remus to read it he would have given it to him. And yet he had left it lying around, for Minnie to pick up. What did it all mean? And was the blasted man straight or what?

But looking at Sev’s tousled head, his curling brows and cello-shank mouth, set in an adorable expression of apprehensive confusion, he knew for an instant that none of it mattered.

~

Draco swung in his door that evening, after calling round to Vinnie’s place for “one” extended game of Final Fantasy 10, to find Joe Binns already in situ, ensconced in Draco’s favourite squashy armchair near the fashionable metal fire hood. Sitting opposite him, looking incredibly uncomfortable, was his father. His mother hovered between them, like a mosquito stuck between two repellent flames.

‘Well, this is interesting,’ he drawled.

‘Draco! You’re home!’ his mother said, tripping forward with extended arms like something out of a Jane Austen film.

‘Well, done, mother, state the obvious.’ He rolled his eyes and sidestepped her artificed embrace.

‘Where were you till now?’ She sounded suddenly reprimanding, clearly as a show for both of the older men. Draco rolled his eyes.

‘At Vinnie’s. I sent you a text message, but you probably put your phone in the microwave again, what?’

‘I only did that once!’ his mother hissed, incensed.

‘Yeah, this guy she fancied didn’t call her back, so she decided to fry her phone,’ Draco called over to Binns, enjoying his mother’s discomfiture, which he would undoubtedly pay for later. Binns nodded at him, as if agreeing to some profound statement. Draco ground his molars together. Did nothing rattle the man?

He dropped his bag on the carpet and sunk into the couch beside his father, leaving his mother fuming in the vicinity of an occasional table.

‘Wotcha, Dad. Been here long?’

‘Ten minutes, only,’ said Lucius, and under his breath, ‘Thank god. I think I caught them almost in flagrante delicto.’

‘Really?’ Draco drew out the word, and stored up the information for later use in blackmailing his mother. He didn’t regard it as a wrong thing to do, because she did it all the time. He wondered when Binns would fall foul to it. And what did she see in him? He’d have to ask his dad. Perhaps the whole unibrow thing was a sign of virility or something.

‘As I was just saying to Cissy,’ Lucius cleared his throat and raised his voice, ‘I was going to take you for a slap-up tea at my place. Sirius is cooking ribs.’

‘Yum!’ Draco said enthusiastically. ‘I’m gone! Just let me change.’

‘Sure.’

‘Lucius, you know I don’t like him eating dead animals,’ Narcissa said with a frown.

Draco, about to snap out another retort to the effect that he was not a veggie, smiled instead. ‘All those poor little piggies,’ he sighed melodramatically. His mother eyed him suspiciously. ‘Giving up their lives for Binns’ ham samwiches, its a cruel ol’ world, huh?’

He made it out of the door just in time.

 
 
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: 'Petit Pede', Renaud
 
 
 
Caitcoralia13 on November 17th, 2004 10:16 pm (UTC)
Love it! Love you! Can't wait for more! Memory Studies in 8 1/4 hours. Crap.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on November 18th, 2004 08:17 am (UTC)
That bad you're counting eight hours ahead? *goggles* reminds me of Mixed Media...uck. Enjoy it!