Tinsel and Traitors - Page 6

Tinsel and Traitors

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Re: Tinsel and Traitors

Post by Keiran Hayes on Sun Feb 12, 2017 1:20 am

Keiran turned his gaze on Jack, but she had moved towards Claire and the man who had threatened Simon and, by association, Livia. But that had apparently become irrelevant over the past few months, which was more than fine by him. At his side, a curious voice pulled his attention. The woman Luke had asked to dance.

"Where did those come from?"

Keiran lifted an eyebrow, trying not to look sardonic. She clearly had not gone to Hogwarts, as she was too young to have avoided his classes. Instead of answering, he flicked his wand and cups clattered to the ground around him. All but one. Just as Kenna had suggested.

Then he turned, realizing that he had somehow expected her to follow him again even though he shouldn't have. Where was she?

Christian looked at Ace, silent for a little while before he frowned. "People don't dislike you, Ace. Not exactly. You're... you're intimidating, a lot of the time. Challenging." He shrugged a little, turning his attention back to their list. "It's hard for some people to handle, that's all.."

Finally, Keiran spotted her. Striding over, his focus was solely on her shoulder. The hawk he'd kept circled above them. "That needs to be seen to." He glanced around, watching people try to orient themselves. "We should probably get out of here anyway. Do you want me to fix that before you go?"

And Blaise squinted down at Lily, oblivious to what everyone else was doing. His hand curled around Daphne's waist, a silent warning not to react to what he said next. She did not do as instructed.

Blaise: "Don't bring them back."

Daphne pulled away, voicing her shocked outrage before he nodded to Lily and then squared up to his wife. He explained that their home wasn't safe right now. The boys wouldn't be safe. He didn't have to imply the significance each held to each parent -- when he glanced at Lily again, he knew she knew. And he didn't even blame his eldest son for telling her, since he knew Christian wouldn't have. But that didn't mean he had to approve, no matter how much Apollo trusted her.

So he turned back to Daphne, his decision to ignore the Potter acting as a silent dismissal.

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Re: Tinsel and Traitors

Post by Jack Dyllan on Sun Feb 12, 2017 7:19 pm

Lily standing before two people who wholly disapproved of her, two people who hated her first for dating their son, and probably disliked her more for being apart of what looked like a very public falling out. And here, she had taken the liberty of removing them from their homes, and yet... it could be the very reason either of them were safe right now. Daphne seemed unmoved, and Lily suspected she'd never be able to win a shred of the woman's favor, and it wasn't a cause she had any particular interest in fighting for. But Blaise struck her as being closer to his eldest son - having equal reasons to be grateful for and angry with her.

She was glad his instructions to her were short, but she desperately wished to not witness the moment between the married couple, to see Daphne swell with indignation and Blaise deflate her with the cold facts. They were both worried, but for very different reasons, their bias on the tip of their tongues. She didn't want to be here for this.

And that's when she realized, neither of them wanted her to be there either.

She turned on her heel and strode across the ball room, quickly skirting around someone who asked if she was all right, headed for the door. She wanted people to see her leave. Only once she got outside would she apparate away.

Ace wasn't sure if Christian was trying to make her feel better. There were times when she felt a pang at her ostracization, but she knew she had earned it. Besides, it wasn't being alone that frightened her, it was being unheard. She didn't need people to like her, just as long as they took her seriously enough to trust her when it came down to it. She didn't need friends.

One was enough.

She heaved a shrug, quietly grateful if it was his intention to comfort her - even though it was a pretty rubbish job. "I don't see that changing anytime soon. I'll try to be less... confrontational." It was an agreement she'd forget almost as soon as she made it. "But still. You'd be better with the actual recruiting, and I can keep digging to see if we can draw out the Dark Followers into the open. There's gotta be some left-"

Lily's appearance was preceded by the usual Crack! and she expelled a breath, reaching up to brush back her hair, which had become noticeably frizzy in the tussle. She had escaped remarkably better than the circumstances might imply, with a small bruise forming on her upper arm and a few scratches on her leg, but certainly all in one piece. The two Hufflepuffs were right where she left them, and she couldn't help but admire their ability to do whatever task they felt needed to be done.

"They left," she said. Ace was opening her mouth and Lily could guess the answer. "We didn't catch any of them. But your parents are fine," she finished, directing this last bit to Christian. She turned and crossed over to Apollo's door, wondering exactly how mad he was going to be with her. She didn't know if his parents were close behind, didn't know how long they had. She could only hope he understood why she had done it.

She knocked on his door.

Kenna had transfigured her shawl back into the jacket she had worn up the drive, the desire to look proper completely wasted now with the gash on her arm and the peppering of scratched along her temple. She had caught sight of herself in a large mirror on the wall, somehow unscathed, and couldn't but be struck with how much she looked like a warrior.

Even Rory would have admitted she did well.

She heard Keiran's voice and turned. She barely registered what he was saying because her eyes were drawn to the figure that was following him and her face cracked into a smile. "You kept one!" Her eyes fell from the hawk to his face, only then realizing what he was referring to. "Oh, right. This. Yeah, could you?"

Jack had finally peeled away from Claire and her underlings, eyes searching for Keiran. She had seen him approach and wanted to make sure she followed up, made sure to check in. He was fixing someone's shoulder - Kip's friend of all people. Jack quirked an eyebrow but made her way across the room, calling as she did, "Kevin!"
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Re: Tinsel and Traitors

Post by Christian Zabini on Tue Feb 14, 2017 5:52 am

"I wouldn't bother," Christian cut in after her attempt at making it better. Or the attempt she claimed she would make. "People don't just forget. And besides, is it really worth it to change yourself?"

He jumped when Lily appeared, ripping his focus from Ace to frown at her. Finally, she had returned, and he could find out about his parents. His house. The intruders and -

Christian relaxed into the couch, sighing heavily as Lily walked up the hallway to their right. He couldn't quite look at Ace for a moment, simply staring out at the windows across from them and the lights from the buildings across the street. It was late, obviously, and Christian wasn't sure how long Apollo would fight with Lily before she could help the pair of them get home. Christian certainly wouldn't be pleased if he had to stay in this place all night. Sleeping on the couch wasn't a problem, but dealing with all of his brother's angst was hardly appealing, was it?

Running a hand over his face, he leaned forward and collapsed into his hands with only his elbows to hold him up.

At the knock on the bedroom door, Apollo looked up from his Curative Magic book. He hadn't actually taken in a single word, but he'd tried, in order to pass the time. Despite his best efforts, he couldn't get their faces out of his mind. He had never heard his mother scream before. Had never imagined it could come out like that. But Lily? She wasn't supposed to risk herself for people who wouldn't have looked twice at her in a fight like that. Hayes might have, perhaps, but Apollo felt useless. He wasn't sure if there was anything he hated more, now, than waiting for his birthday. Once the Trace was gone, Merlin knew what he would do.

Glaring at the door, he expected Ace to be standing on the other side, to question or chide or something. Christian wouldn't come prying about this, and he also would not have any interest in trying to talk about it and bond over something like this. It wasn't in their nature to come together unless it was for something useless and meaningless - like one of the school's parties.

Still, he had to get up. Lily might have sent word. He wanted to believe that she would have sent it to him instead, but in a duel or fight, those sorts of tendencies would be less likely to matter.

Opening the door, he was startled to find Lily herself standing there. Lifting his chin a bit, he frowned at her. She was safe, and that was wonderful. It loosened that tight, anxious feeling in his chest. But Merlin, he was angry. It wasn't the level of angry that he had felt during the summer, but certainly to the point that he couldn't bring himself to step out of the doorway. Reasonably, he knew he ought to. He knew that he had tried to do the same thing. But she'd had a choice.

As usual, Apollo had not.

So, despite his better instincts and his training in propriety, he said nothing at all.

Keiran smiled a little when she noticed the bird, but focused on fixing her shoulder as he'd offered. He brushed a quick hand over it just to be sure it was all sorted, but a little worry line between his eyebrows likely told her it might leave a mark for a time, regardless. But then he heard Jack.

"Dyllan!" He returned, spinning to look for her. "How in the hell did you all get in here? Don't these folks have a million wards up or something?"

He glanced back at Kenna, wanting to be sure she was alright and felt comfortable getting back on her own, but the curiosity was nearly too much. Still, he tilted his head in question, just in case.
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Re: Tinsel and Traitors

Post by Ace Longbottom on Tue Feb 14, 2017 5:10 pm

Ace's eyes narrowed.

He wouldn't bother-

Before she could follow that train of thought completely, the urge to prove him wrong threatening to overthrow her acceptance of who she was, Lily was back, as was Ace's irritation. This would all be a lot easier if they didn't have to spend the time and energy on making sure Apollo and Lily could pursue their stupid star-crossed romance - barf. But she knew convincing Christian to abandon the effort basically meant severing the little interaction the boys still had.

Didn't mean she wasn't tempted some days.

She nodded at Lily's words and watched her retreat down the hallway, before turning to Christian, intending to plunge right back into the work, but he was sinking forward, and if she couldn't feel the exhaustion rolling off of him, even she (with all of her emotional failings) could see that he was spent. She looked after Lily, as though the brunette would return and tell her what to do, or would swoop in and help Christian, since Ace only seemed to pile things on for him.

Right. Maybe the solution wasn't always get back to work. 99% of the time it was... but right now, maybe it wasn't.

She reached out and her hand hovered uncertainly over his shoulder, before finally landing. Her touch was soft, hesitant, everything she wasn't. Trusting her instincts, she rubbed her thumb comfortably over his shoulder blade, before clearing her throat. "This is a good list. Do you..." She cast her eyes around the room before they settled on the telly. "You wanna just... watch some bad telly and... hang out?"

Merlin, she was out of her depth now.

Apollo didn't say anything, and she couldn't see much beyond the stormclouds in his eyes. Lily knew he was upset, knew he was worried, and she knew most of it wasn't her fault - but she had left. After chastising him and reminding him that they were together in everything, she had left him. But she knew, if their roles had been reversed, he would have done the same. There were just some things they couldn't help.

He wasn't inviting her in, so she stepped into the doorway, turning so they could both fit. "Your parents are safe," she said. "No one was hurt, as far as I could see. The Aurors were there, and I imagine they are helping repair the wards. And I'm sorry I left, but I'd do it again."

So there they were.

Jack reached the pair of them, turning to grin at Kenna. "How ya doin', McBain?"

"Not bad, Jack," Kenna returned.

Jack looked back at the Hogwarts Headmaster saying, "I was with Bishop when we got the call. She noticed when we got outside that there was something broken with the wards. Whatever the folks before us did left a hole Bishop could get through. Honestly, I was just about to kill myself for boredom and Bishop offered to let me come along. We had no idea what we were coming into."

Kenna leaned forward and touched Keiran's elbow, saying, "Hey, I'll be right back, I need to go find Remy and make sure he's okay."

"Remy's here?" Jack said, having met the Frenchman all of twice, but he wasn't the sort you forgot. "That'll explain the trouble then."

Kenna laughed and peeled away, searching the ballroom for her friend.

Jack turned her attention back on Keiran, saying, "McBain's one of Kip's people. You know, when he says he'll put one of his people on it. That's usually who he means." She glanced across the room and shook her head, letting out a short whistle. "This is weird, Kev-o. The Aurors have no idea who did it. No threats against the Zabinis, no groups trying to claim credit. It''s almost random, but it's hard to believe that this big a gathering of purebloods would be randomly targeted. And the fact that it's purebloods..." She shook her head. "It's strange."
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Re: Tinsel and Traitors

Post by Christian Zabini on Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:09 am

Apollo was wholly unsurprised by what Lily told him. But he stepped back, his spine pressing against the doorframe, when she made herself some room beside him. Glancing towards the other room and the two Hufflepuffs there, he let out a frustrated noise from somewhere in the back of his throat. He gestured towards the bedroom, waited for her to head inside properly, and then closed the door behind them.

"They wouldn't have shown up at all if I hadn't broken the bleeding law, Lily. I opened up the floo and wards and all that, but I'm still bound to be in trouble if they remember what I did." Shaking his head, he couldn't quite look at her. "I've told you, love. I know you remember!" He turned on her, eyes blazing. "You don't get to decide that for me. You don't. Not when I can't do a thing about it. Wait six months and try that again, Lily. Watch what happens."

Apollo kept to his own space, unlike his previous attempts at intimidation and whatever else. It didn't register on any sort of conscious level, but he was acting just as he claimed his younger self would have. He was cornered and he knew it, so he saw no benefit in minimizing the distance between himself and the one who had put him there.

"It's really f*cking lucky that I kept my head on earlier. They could still come round and take me in. But sure, Lily, let's knowingly wind me up instead of trying to get Ace home or trusting the Aurors or coming up with a plan. Brilliant."

He threw his hands up just as Christian tensed. Not because he wanted her to back off, but because he wasn't sure he could believe it. He couldn't remember a single time that Ace had touched him, much less gently. There were a few exceptions, though, so he had to concede that he wasn't entirely correct in that assumption. They'd danced, of all things. She'd hit him on occasion - typically when he'd said something sarcastic or that went against her goals. But, gently? Never. She must have been spectacularly uncomfortable if she was treating him like that.

It made him turn his chin towards her, eyes curious and almost wary. His confusion led to hesitation when she made an uncharacteristic suggestion. Immediately, he wondered how far they were from some sort of wizarding pub. At least then they could grab some food, since he knew she hadn't eaten at the party. And then Apollo couldn't be upset with them for eating his food. Or whatever. He was angry regardless, at this point, given the rumbling coming from his room.

It was strange, he decided all of a sudden. Christian could easily - in most cases - understand why a person did what they did. Some people were cruel because of their pasts, or because of what they wanted for their futures. Some pushed because they desperately needed to feel superior. Ace was obviously not cruel, but she definitely pushed. But he wasn't convinced it was because she needed to feel validated.

Perhaps she did, though, and he was just a rubbish friend.

Sitting up, his eyebrows pulled together in what might have been taken as concern, though it was mostly confusion with a side of guilt. She had been as brave as any of them, and now she had to deal with all of his family drama as well.

"No," he replied finally, his tone as cautious and gentle as her touch had been. "No, it's okay. You probably want to get out of here, anyway. There's no use in listening to these two argue all night," he added by way of explanation, gesturing with a thumb towards Apollo's room. "Maybe we can send a letter to your brother and he can help you get home."

Keiran just shook his head, disbelief evident as he looked around the room. "It definitely doesn't make sense," he agreed. "I guess we'll have to wait a bit and see if anyone does step up and try to make a point about tonight. But... I think maybe we should meet with the guys and see if they can't look around as well."

Giving her a pointed look - or rather, pointedly lifting an eyebrow - Keiran tucked his wand away within reach, just in case. "Just give me an idea of when and I'll be there."
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Re: Tinsel and Traitors

Post by Ace Longbottom on Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:54 am

He was angry. She knew that. She felt it.

She led the way inside, and the door closed behind her and for once she didn't want to feel like it was them against the world, back to the door and eyes out the window. When it came down to it, it would always be them. But they lived in the world, they were apart of it, and they could ignore it all they wanted but when it came crashing into their lives, they couldn't just screw up their eyes and plug their ears. If Apollo thought she could have ignored the call to help....

But he didn't. She knew that. She knew this wasn't about helping, it was about his inability to. So she let him rant and she didn't try to inflict her presence on him, letting him stew on his own for now.

"If you were really worried about my safety, you wouldn't suggest I try to make What's Next Longbottom go home."

God, Lily, not the time for jokes.

But she didn't say it like a joke, keeping her voice level and her eyes unmoving. And just in case he thought she was making light, she said, "She was safe here, and those two weren't going to be separated anyway. And you might have noticed that the bad guys had a bit of a head start on the Aurors, and you might not want to assume I went in there without a plan." She stopped herself. It was too much.

"In six months," she began, "there won't be a reason for me to do it again. I imagine you'll be right alongside me, and I hope you won't be telling me to turn back. I spent a lot of my life needing to get saved, Apollo, and now that I have been, I really hope you don't insist I not take advantage of all the good you and your brother and Molly and everyone else has done for me and treat me like I'm not capable. Because I am. And so are you, but you won't be if they snap your wand."

She finally tore her eyes away, glancing down to give them both a little relief from each other, and she stepped back to lean against the wall. "Besides. If you were there and someone came after you, I think our little charade would have fallen apart really quickly. Wouldn't want to throw away Christian and Ace's brilliant plan."

He tensed. Merlin, was she doing it wrong?

But something in his face softened and the cogs began moving, and plans began forming. Her hand slipped off of him and fell uselessly in her own lap, where the other gathered it up. He was offering to let her go home, and she wasn't sure if that was him saying she should go, or if he was trying to insist she go where she was most comfortable. If it were the latter, he made the dangerous assumption that she wasn't already where she felt she ought to be.

"Right," she said, thinking through it. She just knew Frank was going to sass her. He always did. "What're you going to do? Home's probably out and here- are you going back to the flat?"

Because his business was her business.

Jack nodded at Keiran's words, eyes travelling over the room, as though hoping for a sign amongst the rubble that listed a motive. "I'll talk with Bishop and Kip - that brings together three information sources in the Ministry." He was on the right train of thought, as she had known the second she heard that whistle that her interest in tonight's events would extend much farther than professional interest. "Tonight, get some rest. I'll catch the other's up and we'll meet at lunchtime. I'll order sandwiches."

This was when Kenna arrived, an irritated look touching on her features. Remy was more than fine. Apparently, he had rescued some heiress to a Bulgarian fortune and she was absolutely insisting her father thank him somehow. He had, of course, pulled her aside to question her as to her safety, but once that checked out, his distraction was so evident she hadn't even bothered. She let him run off with his heiress, her own plans for the night secured.

"You guys figure it all out then?" Kenna asked, tilting her head as an eyebrow lifted.

"Yep, we're thinking they were sent by Canada," Jack said, keeping up the deadpan tone. She cracked a grin and said, "Right, well, I'd better go tell Bishop she's running her investigation all wrong. She's lost without me. Kev, I'll see you later," she said, punctuating it with a clap on his arm, "and glad to see you're all in one piece Kenna. You're the only one who get's my drink order right."

"Bye, Jack," Kenna called as the redhead turned and jogged over towards the blonde woman rounding up the Aurors. She turned back towards Keiran. "When you said a drink, you meant ten, right? I know a place where we can drink for free. The bartender's mad but she's a gem, all in all." And that's when the grin unrolled.
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Re: Tinsel and Traitors

Post by Apollo Zabini on Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:46 pm

She was right, but she wasn't. While Apollo could concede that he appreciated her concern, and he knew she had a point about having his wand broken... it didn't change his reason for being so offended.

"I asked you, Lily. I didn't tell you. It was a request. Because I trust you, but I'm also certain that I'd be in a much darker place if not for you. I will never be like my father. I will never be like him. I don't care what happens. You will not be trapped like I was. Not by anyone, if I can help it, but definitely not by me."

He sank onto the top of his desk, crossing his arms as he looked her over. Even if she wouldn't apologize, he wouldn't tell himself not to be angry about it. He couldn't.

"This isn't about me wanting you not to go. In all that I just said, that wasn't even a piece of it. This is about the fact that nobody in the entire world knows me like you do," he declared, practically accusing her of something with the slice of his tone. With the almost wild indignation on his face and the way he leaned away from her as though any move she made could hurt him. "And yet you use something like that against me."

His eyes searched her face, her body language, everything. Eyebrows pulled together. His breaths came more quickly, taking his chest along for the ride. She kept saying she loved him, but she had used her power over him - her age, her experience, her freedom - to make him do what she wanted. And that was no light offense. No matter how she framed it and tried to make it about her, or about him not trusting her.

Were it not for his endless attempts at making his mother proud, he might have forgotten by now how much loving someone hurt. He might have even told himself that he was wrong, when it came to how he felt about Lily. But this kind of anger and pain didn't come from anything else.

When it came to Christian and Ace, it really came down to something a Muggle author had once written. The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.

And if there were ever two people who thought they were paying attention when they really weren't, it was Ace and Christian.

He shook his head at her inquiries. "We've got someone renting out the flat, and he's... intense. I think he's the sort to want to keep an eye on things as well. Best not to give him a chance to ask questions." Christian turned properly that time to look over his shoulder at Apollo's door. At least he wasn't shouting anymore. Or, rather, for now. "I guess I'll see how things go around here. Maybe it'll get so bad she'll just leave."

He didn't sound very convinced by that theory. But perhaps that was because he didn't actually want to be right. If he was, not only would Apollo get infinitely worse than he already was, but Christian would have to pretend he didn't know and hadn't heard. And that would definitely make it worse.

"I don't know," he decided with a shrug.

Keiran gave Jack a mock salute, grinning as she wandered back to Claire. He wouldn't think about the latter, he decided, spinning around to focus back on Kenna as she returned.

"Oh, I certainly meant more than one," he agreed firmly. Of course, he was smirking the whole while because of her joke. "Now?" Keiran added, lifting an eyebrow almost in a challenge. "Or some other time?"

He chose not to point out that it didn't quite count as him buying her a drink if she gave it to them from behind her own bar. But that was easier on him at any rate, so he took a last glance around the room and up at the hawk still flying about. Keiran wasn't quite sure how he'd bring that with him, though, so he frowned at it. "You'd probably rather I not bring this one," he pointed at the bird, "along with us, hm? Maybe I should change them back."

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Re: Tinsel and Traitors

Post by Lily Luna Potter on Thu Feb 16, 2017 8:20 pm

(Wooooah, changing order! xD)

Kenna pursed her lips and gave him a 'what do you take me for' sort of look, blowing the air out from her lips as she said, "Please. You're lucky I've waited for you at all. My brain's already there." She grinned, reaching down to zip up the jacket over her gown, hoping they were having a rare slow night and she wouldn't have to expose her regulars to this over-dressed version of herself. She had a bad feeling luck was not with her.

For a second, Kenna wasn't sure who Keiran was speaking of, but her eyes followed his as her mouth formed an 'o'. "Oh, yes. Poor fellow. He's a war hero. Maybe we can change him back and I can hang him up somewhere in the pub. He deserves recognition."

Ace had figured as much. She couldn't see Christian comfortably setting up on Apollo's couch, and couldn't see the Slytherin being all too pleased with that arrangement either. She had no idea what his parent's had planned for the night, and she couldn't see them taking up just anywhere. But she didn't know where Christian fit into their plans.

The words were coming out before she reminded herself that it was the stupidest idea she had ever had. "My parents have an extra room. If you wanted. Since Frank is already taking me there."

Lily felt rightful in her statements, knowing she had done the right thing to go back, and that he couldn't expect her to stay away. But as he spoke, all sense of righteousness trickled out of her. Because there wasn't just anger in his eyes. In fact, the more she looked, anger was probably just a side effect of the real affliction.

No, she had hurt Apollo.

A long time ago, though it probably wasn't very long if they really thought about it, she had laid out for Apollo what she wanted out of him. I want you to be okay, and I want you to be happy, and I want you to understand that I sat there hating myself for what I had done more strongly than you could ever hate." That hadn't changed. But she had just about broken her promise, the promise she had offered in exchange for his hesitant trust.

"I won't lie."

She could see him beginning to get more upset and she broke, crossing the room to him, hands coming up to catch his face, lips buckling and chin dimpling as the full weight of her actions and how they had hurt the person she loved most hit her, hard. Her eyes were shining as she said, "I'm sorry, Apollo. I'm sorry. I didn't play fair and I broke my promise. I'm so sorry."
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Re: Tinsel and Traitors

Post by Christian Zabini on Thu Feb 16, 2017 10:22 pm

Forgiveness. Can you imagine?
Forgiveness. Can you imagine?



Keiran gave Kenna a sidelong smile, lifting his wand again to transfigure the hawk back into a plate, which landed in his open palm. "On it," he said, holding it out to her. "Do try not to break him."

As she checked her clothing, he looked down at the suit he had on, frowning at the whole ensemble. He so rarely dressed up this much, but he supposed if he took off the jacket it wouldn't be as odd as he currently imagined they'd look when they landed in a pub named as hers was. But then he just waved a hand. "If we're going to drink in front of whoever is at the pub, what does it matter what we're wearing? You own the place," he added with a shrug.

Then he held out an arm, feeling like himself for the first time in years. And he didn't even feel sorry for it. "Ready?"

"Oh," Christian replied slowly, blinking once as he watched her. Was she kidding? "I mean, you may want to ask your parents first. It's not like they know me or anything."

Intruding was one thing, but he wasn't foolish enough to think that her father - or perhaps her mother and brother as well - would not be concerned if she just showed up with some boy from school. It had been a literal miracle that the Zabini matriarch hadn't assumed more about Ace and Christian than was actually there. But these people probably had never even heard of him. So, yes. Permission might be a good thing to seek out.

Still, the fact that she was offering despite everything they had fought about, and how badly the evening had gone... it was enough to let him relax, let him focus on what needed to come next.

Apollo reeled back, nearly escaping and pulling himself out of range. But her hands made contact and forced him to stare back at her with wide, fearful eyes. He wished, then. Stupidly. He wished he had been more clever, more hateful. More capable of ignoring her. Life would have been infinitely more simple for both of them if he had. Apollo never would have butted in, and maybe she could have learned to love Christian instead and everyone would have been happy.

Or would they? Lily had certainly implied otherwise when it came to Ace, but Apollo hadn't bothered to notice. At school, nothing actually mattered until he was personally attacked. Until it was about his parents, about Christian, or about Her.

Until it was about his family.

She knew what had set him off, he realized then. A distinct change rolled through his stance and over his features. Guilt. People had a tendency to push away things they hadn't experienced, didn't know, could never understand. It took only moments. He knew he'd broken his promise as well, but it had taken time for him to accept that.

But it did happen. The forgiving.

"I did, too," he admitted roughly, voice hoarse like he'd been screaming at her. He'd promised to stay, without her even asking him to. His eyes burned. Tears? That never used to happen before.

Blaming the whole evening, his whole past and hers, Apollo rejected them and instead looked down as he turned to press his lips against her palm. He wasn't sure, he thought, if he liked promises at all. They were so easy to break, to find ways around. Taking in a deep breath, his entire torso lifted. He wanted to tell her she should call off any promises they had made - she had made.

But he was selfish. He was selfish and he needed that reassurance that she didn't want to hurt him like that again. So instead of saying what his gut told him he ought to, he reached out silently and pulled her into his arms.
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Christian Zabini
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Re: Tinsel and Traitors

Post by Lily Luna Potter on Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:39 am

Kenna reached out with an expectant look and took the plate from him with both hands, folding her arms over it and pulling it close. "I think I'll name him Travis." She grinned at his diagnosis of their attire, though she still suspected she was going to get some shit. But he was right. It was her pub. She could make them suffer. She took his arm with a nod.

Ace was heaving a shrug, her face oddly blank considering the circumstances. It wasn't often that some strong emotion wasn't raging across her features, but her internal confusion at her show of hospitality seemed to have shut her face down for maintenance, just in case. "My parents have a thing. All friends welcome any time. They'd told me and Frank our whole lives that if a friend ever needed somewhere to go, they could come to us." She had never had the chance to exercise the option.

"Really, it'd be fine," she said, reaching out for another piece of paper to start her letter to Frank. "But it's up to you. Trust me, they won't be put out."

Oh, Merlin, her parents were going to smother Christian in their attempts to be good hosts. Could she take it back?

He had tried to withdraw, and it really was like they were back in his shop, and his voice was full of anger and his eyes full of hurt, all adding up to a distrust that she had more than earned. And she had been brave back then, for him, she had withstood it all and accepted his criticisms, adding her own for good measure, and she had told him he had every right to think so poorly of her. And yet she still offered herself as some meager consolation.

That was why this worked. Them. Neither thought themselves to be anything worth fighting for, but the other would always fiercely disagree. Through every moment of doubt and distrust, every attempt by the outside world, they would cling tighter when they were so used to letting go. They were the exception. The one thing right despite all the wrong. The one thing good in the certainty of bad. The one instance in which they could look at the world and see hope, love, opportunity, where there once was nothing.

They were each other's permission to be happy.

And one day, they'd be stronger people. They'd be happy as people, they'd be strong, capable member of society. And it'd be through their mutual lessons, the hurdles the tackled, hand in hand.

If Lily didn't have Apollo, she wouldn't have suffered the condescension of a score of pureblood adults. She wouldn't have a job that didn't suit her well, a job she was now under scrutiny for. She'd have one less public humiliation, one less battle, one less argument.

And it was all worth it. Because she definitely wouldn't be certain the way she was now. Certain at her ability to overcome, to love.

To be happy.

She brushed a thumb under his eyes, eyes searching his face, still biting back the traitorous lips that wanted to show off how unsteady she felt. And his arms were reaching out, and hers slipped to wrap around him, face tucking into that space against his neck, arms tightening. Merlin, she didn't want to leave. She left and their lie began. She just wanted to hold on to him for a moment longer.

If you love me, donít let go.

He had always been honest, always told her exactly why he was afraid. She swallowed, tightening her grip, and decided to stay brave. Tell him the source of her comfort and her fears.

"I don't think I could ever stop loving you, Apollo."
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Re: Tinsel and Traitors

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