"For Christmas? Oh, I just stayed in the flat."

"For Christmas? Oh, I just stayed in the flat."

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"For Christmas? Oh, I just stayed in the flat."

Post by Apollo Zabini on Sat Feb 25, 2017 3:21 am

The next morning came with the understanding that this break would be the last of their time together for, well, quite some time. Neither seemed willing to say it, though, as they woke up, greeted each other, or dressed for the day. Apollo found a new toothbrush and gave her free reign of his closet and chest of drawers, and within an hour he was making fun of her assurances that she could make great toast - but very little else. As suggested the night before.

Things were... the same. In most ways, at least. But there was a mutual understanding that they had done something meaningful for both of them. Sure, she didn't know the ins and outs of his feelings about it, but he got the feeling he knew hers. After all, he'd been part of the team to save her from it. And Apollo doubted very much that his desire to protect her would ever really go away. But he liked to think that his version of that would be one she could condone. It wasn't like he was going to try and keep her out of an incident after the night before. That was for damn certain.

And he did trust her. She had no real way of knowing that he would react so horribly, so vehemently. His stilted explanations of his childhood probably hadn't really given the impact he'd hoped they would. But he didn't think for a minute that she would try it again.

So he was pleased with the day passed a general tendency to do.. whatever they felt like. At some point, they ended up just splayed out on the couch, watching horrible Muggle telly and taking the mick while they just enjoyed having a space that was theirs alone. Sure, it was one flat with a couple of rooms, but for the time being, it was theirs. And they had full permission to be as embarrassingly cuddly as they pleased. Apollo had never really pictured himself as the sort of person that wanted extended amounts of physical contact, but his circumstances had changed. At least for now. Perhaps, in the future when they had time, it wouldn't feel so important.

Or maybe Lily was just addicting. Guess he'd just have to wait and find out. Not that he minded.

He didn't find an excuse to leave the flat that day, likely because it had yet to fully register that she wouldn't be going anywhere. But that was a bonus in itself, because he didn't have to change out of his pajama bottoms, and could instead try and figure out how to sneak out to pick up at least something for her as a Christmas gift. It didn't feel right not to, but he also had no idea what he could possibly pick out. He probably glanced at her a few too many times that afternoon, trying to decipher something from her mannerisms or words.

Merlin help him, but perhaps he was a rubbish boyfriend after all.

Pushing that to the back of his mind, he got up from the couch at some point to work on making something for them for dinner. By the time the owl arrived, he had one arm around Lily's waist while his other hand nudged at the hash going on the stove. Apollo set the spoon down and stepped across to the window, taking the letter with a muttered thanks to the bird before they took off again. Unsurprisingly, it was from his father. The letter from Christian would shop up the next night, but this one was a bit more worrying.

In truth, he had expected it to be from his brother. Frowning at it, he returned to Lily's side, handing it to her before checking on the meal again. Many things registered in that moment. First, he didn't care if Lily saw anything that was addressed to him. Even from his family. Second, he might have thought that through a bit more, considering his parents thought he had broken up with her. And third, he was anxious about opening it, so he'd handed it to her in hopes that she would do so instead.

Asking her to read it out, he moved to pull down a set of plates, cups and silverware. He just ended up stopping and staring at her, though.

Son,

We received a letter from your brother about an hour ago, telling us that the pair of you were safe. Of course, we had heard from that friend of yours that she had taken you two over to your flat. Don't think we won't be talking about that after this is all settled. For now, I'm afraid we will not be able to spend the holidays at home. But you needn't fret - we will have the gifts to you upon your return to Hogwarts.

Until we understand why this happened, stay where you are. And keep track of Christian for your mother.


And then he'd not even bothered to sign off, because who else could it be from?

Apollo had rolled his eyes at the reference to Christmas presents, despite his earlier fretting, but by the end of it he was just looking at her with a bland sort of expression on his face. There wasn't much to be said, really. But at least they knew Christian was fine at Ace's house, now.

Clearing his throat, Apollo got to work, divvying up portions for each of them. "So. What do you want to do tomorrow? I can go down to the center of town and get us a tree if you want."

Us. Merlin.


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Re: "For Christmas? Oh, I just stayed in the flat."

Post by Lily Luna Potter on Sat Feb 25, 2017 4:38 am

Lily had a running catalogue of her new favorite things. She, of course, kept these quietly to herself - not because she was afraid Apollo would get cocky, though that was the reason she gave him, but because she really liked surprising him with them. Right when he needed to go check on their omelets, or when his mouth was full of toothpaste, or when he finally went out on a limb and compromised his dignified nature by attempting a joke (which almost never landed) - these were the moments Lily chose to surprise him.

The first was that his dress shirt looked just as good on her the next morning as it had on him the night before. He had regained his footing in time to wryly agree. The next was that something about his detergent reminded her of growing up, and not in a bad way. That had earned her some of those treasured delicate kisses. And then there was the reluctant admission that he was quite a good chef - and that he looked good cooking, too.

That one might have gone to his head a bit.

But there were others she was quietly holding onto, just as much for herself as she was to spring them on him. Like how she was pretty sure she was going to pick up some of the shampoo he used, because Merlin it made her hair soft. And how she liked how he could find something to scoff about in every program they put on the telly, regardless of whether or not he knew anything about what was on screen. And she especially liked when he rested his head in her lap and she was free to run her hands through his hair and trace little promises onto his skin. Somehow, she felt like she didn't need to tell him how much she enjoyed these little things. He'd be able to figure it out when he caught the look on her face.

They hadn't specified how long she was meant to stay, and no one bothered to clarify the matter. So she stayed. He might have been displaced from his home for the holidays, but Lily would have felt just as much without a place. Her little apartment certainly wasn't home, Hogwarts was just depressing as a professor (though it hadn't been much better as a student), and there wasn't a family member she felt comfortable imposing herself on. Apollo welcomed the imposition. Though, she'd bet money that he wouldn't consider it as such.

He had volunteered to make dinner, and she had volunteered to watch him (see above confession for the motive.) She had never been great at small talk, but being in love did this very strange thing. Regardless of temperament, it became almost a compulsion to share. To share the most meager thought, the most distant of memories. She tended to avoid family talk, but found herself talking about Jag, the dog given to her one Christmas by Teddy. She was finding, with a strange ache, that she missed the shepherd, and felt bad for having left him with Teddy for so long. The story wasn't long-winded nor was it eloquent, punctuated as it was with small silences as she considered how she might go about retrieving the dog without making it a whole big thing with her adopted brother.

But maybe it was time to have a whole big thing with her brother.

She had just turned the topic towards animals in general, inquiring gently after his favorite kind, when they were interrupted by one. She took to stirring the hash while he collected the letter, informing him in a serious tone that the meal would be ruined in moments if he wasn't quick to save it from her cruel hand.

And maybe that was why he asked her to read the letter. Surely he should have known that any mentions of her would not be kind. Or perhaps he hadn't fully considered it. Maybe he just wanted her to feel included. Her eyes flicked hesitantly towards him, before she read the letter in full, pausing only to inform him with an ironic smile that friend had been underlined. Part of her wanted to tease the lack of a signature, ask him how often he received letters from the Queen, something of the sort. But anyone who had ever met Blaise Zabini could probably agree that he was the sort of man you didn't tease.

(Though maybe he'd smile more if someone joked with him. But she probably wouldn't ever be in the position to try.)

But Apollo seemed unconcerned, and it was hardly her place to be - she'd support him all she could, but she knew there was no point jumping into the ring with either of his parents. She was ill-equipped for such a fight. She got them drinks as he set dinner out and let out a little sigh at his suggestion. "I suppose we should get a tree. We're already going to have a hard enough time making the nice list - can't skip the tree too."

As she took her seat, she continued, "That'll give me a chance to pop round mine for a bit too. Get some deodorant that doesn't smell like man." And she gave him a little grin.

Because that was one of her little favorites too.
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Re: "For Christmas? Oh, I just stayed in the flat."

Post by Apollo Zabini on Sat Feb 25, 2017 5:36 am

She didn't say anything, as he had sort of expected her to. It wasn't that he wanted to needed her to ask how he was, but he had thought that maybe if she asked, then he could ask. And he could've done so anyway, of course, but if she treated it like a non-issue, then it seemed a bit like feeding a dead flame. It would just be more trouble than it was worth. At least, for now anyway.

Following her to the table, he sat down but folded his arms over each other on the table to look at her while she talked. Hungry or not, this was something he would not get to see again until summer, depending on when she left. And it was small, seemingly irrelevant. He knew that. But at the same time, he was fully determined to soak up anything about her that he could. It couldn't be helped.

When she talked about going back to her place, he looked down and picked up his fork to finally tuck in. For a bit. Right, good. Made sense. Even if he kind of liked seeing her in his shirts and little else. Better yet, it would give him time to see about picking something up. Perhaps he would've come up with something by then.

Apollo looked up at her joke, his own lips lifting when he caught her grin.

"Yeah, good plan. I mean, I wasn't going to say anything, but..." He shrugged, feigning a little guilt as he took a bite. After taking a drink and setting the cup back down, he went back to what she'd said before. "You're probably right about the list, though, to be fair. I think there's a shop down the way that has trees, if I remember right. Even if it's just little so I can bring it back while you're out to get your things."

The question, though, was to do with how many things she would be getting. With how long she thought she wanted to stay - or how long she thought she could reasonably do so. Christmas? They were getting a tree. But New Year's? He didn't have the slightest clue how early professors had to go back. And he didn't even want to think about her job at the moment.

He'd been trying to ignore the letter. But it lingered in the back of his mind until he let it overtake his nerves about her decision to stay with him. Suddenly, a fear popped into his mind that she'd stayed because he needed her to, rather than because she'd wanted him to ask her. Right. Letter. That was safer, somehow.

But not at all, either.

"Look," he broke finally, reaching a hand out rather aimlessly in her direction for her to take or not, "don't worry about my parents. I'll deal with that when I have to. We've got another year and a half of this, so if we play it the right way, they'll move past it until then."

Okay, so he'd brought up the professor thing, too. Damn. Acting like he didn't fully register what he'd closed in on, he just sighed and tilted his head as he tried to read her feelings about it.

After the night before, what could really ruin things for them? He felt better for being blunt and open about everything. But maybe he had just gotten to comfortable too quickly.

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Re: "For Christmas? Oh, I just stayed in the flat."

Post by Lily Luna Potter on Sat Feb 25, 2017 6:44 am

They had discussed gifts. While neither were the traditional, festive sort, there was still this desire to make an exchange, another expression of the certainty they had in each other. One gift. Nothing to break the bank, preferably handmade or re-gifted, nothing with expectations or strings attached. Lily had teased him that he could just let her keep the shirt - and it cannot be stressed enough, Reader, just how intent Lily was on leaving the holidays with one of Apollo's jumpers. Really, she didn't care what he got her. As they drifted to sleep, breath deepening even as his thumb continued to rub circles over her hand, she knew what she was getting him.

It wasn't much. But neither was her love, and he seemed happy enough with that.

So the tree was an excellent excuse for her to pop out and figure out if there was a way of getting the gift that did not require the questions she was certain would surround it. She hoped it wouldn't take long, hoping to be waiting for him when he returned with the tree so she could help him set it up - Merlin, they didn't even have ornaments. Right, maybe she'd find some garland or something. Worst came to worse, she could transfigure teacups into baubles and scarves into lights. Their Christmas would be makeshift but it would be theirs.

(A different Lily, one she had left behind to become a better person for Apollo and for herself, might have panicked at the thought of their Christmas. This was all going so quickly, they were spending a major holiday together, they were acting as though they lived together. But that Lily had left the moment she gave herself permission to be happy.)

"Teddy used to say that when you go to adopt an animal, you should pick the ugliest, least adoptable one, so it doesn't get put down," she said as she lifted a bite of food to her mouth, pausing only to continue. "That's how you should pick the tree." She smiled and took a bite. It was delicious, of course.

And he cooked too. Merlin.

A shadow crossed his face, quickly alerting her to some conflict within him, and her hand was already creeping towards his when he reached out. She slid her long fingertips across his palm gently, eyes fixing on him, trying to anticipate whatever could have caused him any level of distress so she could banish it away. Not now. Not when time had frozen and snowed them in, safe from the prying world.

Of course it had to do with the letter. Lily at once understood completely and yet couldn't begin to understand. She knew enough of the Zabini family to know that even with their complicated web of loyalties, Apollo would always worry after his parents' opinions. As eager as he was to define himself independently of them, it had to be hard to directly disobey their wishes for him. And regardless of his feelings for his family home, it was unnerving to be displaced, especially in such a violent manner.

But truly understanding the torn feelings of wanting to pursue a path contradictory to one's family? How could Lily even begin to grasp that? At some point, the Potters had agreed to not give a shit about each other's lives. She hadn't been around for that decision, but it must have been made. They had found her bloodied and battered in the forest and mere months later had nearly forgotten she existed. And she, of course, returned the favor by pretending she didn't have brothers. Albus who? James? Never heard of him. If she found out either of them disapproved of any of her choices... well, she might just laugh.

But she didn't want to be the person who made Apollo like that. She didn't want him to lose his family to have her. But she certainly didn't want the reverse either. There had to be some compromise. Even though Daphne seemed to be a bit of a headache silly, Blaise seemed a bit better. He was clever enough to know when his son had made up his mind, and he did care. In his own way, but he had to care.

She wanted to tell Apollo that short of locking him in a tower, she couldn't think what his parents could do to worry her. But, fortunately, she had gotten into the good habit of thinking before she spoke. Making light of being locked away by parents wouldn't be the best way to comfort Apollo Zabini.

"I don't want to waste any time worrying about them," she assured him. "At least not now. We'll have time for that later. We threw them off for now, and we'll keep it up until we figure something out." She paused, trying to decide how honest she should be in return, her only worry being bringing the mood down. But he had made that risk, so she owed it to him. "As long as you don't resent me for being a point of division," she said, choosing her words carefully, "I won't worry. And you haven't made me feel that way. But if you ever do, tell me straight away. We'll sort something out. We've come back from worse."
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Re: "For Christmas? Oh, I just stayed in the flat."

Post by Apollo Zabini on Sat Feb 25, 2017 7:38 am

"...resent me,"

"Lily-" He attempted, stopping himself when she went on and clarified. And besides, what was there to say, really, beyond things that were irrational and way ahead of himself and undoubtedly a little bit (or a lot a bit) too much just yet? Because he'd labeled Lily as many things in his head. Friend. Pain. Heartbreaker. Ruiner. Heartmender. Girlfriend. Family.-

-too many things. Too many for a boy of sixteen with nobody else to rely on besides a distracted brother and a misguided father. Too many for someone who didn't even know the real meaning of 'unconditional love,' despite being able to use his brother as an example if he felt like it. And he did, sometimes. But it was too much for someone like Apollo to believe in if he thought about it for too long.

And he was thinking about it. Because it was Apollo, and if the Slytherin was anything, it was desperate, yes, but also reactionary. He never stepped out of his way to bother with anybody at all unless he felt put upon, because who would bother with people when the world was so full of horrible ones? There was no sense in that.

So, perhaps he seemed like a bad example of the house of the snakes, but perhaps nobody ever bothered to understand why.

Nobody except Lily ever had - not even Christian. The Hufflepuff seemed content to go along in life believing that he had his brother figured out because it made him feel too bad to ask and learn the truth. Apollo couldn't think up any other excuse for it, despite his best efforts.

So there they were, then. A pair of absolute and utter misfits, who had somehow managed to trust someone else. And yet he was still afraid to feel the way he did. Nobody fell in love like this - not this quickly, and not this dramatically either. Except him, maybe.

The main factor in all of this was time, and the lack of it. Had he been more cold, he wouldn't have asked her to help, as he assumed she had been. Christian didn't want Apollo involved, so the elder brother hadn't put his nose in. But he sort of regretted asking Lily to. In fact, he definitely regretted it, and most of the time was absolutely fuming about it during school.

But that was far and away from what they were talking about. His family. The kind that didn't include her, that is.

An eyebrow did lift a little wryly at her last comment, but she absolutely had a point. "I know we have. And still might. But," Apollo shook his head a bit as he ran his thumb over the back of her hand, "the thing is -- if they really loved me like they're meant to, ... this wouldn't be a problem. So until they find some way to accept that I can never be what I'm meant to, I can't hold their opinions very highly."

He turned in his chair to face her, both legs resting over one side when he leaned forward a bit. "What they say, what they do, it hurts. I can't deny it, and I'm sure you know I haven't tried to. I don't know if that'll ever change. But the way to win me and convince me that they're right is certainly not going to come from pain. If there comes a point where I have to choose, how could I pick them? Even if it had nothing to do with you? Training to be a healer, for example. They're up in arms about that, too, but I've gone against them already. I'd thought--. But your position at the school is more important.

"I'm just saying, Lil. Eventually, they realize it doesn't work and they back off. Or, well, Father does. This is more than a career, though. It's a tradition, a- a lifestyle, as messed up as it is for me to do what he'd tell me to. This will take time. And, like it or not, we've got plenty of that."

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Re: "For Christmas? Oh, I just stayed in the flat."

Post by Lily Luna Potter on Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:43 am

Raised as she was, by the family she was born into, Lily's opinions of purebloods had always been slightly skewed towards the negative. Herself, she had very little experience nor person conviction to foster any prejudices, but the adults in her life had seen pureblood fanaticism border on fascism, had lost friends and family at the hands of an ideology run amok. It would have been irresponsible of them to not recognize it for the danger it was to those not within that safe little community.

But now Lily was older, and she was getting a much different perspective. Because that dedication to preserving bloodlines wasn't only potentially harmful to those outside of those lines. It was much more dangerous to those within. She wondered how old Apollo had been when the first burden on being the family heir had been laid across his shoulders. What had he been denied in childhood so that he may have the bulk of their fortune and influence later? Anyone without the blinding goggles of a righteous family name could see that the purebloods were not only literally killing themselves off and weakening their lines as family trees continue to curl inwards, but they were breaking their children. They were raising little adults who would be great faces for the family name but devoid of any real qualities that made up the idea of nobility.

It was a marvel that Apollo was so kind. It was almost a miracle that he was able to see her as anything beyond a blood traitor. He had counteracted a lot of negative conditioning to be the person he was, and he didn't get enough credit for it.

She didn't interrupt him, because she was sure he had needed to say that for quite some time. She wondered if he had ever said anything of the sort to his father, if that was even something that could be done. She didn't know. Part of her suspected that Blaise would have an answer ready, some speech about tradition and legacies and how choice became something different entirely when you had the weight of a family on your shoulders - but part of her thought (maybe just hoped) that he'd hear at least part of it. That, even if it didn't change his mind then, it could at least soften up his heart over time.

And they did have time.

A year and a half was going to feel like forever. But an actual forever would follow afterwards.

She was getting ahead of herself.

F*ck it, they had earned it.

"I don't know much about families," she said, hoping to preface her thoughts on the matter, "but the little I do know is that sometimes love manifests into fear and worry. Not that that's an excuse. It's just a thought." She threaded her fingers with his, squeezing his hand. "I'm sorry, love. It's not fair. We'll help them come around."

Merlin, they'd certainly try.
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Re: "For Christmas? Oh, I just stayed in the flat."

Post by Apollo Zabini on Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:13 am

Lily had a list of things that she claimed she secretly liked about him, but Apollo was rather convinced that there were somethings she did not like as much as those things. For example, the way he had to fidget when he wanted to rest somewhere, trying to get comfortable, and always ended up precisely where he'd started. Or how, when she talked, he couldn't do anything at the same time besides stare at her because he wanted to see the way her mouth formed the words and how her expression felt them. It felt borderline creepy, but he couldn't resist. Truly.

The worst, though, was probably the fact that he worried about everything until it felt like he had exhausted the subject. And then he worried some more. But nothing good ever lasted and he was trying to both prevent the worst as well as prepare them for it. Not just him, but her as well. He really was trying to be helpful more often than not.

Her response made it clear that she felt he needed to think about it more before he jumped to conclusions. And of course Lily was right about that. But it did made him want to tack on one last comment:

I'm sorry I'm like this.

Apollo truly was, but he couldn't help it. His mind moved faster than his conscience or instincts could keep up, and that meant he often made stupid decisions. Not that it really made much sense when phrased that way, but he didn't know how else to.

So he just nodded, accepting her point, before swiveling again in his chair to face the table. Releasing her so should could eat more freely, he went back to his meal. But he glanced over at her again, perhaps unsurprisingly.

".... I like it when you call me that." Two could play her game. "Nearly as much as when you say my name."

People rarely did so with any sort of pleasant tone, and from her it was almost like she couldn't get enough of the sound of it either. While that probably wasn't the case, it still made him feel the same way he did when she snuck him that private smile. He'd used to think he had never seen her show that she cared about anything, but he was rapidly realizing that even looks across a room could hold that same emotion, and that he just hadn't ever noticed one way or the other. Before she showed up over the summer, Apollo had thought she hated him. Mainly because he thought at the time that he hated her. Clearly not.

But he needed to think about something else if he wanted to let her finish dinner without another distraction. Even if it would've been a much more appealing kind of distraction that time. So he smiled around the rim of his glass before looking away again.

"You said earlier about Teddy and your dog-- you don't want to see him for the holidays?" Best to avoid mentioning the other two, Apollo supposed. She had done, so he just followed her lead and hoped for the best. "If you'd rather do that it's fine, you know." He was only poking at his food now, appetite lost after everything. "I didn't really stop to ask what you had planned, and I should've. We can always save presents and stuff for later," he offered as well. "We can even charm the tree so it's still good when you want to do it. I mean, I'd offer to invite him over but with Hayes, I don't think--.."

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Re: "For Christmas? Oh, I just stayed in the flat."

Post by Lily Luna Potter on Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:59 am

Lily still wasn’t exactly sure of her boundaries regarding his family. His brother used to fancy her, and his parents hated basically everything about her, so it wasn’t as though she had any real right, especially with her own lack of experience. She worried about the day where she accidentally overstepped her bounds and said something that was too presumptive and harsh, something she hadn’t earned the right to say. But she would much rather be reproved for overstepping than to stay silent and let Apollo think she wasn’t on his side. Too many people had assumed Apollo knew they meant well. She didn’t want him to guess. She wanted him to know.

He took to his meal again and her eyes lingered on him for a moment, scanning his face for signs that the issue was unsettled or that he was displeased. He seemed… resigned, but not unhappy. With something as complicated as disapproving parents, demanding friends, and prying professors, she supposed that might just be okay for now.

".... I like it when you call me that. Nearly as much as when you say my name."

Her eyes flicked up to meet his, surprised to find that she was… well.. surprised. Had he just… oh, sneaky. Her lips parted slowly, before rolling inward as a smile curled onto her lips, eyes glancing downwards, her smile almost knowing. Okay, so know she knew how it felt to be on the receiving end. (She’d keep doing it.)

They managed to finally get a few bites in – between their unwillingness to untangle from the couch and their compulsion to air out any worrying thought, it was a wonder they wouldn’t starve.

Again, the tables turned on her. They were talking about her family now. Or, well, what was left of it. She kept her eyes on her food at first, picking her way through it as she waited for him to finish, trying to sort out her own feelings on the matter. But he kept going. And going. Her eyes lifted, surprise flickering in her deep brown eyes, before a hint of amusement touched on her lips, creating slight dimples in her cheeks. Merlin, he could fret. She released her lips and decided to stop him then and there.

“Apollo.”

She smiled through the word, and it remained on her face, glad to have an opportunity to use one of his favorites against him so soon. She knew it would be enough to give him permission to stop. She gathered her breath. “I… might stop by. Dropping in on him wouldn’t exactly be fair, honestly. I pulled a disappearing act with him from which I haven’t fully reappeared.” This last bit betrayed some of the guilt she felt, and it was evident in the way her eyes dropped back to her plate. Apollo probably knew how that felt. “I haven’t decided. I probably won’t. I want to do it properly. And besides, I rather like my Christmas plans. As poorly planned out as they are.”

Would anyone even recognize them anymore? Who were these smiling, sparking people?
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Re: "For Christmas? Oh, I just stayed in the flat."

Post by Apollo Zabini on Tue Feb 28, 2017 4:00 am

Apollo had been planning on cutting himself off anyway, considering he didn't really know what else to say or how to get it out. He had offered, ironically, to let her leave him on his own for Christmas. And really, it wouldn't have been too horribly different from the norm.

Still, he almost felt the way she said his name as much as he heard it. And it brought up a distinctive mental image that he had to remember to fight off the next time he heard someone say his name at school. Particularly in Potions, where the odds of hearing her say it were incredibly high if they had essays or were paired up. Although he knew that they had their ways of showing the other person they still cared, and although they would later find a very easy way thanks to Lily, he liked to think that she'd be musing over the same thing when she said it. Maybe forever.

Okay, so maybe Lily was onto something with this whole surprise secret sharing thing.

The right path, in this case, didn't seem to be the one of prodding and worrying and musing over the negative things. She'd made light of it in order to feel better about this, and Apollo didn't want to take that from her. Lily probably needed to get away from the subject, and so far he hadn't let her. It was time for him to genuinely listen and try to help, rather than listening only to air out more of his problems. He had a number of them, and he knew she had her own. But they also had time and the opportunity that they needed to grow and move on without fear of judgement. At least from one person.

Even if they would have to do some of that growing on their own. Apollo was determined to come back to her in the summer with some kind of improvement made and change enacted. He just didn't realize, yet, how hard that would be for him.

Determined to spend the rest of their time only thinking and behaving positively, he pulled his mouth up into a smile.

"Are you implying that I'm bad at planning things? Because I will gladly go out of my way to prove you wrong." And Merlin, if he wasn't serious about that one. She'd see, eventually. Moreover, he could admit - at least to himself - that he was very, very interested in figuring out ways he could surprise her before they left to go back to the school. Perhaps that was why he gave her a fairly subconscious but equally shameless once-over as a smirk started to replace his easy amusement.

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Apollo Zabini
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Re: "For Christmas? Oh, I just stayed in the flat."

Post by Lily Luna Potter on Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:01 am

Thankfully, they didn't persist on the subject of families. Lily knew they both suffered from Family Fatigue as it was, but the holidays especially threw their complicated loyalties (and lack thereof) into a harsher light, making the problems seem deeper and more irresolvable. Lily suspected she might have been in a better position to do some good in her own situation, and was less willing to put in the work. As resigned as Apollo seemed to his fate, their was an obvious tinge of hope that things would turn around, regardless of the fact that he currently had a lot less pull than she did. She also only had siblings and overbearing aunts and uncles to consider. She didn't have the problem of dealing with parents.

Lucky her.

So the conversation moved on, and that smile unfurled on her lips, that smile that had hid away so long but was so easily tempted at the slightest affection from Apollo. She felt her breath catch, briefly, under his gaze, a quickening of her pulse and Merlin she hoped she never lost this feeling. Even if she was new to this, she had read and seen enough to know that even the greatest of feelings lost their luster. Before she had any ownership over her heart, she had looked at this with a harsh rationality. Of course these things ended. Life was hard and good things were fleeting. Of course they would eventually get used to the feeling of locked eyes and gentle touches.

But she still hoped against it. She still felt her heart begging for its delay. This thing was so good, and she felt like they deserved just this one...

But she wanted to focus on the present, where those feelings still burned in her like a living fire, and they could pretend for the holidays that the outside world had no say in what they did.

She tilted her head and dropped her gaze to her plate, teasingly playing at coy. "I'd like to see you try," she said, her tone matching his, slowly lifting her gaze to his. Quirking her lips.

Were they ever going to leave the flat?

Did she ever want to?
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Re: "For Christmas? Oh, I just stayed in the flat."

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