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In Theory by Aphoride

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Format: Novel
Chapters: 5
Word Count: 24,534
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Mild Violence, Scenes of a Mild Sexual Nature, Contains Slash (Same-Sex Pairing), Substance Use or Abuse

Genres: Drama, General, Romance
Characters: Harry, Blaise (M), James (II), Hugo, OtherCanon
Pairings: James/OC, Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione, Other Pairing

First Published: 04/10/2012
Last Chapter: 03/09/2013
Last Updated: 03/09/2013


Theory doesn't always work in practise, but this time it has to. You've got too much at stake - not only your reputation, your pride, your dreams, but also your heart.
James II/OC

Absolutely beautiful banner by Chocolate_Frog @TDA

Chapter 4: Fourth
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Rain is falling, light and sleek, the kind that doesn’t feel particularly strong or powerful or even really wet. Still, it manages to soak you through completely if you spend enough time in it, standing or spinning or walking. It hits your windows, running down, drops racing, chasing and merging with others, forming larger drops that end up sitting prettily on the slight ledge at the bottom. They linger there for a while before dripping off, falling the three storeys down to the ground.

Safely inside, you straighten out the duvet on your bed, stepping back to observe your handiwork. Your flat looks much bigger when it’s tidy, you muse idly, observing immediately afterwards that it won’t last - mess is just your natural state of being, according to your mum. It seems to radiate out from you, knocking everything around you so that it’s no longer in perfect lines, ninety-degree angles all over the place, sparkling and polished and clean.

You’re not even sure why you’ve done it. Well, no, that’s a lie. You know exactly why you’ve really done it; you just don’t want to admit it to yourself. Being scared of your own work, your own theory, your own thoughts and hopes and dreams is ridiculous. It doesn’t make any sense.

Procrastination isn’t new to you. You were always the one up at midnight still finishing an essay due in the next day, having not bothered to do it - unless it was Arithmancy, a subject you enjoyed far more than you’d ever thought you would, having listened to your dad and Uncle Ron’s stories about your Aunt Hermione when they’d been at school. What is new to you, though, is going to this sort of length for it. Your room hasn’t been tidy (or even anywhere near that state) in the last year and a half. You found things hidden away in corners and underneath other things which you didn’t even realise you’d ever owned. The fact that you resorted to doing that now really isn’t looking good for either you or your work.

There’s no time for you to stop and think about why that is, about why you’re going to such lengths or to even sit down and try and make yourself do something relatively productive, since Edgar’s Portkey lands at the Ministry in less than ten minutes and you promised you’d meet him there. Since he’s been out of the country for the last month you figure it’s only polite to your best mate to turn up on time when he actually gets back.

Whirling around, you scan your room for a coat of some description. Perhaps tidying your room wasn’t such a good idea at all, since you now seem to be completely incapable finding anything remotely useful. A snow globe that causes enchanted snowflakes to fall from the ceiling and fills the immediate area with a wintery blue glow won’t stop you from getting soaked.

You give up on finding a cloak or a coat and grab a thick Weasley jumper from the pile of freshly laundered clothes sitting on the end of your bed. It’s your one from last Christmas, a deep forest green Nana Molly coos over whenever she sees you in it - something about the colour ‘suiting your complexion’ or whatever - and yank it over your head, running a hand through your hair as you jog towards the fireplace.

The journey through the Floo feels like it’s taking far too long, far longer than normal for certain. Even as you whiz through the system, turning in tight, tight circles with the world blurring in front of your eyes, it seems to be moving slower, you feel like you’re moving slower. It’s absurd - you know you’re not - but you know that you absolutely cannot be late. Edgar would forgive you but you’d be mortally embarrassed.

When you pop out at the other end, your cheeks tint pink as several people standing around - including a Ministry Hit Wizard in the deep reddish-brown robes who raises his eyebrows as though it’s rude to fall out of a fireplace - look over at you. For a moment, they all watch you before turning away one by one, no longer interested.

You feel very scruffy and small standing in the International Portkey Centre. Fifteen feet high, the ceiling is a pale, buttercup yellow. Every now and then there’s a dome, reaching up further, a star-shaped circle of tiles below it marking out where the Portkey will land. It’s a beautiful building - you remember when it was opened, around the time of your fifth birthday - but it’s very intimidating. You suppose it’s probably meant to be that way.

Throwing your nerves away (after all, you’re Harry Potter’s son, so you shouldn’t be scared of anything, least of all a building), you walk over to the witch sitting at the desk by the barrier that separates the domed Portkey landing sites and the rest of the room.

“Excuse me,” you begin, continuing when she glances up at you. “Do you know when the Portkey from Liechtenstein is coming in?”

“Liechtenstein, Liechtenstein,” the witch mutters under her breath as she glances down the list in front of her, a pink-painted nail tracing down the names. Most of the ones at the top of the parchment have been crossed off with a thick, black line. “It should be here in about four minutes.”

“Thank you,” you respond politely, moving away from the desk, your hands slipping down into your pockets as you prepare to wait.

It’s not long before a swirling shape appears in one of the domes. Spinning around and around quickly, colours blurring and messing, the twirling kaleidoscope eventually throws up three people and what looks like a hard-backed, navy blue notebook. As they hit the ground with a series of hard thumps, the Hit Wizards straighten up, hands dipping inside their robes for a moment to check that their wands are still where they left them, looking attentive.

Edgar’s the second up, brushing down the long, blue robes he’s wearing, checking that his wand and wallet are both still in his pocket before moving away, dragging his muggle suitcase behind him by the handle. He spots you easily, giving you a grin and a wave, joining the back of the short queue in front of the Border Witch, pulling a wad of papers out of his trousers pocket, unfolding them and trying in vain to smooth out the creases.

Feeling excited, a grin just waiting to burst onto your face, you wait impatiently for him to get through the security checks, watching as a Hit Wizard, tall with a black patch over one eye, runs a golden Sensory bar over him, checking for Dark objects. It doesn’t take long and then he’s sauntering towards you, towing his silly little red case behind him.

“Hey, Jim,” he calls when he’s closer, his voice loud enough that everyone in the building can hear him anyway. “What’s up?”

“Not much,” you reply, the grin breaking through as you pull him into a swift hug. It doesn’t last long, though, both of you pulling away soon after. “How was Liechtenstein?”

It’s pretty clear the weather was good, seeing as he’s come back even more tanned than he already was to begin with - his skin is at least three shades darker - and his hair’s cut short. Magical Theory seems less and less appealing as you regard your best friend, taking in the smile on his face to the evidence of hot and sunny weather (and probably a lot of time spent enjoying said lovely weather).

“Not bad, mate, not bad,” Edgar replies breezily. “The conferences were fascinating - they lasted four hours each and the speakers were incredible. One of them was a real werewolf himself (don’t know how they convinced him to participate, mind you) and his was probably the most interesting. The keynote speaker was the best, though: she was the mayor of Liechtenstein, you know, and very pretty. Married, unfortunately, but there you go.”

“So it was a good trip, then?” you tease him with a laugh. Edgar always manages to find someone to moon over and sigh at, while never doing anything about it, perfectly content to remain a bachelor for life.

“Pretty good, yeah,” he admits, as the two of you begin to walk towards the exit of the building and muggle London. “Anyway, enough about me - I’ll bore you stupid later with all the details - what about you? How’s the theory? How are the cousins?”

“The cousins are all fine,” you tell him easily - well, they all were last time you saw them all. With such a large family, it’s hard to keep track of everyone, even though news spreads through you all like wildfire. “As for the theory… it’s not going so great at the moment. I got stuck and now I’m struggling to find a way around it.”

The problem seems so simple when you say it out loud. I’m stuck and it’s difficult to find another way. In reality, you’re only too aware that it’s really not that simple at all, that it’s actually far harder than it sounds like it is.

“That’s annoying,” Edgar shoots you a sympathetic look. He knows what the theory means to you - he remembers seeing you when you first came up with it, when it was new and fresh and exciting - and how hopeless you feel at the moment. “So, anything else? Don’t tell me you’ve been holed up in that flat of yours for the whole of the last month squinting at pieces of parchment? You must have done something!”

“Well, I argued with my parents,” you admit slowly, thinking over what had actually happened. For some reason, you feel a strange mix of excitement and dread at the idea of telling Edgar about your new friend. You haven’t even told Hugo about him yet - you’re not sure how to go about it, for some reason. ‘I made friends with that guy I stared at in the ice-cream parlour’ sounds a little bit creepy in your mind. “But that’s all sorted out now. I saw Hugo a couple of times, and I made a new friend. It wasn’t a particularly exciting month.”

“You made a new friend?” Edgar looks at you hard enough, long enough that he nearly walks into a lamppost. As he quickly dances around it, you smirk. Before you can open your mouth to deliver a teasing comment about looking where he’s going, he continues. “Who? How? Where? When? Why didn’t you tell me?”

“What is this?” you ask indignantly. “The Spanish Inquisition?”

“I can’t have you replacing me when I’m away, Jimmy,” Edgar informs you, and he looks so serious that you can’t help but laugh. The idea that he would genuinely be worried that you’d find someone to replace him when he’s abroad is stupid, but you don’t say that. “It’s not funny - I’m serious. There’s only room for two of us in this friendship.”

“Funny, because our friendship already has three people in it,” you comment lightly.

“Really?” Edgar looks at you, frowning, completely confused. “Who?”

“You, me and your ego,” you respond instantly with a grin.

It takes a couple of seconds for your words to sink in before he glares at you, a sharp ‘oi!’ leaving his lips. Pulling his suitcase up sharp, he picks it up, making sure to ‘accidentally’ swing it round in a semi-circle, hitting the side of your leg.

The blow doesn’t hurt too much, all it does is make your knee buckle slightly under the force, causing you to stagger, your pace broken, leaning heavily on your other leg. Your kneecap aches a little, but it’s nothing that won’t go away soon enough. Besides, you suppose you did deserve it. Edgar is hardly egotistical, really, but it’s so easy to tease him, to tell him that he is. He never sees it coming.

“Sorry, Jim,” he apologises, his voice airy. There’s a glint in his eyes, though, which tells you that he’s not really sorry but he’s not really offended either. His reaction was more about the principle of the thing, rather than genuine hurt.

“It’s fine,” you assure him, turning left down a side-street, moving into a nicer part of London. The flats here are bigger, the buildings older - a more flamboyant style with lots of large, rectangular windows in neat rows, curtains framing each one.

“Do you want to come in for a drink or something?” Edgar asks you, walking a little faster now, as though now he’s closer to his flat it’s tugging him towards it like a magnet. “I have to go to work tomorrow so it couldn’t be for too long - but we could catch up with everything. I can bore you stupid with all those details?”

It’s a tempting offer - catching up with Edgar usually involves him talking and you interrupting, embellishing his story and asking the occasional, actual question when something interests you, and large quantities of Strongbow beer. The last time you sat down with him and watched muggle sport on his television, chatting about girls and boys and Quidditch, was over a month and a half ago now. Too long ago, really, when you remember that you’re best friends.

This evening, however, you have to refuse. You can’t really do anything other than refuse. Perhaps it was stupid to make plans for the evening after he returned, but when he suggested to meet up this evening, you agreed without even thinking to check the date, to make sure you were definitely free. Merlin, you’d probably have missed a family dinner if that had been scheduled for the same time – and that really was a hanging crime.

“I can’t, sorry,” you apologise sincerely, passing underneath a lamppost, someone’s cat slinking past, fur scrapping along the metal bars at the side of the pavement. “I’ve got plans.”

“What kind of plans?” Edgar wants to know almost immediately, stopping outside a tall, white painted house, pulling his suitcase alongside himself and pressing the handle down into the body of the bag.

You contemplate the best way to describe what your plans actually are. It’s perhaps not entirely clear - or you’d rather it wasn’t entirely clear and so your judgement is a little clouded. Unfortunately for you, Edgar’s watching you, your silence speaking volumes to him as he grins suddenly.

“Jimmy Potter - don’t tell me you have a date!”

“It’s not a date,” you reply quickly, because it isn’t. Not really. Even if you’d prefer if it were a date, it’s not. Going to a pub with someone does not make it a date, not even if you’ve agreed to pay for them. “We’re just friends.”

“Just friends,” Edgar repeats slowly, turning the words over with almost surgical precision. Dominique would have been proud. “Well, I suppose that’s a reasonable excuse, then. I’ll see you on Wednesday, like usual, yeah?”

Wednesday was your official Boys’ Night. It was the one evening of the week when the Quidditch commentary was live on the radio, most of the matches taking place at weekends, and therefore the chosen night. You only ever missed Boys’ Nights when Edgar was out of the country or on the rare occasion there was a Weasley Family Event which you absolutely couldn’t miss for anything.

You grin at him, relieved that the conversation has turned away from your meeting later on and onto something you’re far more comfortable discussing. Particularly with Edgar himself.

“Definitely,” you tell him. “I’ll bring chips.”

As he walks up the short row of steps leading to the building, lugging his suitcase up after himself, you turn away, beginning to head down the road, back the way you came.

“Have fun on your date!” you hear Edgar shout after you, and you can practically sense the grin in his words, the laughter in his tone.

Despite the fact that you know he’s not serious, that he’s only joking (isn’t he? You certainly hope he is, because this is definitely not a date), you can’t help but feel a slight twist in your stomach. You’re nervous.

This is not a date, you remind yourself. Just drinks somewhere no one will have heard of either of you, where no one will care what you do. Not a date. Not at all.

Walking through muggle London is, you reflect a few minutes later as you wind your way through the streets, passing the occasional businessman in a sharp suit striding in the opposite direction, much nicer than walking through wizarding London. While both are crowded, muggle London has a younger scene, a livelier feel; wizarding London tends to seem stagnant to you, like it’s just sitting in the same spot, constantly stuck in the same gear.

Plus, in muggle London things are different. People are different. People don’t know who you are and probably wouldn’t care much even if they did know. People are busy - they’re walking with a purpose, to get somewhere and do something, instead of loitering, sauntering casually without a care in the world. The only place in the wizarding world which seems busy is the Ministry, and even then people don’t rush around chasing up paperwork or jab the lift button impatiently: they send memos to each other instead.

Outside a pub, a couple of men are standing around, cigarettes in one hand, beers on the small metal table beside them, chatting contentedly to one another.

As you get closer, repeating the instructions he’d written carefully on a napkin in the Leaky for you in your mind (down King’s Street, turn right at the end of the road, walk down until the third left, cross over the road. Down Gresham Avenue, turn left at the end, take the next right, then the left immediately after that), you think that the area looks vaguely familiar.

The streets are getting thinner now, moving further away from the financial sector of London- from the actual City of London itself- and out towards the west end, towards Mayfair and Belgravia. On either side of you, buildings rise up close to the pavement edge, roads smaller and narrower, cars squeezing past each other quickly.

Ahead of you, people stride along the pavement, never looking from side to side - a girl on her phone glances at the road but she’s the only one - apparently completely oblivious to the narrow alleyway leading off the street. You don’t blame them for not wanting to look at it since it hardly looks like the type of place you’d want to spend any more time in than you had to. Small, lined with overflowing dustbins, the walls on either side are made of brick, darkened with soot and age, only just enough space for three people to fit down it, shoulder-to-shoulder.

You have to follow instructions, however, and cross the road, slipping into the alleyway. Throwing a glance over your shoulder, you notice that none of the muggles have noticed a thing - not even the woman you stepped in front of to enter the path.

You’re back in wizarding London now, hidden out of sight of the muggles.

Turning on your heel, you keep going, pretty keen to get out of this alleyway as soon as possible. It’s gloomy, it’s creepy and it smells really, really bad; a mixture of rotten fruit and mouldy cheese. A cat, scrawny with half an ear bitten off, hisses at you, crouched underneath a fallen bin-lid.

As you reach the end of it, there’s a pair of lamps fixed to the wall. You can smell the oil from them, see the gleaming metal fixtures holding them in place. They spiral round, Victorian in design, painted black, just a shade or two darker than the bricks are.

It doesn’t take you long at all from this point to complete the rest of the directions and you nearly laugh as you round the corner, taking the last left-hand turn, and see a familiar long, white beard topped with a large-brimmed, blue hat. The golden letters which proclaim the name of the pub are skimmed over easily. You don’t need to read them to know where you are.

You should, you think, have guessed it earlier. How many other young men have you seen around wearing perfectly cut, expensive muggle blazers? How many other young men have those high, slanting cheekbones? How many other young men have the same habit of turning things round and round and round in their fingers? It was obvious, but you were too oblivious to notice.

Too busy staring at him, a small voice in the back of your head mutters.

He’s standing by the corner of the road, waiting for you. As you walk over, you notice that he’s foregone the blazer and cotton trousers, opting instead for tight jeans and a deep purple jacket you’re certain is made of dragon skin. The sunglasses, however, you spot peeking out of a pocket.

When he sees you walking over, he smiles at you and all you can do is smile back - it’s practically infectious, tugging the expression out of you no matter what sort of mood you’re in. You’re almost willing to bet he could make you smile even if you were upset. Not quite, though, because you don’t bet on anything you’re not quite sure about.

“Hey,” you grin at him. “You weren’t here for long, were you?”

“Not that long,” Cesare assures you, although an amused expression flickers across his face briefly. “You’re early.”

You feel yourself flush slightly at the memory of the last time you met and look past him, at the wall behind his shoulder.

“My time-keeping skills aren’t usually poor,” you admit with a light shrug. “No matter what others might say.”

In fact, as far as your family was concerned, your time-keeping skills were virtually flawless. Then again, this was comparative to Uncle Ron (who seemed to consider that being twenty minutes late to everything was acceptable), Uncle George (who believed being on time wasn’t ‘hip’), and many of your cousins who didn’t seem to know how to work an alarm clock. It wasn’t perhaps the greatest claim in the world, but it was the best you had.

“I see,” the amused expression isn’t vanishing off Cesare’s face and a slight silence falls over the two of you as you try to find a reply to that and he just watches you, lips quirked in a minute smile, faintly pouting.

Across the road, an owl hoots as she soars overhead, a letter clutched in her beak, off to deliver it to her master.

“So,” you begin, glancing at him. “Shall we go?”

When he nods, you move first, going over to the door, not needing to think about it as your fingers close around the door handle. You can hear him following you, footsteps light and quiet.

As soon as you step inside, you feel yourself relax gently. Not completely - never completely - but enough that you’re more comfortable, less tense and concerned about what he’s thinking, about watching what you’re saying and impressing him. The stockpile of witty comments you were thinking up all that morning and afternoon seem fairly useless now.

“Mr Potter,” the barman greets you as you approach, Cesare lounging against the bar, glancing around at the other patrons inside with a faintly curious look. “What can I get for you?”

“One pint of Strongbow and,” you shoot a glance at Cesare, not giving him time to say what he wants, hoping that you’ll guess correctly. “A large glass of white wine, right?”

For a moment, he just looks at you, silent, before he gives a slight, soft smile and nods once. You’ve got it exactly right and you feel nicely elated by that. He probably didn’t think you noticed - but you did and it’s earning you points. Not that there’s any reason for you to be notching up points, of course.

Another customer slips past you and Cesare, moving over to scan the drinks list written up in white chalk on the blackboard just above the bar, as the barman pulls your pint, placing it on the counter, his practised hand not letting a drop escape from the brim. You pay quickly, your wallet already in your hand before Cesare can even mention discussing how this is being done. You said you’d pay, and you will - you came prepared.

Less than a minute later, you’re seated at a small table on the far side of the pub, opposite the bar. It’s the table next to the one he sat at the first time you saw him, you think, or possibly the same one. You’re not quite sure; your memory’s clouded.

“Your friend got back today, didn’t he?” Cesare remembers, the first one to break the silence. It’s unusual - every other time you’d been the one to start the conversation, to pick a topic - but definitely not unwelcome.

“Yeah, Edgar - he was in Liechtenstein, discussing werewolf rights or something,” you nod. “He said he had a brilliant time, although it doesn’t seem like he did much work.”

“My father never seems to do much work on his business trips either. He mostly seems to play golf and go to restaurants,” Cesare comments. “So it’s unlikely your friend’s conference was any different.”

“Probably not,” you agree with a slight laugh, Edgar’s comments about the, in his opinion, highly attractive keynote speaker coming to the forefront of your mind.

“You could have invited him along, you know,” Cesare tells you quietly, and you can feel his gaze on you without needing to look up, dark and intense. “I wouldn’t have minded.”

He might not have minded, but you’re absolutely certain you would have.

Have fun on your date!

Edgar’s words, teasing and laughing, play through your memory. Your face burns hot and you know you’re blushing, wondering how visible it will be in the dim lighting, hoping Cesare isn’t able to see, because that really would just spoil everything.

“He… he was busy,” you invent quickly, taking a sip of your drink to occupy yourself, attempting to buy yourself some time to get your head in order, to rearrange your thoughts and steer the conversation away from this territory.

“What’s your favourite Quidditch team?” you blurt out less than five seconds later.

It proves to be a good choice of topic, though, as his eyes light up enthusiastically. You half-listen to the conversation, finding that as he keeps talking, explaining exactly why the Montrose Magpies are the best team in the league, and as you keep sipping, you’re becoming more and more distracted by him.

Merlin, you think as you force yourself to stop staring at the neckline of the clinging t-shirt he’s sporting underneath his jacket, perhaps you should have invited Edgar, after all.


It’s late by the time the two of you decide to leave. Late and wet. Outside the door, rain is thundering into the ground relentlessly, a parting present from summer as autumn arrives. It looks torrential, potentially hazardous. Raindrops appear to almost be bouncing back up off the street, pools forming where the road is slightly lower in places. There’s no sign of any life outside, not even an owl.

Uncaring about the weather, you step out into the rain, feeling it hit you immediately, running down your face, sliding off your skin.

“Come on, it’s not so bad,” you tell Cesare cheerfully, giving him a grin. You’ve never minded the rain - not really. It’s not so bad and it’s hardly as if water’s going to make you melt into a puddle or anything equally stupid.

The look Cesare gives you says quite clearly that he’s not entirely sure he believes you, but he follows you anyway, giving a slight shiver as a cool, night breeze brushes past. Slipping his hands into his pockets, shoulders hunched, he moves over to you and you start walking, side-by-side, content to remain silent.

All around you, everything is quiet, everything is still and serene. The only sound, the only movement other than you and him, is the rain. It’s dark, the oil-lamps glimmering every twenty feet, providing pools of light that you step through every now and then, temporarily blinded by their brightness. In the sky above, clouds cover the moon, dimming the stars, the whole picture a mottled black and deep grey.

Beside you, Cesare fits perfectly into the picture. You don’t know if he planned it, but even in the lamp-light his indigo jacket looks like a lighter shade of sky, a watered-down black. Even the way he’s walking - hands tucked away, face lowered towards the ground to keep the water out of his eyes, fits.

He walks a little slower than you do, though, and every now and then you find yourself pulling ever-so-slightly ahead, meaning later you slow down, letting him catch up. It’s like an endless, silent game of some kind, you muse - almost like you’re trying to run away but never succeeding as he always, inevitably, catches you up.

There’s a faint gasp and the sound of water splashing. Spinning round, you see Cesare stagger, and you grab his wrist instinctively, your fingers locking around the base of his hand, you keep hold of him, watching as he rights himself, getting his balance back.

“Sorry,” he murmurs sheepishly, barely meeting your eyes. “I tripped - I wasn’t looking where I was going.”

Water is soaking you now, you can feel it trickling down your back underneath your jumper and shirt, but you’re over halfway home, nearly there, and you don’t want to give up just yet. You want to go home, where warm, dry clothes and your bed await you, a fire crackling merrily in the hearth.

The puddles are larger, deeper, making it impossible to walk almost anywhere without water splashing your ankles and calves, drenching your trousers once more. It’s cold, too: the wind has picked up, blowing the rain into your faces, making it cold and sharp and fierce. As you pass under a lamp, you can see the rain falling, each drop creating a line in the air with its speed of descent, the wind forcing it halfway to horizontal.

Cesare leads the way over to the entrance to a café, an enchanted cover stretched over head, the rain simply sliding off it, crashing down to the ground like a waterfall. Ducking under the sheet of water, you step underneath the tarpaulin, grateful for the momentary relief. The air’s still here, too; you can almost pretend you’re inside a building, safe and sound, watching the storm rage on outside.

The entrance isn’t big - only as wide as the doorway it covers - and you’re forced to stand close together to fit underneath. Too close almost, as every time he shivers his arm brushes yours.

“Circe, it’s cold,” Cesare mutters, shifting slightly closer to you, his shoulder brushing the front of your chest lightly.

You can’t look away from him, as you respond ‘yeah, it is’, or when he glances at you, dark eyes locking onto yours. Watching him carefully, you wonder what to do now. Should you talk, say something? Comment on the weather? Hug him? Nothing really seems appropriate.

It takes one second - no more, no less - and you almost miss it. A single glance, only an instant, his gaze flickering down to caress your mouth before tracing it’s way back up to your eyes.

Without thinking, without daring to hesitate or consider what you’re doing - you might bottle it otherwise - you lean in and kiss him softly, just brushing your lips over his, giving him every opportunity to pull away. You might have misread the situation, you might have misread him, got completely the wrong idea…

But you don’t have to worry about dealing with that situation, because he’s kissing you back, stepping closer to you, an arm sneaking around your waist, his mouth pressing firmly to yours.

You can’t really think, not a thought passing through your mind as you focus on the man standing just in front of you, wrapping an arm around his upper back, your fingers gripping at the scales on his jacket. The kiss deepens, mouths opening, tongues tangling, and you feel him slip a hand into your hair, fingers running through the strands even as you pull him closer.

His hand in your hair is cold, his body against yours feels warm and he’s kissing you back. For now, you don’t care about anything else, it’s all really irrelevant.