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Chapter 32: Birthday Celebrations
There's nothing like being woken up with your partner's mouth trailing down your neck and their arm wrapped tightly around your waist. You can be the laziest person in the world in the mornings and yet like it enough to allow your partner to continue.
If you were a nice person.
I, on the other hand, swat my partner on the head and tell him to quit it because I'll punch him the second time. I feel his grip loosen and his kisses stop, but his mouth only moves to my ear. He's silent for a second, then - very loudly and extremely off key - starts to sing.
"Happy birthday to you!"
That's as far as he gets. As soon as I turn to lie on my back, I reach my hand up to find and cover his mouth. I use my other hand to put my finger to my lips. My glasses can wait. "I'm up, so shush."
"Shushing," Louis mumbles. The movement of his lips tickle my palm and I let him go. In a normal, quieter voice, he says, "Happy birthday, Key. How does it feel to finally be eighteen?"
"About the same as I felt yesterday when I was seventeen," I answer. "I admit, I was expecting to feel different, too. Older, wiser, a better person in general. But no, I'm still me."
Louis chuckles and I feel him move to hover over me. "You're weird."
"Maybe," I shrug, rolling my eyes. "But I can sing."
"I can draw," he counters, sounding smug. I'll just have to fix that.
"I can use my imagination to see you in this position, looking at me with the love and adoration I rightly deserve, when you're actually lying to my right, curled up in a ball and in pain."
"Okay, now you're weird and sound way too full of yourself," Louis scoffs. "Why am I in pain?" I bring up my knee and hit him where it hurts. And he moves away, groaning in pain. "I had to ask."
I turn to face his direction, my hand finding his, and I squeeze. He stops moving, stops making a noise - because if I was going to actually hurt him, it'd be because he's being a dick and I'd smack him on the back of the head, just like Lucy does to me - and draws circles on my hand. "I love you really, but you needed to move so I could get up."
Now he groans in frustration. "Why? We have all day to see other people."
"I'm hungry, I want my presents and I have to go and see Logan." Still holding his hand, I sit up. I try to pull him up with me, but considering he's stronger than me, I let go of him before he's able to pull me back down. "Come on, Louis. It's my birthday."
Louis comes up from behind me, his fingers tickling my back and his breath on my ear. "Exactly. We could stay here. All day," he adds softly.
Must resist. Must say no. Must think of other things to distract self. "If it were any other day, believe me when I say I'd still be fast asleep right now and we would be here all day, but I have to get up and have breakfast and have my mandatory visit to see Logan."
That makes Louis pause, then move away. Then I feel my glasses being put on, he turns my head to look at him when the illusion works and I can see. "Who's Logan?"
The barely hidden jealous tone in his voice almost makes me smile, but I think that would tip him over the edge right now and his insecurities are already dangerously unstable, close to tipping him over the edge. I'm actually still surprised he's even agreed to leave for Paris in September. I imagine there'll be regular calls.
I'm kinda glad. Shh.
"Professor Burns," I correct.
Louis' whole body immediately loosens up, his sudden grin practically glowing. "His name is Logan?" I nod. "Oh, I'm calling him by his first name from now on. Wait, how do you know?"
"Because he's my dad's best friend, my godfather, remember," I tell him. "I told you when we first starting going out that I was surprised he wasn't making comments."
Louis shrugs. "Yeah, but you called him Burns. I wasn't surprised when you said it, he's always making comments. He's a dick."
"True." I stand up and look for the little bag that has clean clothes in. I'm determined to actually get out of bed and do what I told him was happening. Besides, I want my birthday presents and my breakfast. I side-step Louis' arm when he reaches out and grab my pants first. I ignore his comment about the fact that I'm going commando; it was never an issue before I met him. "He's still my godfather and I promise Dad I'd talk to him at least once every school year. What's the deal with you two anyway?"
Louis finally gives up and throws his own clothes on as well. His smirk is small, but smug and he shrugs as he fastens his pants. "You mean, he hasn't told you?"
I shake my head. "We talk about family and friends, not school and students. When he did, it was just to moan and he didn't mention names. It's unprofessional for a teacher, you know. I didn't now you then, so if he did moan about you, I can't say. Are you gonna tell me or not?"
So, he does. Ignoring my laughing, he finishes getting dressed and dumps everything else into the bag. "You want presents and breakfast, right? So, lets go; we'll go to our dorms, meet in the Great Hall, have breakfast and open presents. Then we will go to see him." He gives me a kiss quick, barely keeping to my morning breath rule. "Happy birthday."
"Thank you," I reply, starting to follow. Then I stop and frown, going over exactly what he said in my head. "When the hell did I say you were coming with me to see him?"
He laughs. Jerk.
I half expect the Great Hall to be full, for breakfast not because it's my birthday, but maybe the entire thought is secretly coming from the arrogant part of my subconscious. Come on, we're all a little arrogant, a lot when referring to Kyle, at least we should be allowed to be on our birthdays. But I really mean for breakfast. It takes me a moment to remember that my birthday has fallen on a Sunday and there are no exams - the lucky bastards are probably still in bed. Even if they still have exams next week, they won't be up to revise until at least noon.
They're still better than me. Even I can admit that sleeping till five pm is probably not a good idea, but in my defense that usually only happens when I haven't slept all that well during the night. If I do sleep well, I'm up around two.
Not that bad, I think.
Louis pushes me towards the middle of the Hufflepuff table when Jack calls us over and I sit across from him and Lucy, with Kyle and Luka on my right. My mouth drops when Louis slides over the table to sit next to Lucy.
Looking grim, as he rightly should, Louis holds up a piece of paper. "This was stuffed in my pocket as we were walking in. My instructions were clear: leave a space next to you or I lose precious parts of my anatomy. He can do it."
"He's half right," a familiar voice on my left makes me jump. Hugo jumps up to sit on the table, his feet on the bench, and smiles at me. "I can do it, but I won't. I have people to do that for me."
Another boy, similar in size to Hugo, so I'm guessing the same age, jumps up next to him. He waves. "I'm people."
"This is Skander," Hugo says, nodding to him. "He's my best friend, but he likes to pretend I'm dispensable and can easily walk away from me. He can't, he's tried."
"It's true," he mutters. He doesn't sound too happy about it.
I point at the kid, frowning. "Skander. Your name is familiar. Skander what?"
"Dolohov," everyone choruses. Hmm.
"They don't like me," Skander is happy to give me my answers. Even has a little smirk on his face. "My name does not have a good reputation, apparently it includes my entire family. Even though I didn't do anything."
"We don't hate you, we just question your judgement and your actions," Louis says, glancing at Hugo. "And I still want my money back."
I choke out a strangled noise that sounds half like a laugh and half like a cry of what I can only describe as one of utter disbelief. "Hugo, do you attract thieves or actually turn people into thieves?"
He winks at me. "I guess we'll see. Happy birthday, by the way." Hugo turns away for a second and when he looks back, he has a brown bag in his hands. "Here."
"Thank you," I take it from him and tip the bag up, letting what seems to be a notebook fall into my hands. I flick through the pages, recognizing that the lines are for writing music.
"Why use a regular notebook and have music and lyrics all over the place when you can have an actual music notebook?"
"I'll be sure to use it as soon as I've finished my lessons with Kyle," I smile and hold it up. "Thanks."
"Here," Kyle says next, pushing a really big, wrapped box in front of me. The size of the birthday present is more than enough to distract my stomach from the fact that it is yet to be fed. "Enjoy."
I open the box, very excited when I rip off the wrapping and pull off the lid. Then I see what's inside. I remember one like his. "I can't play the guitar, Kyle."
Kyle takes it out, uses his wand to shrink the box and puts it into his pocket. Then, moving to straddle the bench, he starts to play. "I'll teach you."
"Whether I can play or not, you're using my present before me." I click my fingers. "Gimme," I whine.
He hands it back and I check it over. I don't know much about guitars, not even companies, but whoever made this guitar must be good if Kyle has got me one. He only has the best and he only gives the best, to his friends anyway. It's brand new, I'm guessing, given how shiny it looks - yeah, I did just describe something as shiny - and when Kyle turns it over in my hands and points at the neck, I see my initials: C.B.J.
I thank him and the passing of presents continues; Luka gives me a guitar bag, new strings, picks and music books to go with my new guitar. I start to sincerely thank him, grateful, until he casually informs me that Kyle made him, he just bought them.
I sincerely thank him anyway; at least he's honest.
Lucy finishes the music theme with a music player; it's small, about the same size as my audio book player, and easy to use. She shows me how. Jack does not get me anything to do with music - not completely, he contributed to the music player. Instead he gives me chocolate.
It's why he's my best friend.
But none of it is suitable for breakfast according to Louis; he moves it all onto the space on his right and pushes a plate in front of me. That's when I realize how hungry I still am and pile my plate with scrambled egg, bacon and sausage. I eat enough to make Louis happy, I'm a good boyfriend, then I watch him expectantly.
"It's your turn."
"Where's his present, Louis?" Hugo asks for me.
Louis taps his pocket, then shakes his head. "Later, after we've seen Logan."
"Who?" Kyle asks.
He's the only one who looks utterly confused, it's so strange to see that look on his too-good-looking-to-be-normal face. Lucy and Jack have been coming to visit Logan with me since he started teaching in our second year, I told Louis, Hugo knows everything and it would only be natural for him to tell his best friend, so Luka is the only who knows and I don't why. I understand why Kyle would be confused.
"Logan is Professor Burns, Kyle," Luka answers for him. "I found out not long after I became a prefect; I was doing my patrol and heard him talking to the Arithmancy teacher. Didn't I tell you?"
"Nope. Why are you going to see him?"
"He's my godfather," I repeat. Again. Do they never listen? "He's my dad's best friend. I promised my dad I'd talk to him at least once a year; I picked my birthday, he usually gives me a present," I explain. Speaking of presents, I change the subject back to Louis. First he doesn't sit by me, now he's refusing to give me my present - I'm liking the git less and less today. And we're still at breakfast. "Why can't I have it now?"
"Because," is all he says.
"He's so mean, isn't he?" Hugo sighs and hands me a card. "This is the last thing from me. I was the only other family member to get you a present, but when Rose saw the card, she signed it and passed it on. I even got Skander to put his name down."
I open the evelope and look at the card. It takes me a while, but when I remember the alphabet, I'm able to sound out the words and recognize the names - in my head, obviously. I hand the card to Louis, who puts it with the guitar and the chocolate. I thank Hugo and, because I have manners, Skander Dolohov.
"You're welcome," Hugo replies. "Can we go with you to see Professor Burns? He fascinates me."
For a minute I wonder why, Fascinating is not the word I'd use to describe Logan, then it hits me. Well, I did say he knows everything. "Sure, why not? Everyone else is?"
"Awesome," Hugo grins. Then it drops and he slides off the table, suddenly looking a little nervous. "Hey, Mickey."
The boy in question looks up and gives a polite but otherwise uninterested smile. Oh, the poor kid. "Hey, Hugo," he answers before leaving.
"That's your crush, I take it," I murmur as soon as I think he's out of earshot.
"Yeah," he says sadly.
"You like Michael Finnigan," Lucy says in disbelief. "Your dad's friend's son. A son who is a year older than you."
Lucy shakes her head. "Nothing, just clearing that up."
"I don't think he's interested," Jack states the obvious. It earns him a dead arm from his girlfriend. "Sorry."
Skander keeps his eyes on me, not even daring to look at his best friend when he talks. Hugo must have heard whatever he's about to say before. "He's not interested and neither is Hugo, not really. He just has a weakness for Irish accents."
"Shut up, Sky," he growls.
I have to wonder if anyone else sees what I see - anger, spite... jealously. It's easy to develop feelings for a friend when that friend is the only person you really talk to. And Skander Dolohov doesn't strike me as a kid with a lot of friends. I'd say it's because of his last name, but personally I think he just doesn't like people, or at least doesn't have the patience to get to know people.
Hugo must have been something special. Or he decided he liked Skander and glued himself to the kid. That's definitely an option.
Something tells me that I shouldn't point any of this out. Changing the subject again is best.
"No fighting on my birthday," I scold. "It's a happy day. That's why people say 'happy birthday' when they see you."
They share a look, anger forgotten, and laugh at what I said. "You're strange, no wonder Hugo likes you."
"Why does he like you?"
"Because no one else does. I'm bad; Hugo likes that," he smirks.
I scoff. Obviously.
"Villains in the making," Kyle mutters, snickering. Probably because he actually called them 'villains'.
"You're one to talk," Luka points out. Falsely, I feel I must tell them. The scoff I give Luka is so much louder. Kyle? A villain? Yeah, right. He may act cool and superior and like a bit of a bad boy, but he's really too nice to be a villain. It's just that only a few people get to see it. "Though not according to some people, apparently. But they're the one's who haven't known you since first year."
"You're only saying that because he stole your homework in first year and put his own name on it," Louis says. He turns to me. "He still won't let it go. Kyle is not a villain, not even a little one. He's much too slow."
It takes him a moment to realize and it's still a moment too late. When Kyle, hell, when we all finally notice, Hugo is already walking back to his seat. He chooses to sit closer to me this time. Kyle pats his pocket anyway, maybe just to check it's not a trick, and then gets up. "Give me back my book."
Hugo lifts it up, smiling innocently. "You mean this?" He pretends to think, then goes to slide it into his pocket. Only he doesn't, he let's it fall into my hand and I put it in my pocket. Kyle is so focused on Hugo's face, he doesn't notice. "Nope."
"Bastard. I hate kids," Kyle cries, trying to grab his book. He can't reach because Hugo pulls his legs up and wraps his arms around them tightly. Finally, he gives in and sits back in his place. "Be a good boy, Ciaran, and get my book off the git."
I sit back a bit and make sure he can see me reach into my pocket. "You mean this?" I ask, opening it up.
"How? You can't even read it."
I bite my lip, because that is technically true, I can't read his lyrics, but if I'm patient enough, I could probably go through the alphabet and sound out the words like I did with the birthday card. Not that I'll tell him so, what will be the fun in that?
"Roses are red, violets are blue. Ciaran, I love you, say you love me, too." I shrug and turn to him. "No."
Kyle glares. "It doesn't say that, stop it."
I hand it back to him, laughing when he snatches it from my hands and stuffs it back in his pocket, pouting. I almost miss Luka stretch out a hand as though to wrap around him, but he lifts his hand up to squeeze his shoulder instead. They're not the type to resort to public displays of affection like Louis is, especially when it come to this place and the Gryffindor Gossip Girls. They're always waiting around.
I tap Kyle's shoulder, too, though more patronizing than loving. In a nice way, of course. "Don't worry, one day you'll be a real villain."
That shuts him up completely. But not everyone else.
Every other year on my birthday when I walked to Logan's office, the only noise I could hear clearly was Lucy and Jack arguing. Today I hear Lucy and Jack arguing, Luka and Kyle discussing their plans for after school, Hugo and Skander planning something I have no desire to know and Louis is saying... something. It's all just noise, I can hardly think.
It's weird having more friends this year than last year. A good thing, I guess, considering it's my birthday and I have a group to celebrate it with, but it's still very new. I miss things being quiet, but I don't miss the days when I would wish there was noise to drown out my thoughts. My thoughts were usually not very positive.
Yeah, it's odd.
I push in front of them when we get to Transfiguration and just open the door, even though Logan absolutely hates when you don't knock. The classroom is empty, and by empty I mean no Logan not no students. I can tell he's around, his desk is an absolute mess - there's papers everywhere and books stacked in corners and on the floor. He's sorting through everything ready for the end of the year.
"Oi! Leave!" he yells back, coming in through the door behind the desk. Logan throws another book onto his desk and walks our way. "Happy birthday, CJ."
"From 'leave' to 'happy birthday', I don't know what to make of it," I joke.
"I was talking to the people behind you," Logan mutters, sniffing like there's a bad smell in the room. He scans the room and stops at Louis. "Hey, Pup."
"So mean," I sigh, taking his arm and leading him away. Logan pulls away when I get to the front desk and I wait for Louis to sit on top, so I can lean against him. He's comfier than the wall. "Leave him alone, Logan. He's already in trouble because he won't give me my present. Be better than him."
He throws me a package, which Louis catches because I duck. I don't like things being thrown at me. Louis drops it on my knee and I open up the package, letting whatever it is fall into my hand. I don't recognize it at first, until I bring it closer to my glasses. "You got me my favorite cologne. See, Louis, now I will smell like a guy while you smell of strawberries."
"I give up, I am pouring this aftershave down the sink."
"Not if you want to keep me. You may smell kind of girly, but I like it, that's all that matters," I assure him, ignoring his whispered 'I'm not so sure' comment for his own safety.
"Oh, God," Logan groans, watching us. "Pup's gonna be with us forever, isn't he?"
"Please stop calling me that," he snaps, his voice sounds more pleading than angry. He's moved past anger, I remember.
"You started it," Luka grins.
I focus on Logan while the two idiots bicker about who started what and why their own reasons are right. He jumps up onto his desk, not even bothering to move the masses of parchment and books out of the way, and continues to watch them fight it out. He's amused by it and oddly curious, too, though that's because he doesn't get students in his classroom when it's not during school time. Unless it's a detention.
He knows Jackson and a good few members of the Weasley family very well.
He knows Louis for funnier reasons.
"Hold on, just shut up a minute," Skander yells over them. "Explain the name to me."
Hugo nudges Skander's leg with his own, grinning. "Louis is a werewolf, remember?"
"I am not!" he cries. "Yeah, my dad has traits from when he was attacked by Greyback and they were passed onto me, but that's it. I can't believe it skipped Vic and Dom."
"I take it you told Little Weasley about me and he told Skander, since Little Weasley didn't seem surprised by the name," he gestures to the two youngest. "Blondie has known forever, he would have told Head Boy and the Devil and you told Mr. and Mrs. Will-They-Won't-They."
"Such creative names," Skander says appreciatively. "I love that I don't get one."
"Favoritism," I whisper, putting a finger to my lips. "No, I didn't, Logan. Hugo just knows everything. And be nice, this is the last time Dad says I have to say hi, you can manage another day. If you don't, I'll tell Dad that you have to apologize to Louis, making sure Mum hears it."
"And she still isn't fond of me," he murmurs. "I hate it when you involve your mother. Fine."
"Hey, I still don't know why you call him Pup," Skander points out.
Logan puts his hand on his heart, "I am an adult wolf, tell no one. Aidan Douglas, Stalker Weasley's friend -"
"Roxy," Lucy corrects.
"Is an adolescent wolf, very hormonal, be wary of them," he continues as though Lucy had said nothing. "Louis just has the traits, mild even compared to Ted Lupin, he is a pup. And it's his fault that's what he's being called, he was the one who complained about the last name and said himself that his traits were only little. I did call him Sexually Frustrated Boy, because of the traits."
Both noticing that Skander is opening his mouth, Louis butts in before Hugo can, "Before and during the full moon, I get all of this pent up energy that I can't seem to get rid of, and being part Veela doesn't help, and I get rather emotional, angry. After the full moon, I get really tired and I am slightly less emotional. Basically, I snap at people and I don't get much sleep for three days, then I go to bed early and crash. That's it." He points at Logan. "At least when you gave me the first name, that was real and true!"
I nudge him hard and what he said seems to dawn on him, and everyone else, quickly. Logan looks a little pale."Was? He said was? Ciaran, why is he saying was?"
"I have no idea what he's talking about, I swear," I, well, lie.
Not that he buys it.
"Oh, why would you say that to me?" he groans. "You can go now."
I hold up my hands, feigning complete innocence. "But my visit is an hour, it's barely been half that."
"Fine," Logan says. "If you want to stay, you can help me pack away my things."
I drop my hands, swing my legs off the table and get up. "I gotta go. Bye, Logan. Come on, Louis," I tell him, grabbing his hand.
One by one, I hear the others follow us out and into the hall. I wave when Logan calls out an 'I thought so' and make sure to close the door.
"Thanks a lot," I sigh at Louis. "He is going to tell Mum, who will probably kill you. Good luck."
"I bet he's glad he's moving to Paris now," Jack says with a laugh. "That was such a bad slip of the tongue, mate."
"I meant when he called it me. I used the past tense because he doesn't anymore," Louis defends. "I didn't think he'd jump to that conclusion."
"Why?" Hugo asks. "Everyone else did."
"I give up. I'm going to get my History of Magic book, I'll meet you in Hufflepuff." Louis kisses me quickly, then again for longer when we're told to get a room. "Later."
I hope by that, he means my present.
I watch him leave, telling him I'm fine walking with everyone else when he asks me to go with him, and fall back with Skander.
"You and Hugo, eh?"
The kid scoffs and shakes his head. "No. And I'm not like the rest of the idiots in this place, I don't want your advice."
"That's why I like you," I tell him. "I'm not giving you any. I just asked a question. Do you like him or do you just not want to lose him to someone else?"
I can tell by his stare that he thinks I ask too many questions. "The second one," he whispers. "He's my best friend, one of my only friends, and Michael Finnigan would only break him, but not before he tried to change him. Even if he did like Hugo that way, which he doesn't; he has a girlfriend. Hugo has a temper you should never miss with; he won't handle being rejected well. I don't want him to go through that."
"You're a good friend, now I really like you." I glance at Hugo, who's using Lucy's hand as a table to play a card trick with Jack while Kyle and Luka watch. "From my observations, I don't think Hugo's going anywhere. If you're the 'people' he'd turn to in his schemes, I bet he'd go to you just before his temper exploded. Do what you want with that observation."
He pretends he doesn't appreciate it, but he's lying. Well, he'd better be lying. I spent so much time pretending to care.
Okay, so maybe I care a little.
It takes so long to get back to Hufflepuff, because Hugo is having too much fun conning Jack, that I'm told Louis is already upstairs when we get there. That becomes Hugo and Skander's cue to leave and Lucy and Jack stay downstairs - Lucy stays willingly, she makes Jack.
I leave them to it and go to my dorm room, finding Louis sitting on my bed. There are two presents by his feet and something else in his hand, his book is open on his knee.
"Hey," I greet him, pointing to the presents.
"From Simon and Declan," he answers, moving to sit on the edge of my bed. "Come here. I don't bite."
Chuckling at the wolf joke, I do as he says and stop in front of him. Louis turns me around and stands behind me, then he puts something around my neck.
"It's a chain," I realize, looking down. I trace it with my hand; it's a thin chain, white gold. It's not too long, stopping just above my heart, and on the end is a - oh. "It's a key, Louis. Thank you."
"You're welcome," he replies as I turn back around to face him. "I love you."
"I love you, too."
I much prefer the second present he gives me.
A/N: This update is later than others have been, I'm sorry. It was Logan's fault. New characters; they're so awkward. :P (I have exams, I've been revising.)
Thank you, Jenny (starryskies55), for being so awesome and helping me with Ciaran's present from Louis. And for you, StormPixie, you wanted to know more about Hugo's crush. :)
Finally, I hope you like Logan and Skander, they're staying. Also, I have a new story planned, a prequel of sorts, about Logan and Bart - a kind of dark, revenge-type, werewolf story. Not slash, obviously; Bart ends up with Jazmine (who will be in the new story, too) and has Ciaran and Logan is, well, Logan. :P
I hope you will like it and that you enjoyed this. Please let me know what you think. :)