Chapter 7 : In Which Oliver is Fearful, Smith is Irrational, and Kenna has Cravings
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“No.” It was probably the hundredth time in the last half an hour that I’d said that to Kenna. She wasn’t taking it well.
“But Ollie,” she pouted. “You know you want to.”
I stared at her blankly. “Actually, I’m quite sure that I don’t. So no.” Kenna’s expression morphed from that of a pitiful and unloved wife into that of a she-demon from the depths of hell. Before I even knew what she was about, she bowled me over backwards and landed on top of me, taking no measures to prevent her elbows from digging into my gut.
“Get off, love.” I tried to glare at her. Kenna wasn’t having any of it.
“No.” she said mulishly. Short of shoving her off of me, there was nothing much I could do, and seeing as we were perilously close to the top of the staircase (not to mention causing Kenna bodily harm has never sat well with me), I wasn’t going to take the risk of having her take a bad fall.
“Could you at least move your bloody elbow then?” I asked.
Kenna pondered that for a moment before she finally removed said elbow from its painful position. “Are you going to listen to me then?”
“No.” I sighed. “We’ve discussed this to death, Kenna. I’m not changing my mind. Give it up already.”
“No.” Her chin set stubbornly, and I knew we were in for yet another long argument. “Not until you listen to why I think—“
“Bloody hell.” I interrupted her, and she looked quite put out. “Does this situation remind you of something?”
Kenna looked completely blank. “No. Not in the least. Now, as I was saying—“
Without conscious effort, I rolled so that I was no longer beneath her, but rather on top. “What about now?”
She rolled her eyes impatiently. “Oh, now I see. It reminds you of sex. It’s not exactly as if that’s an uncommon occurrence.”
“Not that, you twit.” I replied without any real heat. “We’re arguing. Lying on top of one another on a prone surface. And arguing.”
“You already said that.” Kenna pointed out. I glared at her.
“Do you really not get it?” I asked testily. She shook her head. “My proposal. Marriage proposal, if that clears it up. Does that ring any bells?”
To my surprise, she laughed. It threw me so off balance that it was relatively easy for her to slip out from beneath me and sit up. “Oh, that. Like I said, Ollie, not precisely an uncommon occurrence.”
I could feel the muscles of my face rearranging themselves into careful blankness. Kenna took one look and sighed. She stood, extending one slender hand towards me, an offering of sorts. I took hold of it and let her help pull me until I was standing beside her. With a curious, deliberating stare, she appeared to ponder something for several seconds. Then she stepped onto my feet and tugged my face down so that we were on a level with each other.
Her cheek rubbed against mine, cool and smooth and somehow unbearably sweet coming from her. “I didn’t mean it like that.” she assured me, brushing her lips briefly over mine before smiling into my eyes. “You just have to stop being so bloody sensitive, love.”
I had no choice but to laugh. “Maybe if you weren’t so bloody provoking, I wouldn’t be.”
“You know that’s why you love me.” Her smile came back in full force, and I found myself smiling back. Kenna in a good mood, one where she wasn’t trying to cause havoc or bouncing off the walls in her exuberance, was nearly impossible to resist.
Said smile turned smug. “Now, as I was saying before we got so off track.” I couldn’t help but groan.
“No, Kenna.” I said, hearing the finality in my own voice. “We are not naming our firstborn child Fitzwilliam. Ever. The only way our son, if we even have one, which is by no means guaranteed, is ending up with the name Fitzwilliam is if you murder me and then annihilate my ghost, because I swear to Merlin I will come back and make you miserable if you try to do so.”
Two weeks earlier, when Kenna had first mentioned naming one or both of the twins Fitzwilliam, she had been joking. Or so I thought. But over the last week or so, it had become apparent that she was rapidly becoming serious about the idea. I didn’t know what to do to dissuade her, since nothing seemed to have worked. She still seemed intent on the idea that she could convince me that Fitzwilliam—what a bloody nancy name!—was an appropriate choice of appellation for our offspring.
“Why the hell not?” Kenna’s voice was irritated, and I jerked back to the conversation at hand.
“Do you really want me to answer that?” I asked. “Because I don’t think you’ll like the answer.” In response, she crossed her arms underneath her breasts and stepped back. “Fine. I think it’s ridiculous that you want to name our child after a character in one of those stupid trashy novels you’re always reading.”
Her eyes widened. “Pride and Prejudice is not trashy or stupid!” she exclaimed as if I were the lowest idiot on the planet. “It’s a masterpiece of classic English literature, and should be required on the reading list for all the Muggle Studies classes. It’s about love, not sex, seeing as it was written in the nineteenth century. And Mr. Darcy is the fucking sexiest romantic hero in any book, ever.”
I stared balefully at her. “Do you see the problem?” I demanded. “There’s no way in hell I’d let you name our child after some sexy romantic hero, who, I might add, I have often suspected you of loving far more deeply than you do me.” For the first time that afternoon, Kenna appeared to be speechless. “Secondly, why on Earth would I let you saddle an innocent child with a name like Fitzwilliam? All the other kids will make fun of him, and he’ll never get a date, despite being the offspring of the most famous Keeper of the age, not to mention looking remarkably like him.”
Kenna’s gaze darkened. “What am I, hippogriff droppings?” she muttered. I noticed that she made no attempt to deny that her love for some stupid fictional prat was far deeper than her love for me. But I was used to that from her. “Besides, that’s not a problem. We can call him William, or any variation on it, if it bothers you.” I’m sure she thought that was reasonable.
“Why not just name him William, then?” I asked. This appeared not to have crossed her mind. Women.
Her expression turned belligerent. “Because I don’t want to name him William!”
“Then why would you want to call him that?” My exasperation was at an all-time high. I’m sure it showed.
“I don’t. I want to name him Fitzwilliam. But you are being completely unreasonable about it, so I was trying to be the good little wife and compromise.” she retorted, eyes narrowed in annoyance.
“Kenna.” I made what I considered a heroic effort to control my own annoyance, seeing as I didn’t want to upset her to a greater extent than I already had. “I know you like the name. And truth be told, it’s not completely hideous.” Alright, that was a bald-faced lie, but what Kenna didn’t know wouldn’t hurt me. “But it’s the wrong century. I can almost guarantee that there is not a living child on the planet that’s named Fitzwilliam. And yes, having a unique name, or even an uncommon name, is fine, but do you really want something so obviously outdated?” Kenna’s face was still set in its stubborn lines, but the slight softening around her mouth and eyes told me that for once, she was actually listening to what I had to say. Thank Merlin. “If you like it so much and really think it’s appropriate, we can get you a little kitten. Call the damn thing Fitzwilliam if you want, and if you decide you hate the name, we won’t use it.
“I don’t want another cat.” Kenna said automatically. I sent up a prayer of thanks. “Nefertiti might eat it.” She paused for a moment, and I was left to wonder if the damn cat was going to have a problem once the twins were born. “Oliver.” Her voice sounded almost wistful. “If we did get a kitten and I decided that I really did want to name our child Fitzwilliam, what would you do?”
“I’d pray to every higher power out there and ask that we have two girls.” I answered, half-serious. “But if you really liked it that much, we’d discuss it. Maybe as a middle name?” Please, please, please Merlin, don’t let her remember this conversation ten minutes from now.
She stared for a moment, then gave a delicate shrug. “Fine. We won’t name him Fitzwilliam.”
“Do you actually mean that, or are you just trying to throw me off-balance?” I asked.
Kenna gave a long-suffering sigh. “I really mean it. Obviously you hate the name, but I was considering it just to spite you because you were being so unreasonable about the whole thing. But if you promise to listen to my opinions, then I guess we can come up with another name.”
The fact that this was possibly the most rational statement I’d ever heard come out of her mouth was rather frightening. Instead of commenting on that, I just gave her a smacking kiss. “I promise.” I told her with relief. After all, she hadn’t said that I actually had to give in to said opinions. And so help me Merlin, if she tried to convince me that Pangaea was an appropriate name for a girl, I’d kill us both. “In fact, why don’t we start now? You’re not on call, I’ve got the day off, and Smith is off with his mates. We can come up with some ideas.”
“You know, Ollie, that actually doesn’t sound like a horrible idea.” Kenna smiled happily. “And I’ll just bet you went out and bought every book of baby names you could find the moment I said I was pregnant. Just another reason I think that I should have been born a bloke, and that you should be the one carrying children in your uterus. You’d be much better at it.”
I wisely chose to ignore this comment, because thinking about it too intently was liable to make my head spin. Instead, I snatched her wrist and pulled her into the living room before she had a chance to expound upon her theory. With a quick summons, the books I’d indeed purchased flew into the room and landed in a neat pile on the coffee table. Kenna looked rather shocked.
“Ollie, I was only kidding!” she cried. “There must be six or seven here. Did you ever stop and think that most of the names in all these books would be the same?”
I shot her a peeved look. “I just wanted to be prepared. Now bloody sit down and start looking through one.”
She shot me a look of her own, but she did as I asked, settling down on the sofa and opening the largest of the books. I sat beside her and tugged the closer half towards me so that I could assure myself she wasn’t going to try and saddle our children with names from the twelfth century.“Let’s just look for boy names.” she said casually. “That way it’ll go more quickly.”
I gave a nod of assent, and within a few minutes, we’d started a small list of names that both of us found acceptable. Unfortunately, most of Kenna’s selections tended to be names that I wouldn’t saddle on my worst enemy, let alone our child.
“What about Adolf?” she asked at one point. I stared at her in disbelief.
“Bloody hell, I thought your mum was a Muggle.” I groaned, pressing the palm of my hand into my forehead.
“What’s that got to do with anything?” she retorted.
“In the Muggle world, the name Adolf is roughly equivalent to Grindewald.” I explained. “Which I’m surprised you don’t know. We can’t name our kid after some bloke who tried to take over the Muggle world.”
Not much later, she wanted to name our progeny Irwin. Irwin. I tried to tell her that any boy unlucky enough to be saddled with a name like Irwin probably had no friends, was the head of his local chapter of the Gobstones Club, and fell off his broom any time he attempted to play Quidditch.
I was starting to think that I should just come up with a list on my own, present it to her, and tell whatever Healer was in charge of birth certificates whatever the bloody hell names I wanted to. At least then I wouldn’t have a child named Horatio.
“If you’re so brilliant with names, why don’t you come up with a few?” Kenna finally asked two hours into our search.
“Fine.” I snapped. “Andrew, Aaron, Isaac, Nathaniel, Theodore, Daniel, Benjamin, Ethan, Cameron, Alexander, Dylan, Thomas, Michael. There’s plenty more where those came from, and those are just normal names. Need I go on?”
Kenna glared at me. “Well, we’ve established that you’re just wonderful at coming up with names, and I’m absolute rubbish. Thanks for the boost of self-confidence.”
I sighed. “Kenna, you’re not rubbish. You just like names that were popular fifty years ago.” I looked at the page she was studying and barely managed to hold back a laugh. “Well, and no wonder! You’re in the wrong section; see, this heading mentions that these are all pretty much out of use now.”
She frowned ferociously. “If they’re out of use, why are they in this bloody book?” she asked. I peered at the cover and groaned. “What?”
“Look.” I showed her the front of the book. The title was Western Names Through the Ages: Ten Thousand Names of the Nineteenth Century. “I can’t believe I let that bloke at Flourish and Blott’s talk me into buying this!”
Kenna laughed. “I can. You probably stormed in there with your vibes practically screaming ‘Overprotective Expectant Father.’ I bet they hosed you.” Since this seemed to cheer her up remarkably, I didn’t argue with her.
“Whatever. Pick a different book and we’ll start over.”
Thankfully, looking through names that had actually been in use in the last twenty or so years provided Kenna with much better ones to choose from. Instead of Adolf, she suggested Adrian, and Irwin was replaced by Ian. I kissed her out of sheer relief because I finally felt certain our children weren’t going to end up with names that sounded like they’d been pulled out of Nefertiti’s litter box. But Kenna being Kenna, the simple buss of lips I’d meant said kiss to be rapidly turned into something rather more interesting. So interesting, in fact, that we managed to fall off the sofa, not that that would stop Kenna. As I tugged her shirt over her head, the front door flew open, something that didn’t really register with either of us until several minutes later.
“Oi, Kenna, is it all right if I bring my mates over here during the—“ Footsteps approached, then came to a sudden halt as Smith walked through the entryway to the living room. “Mary, Mother of God!” he roared.
Kenna and I chose that moment to look up from what we were doing. Quickly, we scrambled away from each other, but apparently, it wasn’t soon enough for Smith, who up until then had had his hands over his eyes, keening “My eyes! My poor, innocent eyes!” as if that would erase the image from his mind. Before I could react, a fist plowed into my face.
“Sodding hell.” I spat, tasting blood. I held a hand to my stinging cheek as Kenna quickly shrugged back into her clothing. The little tosser might be skinny, but he packed a punch. “What was that for?”
Smith looked furious as I pulled myself to my feet. “You’re fucking my sister.” His eyes burned into mine, as if he would tear me into pieces if only given the chance. As I was by then prepared for any other violent outbursts, he didn’t stand much of a chance at all. I was half a head taller and many pounds heavier, ad while that gave him the advantage in speed, I most definitely had the advantage in muscle. The only thing that held me back was that I didn’t much care for fighting with someone ten years younger that was apparently just protecting his sister, albeit in a twisted and idiotically stupid way.
Kenna, not having the same qualms as I did about beating her brother into a pulp, promptly whipped her wand out. Within seconds, Smith was sporting several gashes on his hands and face. I imagined they hurt, as Kenna didn’t look like she was in a mood to go easy on anyone. “In case you hadn’t figured out by now, you prat, I’m married.” Her expression matched his in fury. “I apologize if you labour under the delusion that I should be shagging someone other than Ollie, but as it is, you should be bloody used to it by now.”
“That doesn’t mean I want to walk in and see him touching you in places sisters shouldn’t even have.” Smith’s expression turned pained, and I couldn’t help but feel for him. I still liked to think that my elder sister’s children came from the berry patch, and I didn’t even really consider Fiona as being my sister most of the time.
Still, that didn’t mean I was going to let an overprotective sixteen year old interfere with my sex life. “News flash, mate.” I said coldly. “This is our house. Not yours. We can do whatever the hell we want, and your wishes don’t even have to be taken into account.”
“That’s right.” Smith practically shrieked. “I’m a guest in your home, and that means I should be treated with courtesy, not blinded because some prick can’t keep it in his pants.”
“Courtesy only extends to people we want to be here.” I told him coolly. His face rapidly darkened.
“So that’s it, is it?” he asked. “I should have known. All this time, you were just playing nice so you could score points with Kenna.” His tone was full of scorn.
“Don’t be ridiculous.” I rolled my eyes. “I like kids. And when we first met, that’s what you were. The fact that you annoyed Kenna more than I did just made you more fun in my book.”
He shot me a look filled with that same scorn. “Sod off. You don’t have to pretend any longer, so quit being condescending to the poor little unwanted houseguest.”
“I really don’t get it.” Kenna fisted her hands on her hips, all thoughts of cursing Smith into oblivion forgotten. Yet again, she exhibited a masterful talent of ignoring whatever statements she didn’t want to address. “Ten years ago, you thought Ollie was all that and a bag of crisps. I can see how that opinion came to change, because anyone who knows him realizes differently, but are you really forgetting that you once told a bloke I brought home on holiday that he should watch out because Oliver and I were going to get married eventually? Hell, you wanted me to marry him more than I did.” I must have made some sort of strangled sound, because she turned to me with a quick grin. “Not that I regret it now.”
Smith’s fists clenched. “Yeah, well that was back when I didn’t know the two of you were going at it on every available flat surface like a pair of flobberworms.” Not a mental picture I needed. “Before I figured out that he was just using you for…” Thankfully for my sanity, he didn’t finish that thought.
“Let me get this straight.” Kenna stared. “You’ve been in a foul mood with Ollie for the last, oh, five years, because we, like most other people our age, made the decision to have sex outside of marriage? Didn’t we buy you your stupid condoms? Granted, you haven’t gotten nailed yet, but at least Ollie and I waited until we were out of school! But since I’m the female sibling, I’m not allowed to have sex, ever, is that it? Talk about a fucking double standard.”
Smith actually blushed. “Well, when you put it that way…” he mumbled. “But that doesn’t mean that I approve.”
“You’re my younger brother. Your approval isn’t needed.”
“Yeah, well, that doesn’t mean I can’t think that he just married you because he couldn’t get out of it.”
Kenna stared for several seconds. When she finally spoke, her voice was ice cold. “Come again?”
Smith turned an even darker shade of red. “I just think you could have done better than to marry some bloke who wasn’t willing to marry you until he’d gotten what he wanted.”
“You’re a fucking twat.” She sighed, but there was still an angry glint in her eye that didn’t appear to be going away any time soon. “I can’t deal with you right now. So that means you get to listen while Ollie here tells you just how many ways you just shoved your foot up your mouth.”
Up until that point, I’d been too dumbfounded to speak. But with Kenna’s words, my head cleared. “Wait. What?” I blinked. “I don’t want to talk about this! Especially not with him!”
Kenna just bared her teeth in what might have passed for a smile. “Doesn’t matter. If I stay in here any longer, I’ll kill him. You won’t because you’re too concerned with how that would make me feel. So tell him everything.”
“Everything?” I questioned. I was positive that Smith didn’t want to hear everything, and I most definitely didn’t want to tell him.”
“Everything.” she confirmed. “But you can leave out specific details if it makes you feel better.” Knowing Kenna, if she’d been the one forced to talk to her brother, she would have included details just to torture him. I wasn’t quite that uncharitable.
“Fine.” I swallowed. “We’ll…talk.”
“Good.” she smiled brightly. “Sit down, Smith. I’m just going to go feed the spawn inside of me. You two have fun!” Without another word, she skipped down the corridor, and I could have sworn she was whistling. Except Kenna can’t whistle. So I had to be imagining it.
Smith and I sat in awkward silence for about five minutes. I was pondering the best way to reveal the truth to him, and I wasn’t coming up with any answers. The only thing I could do was tell him as carefully as possible and hope that I didn’t end up with more than just a sore jaw.
“Alright, you little tosser.” I swallowed heavily. “I’m going to tell you the truth, even though in my opinion, it’s none of your sodding business. But if I don’t, I have a feeling one of you would murder me in my sleep.” Smith snorted, but otherwise gave no indication that he was even listening. “Right. So.” How to begin? “Here’s the short version. During our sixth year at Hogwarts, Kenna and I dated briefly. She broke things off because she was labouring under the delusion that I had asked her out to win a bet and keep her on the team. I spent the next year doing my best to convince her otherwise, but it took a while for things to work out between us, despite the fact that I was, and still am, desperately in love with her.” This was such a strange conversation to be having with Kenna’s brother, but I forced myself to continue. Otherwise, my children might end up fatherless, because she would certainly kill me.
“Back then, there was rather more emphasis on the desperate part. And contrary to your low opinion of me, we didn’t jump straight into bed with each other, partially because...” I paused, feeling the flush ride up my neck. “Well, because I wanted to wait. And partially because we didn’t see much of each other the first couple of years. Healers and Quidditch teams are harder on rookies and interns than anyone else, because the people in charge have to know without a doubt that you can take it. So while I had a ten hour practice during the day, she was working nights at St. Mungo’s. When we actually got the opportunity to see each other, it was more about being together than...being together, if you catch my meaning. And then we waited because I wanted to marry her, though I hadn’t told her that. I was sure she would just use sex as a way of convincing herself we weren’t right for one another.” The flush seemed to be contagious, since Smith’s cheeks were by then flaming. “But one night she came over to my flat, convinced that I didn’t really love her, because if I did, I’d prove it. And before you ask, aye, I fell for it. After that, there was nothing to do but move in together, just so I could reassure myself that she wasn’t going to bolt. And I asked her to marry me once or twice a week for two years, not because I felt I owed it to her, but because I wanted to. She always said no.”
“That doesn’t explain your current relationship very well.” Smith frowned, and I grimaced back at him.
“I can’t believe I’m telling you this, but...I told her I wouldn’t have sex with her again until she agreed to marry me. And it worked.” I could feel the smug expression come over my face. “So now I have her exactly where I’ve always wanted her—with me. The way I treated you back then has nothing to do with wanting to score brownie points. I liked you, and that was that. More to the point, Kenna thinks the world of you, and I'd do just about anything to make her happy, including providing food and shelter for a moody sixteen year old who apparently dislikes me intensely. So please, before you go off on me again, convinced I’ve taken advantage of her, remember that she started it. But if it makes you feel better, we’ll make our bedroom imperturbable. That way, it won’t bother you so much when we...well.” I cleared my throat again. Smith was staring at me with a suspicious look on his face, but he hadn’t reached for his wand or tried to punch me, so I relaxed.
“Fine. But if you make her cry, I’ll make you sorry for it.” Without another word, he stalked off. I shook my head at his retreating back.
“Stupid prat.” I muttered. “Kenna can take care of herself.”
“OLIVER!” A loud voice came from the kitchen, sounding perilously close to tears. “We’re out of chocolate!”
I strolled into the next room. Kenna was standing by the sink, looking pitiful and pathetic. I attributed that to the fact that she appeared to have just retched. So much for morning sickness. With Kenna, it was more ‘sick whenever the bloody hell I feel like it.’
“Why do we need more chocolate?” I asked before I thought better of it.
In a split second, Kenna no longer looked pitiful. In fact, she looked downright vicious. “Because I want it to dip my bacon in.”
I shouldn’t have asked. Chocolate covered bacon? Pregnant women sure had strange cravings. “I’ll go to the store and get some.” I sighed. “Do we need anything else?”
Kenna promptly handed me a list. She didn't even check to make sure I'd cleared up any misconceptions Smith was labouring under, she just told me to make sure and stock up on pickles. I was starting to think I’d spoken too soon when I said she could take care of herself.
A/N: Well. For those of you who have asked why Smith's feelings towards Oliver have changed since FotM, and even for those of you who didn't, I hope this clears some things up. And for those of you who like the current dynamic, don't expect major changes in their relationship just because Smith is no longer delusional. Aside from that, I hope you all enjoyed the chapter. I'd love to hear what you guys think!
Oh, and before I forget, I'd like to encourage all of you to head on over and submit your votes for the Dobby awards if you haven't already done so. There are tons of talented authors on here who deserve to be recognized for their work.
Thanks again in advance for reviewing, and I promise to have another chapter up by the time the queue reopens!
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