Chapter 6 : Breaking the Rules
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Lysander woke to see Hugo's side of the bed was empty and, for a terrifying second, wondered if Hugo had done something stupid after all. He breathed a sigh of relief when he heard a bang in the bathroom, then became worried again, jumping out of bed and running to see what had happened. He found Hugo, his hair slightly wet; he'd just gotten out of the shower, and his hands gripping the sink, looking down. "What happened?"
Hugo jumped and looked up quickly. "Nothing. I came in here to hide the tattoo, but the cream's all gone," he said, picking up the tub and throwing it again, this time into the bin and not at the mirror. He stared at his reflection. "I don't know what to do."
He watched Lysander's reflection move closer to him and grip his shoulder gently. Hugo tried to move away, but he refused to let go, and tentatively moved his hand down until it was touching the mark. "We'll figure it out," he whispered. Unable to touch it any longer, he moved his hands away and wrapped his arms around the man's waist, leaning his chin on his shoulder. "I promise."
He pressed his lips to Hugo's neck and kissed his way down, causing Hugo to close his eyes and moan. Taking a deep breath, he told him reluctantly, "Harry will be here soon."
Sighing, Lysander moved back slowly. "We should get dressed. If you don't want Harry to know, you should wear something dark, so it won't be seen through."
Hugo turned back to the mirror and watched Lysander leave. "Yes, boss."
Doing as Lysander had said, Hugo came down the stairs in a dark, silk shirt and jeans just as Harry came in. "Smart shirt and sneakers, Hugo? You're the only one in our family who can make it work."
He ignored his uncle's sarcastic tone, "I know." He dropped down onto the chair and was about to put his feet on the coffee table, then he saw Harry's eyes narrow and opted to stretch his legs on the floor instead. "Good news or bad?"
Harry sat down on the couch next to Lysander, taking note of the fact that they were sitting on opposite sides of the room. "Did something happen between you two last night?"
They shared eye contact for a few seconds before Lysander turned to Harry. "No, it's just still a little awkward after you caught us," he lied.
"Not to mention, you told us to behave ourselves," Hugo added.
"It's bad news," Harry said, not fully convinced. "It was the right place, but they knew and left before we could get there. There are Aurors there now, trying to find where they could be; either they left in a hurry or they left what they didn't care we would find."
"I'm going to guess the second one," Hugo answered.
"Anyway," Harry continued, ignoring his nephew. "I still don't think you have to be here much longer. We know London is their primary location, there are not many places they can go to, we just have to find that place."
"How do you know London's their primary?" Lysander asked.
"Easy," Hugo told him instead. "The most attacks are here. Their 'members' are like sheep and their boss is the shepherd; they don't do anything without his say so first and he will only give an order in person, so he can see that they get the job done. They're all over the world but most of their hits are in England; your guy's English. Most likely from London since he knows the area, knows where to go, can get away quickly." They both stared at him, mentally saying different things; Lysander wondered why he would tell Harry that, Harry wondered how he knew. "I did my homework. Did you really think I was going to come into all this knowing nothing?"
"Of course you did," Harry muttered. "That's all I came to tell you," he said, standing up. He still didn't believe what Lysander had said and the look he gave them as he took a small action figure from his pocket proved it. "I'll see you both soon. Ly, look after him, make sure he doesn't get into any trouble. Hugo... Treat him right. He deserves that." He was gone before they could make sense of what he said.
"What the hell were you playing at?" Lysander demanded. "No one should know what you know, not if you're outside of La Oscurità. He's gonna think something."
"Relax, Xander," he answered seriously. "Most of that is what I found out before I joined. It's common sense. All you have to do is stop and think for a minute and the answers reveal themselves because they were always there in the first place. He suspects me of being a secret know-it-all with a love of figuring things out before everyone else like my mother... Which is actually true."
"I just don't think you should treat this like a game," Lysander glared.
Hugo scoffed. "A game is all I can think of this as. It's one big game of Hide and Seek here; it's what I'm good at. Fred could never find me, no one could, and no one will as long as it's all game." He stood up and walked away. "If you don't like that, you know what to do."
Hugo had stopped before Lysander had called out and turned around quickly. "I'm so sorry; I don't know why I said that. I shouldn't have, especially not after I ruined last night."
Lysander ran his hands through his hair. "Things were bad last night, but the only thing you actually ruined was dinner. It'll be okay."
"I just need to get out of this house, before I turn into my father," Hugo complained. He leant back against the wall. "He was always like this after he'd done something at work that required him to stay home. The longest was six months and by the end of it I was wishing for school just to get away. I can't be like that!"
"You can't go out," Lysander told him in a tone that they both understood meant the end of the conversation. "I'll make breakfast."
"Why did you look a little relieved when Harry said it was bad news? Why did you look ill last night when he said there could be good news?"
Hugo looked up to see Lysander sitting by the pool side and swam to the edge. He crossed his arms over the side and rested his chin on top. "Because if he finds them, they'll tell him about me. It's only a matter of time before he finds out anyway," he added.
Hugo shrugged. "They only left what they wanted the Aurors to find. What are the odds of them finding things about me there?"
Hugo used his hands to push himself under the water, raising his head on the other side of the pool. He lay on top of the water, his arms spread out like a cross. His breathing was slow, his chest raising and falling was barely noticeable, and his eyes were shut, as if he were sleeping. But he was distressed not relaxed. Lysander watched all of this, saying nothing.
He uncrossed his legs, fixing his black swim shorts so there were no creases, and lowered himself into the pool slowly, so not to catch his back on the side again. He swam over to Hugo's side and gently pressed his hand onto his stomach so he knew Lysander wanted him to stand up.
He did so and let Lysander brush his hair back. "You can always tell them first."
"Can't," he replied. "I can't leave the house. I can't send a letter. I can't make a call. I can't imagine what they'll say or do if they found out and that's what stops me. Will they still want to help me when they find out I'm La Oscurità?"
"Of course they will, you're their family," Lysander exclaimed. "And they'll understand when you explain everything. And you're not one by choice, they forced you."
"Is that the only reason you're still here?" he asked. "Because it wasn't a choice?"
Lysander spoke a little hesitantly. "Yes."
Hugo cocked his head to the side, confused. "You hesitated. Would you have stayed if I had wanted this?"
There was no hesitation this time. "I want to say no, there's a very good chance that I would left if you had joined willingly. But,"
Lysander looked down, not knowing how to say what he wanted to. A tint of pink covered his cheeks and he breathed in and out deeply before continuing. "But I've always liked you; you're smart and funny and you always know what to do and say. When I was younger, I wanted to be you, be like you. When I got older, I wanted to be with you. There would be a chance, albeit small because Auror training likes to kick in, that I would have been so happy at the thought of finally being with you, I would be blind to everything else and not care that you joined willingly."
It took a while for Hugo to say anything, but eventually, he chuckled and hugged Lysander. "Thank God it's only small and I joined forcibly, I would never put you through that. I love how honest you can be, I learn more and more about your crush on me everyday."
"It's not funny," Lysander said through gritted teeth, but he kept his arms wrapped around the man's neck. They stayed like that for a while, wrapped in each other's arms in the water. It was quiet and calm, no hint of there being an outside world. It was like only they existed, that none of yesterday happened and this was just a holiday. Maybe Hugo was right; it was better to pretend.
Lysander pulled away reluctantly, forcing Hugo to remove his head from the boy's shoulder, and swam back to the side, pulling himself out to sit, his legs stayed in the water. Hugo followed and copied.
"Didn't you ever have a crush on someone when you were a kid?"
"Yes," Hugo answered. "As every teenager does, I'm sure."
"Then why does me talking about my crush on you make you laugh so much?" he asked, raising his hands in defeat.
Hugo laughed, "Because it's me. Everyone had crushes on James and Albus and Teddy. No one had a crush on me. I was the baby, the friend."
Lysander scoffed. "You'd be surprised." Hugo turned, eye brows raised and disbelief on his face. Lysander nodded, grinning. "I wasn't the only one. I remember in fifth year, I came out and girls would talk to me about their crushes and this one girl, Amy, came up to me and said 'so, what's Hugo like in person?'" Hugo started laughing again. "I wanted to slap her or tell her you were gay and, therefore, unavailable or both." He couldn't stop laughing. "But instead I shrugged my shoulders and told her I didn't know, I hadn't seen you in a while. Which was true; I hadn't seen you since my birthday in January and it was October then."
"I was in LA during the summer," he said when he was calm. "Holiday."
"I've never been on holiday," Lysander murmured.
Hugo, who had been about to stand up to get a drink, sat back down quickly, groaning in pain as he hit the tiled floor. "You've never been on holiday?" Lysander shook his head slowly, not bothered. "How've you never been on holiday? Didn't your parents ever take you? Didn't Harry ever ask? He's been on loads of holidays."
The boy scoffed, "I'm his godson, not his actual son; he's no reason to ask. But he did, if you must know. We didn't go. My parents chose to do their work during school times if they could, so we could spend the holidays together; summer was family time and they spent all their time travelling that Lorcan and I were okay spending our summers at home, especially Lorcan. If they had to go away during the summer and it wasn't far, he went with them. He loved learning about animals, now he works with dragons." he shook his head of his memory. "Anyway, I would stay with my grandfather or Harry. We were gonna go away once, when I was eight."
"It was the trip to Orlando, do you remember?" he asked. "Everyone was going, the whole family, including us."
"Yeah, I remember," Hugo answered. "Your dad and brother came but not you or your mum. Why didn't you come with us?"
"I got sick and it was contagious, mum was the only who already had it so she stayed with me." He looked up. Hugo seemed sad about it and was confused as to why he wasn't. "It's alright. I wish I could have gone; it would have been nice to go to America, but I don't hate that I've never been away. I'll go one day, I just haven't been yet."
Hugo looked pensive. Contemplating, Lysander assumed. They stayed quiet while he did so, until Hugo broke into a grin and took his hand, pulling him up as he did so. "What are you doing?"
"I'm thirsty," he replied. He dragged him into the kitchen and only let go at the counter. Lysander leant against it watched him retrieve two bottles of water from the fridge. "We're going to do it. When this is all over and we're out of here, you and I are going to go on holiday." He leaned across from Lysander. "We'll start at Orlando, so you can have the childhood holiday you missed, then we'll go wherever you want."
"Really? You'd do that for me?"
"No," he corrected. "I'll do that with you. I think it'll be good to go away, a real holiday with no threats or danger. We'll need that after everything. What do you think?"
Lysander took a sip of water and grinned. "I think I love you."
Hugo shrugged, pretending to feel embarrassed. "I think I love me too." He registered too late to be able to stop anything and Lysander whacked his bottle up, covering him in water. He looked down at himself, drenched. "I deserved that. Sorry."
Lysander knew he wasn't sincere, he could tell by his tone, and he didn't like the smirk on his face. "You're gonna throw me in the pool, aren't you?"
"When you least expect it," he said and walked back outside. It was a while before Lysander followed. Hugo was right; it was good to pretend.
Hugo dropped his head onto the table, his arms over the top, and let out a frustrated sigh, but Lysander just ignored him. It had been like this for over an hour now and, though he felt the same way, he knew the risks and was not prepared to take them, no matter what his boyfriend said. He continued to read his book, ignoring the occasional remarks the other man made. Childish.
Hugo used his hands to push himself off his knees and stood up, walked around the coffee table and sat next to Lysander, who continued to ignore him. He took the book from his hands and threw it across the room so it hit the chair.
Lysander sat up, annoyed. "I was reading that."
"Now you're going to listen to me." He took the man's hands in his own and stared until Lysander became uncomfortable and looked at him. "I understand the risks; I've followed the rules for over three months now; one night will not kill us."
"It very well might," he argued.
"Not unless someone has told them where we are."
"They're everywhere, you said so yourself," he felt the need to point out. He opened his mouth to say more, but all rational thought went out the window when Hugo started kissing his neck lightly. "That's cheating," he whispered.
Hugo used his left hand to cup Lysander's face and keep it in place, while his right hand moved to his waist. "I want us to go out and have one night of fun, like a normal couple. Is that so wrong?" he murmured into his ear, his voice low.
"It's dangerous," he said between breaths. "Being together is dangerous. That's why you wanted it kept quiet, remember?"
Hugo's tongue grazed the shell of his ear and he felt him shudder. "I remember." He kissed along his jaw slowly, teasing, and he barely heard him tell him to stop. "Stop what?" He muttered something incoherent. "I can't hear you."
"Stop what you're doing. It's making it extremely hard to say no to you."
"I know." He kissed his lips gently and gradually become more rough. He pushed him down onto the couch, so he was lying on top of him and moved his lips back to Lysander's ear. "Let's go out."
The response was barely audible, but he just heard it. "Yes."
Hugo moved to kiss him again and Lysander lifted his head up, eager. Then Hugo pulled back and jumped up. "I'll go get changed."
Lysander sat up quickly, disbelief on his face, and angry that he'd knowingly been played. "I hate you."
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