Chapter 10 : Bring Me Giants!
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“I am going to be a storm – a flame – I need to fight whole armies all alone; I have ten hearts; I have a hundred arms; I feel too strong to war with mortals – BRING ME GIANTS!”
- Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac, Act 1
Hilarion was stretched out on the couch, staring at the ceiling and feeling sorry for himself. He had run out of butterbeer two days ago, and leaving his flat to get more seemed more effort than it was worth. He was aware he was acting like an idiot, but he didn't know what to do about it, so he carried on in hopes a plan might present itself.
He couldn't stop thinking about Lucy, seeing her face every time he closed his eyes. Sometimes he thought he heard her voice or smelled her shampoo. It was ridiculous how much he wanted to touch her, to talk to her.
But he laid on the couch instead, thinking about her and kicking himself for ever fancying Roxanne. He knew he should go to Lucy's and try to convince her to love him, but hadn't managed to screw up his courage to that point yet.
Maybe tonight, he told himself. Maybe if it were dark out, he wouldn't feel so awful if she left him standing outside her door. His stomach twisted at the thought. He had to make her listen somehow, but that look on her face when he'd last seen her –
Hilarion twisted around to look at the door. Perry was just coming in, pushing the door shut behind him with one foot, a case of butterbeer in one hand.
“I brought you these,” Perry said, holding up the case, “but I want you to know I'll be judging you for drinking them.”
Hilarion hauled himself up to a sitting position, and Perry dropped onto the couch beside him, setting the butterbeers at his feet. Rubbing a hand over his face, Hilarion contemplated the bottles briefly before deciding he didn't want one after all. He'd had more butterbeer in the last week than he normally drank in a year. Drinking more had lost its appeal.
“You showered,” Perry observed, looking his friend over. “Congratulations.”
“Haven't seen you in a few days,” Perry said. “Not since the last time I stopped by. Usually you come by my flat now and then.”
“I didn't feel like talking to anyone,” Hilarion told him.
“If you can't talk to Lucy, no one else is good enough, eh?”
Hilarion didn't respond.
“That's what I thought.” Perry reached down for a butterbeer and popped it open.
“It's not that. Besides, you were busy with Roxanne,” Hilarion muttered.
Perry rolled his eyes. “Excuses.”
Perry drank in silence for a while, and Hilarion stared down at his bare feet, wondering if he should come out and admit his feelings for Lucy. He felt rather odd keeping it to himself this long, when he'd always been able to tell Perry anything. It occurred to him that maybe Perry had already guessed. Finally he looked over at his friend to find Perry waiting expectantly.
“I love her,” Hilarion told him. The declaration made him feel a little freer, made his feelings a little more solid in the world.
“I figured,” said Perry. There was no surprise on his face, and to Hilarion's relief, no pity either. “You've never been this way over any of the women you dated. She really isn't at all like any of them, either. So when are you going to get up and go tell her?”
“I don't know. She's angry with me. I don't think I should go over there.”
“Do you love her or not?”
“I love her,” Hilarion said again, without hesitation.
“So go tell her. Do you need me to tell you what to say?” Perry asked, only half joking.
Hilarion shook his head. “No. I never needed help to talk to Lucy. She's... perfect.”
“You're an idiot, mate.”
Hilarion groaned. “I know.”
“For what it's worth, I'm pretty sure she's in love with you too,” Perry told him, and Hilarion's heart leapt.
“I talked to her at Roxanne's place the other day, then last night at Molly's, and she's been pretty broken up over you.”
“Did she say she loved me?” Hilarion asked eagerly.
“Well, no, she didn't say it but-”
Hilarion's shoulders sagged. She hadn't said it. Why had he been such an idiot? He'd wasted his chance with her.
Perry punched him in the shoulder. “Stop that. Listen, she didn't say it, but every time she's been asked if she likes you, she avoids answering. A little too much, if you see what I mean. She went nearly hysterical the first time I suggested she fancied you, trying to convince Roxanne that she hadn't done anything about it.”
“So you think I still have a chance,” Hilarion said slowly.
“Does it matter? You love her. Go tell her that.”
Hilarion jumped to his feet. “Yeah. You're right. I'm going to go and – what if she refuses to open the door again?”
“She refused to open the door?” Perry repeated, sounding rather impressed.
“It doesn't matter. I'm going anyway. I'll sit outside her door all night if I have to.” Hilarion was determined now to do whatever it took to convince Lucy to give him a second chance. She was bound to at least let him try, he realized; she wasn't a cruel person. She was the sweetest, kindest, most amazing– he was an idiot for having waited so long to go after her. If she didn't already love him, he would figure out a way to make her love him.
He bounded to the door, grabbing his wand from the counter as he passed it.
“Just don't let anyone call Magical Law Enforcement on you if you have to sit outside her door all night,” Perry called to him cheerfully.
Hilarion paused at the door to glance back at his best friend. “They won't arrest me. Being a famous Quidditch player has to be good for something.”
Lucy was sitting on the chair just outside her front door. Her bare feet were tucked underneath her, and a novel lay forgotten on her lap. She hadn't been able to concentrate on the story, and was staring blindly at the potted ficus outside her neighbor's door instead, lost in thought. It seemed that she could think of nothing else but Hilarion for the past several days, replaying their entire friendship over and over in her head. She took each scene apart and examined it closely, but the more she did so the more she had to tell herself that she'd imagined his interest in her. She'd been fooling herself all along into thinking there might be a possibility of more, if only she'd gotten to him first instead of Roxanne.
And the more she thought about him, the more certain she was that even if she saw him again, they wouldn't be able to go back to their old friendship. She couldn't do that to herself. Maybe after some time, to get over him and let her heart heal, maybe then she could look at him again without that sense of loss, the hurt that he did not return her feelings, and more importantly the desire pulsing through her...
The sound of footsteps broke her out of her reverie, and she looked up at the entrance to the courtyard, prepared to smile politely at one of her neighbors. But the smile died on her face when she saw who was approaching. He was walking toward her as if conjured by her thoughts, looking unbearably handsome, if rather rumpled and unkempt.
“Hi Lucy,” Hilarion said tentatively, drawing to a halt in front of her.
“Hi,” she managed, not sure what to say to him.
He stood there for a moment, looking at her while she looked up at him. After a few beats of silence, Lucy offered, “Would you like a cup of tea?”
It sounded ridiculous. She was an idiot, she thought, mentally kicking herself. She sounded like her grandmother, offering tea.
But he smiled and nodded, and then followed her into her flat.
Lucy was silent as she set the kettle to boil and fished out the box of Darjeeling. She could feel him watching her, but didn't quite have the courage to meet his eyes again. She was a little afraid of what she might see there – or to be more accurate, what she might not see there.
“I'm sorry,” Hilarion blurted out, and Lucy looked up to find his expression very earnest. “I'm sorry I didn't tell you about that stupid plan, I'm sorry I ever did it. I wish I hadn't.”
Lucy handed him a cup of tea, which he took without looking at it, holding it in one hand while his gaze rested on her. She looked down at her cup; there was something too intense about meeting his eyes.
“Lucy, please just... say something. I really missed talking to you.”
She sighed as she stirred her tea. “I missed you too.”
Hilarion's heart jumped. She'd missed him. She hadn't slammed the door in his face again. But she wasn't looking at him. She was just standing there in the doorway to the kitchen, teacup in hand. The dress she wore was a solid, dark red – the darkest thing he'd ever seen her wear, actually – and clung to her every curve. His mouth went dry, and he sipped the tea. Darjeeling. He hadn't even noticed what kind when she'd been making it, he'd been so focused on her.
She'd made him his favorite tea. She said she missed him. He wanted to snatch her up and kiss her right there, kiss her until she realized they were perfect together and forgave him.
“You should go,” she said, and the rising hope in him died, his stomach plummeting to his shoes.
She was shaking her head, still looking at her teacup. “I can't do this. I just can't.” She was on the verge of tears; he heard it clearly in her voice.
Hilarion set his cup on the countertop and stepped closer to her. “Lucy, I'm sorry-”
“I know. Just go, Hilarion, please.”
“I don't want you to be angry with me-”
She looked up at him then, and he couldn't stand the hurt in her eyes. “It's not that. I just... I need to be by myself, I think. For a while, maybe.”
He shook his head reflexively, unable to let her go, especially when she was looking at him like that. “Lucy, I haven't been able to stop thinking about you.”
“Please don't say that. We can't be friends any more,” Lucy whispered, an aching sadness in her eyes. “I'm sorry, Hilarion. I just can't do it.”
“I don't want to be friends,” he told her in a rush. “Well, I hope we'll always be friends, but I don't – I mean – I'm messing this up, hang on.” And he drew a deep breath before continuing. “Lucy. I don't want to be just friends with you.”
“What do you mean?” she asked warily.
“I...” But suddenly words weren't enough, would never be enough. Hilarion's arm snaked around her waist with a speed borne of years of catching Snitches, hauling her up against him, and before she could do more than squeak in surprise, his mouth settled on hers.
For a heart-stopping moment, he thought she wasn't going to respond, but then she dropped the teacup she'd been holding and pressed closer to him, and her lips were warm and soft and her breath was sweet, and her mouth tasted a little like the tea she'd been drinking, and then Hilarion lost all capacity for thought.
Lucy's arms wrapped around his neck, pulling them closer together as she revelled in the kiss. A single word threaded through her jumbled thoughts, over and over. Yes, yes, yes... If her mouth hadn't been busy, she would have laughed from sheer joy.
After a few minutes, they broke apart, but he was still holding her close, and her hands went to his shoulders to steady herself. She wasn't sure her legs could hold her right now. If he let go of her, she'd probably fall over. A giggle slipped out, and she realized she was smiling.
He looked relieved. “I wasn't sure I'd ever get to see you smile at me again.”
“I can't help it, after a kiss like that,” she told him on another giggle.
He smiled back at her. “Then I'll make sure I kiss you like that every day.” He looked down then, beside them, their bodies still pressed together. “Don't move, you're not wearing shoes.”
Lucy followed his gaze and saw the shards of the broken teacup around their feet, and made a movement as if to break away from him, but he held her there. “Let me get my wand-”
Hilarion shook his head. “You can fix it later.” He lifted her up, hands on her waist, and set her down away from the shattered teacup, and then his body was instantly against hers again, turning so his back leaned against the wall and she stood between his feet. “First, I'm going to kiss you until you laugh again.”
She chuckled and leaned forward, tilting her face up to his. Her heart felt incredibly light, as if she might float away at any moment. “Well, I suppose that would be all right.”
“Lucy,” he murmured, his lips hovering over hers. “I don't want to be just friends with you. I want you to love me like I love you.”
That statement wiped away the last of her shields against him. Lucy melted. “I do love you, Hilarion. I've been miserable not speaking to you this last week.”
“I missed you so much.” He kissed her again. “I'm sorry, for being an idiot, for everything.”
“It's all right.” As she said it, she realized she had already forgiven him. She'd been blinded by jealousy, stupidly clinging to her hurt and anger because he'd seemed to love Roxanne enough to make such an elaborate plan to snare her, and no one had ever wanted Lucy that way. Until now, she thought, reveling in the feeling of being in his arms.
It was all right. He wasn't perfect, he made mistakes, and Roxanne had been a whopper of one. But she no longer felt the sense of betrayal. Maybe it was being in his arms like this, but she couldn't doubt him now. Of course she knew who he truly was. For all he was famous and good-looking, he matched her perfectly. It all seemed so obvious now.
He put one hand up to stroke a lock of her hair. “Do you really love me?”
Lucy smiled, feeling watery-eyed. “I think I fell in love with you the first time you walked in the park with me and told me you'd buy all your books at my store.”
Hilarion chuckled, his fingers still brushing against her curls. “I was an idiot not to see I was falling in love with you all along. I started wanting to tell you about everything that happened all day, wishing you were there so I could talk to you.”
“You were stupid, I was stupid – it doesn't matter now. Kiss me again.” Lucy tilted her face up to his.
His hands spanned her waist, pulling her closer as he bent down, and he whispered her name as he kissed her.
She loved him more than ever for that.
* three months later *
Hilarion was acting sketchy.
Lucy didn't know what was up, but it was clear that something was on his mind. Sometimes he got worked up over things with the Arrows, or her still-in-progress plans for opening her bookshop, and it made him act a little odd now and then. She didn't mind, though. Everyone had their quirks. Her faith in his devotion, in their relationship, never wavered, so it didn't worry her.
They hadn't spent a single night apart in two months. They alternated between her flat and his, although the last couple of weeks had seen them at Lucy's almost every night. Hilarion had confessed that he preferred her place, even if it was smaller than his and he had to Apparate all the way up to Lincolnshire for the team. He liked sitting out in the courtyard to watch the sunset, with Lucy curled up beside him on the lounge chair, her head resting on his shoulder.
And when he started acting a bit squirrelly, she let him work it out in his head, or sent him to talk to Perry, secure in the knowledge that he'd be with her every night, one arm curled around her waist as she fell asleep, not even minding that she hogged the blankets. He accepted her foibles as readily as she accepted his.
It was very natural being with him. They fit together perfectly, as if they'd always been together, as if he'd been designed just for her, she thought whimsically.
So when he said things like 'we need to talk', she didn't worry about that, either.
In fact, Lucy had just finished making a pot of tea and was pouring herself a cup when Hilarion came into the kitchen and said exactly that.
“We need to talk.”
She poured him a cup of tea and handed it to him as he sat down across from her at the table. “What about? If it's because I borrowed your razor again-”
“I don't care if you use my razor,” he said, brushing this aside. He took the teacup and set it aside, leaning across the table toward her. “Lucy, I've been thinking about this a lot lately, so you just tell me what you think, okay?”
He looked rather nervous, actually. It was adorable. She smiled at him. “Okay.”
Hilarion drew a deep breath. “Lucy. I don't want you to be just my girlfriend any more.”
She blinked in confusion. “What?”
“Lucy,” he said again, and this time he smiled at her in a way that made her heart skip a beat, even after months together with him. “I want you to be my wife.”
“Your wife?” she echoed in a stunned whisper.
“Will you marry me?”
She was around the table in a shot and jumped into his lap, her arms going around his neck. “Yes!”
“I have a ring,” he told her, and she could hear the smile in his voice.
Lucy sat back enough that she could see his face, and kissed him thoroughly before saying, “Okay, show me the ring.”
He produced a small purple box from his trouser pocket, and handed it to her. She popped it open, already smiling before she saw it.
The diamond was ridiculously huge. She probably could've financed her bookshop with it. It was ostentatious in a way that she never would have chosen for herself, because she liked to think of herself as a simple woman. And she loved it immediately.
He plucked the ring from its nest of velvet, and she held out a hand so he could slide the ring onto her finger. It fit perfectly, and he turned her hand over to kiss her palm and her wrist, and then her hands were buried in his thick blonde hair and they were kissing again.
Surely no one had ever felt this much happiness, she thought.
* another month later *
Perry watched Roxanne coming down the aisle at the stately pace dictated by hundreds, if not thousands, of years of wedding tradition. Her hair was piled up on top of her head in an elaborate riot of curls, and the blue silk dress she wore outlined the lithe curves of her body. She gave him a wink as she took her place.
The music changed, and the doors opened again, and this time Lucy Weasley was standing there in a white gown with far more fabric than Perry felt was absolutely necessary in a dress, her hand tucked into the crook of her father's arm.
As they started up the aisle, Perry leaned forward to whisper in his best friend's ear, “She looks beautiful, doesn't she?”
Hilarion could only nod, apparently struck dumb by his bride. Perry had to hide his chuckles, and glanced across at Roxanne again. She was standing next to Molly (whose hair had been done specially for the occasion in its original color – Perry was so used to the green mohawk that her red curls seemed very strange) and smiling at Lucy, but she seemed to feel his eyes on her and glanced over at him.
He threw her a wink and then went back to paying proper attention to his best friend's wedding.
At the reception, he wanted to dance every dance with Roxanne, but of course he had to give her up to her father, and then her brother, then several of her cousins (of which she seemed to have an unlimited amount), and Hilarion as well, but he was in too good a mood to be bothered by this. Besides, it gave him a chance to dance with the bride.
Lucy smiled as he twirled her around. She wasn't as light on her feet as Roxanne was, but she was practically floating with happiness, and kept looking over at her newly minted husband, who was at that moment dancing with her mother.
“Thanks for arranging the band, Perry,” she said while he whirled her past where Lina was singing a new arrangement of an old Celestina Warbeck classic.
“Least I could do. You seem absolutely giddy with happiness,” he remarked. “Just make sure you read the return policy on him. No taking him back if you lose the receipt.”
She laughed, the smile lighting up her face. “You're terrible.”
“Congratulations, too,” Perry added. The song was ending, and he drew her to a halt.
She reached up on tiptoe to kiss him on the cheek, then wiped the lipstick off with her thumb. “Thanks, Perry.”
Hilarion appeared at her elbow, his hand going immediately to her waist as if the brief dance had been too long to be parted, and Perry gave his friend a cuff on the shoulder before going off to find Roxanne.
She was standing near the cake, preventing a small red-headed boy from eating the frosting. Judging from the evidence on the boy's face, she had not been completely successful. He recognized the boy as her cousin Victoire's son.
Everyone learned to recognize Johnny Lupin, if only out of self-preservation.
Roxanne was lecturing him. “I'll tell your mum, Johnny-”
“Here she comes, too,” Perry interrupted, giving the child a look of exaggerated alarm.
Johnny glanced around shiftily and then threaded his way into the crowd.
Roxanne propped an elbow on Perry's shoulder. “That kid terrifies me. Where've you been? I almost had to dance with my brother again, but I fobbed him off on James just in time. I think they're going to spike the punch.”
“I danced with Lucy. Privileges of the best man.”
“Is that where that lipstick came from? I can't leave you alone for a moment.” Roxanne wiped at his cheek a bit with her fingertips, but the band distracted her. Lina was singing a new song, and Lucy and Hilarion were wrapped in each other's arms, not so much dancing as swaying in place. “Look at them, aren't they sweet. Is this the song you wrote for them?”
“Cheapest wedding gift ever,” Perry said cheerfully.
“Well played.” Roxanne laughed. “It's been a lovely day, hasn't it?”
He turned to put an arm around her waist, and Roxanne moved so that the arm propped on his shoulder went around his neck. “I think we should do it next.”
She raised an eyebrow at him. “What, all this? No way. Have you not seen how many relatives I have? I say let's elope.”
“They won't get mad?”
“My grandparents eloped. It's practically family tradition. I don't think they'll mind. And my dad will be happy not to have to pay for all this.”
Perry chuckled. “All right, then. Majorca? Rose and Scorpius said it was beautiful there. We could get married on the beach.”
“Let's go to Italy. Cinque Terre is supposed to be insanely romantic.”
“You've convinced me. Let's elope.” Perry leaned down to kiss her. “Is next week good for you?”
“Far too busy then. Tomorrow.”
“I'm starting to worry that you're serious,” he remarked.
“You started it,” Roxanne said, giving him a cheeky grin. “But you know what... I wouldn't mind.”
He realized suddenly that he'd been serious as well. “It's the wedding making us both insane. Let's go, right now, before we come to our senses.”
Roxanne looked around. Her parents were dancing at the far side of the dance floor, and her brother was indeed spiking the punch bowl with her cousin James. Lucy and Hilarion were still swaying in each other's arms, their best attempt at dancing. The only person she thought might notice them leave was Rose, but Rose was unlikely to tell on them. She turned to Perry with a grin.
He took her hand and Disapparated.
A/N: Allow me to editorialize on the chapter title: The quote on this chapter, and the line used for the title, is from one of my favorite scenes in Cyrano. Overcome with emotion that the woman he loves – Roxane – knows who he is, Cyrano gives this fantastic monologue about how his love for her gives him the strength of ten men, culminating in the roar of “Bring me giants!” So romantic. I just love it.
I hope you enjoyed the story, and the bonus mini-epilogues. I was going to end with the reconciliation of Lucy and Hilarion, but I had guilt over taking so long to finish this story, so I threw in an extra romantic scene or two. What can I say, I love that stuff ;) I've always liked a happily-ever-after. Please review and let me know what you thought of “Sparks”!