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Breakoff Altitude by handknittedsweaters
Chapter 3 : Where Fabian has a hanger with his sibs
 
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After Amelia had practically run out of his flat, grabbing her clothes as she went (Fabian was fairly certain that she had grabbed his socks in her hurry rather than her own, which was a real shame, because they were a nice pair, possibly his favorite- maroon argyle and under a year old), Fabian sat back down at his desk. He had made rather an awkward show of offering her coffee again, trying to walk her out, seeing if she wanted breakfast, but Amelia, face pink, and head held high, had ignored him as resolutely as if he were a strange Muggle in a passing car, trying to offer her candy.

Fabian had just sat back down at his desk, wondering if he could possibly concentrate on accounts when he had just let Amelia Bones slip through his fingers, when while pouring a few fingers of whiskey into his coffee, a loud crack echoed through the room. Fabian fell out of his chair, spilling coffee and whiskey all over his previously clean t-shirt. Now what could he wear should another childhood obsession wander through? He doubted that should Sesame Zealand (lead singer of his favorite band at age eight) walk through the room, she would be impressed by any of the items stowed away in his dirty laundry pile. Not that the members of Sesame’s band, Pygmy Puff Surf Team, ever seemed to wear particularly clean clothing, but that was beside the point.

“Goddamn it, Gideon,” he sighed, looking up at his twin brother, who ignoring all rules of polite society had apparated directly into Fabian’s bedroom.

“Hey, Fab,” Gideon said grinning. He picked up the mug of coffee Fabian had poured for Amelia and took a sip, before suddenly looking stern. “You never came over last night! You said you’d come to the end of the game once you were done with that party! Some brother you are.”

Fabian, rather than getting up, just lay down on the floor. Gideon’s surprise visits were a regular occurrence, happening about three or four times a week, but they always seemed to find Fabian in the middle of a Floopowder call, on the toilet, during a nap, taking a shower, while he was away at work, or as he was trying to wrap his head around the concept of his childhood love in his bed one minute and out the door the next.

Content with no response, Gideon looked around the room. “There are two mugs in here,” he mused, “and these socks on the floor,” he picked them up, examining them, “they’re awfully tiny! And pink! Are your feet really this small, Fab? Why are there little hearts on your socks? Did you embroider them yourself? Why bother? No one can see them anyway! Socks really ought to remain in shoes for the vast majority of the day!”

Despite having spent practically every day of his life with Gideon, and nine months besides, Fabian was never quite sure if his brother was joking or if he had been hit by too many Bludgers. If Fabian was the more serious twin, Gideon was positively buoyant with positive energy a good eighty-five percent of the time. Fabian mused over this disparity- perhaps Gideon had stolen Fabian’s good cheer while still in the uterus?- as he watched the sunshine play across the spiderwebs on his ceilings, and wished for a pair of sunglasses.

“Fabian,” Gideon said, now bending over him and peering into his eyes, “are you hungover? What am I asking? When are you not hungover? But did my little eyes spy a record on the player? A record of slow songs? Romantic songs? Is there more to this little scene than what I might have first concluded? Was there, trying my best not to faint here, Fab, a GIRL here?”

Fabian merely groaned.

“I need back-up,” Gideon announced, “I’m going to get answers, whether you like it or not!” He bent over again, grabbed Fabian’s elbow, and yanked him through time and space to the Leaky Cauldron.

Fabian was almost relieved to be there. His own flat had been far too warm and sun-filled, but it was dark and cool, if crowded with breakfast eaters at the pub. A pretty, red-haired young woman was working behind the counter. Gideon and Fabian sat down at the bar, watching their little sister as a rather ugly teenage boy conjured more and more flowers and tried to offer them to her, even as she threw each bunch away.

“No, seriously, stop that,” said their usually flirtatious sister, “I honestly don’t want any more flowers. I didn’t want any in the first place. I’m going to have to ask you to leave if you don’t stop. This probably amounts to sexual harassment.” She glanced in their direction, noticing them. “My older and generally very violent brothers have just walked in, so if you like your face the way it is, I’d get out of here.”

Fabian and Gideon did make a reasonably intimidating pair, especially to a thirteen-year-old. While not identical, they were both about six foot one, Gideon claiming to be taller than Fabian on “his good days.”  Gideon had the toned body of a professional Keeper, and while the thinner Fabian spent most of his time indoors, his borderline alcoholism and somewhat shaggy hair made him seem more dangerous than he was- a person who might pull a knife on you in an alleyway, or at the very least, ask to copy your Potions’ homework.

“Good thing you guys came in,” Molly said, walking toward them with a pair of menus. “I was about to lose my mind. That kid’s been staying here all week, and he won’t leave me alone, and I was just about to lose my cool!”

That was just Molly- as fiery as her hair, as her brothers liked to tease her. One minute she was screaming at her boyfriend in the park, the next she was exclaiming happily over someone’s baby, with hardly a breath in between. She got mad easily, got over things quickly, and got her point across without using one profane word.

“But what brings you boys to the Leaky Cauldron so early on a Saturday morning?” she asked them, smiling at the pair with her chin resting on her hands.

Gideon leaned conspiratorially over the counter top to Molly’s ear.

“I think Fabian might have had a girl over,” he attempted to say in a whisper, but in actuality was more of a muffled shout, “all night!”

“Gideon, are you ever going to learn how to actually whisper?” Molly said, rubbing her ear. “What girl was it? How do you know?”

“I’m right here,” Fabian said grumpily, leaning his own elbows on the bar.

“There was feminine paraphernalia all over the place,” said Gideon.

“Bras hanging over the lampshades?” inquired Molly.

“His toaster’s been replaced by a hair dryer,” nodded Gideon.

“And the bed sheets?” she asked soberly.

“Pale pink, unicorn printed, and littered with dried flowers.”

“The air inside the flat?”

“I could hardly breathe through the cloud of perfume and nail polish fumes.”

“No more ordinary napkins? Just the sanitary kind?”

“Wait, what does that even mean?” asked Gideon.

“Never mind,” Molly sighed, “but Fabian! What’s all this about? You’ve got to tell us now.”

Fabian was now lying on the countertop with his head in his arms. “Yes, guys. There was a girl there.”

“Who, who, who?” they chorused.

Fabian knew there was no point in evading the question any longer. “Amelia Bones,” he mumbled.

“WHAT?!” screamed Gideon, to the alarm of half the restaurant goers. “AMELIA BONES?”

“Shut up, Gideon, shut up,” Fabian said, covering his brother’s mouth, “people might hear!”

“You got Amelia Bones in your bed?” asked Molly. “How are you not jumping up and down with joy? You’ve only been waiting for this for... how long?”

“Forever and a half!” said Gideon, having wriggled away from Fabian. “Why aren’t you celebrating, Fab? This is excellent! Do you guys remember how many meeting sessions the three of us had, trying to think of ways for Fabian to win her heart before all those stupid parties?”

“You would have us strategize for the entire week preceding them,” Molly said nostalgically, leaning her hip against the counter.

His siblings’ enthusiasm had effectively knocked the mopiness out of Fabian.

“Never really worked though, did it?” he smiled. “You guys were the worst wingmen I could have asked for. You’d just literally push me at her and then run off and play Quidditch the rest of the time. The only reason she probably talked to me last night was because you two weren’t there.”

“So what went wrong then?” asked Gideon, looking concerned. For how big and strong Gideon looked, he was probably the most sensitive of the Prewett siblings to other people’s problems. The most oblivious to his own situations, as well, but that was a different can of flobberworms.

“Well, as soon as she woke up, she was out the door.”

“Wait, wait, wait,” Molly said, “give us a little more of the story, please.”

“Do you have more tables to wait, though?”

“Your romantic woes are more than worth taking a break for.”

“Alright, I suppose I can tell you,” said Fabian resignedly.


After work the day before, Fabian had let himself into his flat and began to start a pot of tea. He had had a long day, and was excited to sit by himself, read a book, and ignore the rest of the world for the rest of the night. He had just barely began to count teaspoons of loose leaf Earl Grey when someone knocked on the door. Swearing, just a little, under his breath, Fabian made his way over to the front door and checked the peephole. It was his mother.

“Mum! What are you doing here?” Fabian asked. He wasn’t accustomed to his mum dropping by, she normally just flooed him.

“I wanted to see if you wanted to come to the Bones’ tonight. They’re having a party!” She said this as though she were announcing that Christmas had come early.

“Another party, Mum? You know, those are always full of old people who I don’t even know but they all know me and it’s uncomfortable. Plus Gideon won’t even be there,” Fabian whined.

“Oh, I know how you feel about them, I’m not completely daft, but the party is for Amelia. She just graduated from law school. That’s quite the accomplishment. You really ought to go and congratulate her. Plus, I’m sure she’ll be happy to see you!”

“Mum, I don’t-”

“No, Fabian, you are going to go. This is my one and only parental request.”

Fabian looked at her doubtfully.

“Of this week. That I have thought of so far. You need to go to the party and support Amelia!”

“The last-”

“I didn’t come all the way over here to listen to your excuses, you are going to go whether you like it or not! Fabian, I raised you to be a gentleman who was good to women and respectful to his parents. I am not going to put up with this behavior. You’re not too old for a good wopping!”

Fabian gave in, resignedly, knowing it was the only way his mother would stop talking, “Alright, Mum, I’ll go,” he said.

“Good, good, now let’s have a spot of tea. A biscuit sounds tasty, too.”

Back inside, Fabian resumed his tea making and his mother resumed her chatter.

“I’ve been hearing a lot on the news about strange disappearances in the past few weeks, your father says the Aurors have no idea what’s been going on. I do hope it’s only some rogue giant, or perhaps a mischievous wood nymph! Wouldn’t that turn the situation on it’s head? Back when I was a girl, that happened, you know. We thought these people were gone for good, but they were really just at a wood nymph carnival. Can you imagine that? Times surely do change. It seems like just yesterday Grindelwald was the name to fear.”

“Do you really think a wizard is behind this?” Fabian asked. He hadn’t been paying very much attention to the news, but he’d have to be living at the bottom of the Black Lake not to hear that people were missing.

“Or a witch,” his mother added, “but yes, it could very well be possible, I wouldn’t think that this many people would go missing because of a rogue giant. Or even the wood nymph county fair!”

“That’s true,” Fabian murmured, no longer listening.

As he poured steaming tea for his mother his thoughts wandered to Amelia. She was the one girl he had kept a constant crush on throughout his days at Hogwarts. Their parents were good friends and so they’d endured many awkward camping trips, vacations to the beach, and countless boring parties. He hadn’t seen her in a few years so he couldn’t speak for recent years, but he had always thought of her as extremely pretty. She had soft, gently curling, blonde hair, that bleached nearly white during the summer, and a very petite physique. While he knew many other blokes would talk about big brown, blue, or green eyes, he had always thought Amelia’s pale gray ones far exceeded all others. Amelia was always kind, but practical, and never did anything without thinking.

When Fabian had heard that she was in law school, he had been surprised. He’d never really imagined her as a lawyer type, but he was aware of lawyer salaries and pensions.

As he was absent-mindedly pouring the tea his aim got off and ended spilling half the pot on the table. “Oh, Fabian! Look what you’ve done! You’ve gone and made a big mess of things. You really should pay more attention.”

“I know Mum, I’m sorry, let me clean that right up.”

“You know who you remind me of? Your older brother Androcles. The last time I saw that boy- Easter, by the way, can you believe that? Just doesn’t care about his old mum, I suppose. Anyway, I was asking him if he was going to propose to Saoirse, like I have so often suggested, and he said he had forgotten to! Just plumb forgotten to! Now I suppose when you’re a boy like Androcles, who only cares about playing his accordion, and his work, and his Quadpot, and his girlfriend, you don’t have much time left for your mum. What do you think about that, Fabian?”

“You tell him, Mum.”

“Speaking of work, you could do a lot better than keeping books for Flourish and Blotts! Not that Edgar and Orly aren’t lovely people, but you’ve been there too long for just a post-Hogwarts job. Maybe you should have gone to graduate school like Amelia!”

“Hmm,” said Fabian, noncommittally.

“How about being a curse-breaker? I can imagine that, although you’re a little too pale for that outdoor work, so you’d have to stay up here in the north, I’d guess. Or maybe at the Daily Prophet! I’ve always told our neighbors, the Goldsteins, that you have a nose for news! Ever since you were a little boy, telling me all about Androcles’ armpit hair!

“Speaking of our neighbors, did I tell you that their Crup had puppies? Would you like one? Your father and I are thinking of getting one, now that it’s only Billius still in the house...”

And so Mrs. Prewett continued on for the next two hours, before realizing she needed to get home, because, “someone needs to make sure your father manages to get himself dressed, and I don’t want to see Billius sneaking off to go have teen shenanigans, when he knows perfectly well that’s he’s grounded! And mind you take a shower before you go over there, you smell like a distillery!”

So Fabian was finally left to his own devices, and after taking a shower as directed, and Scourgifying some clothes clean, he made his way down Diagon Alley to Flourish and Blotts.



 



 


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