Chapter 5 : Trouble
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He left for his room in a daze of sorts, knowing where to go without actually paying attention. His mind continued to turn, even after he'd gotten into bed; he was convinced that Hugo was up to something and he intended on finding out what it was. He just didn't know where to begin; Hugo's head was a maze, he had so many thoughts and ideas at once, he could be planning anything.
I know it's about me, though.
He knew that, at least, was true. Hugo had gotten better at hiding his thoughts, probably with some sort of shield charm, but Skander's ability to read people still allowed him to pick up some things about the man; his name popped up a few times, Hugo couldn't hide everything.
He got up around six am, watched the staff outside work while he drank his water, then showered and dressed, finally deciding that the Aurors could handle no news for a day; he'd have a few drinks and read, then meet Hugo at the beach. It was officially his day off.
The Aurors didn't see things his way.
Skander entered the lobby, his only thought being what to have for breakfast. Jess stopped him at the front desk and handed him a message, greeting him with a smile and friendly hello. He returned it, both surprised and glad to find someone who didn't judge him at first glance. He knew that it was because Jess was a Muggle, but he didn't care. She was a new friend and, despite what Hugo might have said to her about him, was willing to help him when he needed it.
His smile dropped as soon as he read the message. Damn them.
Skander looked through the glass doors at the entrance, unable to see the hotel across the street but knowing that it was there, that they were there. Waiting for him to call was no longer enough for them, they were deviating from the plan.
They were finally summoning him.
He made them wait; he wanted his breakfast first and he wasn't leaving until he'd finished. They could send him as many messages as they wanted, they could threaten his job if they felt they needed to, but he wasn't going to respond. They knew he wouldn't ignore them completely, he would go to see them, but they could at least give him the time it took to eat.
It was almost an hour after receiving the message that he finally left. It was still early for some guests, a few where dotted around the pool, while the rest where moving past him to get to the restaurant for breakfast. Skander didn't see Hugo anywhere; a quick detour back to Jess was all he needed to know that Hugo had left for work while he was still eating.
Skander stepped outside and breathed out in relief; Hugo wasn't around, he'd never see Skander go to the hotel, he'd never snoop and he'd never know about the Aurors. Not if Skander could help it.
The walk to the next hotel was quick. It was much smaller than his temporary home and not as grand or expensive; he knew as soon as he stepped foot inside why Hugo had not chosen this place to stay. Hugo was attracted to power, success and money, he wanted the best, even more so when it was illegal or forbidden.
Breaking into a safe in the house of a wealthy British Ministry official had been illegal. Sleeping with Skander had been forbidden.
The man looked bored at the front desk and seemed to be waiting for him; as soon as Skander gave his name, the man gave him directions to the room and dismissed him - he wasn't a guest, apparently the man didn't have to be as polite. The Aurors were staying a few floors from the top, in one of the hotel's larger rooms. Skander found it easily; he didn't bother knocking and couldn't help but take note of the differences between Hugo's room and his father's. The room was tiny compared to Hugo's suite, even if it was able to fit in everything the Aurors needed to follow Hugo and allowed four grown men to sit and work all day - Potter, Weasley and two American Aurors who had been picked to help them. Counting the two beds, Skander's first thought was who slept where. Then he remembered that he didn't want to know.
"You're late, Dolohov," Potter called from his desk, choosing to go through his work rather than look at him.
"I was hungry," he replied with a smile that didn't meet his eyes. "I figured I was entitled to food."
"Weasley's getting more agitated by the day," one of the American's said with a grimace. Butler, Skander thought his name was. "Not that I can blame him, since he has to arrest his son and all, but still. If you have any news, kid, I'd appreciate it."
Butler's face was apologetic and genuine; Skander decided to like him, understanding why he'd want to send messages to him. Weasley must really be driving him mad.
"Hugo's been stealing since he was a child, digging into the pockets of benefactors at his mother's events. When a child like Hugo hears 'help yourself', he's going to take it literally," Skander said, biting his gums to keep from smiling. He still found the man's reasons comical. "But there's been no evidence of it happening here; his business seems clean, there's nothing illegal in the bank. All of which we knew already. I can't find anything to suggest otherwise."
"Tell Ron that Hugo's been stealing from his mother's charities and he'll hurt you," Potter hissed, turning his head as though making sure his friend wasn't near them.
"You're not surprised by this," Skander noticed quickly.
He thought about looking through Potter's mind to find out what else he was hiding from Weasley, but Potter was more competent than he looked and had learnt to protect his mind; he couldn't stop Skander like Hugo could, but Skander wouldn't risk him sensing that someone was poking around.
"I know enough; Hugo didn't steal from the charities, he'd never do that to his mother, but he did steal from the people who went there," Potter told him, saying more or less what Hugo had said.
"Anything else we should know?" the second American Auror snapped as he came through the door. He dropped the bags onto Butler's lap and stopped between Potter and Skander. "If you have known that this boy has been committing crimes for as long as he says, why are you only doing something about it now?"
"That boy is my son, so watch yourself," Weasley growled. His hair was damp from a shower; Skander suspected he'd been ordered to. There were dark circles around his eyes and his clothes were wrinkled; he worked, sleep was pretty much non-negotiable and showering only happened when he was told.
"Oh, children," Skander tutted.
Potter stood between them, his hands out to keep them apart. "Ron, get some sleep now. Perkins, you are here to help, not to start fights; work, or I'll replace you. And you," he pointed at Skander, "Hugo is smart, I know, so dig deeper. We can't arrest him without evidence and we can't have our witness point him out until we arrest him."
"Harry says you're the best for this job, you know Hugo," Butler said kindly. "If that's true, and I have no reason go doubt him, we can wait."
Perkins scoffed, moving to sit in the closest vacant chair. "You've done nothing to show that you're capable of this job, Dolohov. How do you know Hugo Weasley?"
"They went to school together," Potter said quickly. "They were friends, despite Ron's protests."
"Really? Because I saw them having dinner when I went to get food and they didn't look like friends?" he smirked.
"What does he mean?" Weasley demanded to know, looking from Potter to Skander. "Tell me."
Potter turned away, not wanting to answer him, and Skander had to laugh. Another thing he knew and wasn't telling his best friend?
"How long?" he asked Potter.
"I saw you at the station at Christmas," he answered reluctantly.
Christmas... Skander remembered; he had decided go see his parents in his final year because they'd come to London. Hugo had pulled him away to tell him the plan to see each other during the New Year, no one had seen them kissing in the corner. Or so he'd thought.
"Harry, what is going on?"
"Oh, come on, Weasley, haven't you figured it out yet?" Skander grinned, almost wickedly. He inched closer and closer to the man, whose eyes were the same as Hugo's, though almost everything else reminded people of his mother. "How else could I know a man so well? So... intimately?"
"Skander," Potter warned, using his given name for the first time in a long time.
"No," Weasley whispered, finally understanding.
"Yes. I know your son so well because I was his lover, all through seventh year and for years after," he told him bitterly. "He was glad when I decided not to join the Auror program, but then I became a private investigator and things got hard. He didn't want to be involved with law enforcement, it didn't take me long to figure out why."
"You're the reason my son is doing this," Weasley snapped, grabbing Skander's shirt and pushing him up against the wall. "You're the reason I have to put him in jail."
"No, Ron, he isn't," Potter defended him, pulling him back. "Albus said that he was always sure Skander loved Hugo, this can't be easy for him. But he's helping us. He wouldn't help us if he had been helping Hugo steal; he wants to be an Auror. Don't you, Skander?"
Thrown once again by the use of his first name, Skander had to stop rather than give a sarcastic reply. And stopping made him think; did he really want to be an Auror? Did he want to work like this, hoping he never had to arrest someone he cared about and hating every moment when the time came? Because that time would always come as long as Hugo Weasley was in the world.
"I used to," he admitted sadly. "After seeing Hugo again, I'm not so sure I can do this for a living."
"Well, you have to," Perkins said. "So, I suggest you get back to work."
For the first time, Skander looked to Potter for an answer; he was beginning to like the man more now that he had spent time with Perkins, enough to know that he would rather take orders from him than from an asshole who thought he was in charge.
Potter nodded once and let him go; there was still plenty of time left before the party and he really wanted that drink.
By the time he found Hugo at the beach, Skander's world was already double what it should be. He wouldn't call himself drunk, not yet; he could still walk in a line that was mostly straight and people had understood him well enough to answer him when he needed directions. It just took a moment longer than it normally would be to figure out what was real.
"Matty!" he called out, then started rambling in Russian.
Hugo turned around, startled, but it quickly changed; he laughed out loud when he saw Skander coming toward him, holding out his hand to guide him the rest of the way. Skander chose to pull him closer instead, wrapping his arms around the man's neck. He was still speaking Russian.
It took Hugo longer than he would have liked to answer him; he was fluent in Russian, had learned after meeting Skander in their first year, but Skander was rambling and incoherent at times. It was hard to keep up.
"Thank you, that was very descriptive, but you'll have to wait and see," he grinned. "How much have you had to drink?"
"People are allowed to drink more than they usually would while on holiday," he pointed out, slurring a little. "I was having pre-party drinks."
"I'm sorry I had to work through it. Would you like another?" Hugo asked, removing himself from Skander's arms.
He made Skander sit before going to the bar, fearing the man would throw up or pass out if he stayed on his feet any longer. Hugo ordered them both cocktails, wondering if he should make Skander's non-alcoholic, then dismissed it; it wasn't up to him to decide what the man should and shouldn't drink.
It might also get him to open up.
When he came back, Skander was lying on the deck chair, his arm over his eyes. He was perfectly still and for a minute Hugo was sure he had fallen asleep.
"Checking me out?" he whispered.
Hugo played along. "Maybe. Your drink."
He sat up, just enough so that he didn't spill it all over himself as he drank, and thanked him quietly before taking it. He drank quickly, the cocktail almost half gone when he stopped, and he knew deep down that he probably shouldn't have, but the sun was still beating down on his skin.
He hadn't planned on drinking so much; he'd finished his first one faster than he would have liked when the temperature rose and then he had just carried on drinking.
"Not used to the heat?" Hugo guessed with a laugh. "Maybe water is a better solution."
"Alcohol sounded better. What is this party for?"
"A client of mine has a daughter; it's her twenty-first today, she invited me," he answered, pointing to a young woman not too far away, standing with a group. She looked up, smiled and waved.
"I think she likes you," Skander said and he knew he sounded more than a little possessive.
"She knows I'm gay, if that's why you're worried," Hugo assured him. "She knows I invited you, I called her this morning. But if it makes you feel any better..."
He stood up, closing the gap between him and Skander's chair to kiss him. It was brief, but hard and had Skander wanting more. He moaned when Hugo pulled away, both because he'd moved and to scold himself for getting too close - he had a job to do, he shouldn't be spending his time wanting to be with Hugo physically again.
"Tease," he said out loud.
"That shouldn't be a surprise," Hugo reminded him. He took the drink from his hand and placed them both on his chair, then grabbed his hand. "Do you still like to swim? I remember you loved it when we'd sneak off to the lake."
"I don't remember use doing much swimming," Skander said with a laugh as Hugo pulled him closer to the water. "I'm not sober enough to go swimming."
Hugo turned around once the water hit them, walking backwards while pulling him in. "Who said we were going to be swimming?" he murmured in Skander's ear.
They stopped when the water reached their waists, arms wrapping around each other again. His body seemed to grow too hot, even in the cool ocean, and Skander knew that this time it had nothing to do with the heat.
"What's the plan now, Hugo?"
"I don't know," he admitted. "You say you want to be with me, but I have never been someone's boyfriend. We weren't like that the first time."
"In defense of our first time, I did like that part," Skander replied, his tone suggesting that he was joking even though they both knew he was serious.
"In the defense of other parts of a relationship, maybe trying them would be fun," Hugo smiled. "There's an exhibit, we could go one night. Plus, there's something I want to show you."
"Sounds like a date," he whispered, moving closer.
"Then a date is what we'll have."
Hugo kissed him again, the reverse happening this time; it started off rough, each one fighting to dominate the other, but it soon slowed down until their kiss was soft, almost tender, and that scared them more than they would have liked.
They both wondered if they were in trouble.
A/N: New chapter, I hope you like it. And this is planned to the end, fourteen chapters in all. :)
Please let me know what you think.
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