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Chapter 1 : Music to my ears
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It was a daydream that he had quite often. Sadly, as a single father of one, that wasn’t likely to happen anytime soon. Not only because his three year old daughter would wake up in the middle of the night, screaming because she thought that monsters were coming to get her. He had Horatio to thank for that one. But because his best friend apparently ignored any personal space and would quite happily get into bed with Louis whenever he felt like it, mainly due to an argument with Molly, who sent him to sleep on the couch, which he never made it to.
Sometimes, Horatio would work late and just be too lazy to walk the distance to his own bedroom. Either way, he would end up waking up Louis, by either being too loud, stealing all of the covers or by practically laying on Louis. This time, however, Louis was awoken by a loud sniffing, close to his ear.
"Horatio," Louis mumbled sleepily as he waved his hand around tiredly, refusing to open his eyes, "stop smelling my hair."
He heard another sniff in response and waved his hand around again.
"Stop it. I'm trying to sleep."
"How can I when you smell so good?" He heard Horatio ask.
Louis still refused to open his eyes as he felt his best friend shift around in the bed.
"Why are you in my bed?" Louis asked, he didn’t want to, he just wanted to go back to sleep.
"Molly yelled at me. Ifigured here was better than the sofa."
Louis opened his eyes, with a lot of difficulty, and peered over at the clock by his bed. It took him a while to realise what time it was.
“Horatio, it’s nearly four in the morning.” Louis groaned, moving to lay on his back and throwing his arm over his eyes.
“Then go to sleep.” Horatio told him.
“I’ve been trying to. I’ve only just got Samantha back to sleep.”
“I know, I heard her crying.”
“And you didn’t think to come and help?” Louis grumbled, feeling more annoyed than normal. Louis hadn’t had much sleep lately and he was feeling very cranky.
“You sounded like you were handling it.” Horatio told him. Louis let out a scoff.
Louis felt the bed move again and heard Horatio give a sigh, the covers moved again as though Horatio was taking them, which knowing Horatio, he probably was. He was a cover hog. It was probably
what caused Molly to yell at Horatio.
“Don’t you dare touch me,” Louis grumbled as felt himself beginning to fall back asleep. He heard Horatio chuckle next to him, but still move closer to him, despite Louis’ tone.
“Whatever you say, Louis.”
Louis let out a groan as the sounds of music met his ears, awakening him from his sleep.
He blinked his eyes open and glanced next to him to see that Horatio had disappeared. He blinked a few more times as he turned to look at the clock beside his bed, seeing that it was seven o clock in the morning. Much too early for loud music, especially if Sam was sleeping.
“Horatio!” Louis called out, his face half pressed back into the pillow, but it came out mumbled and he knew that Horatio wouldn’t have been able to hear him.
“Horatio,” Louis called again, pushing himself off of the bed with a groan and standing up, stumbling a little as he made his way to the door. The music became louder as he made his way down the stairs and towards the kitchen, where the source of the noise was coming from.
“Horatio, if you have woken Sam up there is going to be hell to pay. I’ve been up half the night with her crying and -” He stopped as he entered the kitchen to see Sam sitting in a chair with a piece of toast in her left hand. She was laughing hysterically at Horatio, who was dancing around for her entertainment, with a saucepan on his head.
“Daddy,” Samantha cried happily, before pointing at Horatio, who had stopped dancing and was grinning at Louis. “‘Tio silly.”
“Yes, darling.” Louis said, walking over to his three year old daughter and giving her a kiss on the forehead, “Uncle ‘Tio is very silly.”
“I’m not that silly,” Horatio grinned, before taking the saucepan off of his head, “now, finish your breakfast, Koukla.”
Samantha grinned at them, before biting into her toast and kicking her legs happily. Louis grinned back at her, happy that she seemed to be feeling a lot better this morning. He had no idea what was wrong with her last night, but she wouldn’t stop crying and refused to let Louis out of her sight. He had to sit with her until he knew that she had fallen asleep.
Louis gave a loud yawn and walked over to the kitchen counter, pulling a cup, spoon and the coffee over to himself so that he could make himself a drink. Before he became a father, he used to hate the taste of coffee, but now, he couldn’t function without it. It was what was getting him through two jobs.
“You look like hell,” Horatio stated, leaning on the counter and looking at Louis. “You should really sleep more.”
Louis blinked slowly as he tried to shake the last bit of haziness from his brain. “Horatio, I haven’t slept in three years.”
“I think that’s a bit dramatic.”
“Besides, I didn’t have much sleep because you were in my bed.”
“That’s the only bit of action you’ve had in a while, Louis. You should be enjoying it.” Horatio smirked, before looking down at Louis’ coffee cup. “Do you know you’ve put four spoonfuls of coffee in that cup?”
Louis looked down at the cup in his right hand, his left holding the spoon and gave a loud sigh as he dropped the spoon to the side and grabbed for the kettle, so that he could begin pouring the water into the cup. “I do now.”
Horatio seemed to be wanting to say something else and Louis gave a sigh, “What now?” he asked him.
“The kettle didn’t boil, you’ve just poured cold water in there.”
Louis took a deep breath and ran a hand over his face as he resisted the urge to yell or cry, he wasn’t sure which emotion would win first.
“Doesn’t matter,” Louis muttered, picking the spoon back up and stirring the liquid in the cup. He downed it quickly and winced at the taste.
“You’re going to be full of energy after that one.” Horatio laughed at him. Samantha laughed as well, but she had no clue what she was laughing about.
“I’m going to need it,” Louis stated, trying not to gag. “I’ve got a long day ahead of me.”
“You should really quit one of those jobs, Louis. You’re going to either collapse or have a mental breakdown if you don’t.” Horatio told him. “In fact, Nikolos and I have a bet over which one will happen first. I’ve got my money on mental breakdown.”
Louis nearly laughed at the fact that Horatio was betting on him with his brother Nikolos. Nikolos hadn’t long been released from jail. He was now under a court order to remain in his parents’ house between the hours of eight at night and eight in the morning. The only place he could really go was here, which helped improve the bond between the two brothers.
“Can I get a cut on that? I could do with some money.” Louis muttered. “I can’t quit one of those jobs, I need the money. I don’t want to keep asking my family for help.”
“Maybe you should get a court order saying that Freya should send you money to help pay for Samantha.” Horatio stated.
“I can’t do that,” Louis told him honestly.
“Why not?” Hroatio challenged, “If it was the other way around and you had left her to be a single mother, she would have been straight down the Ministry to get you to pay towards Samantha.”
Louis knew that Horatio was right, but he just couldn’t do it. It had taken him a long time to get over the fact that Freya had left him and that she had abandoned both him and Samantha. He wasn’t sure if he was ready to even see her again, let alone ask her for help. He had been doing this without her for three years.
“You can still quit one of those jobs, Molly and I can afford this house without your help. You can just pay for groceries or something,” Horatio told him. Louis knew that he was right, but he just couldn’t not pay his way, it wasn’t fair on Horatio or Molly to expect them to pay his share. The rent wasn’t too bad, Horatio was renting the house off of his parents, who were given it by a late Uncle who had died without any heirs.
Louis was thankful when Horatio asked him to move in. It meant that Louis didn’t have to keep relying on his parents and he knew that they needed a break from it all. As much as they tried to protest this fact.
Horatio and Louis had moved into this house about a year after Horatio graduated Hogwarts, Molly had gone travelling and the two of them had broken up. Until a few months ago, when Molly had come back, she and Horatio had decided to give their relationship another try. Louis had tried to hide the fact that he was jealous when she had come back, but he knew that Molly made Horatio happy. Between that time, though, Louis and Horatio had taken full advantage of having all of that alone time together, giving into their feelings for each other. But Louis knew that it couldn’t last, he knew that Horatio still loved Molly and Louis, although hated to admit it, was still hung up on Freya as well as beginning to have feelings for the new girl at his work.
Louis stretched and gave Horatio a tight smile. “No can do, I need the money. Will you be able to watch Samantha whilst I go and have a shower?” Louis asked, knowing that he didn’t have long until he started work. “I’ve got to get ready for work.”
“Yeah, sure.” Horatio said with a nod. Louis smiled before he walked out of the room, Samantha was too interested in her milk to pay any attention to him leaving the room. Although Louis wasn’t happy about being woken up so early, he was happy that he would get to spend some time with Samantha before he had to head to work for ten that morning.
“You look exhausted,” George stated as Louis walked out back to hang his jacket up in the staff room. George was sat at the small table, where people ate their lunches, a cup of coffee in his hands.
“Thanks,” Louis said, walking over to the kettle so that he could make another cup of coffee. He would have thought that the cup from earlier would have had more of an effect on him, maybe adding more caffeine to his body would help the situation. “Would you like another cup of coffee?” he asked his Uncle, who shook his head.
“No, thank you.” George stated with a sign as he stood up and made to walk out of the room, “I should probably start working. Can’t avoid all that paperwork forever.”
Louis gave a laugh, knowing how much his Uncle hated paperwork and made his own cup of coffee. Before turning to lean on the side so that he could enjoy it.
Louis cradled the cup in his hands, as he looked through the window and over at the preparation area. It was where his Uncle and his Uncle’s apprentice, Rachel Hoffman, made and tested products to sell in the shop.
Rachel had begun working in the shop a few months ago and Louis had to admit that he was completely smitten with her. He liked everything about her, her friendliness, her sense of humour, the way that she smiled at him. The fact that she would touch him on the arm in greeting when she passed him, the way her eyes would seem to sparkle when she spoke about whatever new product she had been working on that day. The way that her long brown hair moved when she took it out of its ponytail, curling slightly at the ends -
“Are you going to do any work today, or would you like to continue staring at Rachel?” George asked, causing Louis to jump in shock. He hadn’t realised that his Uncle had come back into the room.
Louis looked at his Uncle and nodded, “Yeah, I was just –“
“Staring at my employees and being creepy.” George finished for him.
Louis shook his head at his Uncle but laughed, “I wasn’t being creepy.”
“Good, because you’re working out here today. I need to send some stock over to Ron at the Hogsmeade branch and I’d appreciate it if you kept the creepy staring down to a minimum. Until your break, of course, you can do whatever you want on that, stare away.” George stated, handing Louis a clipboard with a stack of parchment on it.
Louis looked down at it, thankful that he wasn’t going to be on the shop floor today. George left the room and Louis placed his cup down on the side so that he could walk further into the warehouse, chancing a look up at Rachel, who was watching him. She gave him a wave and a smile before going back to her work, Louis couldn’t help but smile back as his heart seemed to flutter.
He was going to like this shift a lot.
A/N: Koukla is Greek for doll :D
Welcome to the first chapter of the sequel! :D There's so much fun planned for this one, also a lot of drama!
A massive thank you to Sam for the help with the summary and helping me decide between banners. :D
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