That is- I’m really very sorry about that. They were clean though, right? Hang on, they didn’t have moose on them, did they?
Yeah, I’m quite worried about what you were doing in the shop to land a clean sock on my till. And no, why, have you lost your moose socks? They were my favourites!
I may or may not have borrowed them.
Wait, what? There’s such thing as watermelon chocolates? I so need to try those.
Yeah, they’re kind of prototypes at the moment, and aren’t the best, but you should. I’ll sneak some in for free if you suggest some fabby flavours.
I am way too in love with watermelon…
If you like chocolate, you should nab some of the watermelon-flavoured chocolates down the shop. They’re really good, if I do say so myself.
Rolling his eyes, but secretly agreeing with her, Alphard said, “The history books have character? Maybe you’re not the best judge of character though Els.” She was best friends - and girlfriend, as if he’d ever forget it - with him after all. “We’ll just have to permanently freeze them, or they’ll never cope with the extreme heat we have up in here in Scotland. No wait, we could make icing snow Elenora and Alphard and stick them on a cake! And then possibly eat them. But I like the bow tie idea.” Reaching up to the summery blue one he was wearing, he wiggled it. “Oh, well, she does. Of sorts. I think.” He was bad at serious conversations in the best of times, and he was utterly hopeless when he tried to broach any such subject himself. But as to whether had Carina had found out herself, was another thing. Just because he hadn’t broadcasted it, didn’t mean he’d hid their relationship.
"The fountain’s safe! I promise. Unless it was that summer- no, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t. Percy wanted pet Grindylows when he was little but our parents didn’t indulge it for once." His eyebrows knitted back together as he tried to thread through the busy memories of his childhood. For him, it had only been another day hanging out with Elenora - they often got mixed up in his mind, and were just full of her smile and laugh and how fast she could run. "The maze technique doesn’t work, because our garden isn’t a logical maze, or a maze at all. It’s just a mess, no getting round it."
"Oh yeah…" Trailing off, Alphard was beginning to see the problem in all his electronic equipment. He was going to have find some way to harness electricity safely using magic. Even if it was just to use the washing machine instead of doing it the easier way by magic. "I’ll think of something. But you suit pink."
Cake. Elenora never gave up cake for anything. Truth be told, Alphard had really been looking forward to it. He hadn’t had anything to eat since lunch, and he’d burned off a lot of energy running about with boxes and Apparating and flying and being ecstatically happy about moving in. Happiness could be very tiring, and it was why Alphard usually slept instantly when he closed his eyes. But then there was something else that overrode the desire for cake - who would have believed it of the two of them? She looked so nervous, it almost snapped his heart in two. He would do anything to get that smile back on her face. Alphard wanted to do anything except make his best friend feel uncomfortable around him. In a way, it was what he’d been afraid of; what they’d had before had seemed perfect in every way and he didn’t need to question it. But he’d made his choice and he couldn’t lie and say he regretted it. Letting her guide his hands, he smiled down at her. I’m happy, it said, and it asked, Are you happy too? Because in the end that was what mattered. “To you, and to me, and to too much stuff in boxes. Sorry we don’t have glasses for that toast.” He pressed forward onto her hovering lips, pushing her back into the counter, back where they were before, but this time there was no pausing; the cake really was forgotten.
"Excuse me, I’m offended. I judge character most excellently, if I may say so myself.” Putting on a fake, girly accent for the last bit, Elenora laughed. “Extreme heat, of course. We should! But we can’t eat them, that’s like… cannibalism. I don’t know, something like that. And you could make iced bow ties! Or, I could. I don’t know how good you are with the delicate kind of stuff.” She had to hold in another chuckle when he wiggled his bowtie, something she knew he did when he was preparing himself for something, or when he was trying to show off. “Right, well… I don’t want to be there when she officially finds out. Imagine the squealing.” Scrunching her nose up and trying to make the conversation a little light-hearted, Elenora rolled her eyes. She knew that Carina was going to find out at some point, through them or through another student. Maybe the ones sat over in the stands would tell her. Maybe she already knew.
"Did he indulge himself? Because something tells me that Percy isn’t someone who listens to his parents’ advice." She bit her lip anxiously for a moment, trying to contain the memories of what had happened when Alphard had first left. He knew that she had been seeing other boys, just a couple, here and there. But she wasn’t sure if he knew about Percy. Or if she wanted him to. Something about it seemed weird, a family bond, something like that that made her want to keep them separated in her life, but that was never going to happen. It’s hard not to notice her uncomfortableness when he walked into the shop or the way she averted her eyes when she gave him change. It’s not because she was embarrassed, but because she didn’t want to hurt him any more than she already hard. "No, I learnt that the hard way. Ended up goin’ in a circle."
"Are all those contraptions staying in the spare room, then? You’re going to be kind of cramped in there, and that’s if we can actually find you a bed. And don’t suggest transfiguring something; the last time you did that, the ‘chair’ felt like a toad still, just bigger And pink is awful on me, by the way. Well, vivid pink. But I’m not going to talk to you about clothes, you’ll get bored and try to get me to wear my mum’s hat with that garish green dress again."
Elenora was shattered. In fact, her head was thick and slightly fuzzy from the tiredness, though she wasn’t sure that it was entirely because of the sleep depravation. After panicking for a couple of days about Alphard actually moving in with her, she’d managed to get about two hours sleep and then been pulled backwards and forwards on the end of Alph’s arm, helping him. However, beneath the tiredness and the emptiness of her belly, there was something a little stronger. A weird, rippling sensation that made her want to stay locked in Alphard’s arms for as long as she lived, some kind of strange longing and hunger she had never felt in her life, not with any other boy she had tried to distract herself with. A memory rushed into her head all of a sudden, one of her parents explaining how babies were made. And another, when someone in her Charms class decided to speak her thoughts and asked what sex felt like. Another, of a boy she had once dated in Hogwarts trying to slip his hand up her shirt and she had slapped him in shock, then started crying so hard she thought she would never stop. The smile on Alph’s face reassured her slightly, and she hoped that he couldn’t see what she was thinking, the strange flashbacks and the sudden embarrassment when she realised why they had come back to her. We couldn’t possibly… no, not now, not today, not… remember what Luna said about it being special and— there was another flash of a memory, one of her repeatedly telling Alphard how special he was to her, how she didn’t know what she’d do without him, and she realised that every moment with him was something treasured and important. No, don’t ruin it, don’t you dare initiate that kind of thing, Elenora Flume.
Glancing back up at Alph, she smiled back at him, being able to read the concern and the questioning in his eyes. She was acting weirdly, and she knew it. But then his hands were at her waist, and his fingers were carefully rubbing at some sort of weak spot on her back that was so teasing she almost didn’t know what to do with herself. For someone who claims to be so inexperienced, how in Merlin’s name does he manage to do that? “We don’t need gla—” she was cut off all of a sudden by his mouth and the force with which he pushed her back surprised her, making her gasp against his lips as she slammed back against the counter, her fingers taking the chance to roam freely across his back, exploring each and every bump along his spine, trying to work out whether she could make him feel as jelly-like and wobbly as she did whenever he held her like that. She realised that the competitiveness was still there even now, and she had to get him back for taking her by surprise like he had. “H-How do you… do that?” She managed to mumble her words in a forced stutter against his mouth, quivering slightly under his touch. Don’t let him see how much he affects you, that’s what she’d promised herself. And now she was doing the exact opposite by allowing him to kiss her with hot, heavy lips and wrap those alarmingly strong arms around her. And she was loving it.
Yeah, it sounded really weird.
What was it supposed to sound like?
Sorry. Not wrong. As in, I don’t get any sleep because I work late. And because your moron of a brother likes to wake up at the crack of dawn for no apparent reason, ugh.
How’re things with you, Mys— Percy?
I had an impressive collection before, I swear.
You still have an impressive collection. I found a pair under my pillow the other day. And a lone one on the counter in the shop.
I’m not even going to ask how they got in those places.
Oh, wait… that might have sounded a bit weird.
That wasn’t supposed to sound weird.
Being a great dreamer, Alphard usually launched well into the ‘imagine’ game, though for him, he could make it sound as if it would actually happen. He could conjure it all in his head and project it out in real life; people either went along with him or thought he was crazy. But this time, he just shrugged, because in the end it didn’t matter to him. “We’d know we were the greatest Els, and who cares about any stuffy history books? Who needs statues - I’ll tell you what we’ll do for Christmas. Two snowmen - well, one’s a snow-woman - in the exact likeness of Alphard Black and Elenora Flume. And I’ll bet Carina will put us in her own autobiography one day. We’ll be her conquest.” It was still an ‘imagine’ game of a sort, but a real, funny reality.
"It took us ages to find you, because you didn’t even know where you were." He rolled his eyes, even though he’d made the same mistake plenty times when he was younger. As soon as you turned past the ginormous freckled bush, and the house was obscured, it was like being in a jungle. “What did you even do for those hours?"
"Okay, okay. You be neat, and I’ll do the washing. I have a washing machine," he said brightly, then added quickly, “But I can do it with magic too. Just because last time I used it, it dyed everything a kind of violent pink." Not that Alphard had minded all that much, but there really was such a thing as too much pink.
Snickering, he mimed watching the supposed scared old people running off. “Virile? In your shop?” Admittedly, it kind of made his skin heat up as well; it would never actually happen, not in Honeydukes. They were just exaggerating now. “How could you overlook it if I was kissing you?” He leaned forward to kiss her, taking the chance as it came. It was different, talking about these kind of things with Elenora, and something that he was still getting used to.
"Who says you can’t spread out a bit if you like? Though there isn’t that much to life except sweets." Alphard was pretty good at sucking up to Elenora, and often flung out compliments (stretched compliments for her souffles) just to keep her happy. Of course, apart from his sweet tooth that always needed satisfied, he actually loved his knick-knacks, but if Els said no knick-knacks, there was to be no knick-knacks. “Does seem a bit of a waste, sticking it down a toilet. Maybe I’ll try and suggest something to…" He drifted off, because in the end, he didn’t know all that many muggles. Muggleborns yes, but it was difficult to make muggle friends. Especially when your jobs so far had involved Quidditch and teaching in a magical school.
Alphard had no idea what Elenora was talking about, although he’d probably figure it out later on when his subconscious mind had mulled over what loudness could mean to the neighbours.
His hungry grin - hungry for several things at once - changed subtly as she talked; first to smugness when she pouted, and then to amusement when she said he ‘couldn’t do that’, because he obviously could, and lastly to a stunned stare. As far as he knew, he’d never turned someone on in his life. It sounded like such a sexual phrase, that it could never relate to him; how could he make someone feel alive like they’d been turned on? Carefully taking the bowl off of her head and putting it down again, he held his hands out, palms upwards. He wasn’t sure what to do with them, whether to take her hands again, or just start the baking. “We can bake a cake another time. I mean, we played Quidditch to celebrate me moving in. Cake can be tomorrow…” His voice didn’t imply anything except we could kiss again in his usual tentative manner when it came to these things.
“I kind of like stuffy history books, actually. They have character. Those snowmen… women… both, whatever, will be the best things ever. We can have them outside the shop next to the signs and everyone will know who they are. Yours can have a bow tie!” Elenora giggled when she imagined it, suddenly longing for it to start snowing. “Her conquest? That’s a weird way of putting it, but yes. Does she… know about everything that’s going on yet, or… or not?” She didn’t know why it seemed to be such a difficult question to ask. Carina didn’t make her feel uncomfortable, not at all, but the idea of her knowing about what was happening between Alphard and herself made her squirm a little; she would try and get way too involved in their lives.
"I would try and follow the sound of Lyra yelling for me, but it kept changing direction. I’m pretty sure I nearly fell in the fountain at one point. I’m glad I didn’t - Merlin knows what you keep in there." The garden had seemed almost endless, and she had felt kind of scared at some points. Of course, that all melted away when she saw a familiar face pop around the corner and envelope her in his arms. “Uh… walked around. Freaked out a bit. Realised that I didn’t know where I was and started using the whole maze technique of using your right hand and following it back again. That didn’t work, I just got even more lost."
"I doubt the washing machine will work in the poky little flat, but that sounds really cool. Despite the pink stuff. I don’t really think that my customers will appreciate me turning up as bright as the sweets I sell."
“No, no, I just meant—” She was going to try and get herself out of the hole she’d dug for herself, but she stopped when she saw the look on Alphard’s face, like he was actually considering what she had just accidentally implied. Doubling over in laughter, she elbowed him in the gut to try and get him to stop looking so goofy and dreamy. “Because it’s not as inappropriate as other things in a sho—” she was cut off when he kissed her, but it only lasted for a couple of moments before she started laughing again, trying to ease the weirdness.
"There are a few Muggleborn oldies who come through the shop most days. Some of them have no teeth, but I’m sure they’ll appreciate it if you give them something to remind them of their origins. I mean, they’ll know how to use it better than I do." Coughing down another laugh, Elenora smirked contently, finally being able to provide something to Alphard, not the other way around.
Looking at Alphard’s face change and twist made Elenora’s stomach do exactly the same thing. He was looking at her with some sort of fire burning at the back of his eyes at first, and it made her heart pound in her chest, clogging the back of her throat with nervousness. Then, there was the smugness, which made her want to slap him and kiss him at the same time. The fire died out and became something of happiness, amusement, a look she knew all too well. And then there was the worst. That look of pure shock that made everything crash down around Elenora’s ears. She couldn’t believe she had just said what she had, and implied what she had managed to. Blushing furiously and trying to calm the wave of nauseousness mixed with warmth that was overcoming her, Elenora stared at the floor. As he took the bowl off her head, she could feel herself shaking, wondering how he was going to react, and praying that he wouldn’t just march out. She opened her mouth like she was going to say something in reply, but snapped it shut again quickly, chewing on the inside of her cheek. “We could… do some other stuff…” she murmured, leaning forward and taking his wrists, moving his hands and placing them just below her hips. “You know… to celebrate…” She just hoped that he wasn’t going to let his imagination get the better of him and think that she was implying anything too forward, even though part of her kind of was. Her breathing became short and ragged before she’d even started kissing him, and she nudged her head forwards again, leaving the smallest of gaps between their mouths and giving him the option to back away before she gave in to everything building up in her chest.