We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. Oscar Wilde
Old Friends & New Loves
Adrian sighed as he made his way through the store, glancing at the list in his hand and then at the various shelves as though he were back at Hogwarts attempting to read hieroglyphs. Warrington had sent him out to do the week's shopping after practice, though why, Adrian wasn't sure. In the time the pair had been roommates, neither had really figured out how to cook, though Warrington still hadn't seemed to give up the effort while Adrian could care less.
More often than not, the two ended up ordering in after whatever disaster of a dinner Warrington tried to cook. That is when they weren't going over to Oliver and Sam's place. Those two seemed to have figured out the cooking thing rather quickly and easily.
"What's this? Adrian Pucey out shopping?" a voice said with a hint of laughter. Adrian turned, seeing Marcus Flint walk up with a smirk. He was happy to see him. They had met up fairly often until Marcus' work began taking over his life.
"Seems you are as well," Adrian replied, smiling slightly as he glanced down at the basket on his arm.
"Live alone. Someone's got to do it," Marcus said. "Thought you two gave up on cooking."
"Warrington is still trying," Adrian said with an eye roll. Marcus chuckled. "Think we waste most of it by throwing it out after he fails at yet another attempt. Though last time it was closer to edible."
"One of you needs to get a girl. At the very least you'd not waste so much food," Marcus said.
"How's work?" Adrian asked. Marcus sighed and looked down at the list in his hand.
"Honestly, I don't know why I even bother shopping. I work late most nights and end up eating at the ministry. The whole Potter-Dumbledore debacle has the entire ministry in a tizzy," he said. Adrian frowned.
"What would you have to do with that?" he asked. "Thought you were working in international wizarding law."
"I am. And you'd be surprised how often Fudge sends someone over to consult on various laws or has one of us come up," he said. Adrian nodded and looked down at his list then back up at Marcus.
"What are you doing tonight?" he asked. Flint shrugged.
"Nothing besides shopping, why?"
"Forget this. How about we go back to the flat and order in? Warrington's working late anyway. Can't cook tonight if he wanted. And I can always get this done tomorrow," Adrian said. Marcus thought for a moment before nodding.
"What brings you to our lovely home?" Warrington asked, glancing over at Flint who was seated on the sofa. Adrian walked in with two beers in hand, giving one to Flint. Empty takeout boxes were still on the table, though they had left some for Warrington in the fridge.
"Ran into Adrian at the shops. Invited me over," he said. "Though it's nice getting out of the flat and away from work." Adrian frowned as he sat at the other end of the sofa.
"Still getting summons from your father?" he asked. Flint nodded with a heavy sigh.
"At first it wasn't so bad… but lately he's been sending them more often. Starting to run out of excuses," he replied as he stared down at the bottle in his hand. Warrington leaned forward in his chair. "I have to admit I was confused at first why he didn't put up a fight when I said I wanted to work in the Ministry… now it all makes sense…"
"How do you mean?" Warrington asked. Flint laugh harshly.
"You know good and well what's going on. It's been going on awhile," he replied, looking over at him. "You're not completely cut off. Sure you've heard enough..." He glanced at Adrian. "Consider yourself lucky you got out when you did. Reckon your father is at the top of the recruiting list."
Adrian sat back on the sofa, sighing heavily.
"Why do you think I got out when I did?" he asked. "And I take it there's some stock in what was going around even before I left…" He glanced at Marcus.
"Won't be long before they come after us, I suspect," Marcus continued. "If I were you, I'd get out of the country while you can." Warrington chuckled.
"Doubt it's that bad just yet," he said. "Besides, thought Dumbledore and Potter were making it all up." Marcus just stared at him.
"Seriously, Warrington?" he asked. "You know just as well as I do that they aren't coming together again for no reason."
"What are you going to do?" Adrian asked, looking over at Marcus. He just shrugged.
"Not sure there is much I can do. You know my father," he said hollowly before taking another drink. "Not someone who takes no for an answer."
"You don't have to join them," Adrian said, frowning. Marcus laughed and shook his head.
"Getting disinherited has gone to your head, mate. Not all of us have that choice," he replied.
"But you do have a choice, Marcus," Adrian said loudly. "You don't have to do this!" Flint looked down at his beer again.
"What? You would have me join the other side, then? Fight for muggles and the like?" he
asked with a short laugh. "Not sure they'd take me…" Adrian sighed and shook his head.
"Have you thought about what happens if you do join the death eaters? There's no way they're going to win this. You'll be killed or thrown into Azkaban the rest of your life," Adrian said. "Not to mention, you know what they'll make you do. Torturing people. Killing people. Is that something you want to do?"
"Of course not!" Marcus shouted. "I know I wasn't the best in school." Warrington snorted, earning a frown from both Adrian and Marcus. "But Merlin… I don't want to kill anyone… and… before I moved out, I overheard my father again… he was… gloating… about killing Abbott's mum and brother." The room was silent as Marcus stared at the bottle again. "I may have bought into the pureblood thing, but… Christ. The thought of killing a mum… and children… I don't want to kill anyone. I may have thought I was better than them, but I never thought they should all die…"
"But the thought of killing a 5-year-old isn't sickening enough to make you want to go to the other side?" Warrington asked. Marcus glared at him.
"You know they'll kill me if I don't do this," he stated.
"So? It's either you or muggleborns, is it?" Warrington said, starting to stand. Immediately, Adrian was on his feet, both hands out to block the two from each other.
"Calm down! The war hasn't started yet!" he shouted, looking back and forth between Warrington and Flint. The two were still glaring at each other. "Look, Flint's right. If he refuses to join the death eaters there is a good chance he could be killed." Warrington's eyes flew to Adrian. "Don't look at me like that Cass. We both know what his father is like." He then looked at Flint. "But you have other options."
"What options?" Marcus asked.
"What you just told us. Run," Adrian said. "If you won't fight, then at least get out of the way." Marcus stared at him. "And if you need help, then I'll do what I can. Warrington, too."
"What?!" Warrington shouted.
"Shut it. You will," Adrian said, glaring at him. Warrington stared at him and then looked over at Marcus.
"Fine," he said finally. Adrian sat down as Marcus sighed.
"So… you think I should run?" he asked. Adrian shrugged.
"Up to you, mate," he replied. "But if you decide to stay and fight… for the right side… you'll have help, too." Marcus nodded and took another drink, glancing at him.
"Hanging out with the Gryffindors really has rubbed off on you," he said, smiling slightly. Adrian chuckled.
"Think part of it was always there," he replied. "Even though I was put in Slytherin."
"How are things in Gryffindor land?" Marcus asked. "Still holding a torch for Abbott?"
"That's been over for years," Adrian scoffed. Marcus looked over at Warrington who just raised his eyebrows.
"Keep telling yourself that," Flint muttered.
"What was that?" Adrian asked, frowning at him.
"You haven't dated since you and Sam broke up," Flint said.
"That's not true. I've been on dates," Adrian said, still frowning. "And I've been busy with quidditch." Marcus chuckled.
"Right… how many dates, is it?" he asked. Adrian just rolled his eyes. "Face it. You've been buddying up to them so you can spend time with Abbott."
"We've been over this a thousand times, Flint," Adrian said with a sigh. "I'm not still in love with Sam."
"That's what you keep saying. Just wondering when you're going to get it through your thick head that you are still in love with her," Marcus said. Adrian looked over at Warrington.
"Don't look at me. I've been telling you the same thing for two years," he replied.
"I'm not still in love with her! Merlin! We were 17 when we dated!" Adrian nearly shouted, now laughing. "I'd be an idiot if I were still in love with her." He looked at Flint. "Really, you called that one. Looking back, there was no way we would have worked. Especially after seeing her and Wood together."
Marcus shook his head.
"For what's it worth, I'm sorry it didn't work out," Flint said, causing both Warrington and Adrian to whip their heads around to look at him. "I get it… she has everything we never did… and always wanted… So does Wood. Close knit families. Parents that really care about them. Friends that aren't looking for what's in it for them. And now they get to have their happily ever after."
"Since when was Marcus Flint sentimental?" Warrington asked. Marcus gave a short laugh.
"Shut it, Warrington. We all want something like that, whether we'll admit it or not," he said. "Adrian was the only one of us brave enough to try for it… Even if he can't seem to get over Abbott."
"Christ, would you stop? I'm going on a date this weekend," Adrian said. Both men turned to looked at him in surprise.
"The dancer?" Warrington asked. "You said yes?"
"What dancer?" Marcus asked.
"Her name is Moira Langley," Adrian said. "She dances at Watsworths with Sam and Finn."
"Wait… I think I remember her," Marcus said. "Few years ahead of us. Ravenclaw."
"We got to talking at the party. Decided to get dinner and some drinks," Adrian said, shrugging. "Figure it wouldn't hurt to give it go."
"Certainly picked someone's who fit," Marcus said. Adrian rolled his eyes.
"For someone who is giving me a hard time about dating, you don't seem to be putting yourself out there," Adrian said.
"I haven't had time," he replied.
"And the tables have turned," Warrington replied with a grin.
"At least I'm getting out there," Adrian said, looking over at Marcus.
"I'll start dating when all this is over," Marcus said, waving his hand in the air. Adrian looked over at Warrington, the two sharing a look.
Adrian walked into the restaurant and looked around before glancing at his watch. He was a bit early but was desperate to get out of the house after Warrington started giving him the third degree about his date. It was bad enough that Wood had already teased him relentlessly at practice earlier in the day. He decided he could have a drink while waiting on Moira to arrive to stave off the nerves.
"Reservation for Pucey. I'm a bit early," he said to the hostess.
"That's alright. We can go ahead and seat you now," she said, smiling. She grabbed a couple menus and motioned for him to follow her as she led him through the restaurant to a small table towards the back. The place was dimly lit by candlelight, offering a romantic atmosphere, though not too cheesy.
"Can I get you anything to drink while you wait?" she asked while setting two menus down.
"Scotch. Straight," he said, picking up the menu to look it over. She nodded and walked away. The glass appeared almost instantly and Adrian downed half of it in one gulp. He hadn't realized until just before he walked into the restaurant how long it had been since he went on a date. While Warrington and Flint liked to think that he hadn't dated at all since Sam, he had been on a few. None seemed to go passed the first or second date, however, as he quickly discovered with each one that they were only dating him for certain reasons - namely money. They either thought he was rich because he was a quidditch player (how disappointing it must have been when they discovered the money didn't really kick in until first string) or because he was pureblood (again, more disappointment to find out he was disinherited).
Not to mention, none of the women seemed to keep his attention.
He sighed and looked over the menu again, thankful that he did get a decent a raise last year, otherwise he would have cringed at the prices. He nearly chuckled, wondering what his parents would think of him now - actually taking the time to think about cost before purchasing things. Budgeting. Growing up as privileged as he did, his parents never looked at prices of things. Granted they didn't go out to eat much, preferring to consort with other rich purebloods in the confines of large manors and mansions. Or at ritzy balls and galas, dressed in the finest robes money could buy. Or at exclusive clubs that only allowed purebloods.
Now he preferred cheap Chinese takeout at home with Warrington. Or watching movies over at Sam and Oliver's. The only expensive thing they ever drank was firewhiskey, which Oliver's dad would owl over every time he won a game.
Adrian glanced around the restaurant, hoping Moira liked it. He wasn't sure about where to take her and had to ask Wood for advice. He didn't want anything too fancy but didn't want her to think him cheap either. Oliver said he had taken Sam there several times and she had liked it. He sighed and flipped the menu over, looking down the wine list. He'd order a bottle now to have it ready, but he wasn't even sure if Moira liked wine.
To be honest, he wasn't completely sure why he had agreed to go out with her. Sure, she was beautiful. And they did get on in the brief spans of time they had spent around each other. But he had to admit that even though Sam was nearly finished with her second season at the dance company and he had hung out several times with the dancers, there was a lot he still did not know about Moira. But there had been something about her that intrigued him. He supposed ultimately that's what had led him to agree to go out with her.
"Sorry I'm late! Rehearsal went a bit over," Moira said, rushing up to the table passed the hostess. Adrian looked up and quickly stood, smiling nervously. She walked up to him, grinning as she hugged him and kissed his cheek. She was dressed up a bit more than he was used to seeing, granted he only ever saw her at parties at Oliver and Sam's.
"You're not late. I got here a bit early," Adrian said, motioning for her to sit.
"Got started without me?" she asked, raising an eyebrow as she took in his half-empty glass.
"Just a bit," he said, sitting. "Truth be told, I haven't been on a date in a while." He flushed slightly, not sure why he mentioned that. Moira laughed, her blue eyes dancing.
"Needed a bit of liquid courage, did you?" she asked, grinning as she picked up her menu. "No need to be embarrassed. It's been awhile for myself as well. With work and all. Could definitely use a glass of wine." Adrian nodded, looking back down at his menu.
"I hope you don't mind Italian," he said. "Oliver suggested this place." Moira glanced around.
"I've always wanted to try this out. Never seemed to find an occasion," she said. "Good choice."
At that moment, a server stepped up, taking their orders. Adrian cleared his throat as she walked off, wondering how long it would take for the bottle of elf wine to arrive. He already felt he needed another drink to temper his nerves.
"So… Sam tells me you've been friends awhile," Moira said, watching him closely, her bright blue eyes causing his stomach to twist slightly.
"Not as long as her and Oliver, but yea. They sort of took me in after, well, we became close just after we graduated," he said, nearly breathing a sigh of relief when the server walked up with the bottle and two glasses, deftly pouring them. Adrian took a large drink, causing Moira to chuckle.
"There's no need to be so nervous," she said. "I don't bite." Adrian smiled and nodded.
"How long have you been at Watsworths?" he asked, directing the conversation away from himself.
"Nearly four years now," she said. "Joined right after school."
"What made you decide to go into dance?" he asked. Moira chuckled.
"Aren't you Mr. 20 Questions tonight," she commented, tilting her head to the side. "I've always been a dancer. My mother is muggleborn and signed me up for lessons with a muggle school when I was about six. Absolutely fell in love with it and been dancing ever since."
"I can't imagine practicing something that long," he said. "I didn't start quidditch until I was 11."
"That's still quite a while to stick with something," Moira said.
"Well, fair amount of blokes started earlier. Think Wood's been playing since he was six or seven," Adrian said. "I didn't start until I went to Hogwarts."
"Why's that?" Moira asked, leaning towards him. Adrian reached for his glass again.
"My parents weren't so keen on it," he said quickly before taking a drink. "But suppose it didn't matter in the end. Still got to go pro."
"Hear you might be on first string next season," Moira said, sensing his parents might be a touchy subject. Adrian shrugged.
"All depends on if Larkin decides to transfer," he replied.
"Well, I hope it works out for you," she said, smiling.
"Appreciated," Adrian said. "And I'm looking forward to seeing the summer production. Sam's been raving about it." Moira chuckled.
"Well, she's certainly excited to be working with Christopher. As we all are. He's a brilliant choreographer," she replied.
"She said you've got a few solo bits in it," he said. Moira nodded.
"I was hoping to get one of the main roles, but not yet. My day will come," she said.
"Thought you were really good in that showcase a few months ago," Adrian said. Moira blushed slightly.
"It was a bit out of my comfort zone, but rather amazing to do," she said. "Just made me more eager to do this current one." Adrian nodded and glanced around the restaurant, still feeling a bit of nerves. "Really, Adrian… there's nothing to be nervous about."
He looked back at her. There was no judgment there, just a warm, inviting smile.
"Just why has it been so long since you've been on a date?" she asked suddenly. Adrian stared at her a moment before chuckling.
"You certainly don't beat around the bush, do you?" he asked. Moira shook her head.
"Figured it best to get the awkwardness out of the way," she said, reaching for her own glass. Adrian took a deep breath and slowly let it out.
"Not sure," he said. "Well, no. That's not true. Suppose just haven't met the right sort. Haven't really had much luck with the few dates I have been on. They, ah, had certain… perceptions…"
Moira studied him a moment before responding.
"I think I can understand that," she said finally.
"How so?" he asked. She shrugged.
"People tend to think I'm a certain away… I come off as a bit… harsh at times," she said, looking down at her glass.
"I never thought you were harsh," Adrian said. "Blunt, maybe. But never harsh." Moira looked up at him.
"You haven't seen me around my ex," she replied ruefully. "Suppose it wouldn't be so bad if I didn't have to work with him."
"You work with him?" Adrian asked. Moira nodded.
"Not all of us can get on with our exes the way you and Sam do," she said.
"She told you about that?" he asked. Moira nodded.
"Hope you don't mind," she said. Adrian shook his head.
"It's common knowledge among our friends. Most of them witnessed it," he said. Moira nodded slowly before reaching for her glass of wine again.
"I don't know about you, but talking about failed relationships is a bit depressing," she said with a smile. She held her glass up to him. "How about a toast… to new relationships… whatever they may be."
Adrian picked up his glass and clinked it against hers.
"I can cheers to that…"
Dinner continued on and Adrian found himself relaxing, even offering a few stories from school, though he was always careful whenever the topics ventured close to his family. Moira seemed to open up as well. He always thought her a bit on the quiet side around the others, but on her own, she was much more talkative. And funny, though her sense of humor was a bit drier in comparison to Sam and Ellie's bubbliness.
Throughout dinner he learned that she had two older brothers who made life annoying in school, though they had gotten closer after graduating. The oldest was married with a son while the other was off working for Gringotts as a cursebreaker. Her father owned a bookshop in the Alley while her mother had been a schoolteacher. He was vague about the details of his own family, though did say that they had their own business as well. He left out that it was one of the largest companies in the wizarding world and that he was currently person non grata.
As they were finishing up dessert, Adrian waved for the check and paid, leading Moira outside and offering to walk her home - much to the dancer's delight.
Adrian glanced around the Alley, noticing there were a fair amount of people out and about, likely enjoying the weather that was finally starting to warm up. It wouldn't be long before most of the shops and restaurants started setting up tables outside.
"I always loved spring," Moira said, looking over at him.
"It's not bad. Though I've always been the summer sort," Adrian replied. Moira chuckled.
"Not a fan of cold weather?" she asked. Adrian shrugged.
"More like I'm a fan of spending all day out in the sun," he replied, glancing down at her.
"And now I understand why you became a professional quidditch player," she said with a smile.
The couple stopped on the sidewalk as Adrian looked ahead. His eyes widened as he saw his father standing there, seemingly just as shocked to see him.
"Father," he said stiffly as his face turned cold.
"I… wasn't expecting to run into you here," Randolph Pucey said. "Your mother said she owled you, but you had not responded. We were hoping you'd come by for dinner."
"I think we both know the answer to that," Adrian replied. "If you'll excuse me…"
"Adrian, please," his father started.
"Good evening, Father," Adrian said, grabbing onto Moira's arm and pulling her down the sidewalk passed his father. The two walked in silence for a bit with Moira casting worried glances at him.
"Take it there's a reason you were so aloof about your family," she finally said. "Care to talk about it?"
"It's not really something I usually bring up on a first date," he said, tense.
"Trust me… I'm the strong sort. Takes a lot for me to pack it in and run," she said, smiling encouragingly at him. "You can tell me… if you want…" Adrian sighed, deciding that she would find out eventually - might as well be now so she could decide if she wanted to invest the time in any sort of relationship with him.
"Well, the reason I became close with Oliver and Sam is because I sort of ran away from home halfway through seventh year," he admitted. Moira was quiet, letting him continue at his own pace. "I've been estranged from my parents and most of my friends since. Slytherins don't take so kindly to those going to the other side."
"You were Slytherin?" Moira asked. Adrian nodded. "Always just assumed you were Gryffindor like the rest of the bunch." He chuckled.
"What, no Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.
"No offense, but you don't have the disposition to be a Hufflepuff. That's Ellie and Finn completely. I could potentially see you as a Ravenclaw, though you do seem to have the same bravado as Oliver and Sam," she replied.
"Might as well be at this point. Only two of my old housemates still talk to me and as you noted, I am surrounded by Gryffindors for the most part," he said.
"Why did you leave?" Moira asked suddenly, causing Adrian to blush slightly. "Sorry… there's that bluntness again…"
"It's fine. Didn't much like the beliefs. Or what they may or may not have made me do," he said, not looking at her. "The rules and such."
"Only date and/or marry a pureblood witch that Mummy and Daddy choose for you?" Moira asked. Adrian glanced down at her.
"Something like that… They didn't approve of me dating Sam, that's for sure. Had we continued dating and I hadn't walked away, I likely would have been kicked out anyway," he said. "Been disinherited as well."
"For dating Sam?" Moira asked softly.
"More so for not wanting to take over the family business. I had decided to leave before we dated, so it wasn't completely my relationship with her," he added quickly. "Though it didn't help. There's a bit of bad history between our fathers."
"Sure that wasn't easy," she said. "Walking away from your family like that."
"There's no love lost," he said. "My father's always been rather cold. It wasn't so hard to walk away. Just needed to save up a bit of money to get started on my own. My aunt helped me out. Tonight's actually the first time I've spoken to either of them since I left." Moira looked down at the sidewalk for a moment, then stopped, looking up at Adrian.
"Care to come up for one last drink?" she asked suddenly. "I feel like this conversation needs a good stiff one." He looked down at her a moment before smiling and nodding.
"Could use one," he said, surprising himself. There something about her smile and the look in her eyes that told him she wouldn't be like all the others. Moira nodded and started walking again.
"I'm just up here," she said, pointing down the street. "Think I've got a bottle of Ogdens."
"Sounds good to me…"
Wanted to get this chapter up now since I'm not sure if I'll get another up this week (trying to write one chapter for every time I post and I haven't started on the next chapter yet) with all the projects I have due. My birthday party is coming up and I really need to make some extra money so I'm not relying on my friends to buy drinks the entire night.
Anywho, hope you enjoy something from Adrian's point of view! He is still a fairly important person in this story, after all.
.2018 - Thanks!
Lily Joselynn Black - I'm happy to hear that you're enjoying it! I've got another series based on Oliver Wood & family (Wood Series) if you need something to tide you over in between postings. ^_^
Camryn Kissel - Haha, definitely more coming with Adrian. ^_^
Son of Whitebeard - Thanks!
Thanks everyone for reading and following!