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15 January 2006 @ 07:29 pm
In Medias Res (PG-13, Michael Corner/Susan Bones)  
Title: In Medias Res
Author: lar_laughs
Characters: Michael Corner/Susan Bones
Word Count: 2117
Rating: PG-13 (mostly for innuendo)

Author's Note: written for the Generic Character Fanfiction Challenge at 1000ways_claw)/1000ways_huffle. I’ve always assumed that since Gryffindor and Slytherin are “unofficial” rivals (at least in my opinion), Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff might have a kind of rivalry as well. This is my attempt to see what a male/female, Ravenclaw/Hufflepuff rivalry might look like at the onset. The first part takes place, if you couldn’t tell, toward the end of Chamber of Secrets.

The title is a Latin phrase used by writers to mean starting in the middle of the action.

For Ilex

“If you look at me like that one more time, I’m going to bust in your front teeth,” Terry muttered from his position in front of the fire as Michael paced the room with his normal long strides.

“Like what? I’m bored and I’m tired of being cooped up in this place. Who are they to tell us we can’t walk out of the common room and into the hallway? Is a portrait going to fall on us? This is bloody stupid, is what it is. I didn’t come to this school to be babied.” Michael stuck his hands deep in the pockets of his trousers and scuffed the toes of his trainers against the fibers of the carpet. Every single inch of the carpet was blue and was bugging him like nothing else.

“What are you going to do about it?” Anthony asked from behind his book. “Run out of the door and down the stairs? Maybe you could shout something rude and offensive toward the school officials who are trying to protect you. That’s always good for a laugh or two.”

Making a rude gesture at the two boys, Michael did just that. Minus the yelling, of course. That would have been stupid. He did run down the stairs as if a banshee was trying to convince him to try Nutella, a rather offensive goop Lisa got in boxes from her mother and liked to pass around on crackers.

When he reached the bottom, he looked around curiously, amazed how silent the school corridors were now that everyone was under house arrest. When Flitwick had told them these new rules, he’d watched each and every one of his housemates accept them without so much as blinking an eye. Sheep, every last one of them! There was no reasoning behind the rules, just a stern look and a “Because I told you so” from Flitwick. If there was anything that Michael hated more in this world, it was being told “Because I told you so” by anyone. It wasn’t an answer. It was a cover up.

“You’re going to get us caught if you don’t stop breathing like a draft horse.”

Michael turned and stared at the shadows in the corner under the staircase. Any minute, it was sure to move and whoever it was that had hissed at him would be out in the open. He stepped over to make use of the same cover in the few seconds they still had it and landed against a very soft body.

“Move over, will you?” he whispered, wishing he knew who he was talking to.

“This is my hiding place, thank you very much. Go find your own if you’re so keen to be out when you’ve been told to stay put.”

Since she didn’t move, Michael stayed where he was, feeling oddly uncomfortable to be touching so much of a girl at one time. His wand dug into his hip and he thought about reaching down to adjust it but thought better of it. He’d leave it for now and hope he didn’t need to use it.

“I’d stay in the common room if someone would tell me why we’re being made to stay there. For all we know, they’re repainting the Dungeon and they don’t want us to get any fingerprints on the shiny new coat of ‘Drippy Water Black’ that is sure to replace ‘Damp and Mossy Green’.”

His sarcastic comment got a gasp of laughter out of the girl. Even though she muffled it, he’d felt the spasm and tried not to swallow his tongue at what a girl felt like when she laughed. He needed to do that again.

“Or maybe the Hufflepuffs have all gotten rabies and they’ve had to be quarantined for our safety but they’re afraid that git Smith will find a way out of his cell.”

“Hey!”

She hadn’t found that funny which meant she wasn’t a Ravenclaw or a Slytherin. Since she obviously understood what he’d meant, that ruled out Gryffindor. Damn! She was a Hufflepuff.

“Sorry,” he muttered, “that’s usually funny where I hang out.”

“Then you need to get some new friends.”

Dust rained down on them as the staircase began to move. The girl began to squirm but Michael knew this was his one big chance. When the light snuck over the girl’s face, he tried not to gasp. Funny, Susan Bones never looked like she had these kinds of curves under her sweater when he’d passed her in the hall. Sure enough, she was the one staring back at him, angry red splotches coloring her pale cheeks.

“Get off me, you idiot. We need to get moving before someone comes along and finds us. I don’t look forward to mulching plants as a punishment again.”

For a moment longer, he stayed where he was. She was making a lot of sense but the rational part of his brain had shut down. Besides, a Hufflepuff wasn’t supposed to be logical. She should have been twirling her hair and… dusting. Or mulching plants. Something about that struck him as funny and he started to laugh.

Her not so tiny fists began to beat on his shoulder and chest. “Let me go, you cretin. I need to get out of here. One of the professors is going to be back by soon and I refuse to be caught.”

Before he could capture her hands and get them away from him, they both heard the sound of running. The distraction was enough to break his concentration so that Susan was able to push him away, her fingernails taking one last chance to scrape across his exposed neck. That slight pain broke his concentration even further and he almost didn’t take the opportunity to follow Susan to her next hiding spot – behind a tapestry of a rather hideous looking troll doing ballet.

“Can you see who it is?” Susan asked as he pulled the edge of the material as close as to the wall as he could. She was taking up so much room that he had just barely enough to be adequately covered but he wasn’t going to complain. Not with that thoroughly irritated look on her face.

Taking a quick peek as the sound got closer, Michael tried to stifle a laugh. “Harry and Ron are out of their cage. The teachers aren’t doing a good job of keeping us all in our places.”

As he added his favorite endearment for Potter, a muttered “Damn git” just under the breath, he heard something that made his heart turn over.

“Stupid prick,” Susan murmured. Michael didn’t need to look over at her to know that her lip would be curled ever so casually up in slight derision.

“I see you have the same fondness for our erstwhile hero. Everyone loves that boy.”

“Except Snape,” she reminded him and they laughed. He moved further into the protection of the curtain, thinking he had made a connection with this prickly Hufflepuff until she pocked him. “Okay, danger is passed. Now leave.”

Once again, she caught him unawares and he found himself standing alone in the hall, watching her disappear around a corner. Footsteps echoed off the stone walls and Michael took off for the Ravenclaw tower, no longer eager for adventure.

***

Michael stuck his hands deep into his pockets and tried not to scuff his shined shoes on the blue fibers of the carpet. He wanted to look his best when it was time to head downstairs to start the evenings entertainment.

“Come on, Terry. You look exactly the same as you did with your hair parted to the right,” Anthony griped as he sat down on the bed to pull on his shoes. “Tell him, Michael. He thinks he looks better with it on the left but,” he raised his voice again, “it looks exactly the same.”

“Let him part it on the left if he wants to,” Michael growled, hating that his stomach acid was threatening to come up and coat the front of his new dress robes before anyone had a chance to see how dapper he looked.

Anthony grinned as he fought with an obstinate knot. “What has you in such a fine mood tonight? I’m surprised there isn’t an actual smile on your face. Terry, come on out to look at Michael. I think he’s about to smile. Hurry. You’re going to miss it.”

Nothing else could induce Terry away from the mirror on most days when he was worried about his hair but this did the trick. “A smile? Where? Merlin’s beard, that’s a different spin on things. This girl is turning our Michael into a nice boy. Will wonders never cease.”

“Shut it,” he warned but it was too late. His roommates were on a roll and nothing would stop them now. “Okay, at least take it down a notch or two. You’ll hurt yourself with all this excessive fawning. And Anthony was right. You look exactly the same.”

With the sudden break in conversation as Anthony followed his wailing friend back to the mirror, Michael took his chance and fled the room, running for the freedom of the stairs outside the Ravenclaw common room.

“You’re early.”

Michael leaned against the wall, trying to catch his breath. He really should have walked down here but eagerness wouldn’t let him stop once he’d started. “So are you. And you look lovely.”

The blush on Susan’s cheeks made him wish he said things like that more often. Their relationship didn’t have much room for compliments and kind words as neither of them were very gifted with such things. The room filled with girls in brightly colored dresses and boys in dark robes as other couples grew too eager to stay up in their rooms.

“So that’s what color Iris is,” he said as a way of finishing off a conversation they’d started having a couple of weeks ago after he had officially asked her to the Yule Ball. “It’s purple.”

“I told you that,” she retorted, slipping her hand under his elbow. “Iris, the color. Iris, the flower. They go together.”

He grinned down at her, loving where this fight was headed now that he was certain of what he needed to do. Tonight was going to be wonderful for her – even if he had to knock together some heads to make it so. “My mum grows irises in her garden and some of them, I’ll have you remember, are yellow.”

“If I was going to wear yellow, I would have called it Marigold or Goldenrod.”

Surprising her, he leaned down and kissed her lightly on the lips. “And you would have looked lovely in those colors, too.”

Various Professors walked through the couples, instructing everyone on where to line up so the Promenade of Champions could begin. Michael made sure they were standing well away from Terry and Anthony, who had been trying to force their way through the crowd to continue their slightly annoying habit of flattering Michael in the presence of Susan. It was as if they were afraid she’d suddenly realize who exactly she chose to hang out with these days and they needed to make sure she knew he had some good qualities. The only bad part of this was that they’d run out of decent things to compliment him on and stuck with a good dresser (which was debatable but Terry was letting it slide) and a quiet chewer.

The doors opened and the four champions made their way down the walkway, most looking around to smile at their friends. Cedric even waved at Susan, which made her giggle. As a rule, Michael and Susan had stopped talking about Cedric weeks ago. It was painfully obvious that neither of them would ever see eye to eye about that boy.

They did, however, see eye to eye when it came to the other Hogwarts champion.

“Bloody git,” Michael muttered.

“Stupid prick,” Susan murmured.

“I love it when you say that,” he breathed into her ear, making her shiver delicately. He didn’t have to be pressed up against her in the shadows to know what it would feel like running through her body, although he’d have to try that again later when there were less people around.

“Time for dinner.”

Her sudden exit from his side caught him unawares. Before he could capture her hand again, she was threading her way between the tables to where their names glowed on the name cards. Following after her, Michael tried not to grin. Being with Susan was always an adventure, one that he hoped would continue for a long time.

And there's another part, from Susan's perspective here at my journal.
 
 
 
Rolanda James (is sick of pretending): fleur delacourfor_a_fantasy on January 19th, 2006 12:58 am (UTC)
Loverly. But the link to Susan's part doesn't work. :**(