by Domashita Romero (地下ロメロ)
omg check your email, the IM window from Amy popped up, followed a few seconds later by, omg why aren’t you checking your email!!!
buhhhhh busy!! Nicholas typed back, which he actually was, in the very unpleasant spreadsheet sort of way. Usually he was just lazy.
so worth it so worth it, Amy wrote again. you deserve a break hard working boy just look at your stupid email!!
Nicholas typed in a single k and opened up his email again. He’d closed it to focus on work, like the responsible boy that he’d really hate if anyone ever found out he was, and let out a soft groan as he watched his inbox fill with mail, most of which he already knew was so not relevant to him.
He located the email from Amy, though, which had the subject line O M G and opened it up. He stared at the contents for a few seconds before flipping back to the IM window.
O M G, he wrote back.
I KNOW!!!! Amy said. She actually sat just further down and on the other side of the long bench the demons who invented open-plan offices deemed they got to use instead of proper desks. He glanced up and could see her biting her lip, clearly holding back giggles as she typed. it looks just like him!
fatter though Nicholas wrote back, and flipped back to his email. The picture Amy sent him was one of yon classic memes, a photo of someone with a big white Impact-font caption on top of it. This one he’d never seen before, and he was hardly a stranger to idiotic internet garbage. Must’ve been a new one, with the kids; Amy was a wretched four years younger than him, after all. Still in her twenties! Awful.
The photo was of a round-faced, portly blond young man, wearing circular-framed black glasses — which were, of course, part of a complete Harry Potter getup, down to clearly hand-made Gryffindor scarf and carefully applied lightning bolt scar drawn on his spotty forehead. His arms were full of the books themselves — all seven! Nicholas counted — and his face was screwed up into a look of full nerdly glee, tip of his tongue poking out from his faintly crooked teeth and head bent back in such a way to give him a few extra chins.
EXPELLIARMUTH!!! said the caption. Honestly, it wasn’t even that clever, but…
Amy’s IM window was blinking madly. Nicholas flipped back to it. if you google fat harry potter meme there’s a bunch of them. some photoshops too. do you think it’s actually him?
Nicholas glanced across the aisle to the next long bench across from theirs, and there was the him in question. James had been hired around six weeks ago, and seemed to be a decent enough sort. He’d just settled in enough that started piping in on conversations around the coffee maker and the like. Was in general a nice and friendly sort, good enough with usual office banter, seemed to have good opinions about television shows. Nicholas didn’t know much about him, though — like if he happened to have once been a very enthusiastic and much heavier Harry Potter fan.
dunno Nicholas typed back. no one looks like themselves when they’re making that kind of face
but loooook Amy wrote, and Nicholas peeked up again to see her making her own devilishly pleased face. He flipped back to the email with the meme, and then his eyes went wide.
you bcc’d me? how many people did you send this to??
like evvverrryyyooooonnnneee, Amy replied and he saw her wiggle a bit in her seat in her glee. Nicholas made an important note to never, ever let her near his phone when it was unlocked.
you evil bitch, Nicholas wrote back, and he actually heard a real-life lol come from her.
He shook his head and closed the email and minimized the IM window. His work focus was entirely shot, though, so he supposed he’d make the best of it before trying to dive back into it. He went to Google and searched ‘fat harry potter meme.’
Amy had not lied; there were a ton. None of them were particularly the height of comedy, but you couldn’t expect much from a meme. PLAYED QUIDDITCH – BROKE THE BROOM. 10 POINTS TO GRYF-FAT-DOR. THE BOY WHO LIVED – UNTIL I ATE HIM. HE WHO MUST NOT BE NOT SHAMED. The last one made Nicholas laugh a little, in a sad way; it was dangerously close to self-aware. Nicholas shook his head and got up from his chair. He needed coffee to get the day back on track.
When he returned from the kitchen with his David Bowie Glam Breakfast mug full of office machine garbage liquid caffeine gold, he glanced along the rows of his coworkers and saw the meme on more than a few screens. He winced a little; it obviously couldn’t actually be James, but the resemblance was close enough that he’d surely be getting some grief for a few days. Shame it had to happen when he was so new.
Nicholas sat back in his chair with a sigh and closed his eyes to take a sip of his really-not-good coffee, and when he opened them again James was standing right there at the end of the bench, next to him.
“Hey, ah, Nicholas? If you’ve got a moment could you… ah…” Nicholas felt all the blood drain out of his face and his fingers go faintly numb as he followed James’ gaze to his computer screen, his big stupid 22″ monitor that was still showing the Google Image Search of that stupid meme. “Oh. Um.” James let out a shaky breath and closed his eyes for a moment. “Ah, fuck.”
Nicholas’ eyes went wide and he put down his mug. Shit, it actually was him? James wasn’t a slender man by any means — Nicholas had been thinking of him in words like ‘cuddly’ and ‘cute’ and ‘teddy bear’ — so if it was him he’d slimmed down a bit. Nicholas suddenly remembered a time last week in the kitchen when he’d seen James laughing at something Rani had said — and yes, he had a habit of poking his tongue out between his teeth when he laughed.
“I, ah….” Nicholas said, and went to close the tab. “What was it you needed?” When in doubt and terror, he had always thought, just pretend whatever was happening was absolutely not happening.
James blinked a few times and shook his head. “Nothing. Nevermind,” he swallowed visibly and his eyes darted around to anything that wasn’t Nicholas’ now innocent computer screen or his guilty face. “Nice mug,” he said, and then turned on his heel to go back to his desk.
Nicholas glared in Amy’s direction and was pleased to see that she absolutely had witnessed all this. evil. he typed while still looking at her. trickster. loki herself.
no way. she wrote back. he saw? it’s him? really?
unfollowed. blocked. reported. Nicholas wrote and then closed out of IM entirely. He had work to do. He cast a glance over in James’ direction and saw him staring blankly towards his computer screen, face flushed pink.
The internet was a dangerous place, Nicholas concluded as he drank big swigs of his coffee and went back to spreadsheet-gazing. But James was a good enough guy, and they did work in an office full of people who seemed to be mature adults. It would blow over soon enough.
At least, that’s what he thought until the next afternoon, when he went to retrieve one of his stash of Diet Cokes (all of which were labeled with NICK’S SPECIAL POISON DO NOT TOUCH) from the office fridge and saw that someone had printed out one of the memes and taped it onto the fridge door. HOGWARTS – NAMED IT AFTER ME! this one said.
“Ugh,” Nicholas said and pulled it off the door. That one wasn’t even funny. No, none of them were funny, and perhaps nothing he’d ever seen on the internet ever was funny if he thought too hard about it. He turned to throw it out and was greeted by James standing behind him in the kitchen, staring at the offending print-out in his hand.
At least it was crumpled up a bit so it didn’t look like he was about to put it up. “I’m sorry,” he still said, because he was.
“No, don’t…” James said, and shook his head. “It’s nothing.” Nicholas made a good show of crushing the paper entirely in his hand and putting it forcefully in the garbage while James rubbed a hand over his face. “Always ends up happening,” he said, and walked out of the kitchen.
“Ugh,” Nicholas said again. Did they have an HR department? Would telling HR make things worse? “Uuuuughh!” he said to the empty kitchen. Why did he care? No, he knew precisely at least one reason why he cared, and it was that James was a cute boy, and cute boys were often the only thing that could get his black heart involved in anything. “Ugh,” he said once more for good measure, held his Diet Coke to his forehead for a moment, and went after James.
James was not at his desk, but Nicholas found him sitting in an otherwise empty conference room, staring at his phone in the way that was actually staring into the void. “Hey,” Nicholas said as he slipped in, closing the door behind him.
“Hey,” James said, and managed a little smile. Nicholas sat down at the table diagonal from him.
“Look, it wasn’t me,” Nicholas said, and then cringed. “God, ugh, that’s not important. It wasn’t me, not putting it up or sending it around in the first place, but I know who it was and if you’d like me to do something or say something…”
James shook his head. “It doesn’t really matter who it was, honestly,” he said, and gave him a sad little smile. “Eventually someone always finds it. I’d just… really hoped it wouldn’t be so quickly here.”
Nicholas bit his lower lip a little. “It really is you?”
James nodded a little, eyes closed. “Many, many years ago, but yes, it really is me.”
“Could pretend it isn’t, just some boy who looks like you?” Nicholas offered.
James wrinkled his nose up and shook his head again. “No, trust me, that one works even less well than admitting it.”
Nicholas just stared at him for a while, mouth faintly open as he tried to figure out what to do or say. He had such lovely blue eyes, and right then they looked so damned sad. “Would you like a drink?” Nicholas said, to his own surprise.
James raised an eyebrow and looked down at the unopened Diet Coke on the table. He turned it around to look at the added labeling. “Dunno, rather seems to be poisoned.”
Nicholas laughed a little, feeling suddenly carbonated. “No, I mean, like… after work?” Someone was going to find out if there wasn an HR department before the end of the day, one way or another. “I mean, just… like, show you that people here aren’t all bad. Friendly, you know?” He nervously spun the Diet Coke back in a circle on the table. “And if you wanted to talk about… y’know, any of it.”
James was about to answer when there was a knock on the conference room door and someone holding a laptop peeking her head in. “Sorry, we’ve got this room booked for 3PM?”
“Sorry, sorry, right out,” Nicholas said, standing up. He gave James an apologetic glance. “Sorry, talk to you later, then?” He darted out of the room — breaking the laws of conference room scheduling gave him such anxieties.
He was back at his seat taking a few deep breaths to clear the red out of his face when he was startled by a soft thump on the bench beside him. His Diet Coke, which he had clearly forgotten in his haste to leave, was sitting there, and James was on his way back to his seat after having deposited it there. Nicholas kept eyes on him for a moment, but he wouldn’t look back over.
Nicholas sighed and opened the bottle, taking a refreshing drink of God’s greatest nectar. Ridiculous, all of it. He took another swallow and coughed on it a little when he saw an email notification pop up, from James, subject line: a drink.
Nicholas opened that email as quickly as he could click. would be nice, actually, said the body. After work? Pick the place.
Nicholas bit his lip around a smile as he wrote back quickly with an address and began waiting more eagerly than usual for the workday to end.
Meet you there, have some last minute nonsense to deal with, had been James’ last email near the end of the day, so Nicholas had left the office alone, walking a few nervous blocks to the bar he’d chosen. It wasn’t favored by many of their coworkers, due to lacking in happy hour-friendly things like a patio and beer specials, but it was favored by him, due to having Nicholas-friendly things like sneaky little dim-lit booths and a hot Irish bartender.
He grabbed a seat at one of the less sneaky booths, one where he could see the front door when James came in. He fidgeted uselessly with his phone, opening and closing apps in a fussy cycle. What, exactly, was his plan here? To get a sad story? To make a friend? To flirt?
Before he could work himself in too many circles about it, he heard the door open. He held his hand up to signal James’ attention as he peeked in, scanning the room uncertainly. He gave a nod of recognition at spotting Nicholas’ wiggling fingers and headed towards the booth.
“Nice place,” James said as he settled into the booth across from him.
“Thanks, built it myself,” Nicholas said, and then rolled his eyes at his own bad humor. James laughed, at least. “Ugh. Buy you a drink?”
“Gin and tonic would be very nice,” James said, and Nicholas nodded and slung his long legs back out of the booth. He got James’ G&T and a glass of pinot grigio for himself while having a conversation with the hot Irish bartender entirely in raised eyebrows and shrugs, at the end of which he was fairly sure he’d communicated that he wasn’t on a date. He returned to the booth with their drinks.
“Thanks,” James said. “I’ll get the next.” He raised his glass and took a drink, and Nicholas realized he was staring, at his light-colored lashes and his soft mouth. He took a hearty swig of his wine and let out a breath.
“Right, about the thing,” he began. He’d had hours to think about how this was going to go and had managed to come up with no plan at all. “Amy, you know, in Design, she was the one who sent it about in the first place. I haven’t figured out how I’m going to make her suffer for it, but I promise I will.”
James laughed a little and shook his head. “No, really, honestly, you don’t have to do anything,” he said. “It really is inevitable.”
“I still think I’m going to make her clean out the office fridge,” Nicholas said, and James grimaced.
“There are things in there that have been in there since my first day,” James said.
“There are things in there that have been there since my first day, and I’ve been here two years,” Nicholas said, and took another heavy gulp of wine. “Amy’s a friend of mine, really, and she’s… a good woman, just a bit of a handful.”
James took another sip of his drink and tipped the lime slice over into the glass. “I think that thing started floating around on the internet… four years ago?” Four years? Nicholas was falling out of touch. “And people have ended up finding it at my last three jobs. And usually it does end up being okay, but… I’m not saying that it was the main reason I left my last one, but it was part of an overall… we’ll call it an unwelcome environment.”
“That’s awful,” Nicholas said. “I’m sorry.”
James shook his head. “Very, you know, bro sort of place. Was glad to get out of there as soon as I could.” He sighed and twirled the little straw in his glass. “I just was hoping for a bit longer peace before dealing with it here.”
“No bros in our office, I promise,” Nicholas said. “There’s a group that does board games every Wednesday, they have no leg to stand on when it comes to being nerds.”
James tilted his head a little, a sad smile. “Think they’d invite me?”
Nicholas put his hand over his face. “Ugh, I didn’t mean, no, not that you’re a nerd…”
“I am, though, really!” James said, and he was smiling. “I mean, that picture was me. About ten years ago. And that still is me.”
Nicholas peeked out through his fingers. “So… what’s the story there? How on earth did you become a meme?”
James leaned back in the booth. He was wearing a v-neck sweater over a button down, and as he collected his thoughts he reached up to undo one of the buttons. Clearly it made him more relaxed, but Nicholas’ whole heart bounced from his stomach to his throat and back again. He gulped more wine.
“I’m about nineteen in that picture. Ten years ago,” James said, looking off into the dim of the back of the bar instead of at Nicholas. “I mean, it’s not a very unusual story. Fat kid, picked on, got into books since real people were too mean. And when I got my hands on Harry Potter, well, that was just it for me.” He looked back at Nicholas and smiled. “I mean, we were the same age and everything! I may have looked a bit more Dudley Dursley, but I really connected with Harry.”
“Didn’t read them until I was a grown-up, myself,” Nicholas said. “Had an ex who insisted.”
“Right?” James said. “Everyone knows something about Harry Potter. Half the captions on those memes more than reveal that.” He sipped more of his drink. “I ended up making friends online over it. Message boards, Livejournals, that sort of thing. Just kids obsessing over wizards and having fun. It…” Too many of his smiles seemed sad, Nicholas thought. “Things weren’t great for me at home, and it was an escape. No matter how awful things got, I could always just close my eyes and ah! Hogwarts. Safe.”
“Yeah,” Nicholas said. His glass was empty, but he didn’t want to break this moment of sharing for more liquor. “I had something of that myself, but it was David Bowie for me.”
James quirked an eyebrow. “Just close your eyes and imagine David Bowie?”
“Well, yes!” Nicholas said, and James laughed. “God, take me away, Goblin King.” Nicholas was not and had never been coy about his sexuality; it seemed pointless to bother.
“Well, who didn’t think that at some point or another,” James said, and Nicholas’ heart did that exciting loop through his insides again. James tapped on his glass. “I’ll get us another and keep making you make sad faces while I tell my story?”
Nicholas put his hands on his cheeks. “Have I been making faces? Yes, please, I need more wine, obviously.”
He’d collected himself somewhat by the time James came back. Nicholas made a quick scan of James’ fingers as he handed him his glass of wine; no rings! Always promising. “Where was I? Right, sad fat boy online,” James said. His face had a charming pink to it from the drink, a different shade from when Nicholas had seen him mortified before. “I made friends online through Harry Potter, and I ended up meeting a few of them in real life. Folks who lived close to me, and the like. We’d meet up every now and then, utterly geek out and be nightmares in public spaces, the usual things. The picture was taken by one of those friends at a party the bookshop threw the night the last book came out. I was far from the only nearly adult man dressed as Harry Potter there that night, and I was not even the fattest one!”
“We’ve all got pictures like that, yeah?” Nicholas said. “I mean, god help me, when I was in my teens? Raver.” James snorted out a laugh while Nicholas started to mime spinning glowsticks in his hands. “Worst hair, worst clothes, worst everything, and my mother’s got pictures of it all.” He reached over and knocked James’ lime slice into his glass, which made James raise both eyebrows. So maybe he was feeling a bit bold. “But my mother didn’t put any of them online.”
James picked the straw out of his glass and pointed it at Nicholas. “Ah, that is the thing, exactly,” he said. “We all met online, so naturally we put the photos from the night up online. There were tons of them! And, god, this was before smartphones, even. Kids these days must have even more of a situation.” He shook his head and sipped his drink. “So, yeah. Those pictures were just there for years, pretty much forgotten.”
“So, what, did some rando stumble upon them and just decide to be cruel?” Nicholas asked.
James sighed. “I did think that for a long time, really,” he said. “But once it started going around, once people started emailing it to me going ‘oh, hey, isn’t this you?’ I did a little sleuthing and discovered who originated the meme, and it was…”
Nicholas put his hands up over his mouth. “Oh god. It was an ex, wasn’t it?”
James pointed a finger at him and bowed his head. “Ten points for… what are you, Ravenclaw?”
Nicholas cringed, wrinkling his nose up. “I tell people I am but when I take those tests online it always says Slytherin.”
James shrugged. “Ah, well, so was the ex. It was a very Harry and Draco sort of thing, exciting when you’re in your early twenties, but, ugh…”
Nicholas brought his glass of wine very slowly and calmly to his lips. “Classic Draco, yes, posting memes.”
“He would, though,” James said, and seemed very passionate about it. “You know he absolutely would.” He laughed a little at himself, shaking it off. “So, yes, he made a meme out of me being a fat teenage nerd and now it lives on the internet forever.” He poked at the ice in his drink with his little straw. “Even though I am now trying to live a life as a slightly less fat adult nerd.”
Nicholas leaned his chin on his hand, elbow propped on the table. No need to restrain himself now that James had so neatly let that pronoun drop onto the table. “You do seem like quite a cool nerd, actually.”
James smiled at him and leaned back, looking him over. Well, things were becoming clearer by the moment. “In a way the whole mess has probably made me a bit cooler? Like, I’ve had to learn how to own it and be confident in myself and who I am. Like, okay, yeah, I was that nerdy kid, but that nerdy kid grew up and he’s me, and that’s… it’s okay.”
“Yeah?” Nicholas said.
James’ cheeks puffed out as he let out a breath. “Well, okay, it’s mostly okay. Not in my last office, it was not okay at all. Once they’d seen that and saw this…” He started rolling up his sleeve and Nicholas had never been so enraptured of the revelation of someone’s pale and faintly freckled wrist. And then he saw the this in question.
“Oh, my,” Nicholas said. The tattoo was really quite lovely, a stylized version of the Gryffindor house crest, proud lion rearing up on James’ forearm just beneath his elbow.
“There’s more of it, it actually goes all the way up the arm,” James said. “Horcruxes and owls and brooms and the whole sort.”
“I’d really like to see it all,” Nicholas said, and felt himself pinken at how shamelessly breathy his voice had gotten.
James looked at him for a moment before starting to roll his sleeve back down. “Well… maybe you will.” He took a slow sip of his drink. “You do seem to be doing the opposite of bullying me over the whole thing.”
“I am, yes. Opposite,” Nicholas said, and reached over to pluck the little straw from James’ drink. He put it between his teeth and wiggled it faintly. “So, Harry and Draco together, then? Do tell me more.”
James laughed and leaned in over the table. “This may take a few more drinks.”
“Anything but that,” Nicholas said, and got a grin from James that felt quite fucking magical, indeed.
More drinks led to a very enlightening discussion of the sexy potential available in Harry and Draco’s rivalry, and to Nicholas admitting that the first boy he’d ever had a crush on had genuinely been a ginger named Ronald, and, ultimately, to the two of them in the back of a car to James’ place fairly shamelessly making out.
“Five stars, definitely five stars,” Nicholas muttered to his phone as he wrote ‘SORRY XOXO’ in their Uber driver’s review section while James found his keys to get his front door open.
“Get in here,” James said as he grabbed Nicholas by the hand and pulled him inside his apartment.
“Ooh, accio homo,” Nicholas said, and they laughed together as he wrapped his arms around James’ shoulders.
“See, everyone knows it,” James said as he kissed Nicholas’ neck. He was just enough shorter that it put him at the right height to go right for the throat, the scruff of his slight beard tickling Nicholas’ skin, sending thrills all the way down to his ankles.
“Cultural touchstone,” Nicholas murmured as he tried to get his hands under James’ shirt. “Where’s your bedroom?”
James took both of his hands and led him while still attempting to kiss him; together they only crashed into one or two corners or pieces of furniture. Nicholas nearly threw himself onto James’ bed, sprawling his long limbs across the mattress. “This is nice,” he said as James crawled over top of him, going right for his neck again. He hoped he’d get to parade into work in the morning mottled up with kiss marks; his thirties had not given him enough chances to do that.
“Very nice,” James said as he worked on getting Nicholas out of his shirt. He had some tattoos himself, just small little doodles and symbols that had all been meaningful for whatever reason at the time. They felt very meaningful again as the served as targets for James’ lips and teeth to tease at.
“Had a crush on you from your first day,” Nicholas said as he put his hands under James’ shirt, awkwardly trying to get sweater and button-down off all at once. James snorted a laugh and sat up to do it himself much more efficiently. Nicholas looked up at him through heavy lashes, grinning lazily as he reached up to pet his long fingers through the light-colored hair on James’ chest. The tattoo on his arm was a rich swirl of colors that Nicholas would have to take full stock of, later. “Think I might have had a crush on the you in that picture, too.”
James made a face at that, nose wrinkled up and mouth pursed in dismay. “Oh, but you were a raver. Not a chance.”
Nicholas leaned his head back to laugh and then bit his lip around a throaty moan as James leaned down to kiss his chest again. He headed downward, biting at Nicholas’ collarbones and stopping to flick his tongue over a nipple. Nicholas put his fingers into James’ hair and heard him make a pleased purr, so he did it some more.
“Eye on you, too,” James said as he snagged Nicholas’ hand and slipped one of his fingers between his lips. Nicholas couldn’t keep from moaning loud as he fellated it gorgeously, tongue clever over each of the knobby bones of Nicholas’ knuckles. He drew back from it with a nip on his fingertip. “Thought I might have to wait until the holiday party to make a pass.”
“Internet cruelty!” Nicholas said breathlessly as James undid his jeans. “It is good for something after all oh god yes please.” James had a hand around his cock and gave it a long stroke. He did some magnificent tease playing with his foreskin that made Nicholas arch off the bed. “Wands, something about wands, wand joke,” he said, moaning out his laugh.
“You like the Potter thing,” James said, and his own voice was thick and pleased. “And I like these fucking David Bowie tight pants of yours, but I’d rather like them off.” They worked together to peel them off of Nicholas, and James took time in the triumph after the struggle to take the rest of his clothes off as well.
James settled on top of him, a solid weight that made Nicholas feel warm deep inside, made him feel like he had champagne bubbles coursing through his veins. James kissed him again as he started stroking him off once more, his mouth taking sweetly while his fingers made Nicholas’ body sing. He wanted James to suck him off, quite badly, wanted to put his fingers in his hair while he did and get him to make that noise again, but he also wanted to keep kissing him, maybe forever. He wrapped his hand around James’ cock while he pondered the dilemma.
James huffed out a low growl and thrust into Nicholas’ hand, and that roll of his hips on top of him gave Nicholas even better ideas about other possibilities. They’d have to do this again, again and again. Nicholas hadn’t even heard everything about Sirius and Remus yet.
James kept working his cock, his hand heavy and constant while still finding ways to tease. Nicholas gasped and groaned into his mouth as he jerked him off in kind, his own fingers deft but strong. His mind was pinging around self satisfied thoughts of how good he was at giving handjobs when James made that low sound again and suddenly pinned Nicholas’ other hand to the mattress.
Nicholas came just two more strokes after that, really quite to his own surprise.
James kept his hand held down as bent until his face was buried against Nicholas’ neck, breath hot over his collarbones. “Fucking gorgeous, you’re fucking gorgeous,” he said in an almost inaudible murmur before letting out a loud shout as he came in hot splashes over Nicholas’s stomach.
James rolled off of him to sprawl on the bed, or at least as much as he could in the space Nicholas hadn’t claimed. He scooted over a little and turned his head enough to nuzzle James’ shoulder.
“I like you,” he said into James shoulder, giving a small kiss to a freckle there he’d decided was his favorite.
“Yes, I like you, too,” James said, still breathless. “Feeling much more secure about making friends at work right now.”
Nicholas laughed and kissed his shoulder. He managed to get his eyes a little more open again and made a soft sound. The pillows their heads were resting on had cases that were a dark scarlet, with just a little stripe of gold near the edge. “Oh, Gryffindor colors,” he said.
“Mm, lucky find at a department store,” James said, voice sleepy.
Nicholas tossed an arm over James’ stomach and snuggled himself in. “Whatever will they say when they hear you’ve slept with a Slytherin.”
James snorted and curled his hand around Nicholas’, warm and secure. “Nothing I can’t handle.”
Nicholas had to wake up at an absurdly early hour to escape James’ place and get back to his own for a shower and change of clothes to avoid a full-on walk of shame. The two of them had kissed sleepily in the blue dawn light and Nicholas knew he’d be back.
To his disappointment only a few of James’ love bites had made a lasting impression on his skin, and all of those were places covered up by his shirt. It still felt good to know they were there under his clothes as he settled into his seat at work.
He’d overcompensated a bit with his early start and the office was still mildly empty. He drank bad coffee out of his David Bowie mug and stared at his inbox. He hadn’t deleted the mail from Amy with the idiot meme that started it all. He opened it again for a quick look and determined that yes, he absolutely would’ve.
Another, more important idea settled on him, though. He opened up his personal email in another window and did a search for an email his mother had sent him last year, subject line cute pictures :)
The email he wrote started Amy, but the address he entered in was to All.
omg can’t believe this picture my mother sent me. I think I was seventeen. JNCOs!!!!!!
He pasted in the photo of himself, all decked out in awful raver glory, glow-in-the-dark necklaces and all, and hit send.
He watched when James came in and got to his seat; they gave each other furtive, pleased little glances, but that wasn’t what Nicholas was waiting for. He watched James’ eyes skim over his screen, saw a few clicks of his mouse, and then saw his eyes go wide, and then soft. He looked to Nicholas and gave him a smile that wasn’t sad, not in the least.
His email alert went off a few seconds later with an email from James that had a blank subject line, but the body just read, 100 points to Slytherin. Nicholas wrote back with OONTZ OONTZ OONTZ OONTZ and got that fizzy feeling inside as he watched James break into a clear and legitimate lol.
Nicholas taped his picture to the office fridge himself.