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There were certain things that Rodney just didn’t bother with: learning names, talking to Hufflepuffs, listening to arguably intelligent authority figures. The first was why they invented nicknames, Cadman admirably fielded the second, and the third more often than not got him relegated to detention. Which was horrible and often sweat-inducing, but a small price to pay for being able to speak his mind.

Dating John, however, meant calling Miko Miko, and having civil conversations with Ford, and playing nice with John’s favorite teacher, who’d developed a camaraderie with the Gryffindor that Rodney was incredibly leery of. Professor Weasley was old. Well, forties or something. His parents’ age, at any rate, and John honestly shouldn’t be having such raucous conversations with the professor outside of class (he could hear them laughing all the way down the hall and around the corner). Also, the werewolf speculations didn’t exactly do anything to ease Rodney’s mind.

Much to his dismay, while Rodney could still sneer and smirk and glare at Professor Weasley, he couldn’t outright insult him. The professor didn’t even seem to care, really, except John would get quietly disappointed, and that never failed to make Rodney feel like an utter shit.

But then Rodney accidentally murmured, “Pervert,” within John’s hearing after hauling him out of the Great Hall and away from the professor (who’d been, as far as Rodney could surmise, telling Goblin tales and patently false stories about breaking curses in Egypt) and John got huffy and pouted at him, and that’s when Rodney realized Professor Weasley totally wasn’t the pervert in that scenario.

“Oh my god, you have a crush on him, don’t you?” Rodney snapped, rounding on him once they were in the corridor.

John’s pout deepened. “No.”

“You do! You so completely do! I can’t believe this!”

“Stop shouting, Rodney,” John hissed, slapping a hand over his mouth and glancing anxiously over his shoulder towards the half-open Great Hall doors.

Rodney mumbled, “This constitutes cheating,” against John’s palm, glowering. It wasn’t exactly a coherent mumble, but John seemed to get the gist of it.


Rodney pried John’s fingers just low enough to growl, “Cheating,” and, god, he was hurt. Tiny, aching pangs in his chest.

John’s grip loosened, lips pressed together, fingers curled against Rodney’s, and then Rodney dropped John’s hand completely and walked away.

Later, it was highly disconcerting for Rodney to figure out that he didn’t love John any less, and that it was all just really stupid, anyhow, since Professor Weasley was married (according to Cadman, at least, who’d berated him quite soundly for effectively dumping John, although, really, he totally hadn’t) and twice their age, and it was a silly, unreciprocated crush. Like Rodney’s on Professor Abbott. Only apparently more intense, since Rodney never actually sought her company outside of class, and never laughed at every single thing she said, but then thinking that made Rodney think about John’s laugh, and how much he sounded like a donkey when it was genuine enough, and how John never sounded like a donkey around Professor Weasley, so.

So essentially he needed to apologize to John.

Rodney had never apologized to John before. He hardly ever apologized for anything, really (except for when John made him) and he’d always been entirely too infatuated with John to do anything to him that would actually require an apology, so he was pretty much at a loss.

He briefly pondered getting Chuck to do it for him. Cadman told him to man up, though, and smacked the back of his head, and he figured this was something he needed to do himself. Damn it.

The first step in damage control, Rodney realized, was braving the Gryffindor common room.

Gryffindors were never particularly inviting towards Rodney during the best of times (a feeling Rodney mutually fostered, of course) and they seemed especially hostile now that Rodney had (allegedly) broken John’s heart.

Rodney was fully willing to protest that point, except when Lorne and Elliot finally let him through the portrait hole he found a really, really angry-looking John. Somehow, he hadn’t been prepared for that.

His mouth was tight, and his eyes were dark and narrowed, and his hands were fisted against his sides, as if he was trying very, very hard not to punch Rodney in the head. Rodney and his delicate constitution appreciated his restraint.

“Can I, uh, talk to you for a moment?” Rodney managed, worrying his tie. “Without the unwashed masses, perhaps?”

John wordlessly pushed him back out the portrait hole, stepping out into the hall behind him, then standing rigidly against the stone wall. And John standing rigidly when he could’ve easily lounged was kind of scary and wrong and made Rodney’s throat dry.

“So,” Rodney said, and since John was staring straight at him, expression unmoved, Rodney decided that the painting over John’s shoulder was really quite fascinating. Excellent use of colors, even if the gnarled old coot in the boat was making faces at him.

John tapped his foot.

“So,” Rodney started again, “apparently I was irrationally jealous—”

“And an ass.”

“And an ass, righ—now hold on, I wasn’t—”


“Okay, fine,” Rodney harrumphed, tipping his chin up. “I didn’t come here to argue with you.”

And then John said, “You came here to apologize,” just as Rodney went, “I came here to—wait, what?” startled into catching John’s eyes.

John arched a pissy eyebrow at him.

Rodney was stuck between irritation at John’s presumptuousness and genuine fear that if John already knew he was going to apologize, then why the hell had he been so angry to see him? It led Rodney to believe that John might not want to forgive him at all, and if that was the case, Rodney would’ve preferred not to have broached the subject to begin with.

It was a little late for second thoughts, though, and Rodney said, “Just. Give me a minute,” and shifted his feet and dropped his gaze to the Gryffindor crest on John’s robes. John’s chest barely moved, and Rodney wondered idly if he was holding his breath.

Finally, Rodney took a deep breath and said in a rush, “I was jealous, and I shouldn’t have been, because Professor Weasley is old and decrepit and entirely too ginger,” he waved a hand, “but that doesn’t matter now, and you should know that I wouldn’t actually ever hurt you on purpose, and I’m sorry.”

Silence. He’d probably pushed it with the decrepit bit, but then he sensed the way John’s entire body relaxed, like he hadn’t really believed Rodney was going to follow through with it, and been bracing himself for disappointment. That might’ve explained the anger, too.

Then John prompted, “About?” and Rodney recognized that lazy tone, the slightly teasing amusement, and he snapped, “Oh, for god’s sake, you know,” and John, smiling that smile he only smiled for him (the one that could’ve landed him in Hufflepuff, really, if he hadn’t had the good sense to use it so judiciously), bumped Rodney’s shoulder with a fist.

“Yeah,” he said. “I know.”