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augury_corner in augury_rpg

Are you avoiding me?

Who: Michael Corner and Ernie Macmillan.
What: After a day of seemingly being ducked, Michael confronts Ernie.
Where: The kitchens.
When: After dinner; November 15th, 1997.
Status: Complete.



It was a two-pronged plan. Lack of hunger and a desire to avoid Anthony brought Michael to skip dinner, instead engaging in a longer training session with the unfortunately restored Dueling Golem. He was literally famished afterward, his world a little woozy. Part one was filling his own stomach in the form of some leftover turkey and gravy made into an open faced hot sandwich.

The second- catch Ernie unawares as he made his way to the Commons. He waited just inside the Kitchens then, watching for the stout, candy-snacking form of Ernie to make himself known before his rounds. His wand subtly at the ready, he waited until his quarry made themselves. Michael struck just a bit before Ernie entered. He prowled behind him and waved his wand.

"Petrificus Totalus", Michael whispered and swished his wand at the back of his friend, leerily looking about to make sure no one saw him.

Comments

That morning at breakfast, when Ernie had looked over at the Ravenclaw table to check on his friends, the sight of Michael had suddenly reminded Ernie of Hannah's comments from the night before. It made him feel uncomfortable, something he didn't want to feel around his friend, and thus he'd decided to keep to his usal busy schedule in order to distract himself. In all likelihood, come the next day, it would all be forgotten and everything could go back to normal.

That all changed, however, when Ernie had decided to stop by the kitchens after dinner for an extra helping of dessert - had he done so at dinner, Hannah no doubt would have commented on it. He had turned a corner, and the next thing he knew, he was stunned and laid out flat on his back.

Though stone-stiff on the outside, he was beginning to panic on the inside. His first thought was that Millicent had finally decided to make an attack on him to see how far the restrictions of the betrothal contract went. Please, Merlin, help me! Damn it, I can't remember how long a petrification spells lasts!
Instead a warmer and considerably nicer looking face came into Ernie's view- and promptly muttered, 'Levicorpus' at him. Michael ushered Ernie's hovering body into the kitchens, closed the door and then gently set Ernie down. "Are you avoiding me?" Michael asked, pulling his hair back with his fingers. "Oh.... right sorry," and with a wand swish, the petrificative aspect of the magic was ended.

Michael leaned on one hand against the kitchen counter and sighed, "I keep trying to catch you, and you keep... well... ducking past."
Ernie had been relieved when he saw it was just Michael, but he'd felt a strange trepidation, wondering why his friend would do such a thing. Not once, however, did it ever cross his mind that Michael wished him ill. At the first question, Ernie wondered if his eyes showed his response - 'How the bloody hell can I answer you if I'm petrified?!' Luckily, Michael seemed to understand and ended the spell.

"Was that really necessary?" he asked as he rolled his shoulders, still feeling a little stiff from the spell. "I've just been a little busy with school and tutoring and all that." The reply was given with his eyes averted, not quite able to meet Michael's gaze and speak a misleading truth as the one he'd just spoken.
Michael chuckled, "Bull," he said in a scoffed breath, "I'm just as busy as you, and we've always made time to talk. Especially on weekends." Michael shrugged and pursed his lips, "Probably wasn't. But it got you here, didn't it?" Michael looked down at his friend, his grey gaze concerned but gentle, "Come on mate, whats going on. I already lost one friend today, why are you avoiding me?"

Michael let off the counter he was leaning on and moved to one of the large islands where his half-eaten food remained. He curlled his hair behind his ears, "I know, I'm being oversensitive. But its not like you. I'm sort of used to us... well... amiably meeting each other halfway because we're mates. I guess."
"Already lost one friend?" At that, Ernie stood up and moved to Michael's side, concerned. "Merlin, not Anthony? You two have been so close... It's this whole thing with him trying to infiltrate the other side, and Podmore, and all of that, isn't it."

He stood at the island next to Michael, his gaze averting again, but this time at the food that had been left partly-eaten on the counter. He reached out and took a piece to eat.

"It's- You're still my mate, Michael. It's just, Hannah said something last night - I love her, but she can be a real prat at times. It just made me a little uncomfortable, and I just needed a day to get over it. It's nothing to worry about, really."
Michael grimly nodded, oddly distant and cold in how he held his face. "Yes. Partially. Oh, and me bleeding, sweating and generally being in pain for an hour or two a day is a stupid and selfish thing on my part, that is utterly pointless. And that I'm stupid and irresponsible if I agreed with his sister- who by the way was arrested yesterday and Anthony's only concern was how it affected his reputation."

Michael nodded in mock acceptance, but it was pretty evident that the recounting of the event had brought his anger rushing back.

Michael watched as Ernie snagged a small piece of his half-eaten dinner, and decided that he would offer half by giving Ernie a fork. Then he took up his own fork and cut off a section he had already begun eating, placing it in his mouth. He listened to why Ernie was avoiding him, finding it vague at best.

"Well, what'd she say then? Was it about me? Or you? I mean... why would you avoid me over something she said?"
"I'm sure that's not true," Ernie argued at the assumption that Anthony was only concerned about reputation. "When we're worried about those we care about, sometimes... we pick up on something less than significant to use because it's easier to worry about that than the alternative. It might be easier for him to worry about reputation than the fact that his sister was in trouble and actual danger."

He shrugged, then took the offered fork and continued eating Michael's dinner, even though he'd had his own up in the Great Hall.

"She can be a ruddy silly girl at times," he replied with a pout. "Megan and I broke up only days ago, and she has the nerve to ask me if I'm attracted to other people, you know that? Ridiculous." He speared another piece of food as if in emphasis.
Michael shrugged a little bitterly, "Well... whatever. He still said what I was doing was pointless and wrong. And that I was a fool for agreeing with Rachel. Those just aren't things you're supposed to say to a friend." Michael looked on a little guiltily and sighed. "I know I brought it up, but lets talk about something else."

Michael stabbed a new potato and a hunk of munster and placed it in his mouth, staring at Ernie as he again vaguely outlined what was said. "She probably just wants to gauge how you're doing and doesn't know exactly how to do it." Michael tilted his head to the side and squinted, "That doesn't explain why you're avoiding me though." Alright clearly he's going to make me guess... avoiding me plus Abbott asking if he was attracted to someone else...

Michael gawked, "What, wait, you're attracted to me?" A faint blush made its way over Michael's face, and he looked bashfully away.
"He didn't actually say that... did he?" Ernie was confused, to say the least. That didn't sound like the Anthony Goldstein he knew, but then, these were times that changed people - and he'd never really known Anthony all that well. "All right, I'll drop it - but if something's up, I want you to know you can come to me," he finished, reaching out a hand to lay on Michael's shoulder - but stopped as he remembered something Hannah had mentioned the night before about them touching each other. Instead, he dropped his hand and concentrated on Michael's food.

"More like she's being nosy and thinking that because she's still with somebody, then I've got to be too. You know how it is when you start something with someone, you think everyone should be as happy as you are."

Ernie's eyes all but bugged out at Michael's conclusion and subsequent blush. "What? I never said that!" Ernie replied defensively. "That's what she asked me, nosy as she is. She thinks- you know how girls are, they always see too much into things. Says we touch each other too much for just being mates, or something dumb like that. I still can't believe she asked me this soon after everything," he finished with a pout, not noticing the fact that he hadn't actually answered the question with any honesty - not to Hannah, nor to Michael, and certainly not to himself. It was simply... too soon for any such thoughts.
"He meant it." Michael nodded, confirming Anthony's spirit of words, rather than direct quotation. Michael noticed the hand raise up, hesitate and pull away, and in his mind he wondered exactly why- the answer was short in coming.

Michael sighed at Ernie's harshness towards Hannah, but he completely understood it. He generally wanted to puke when he saw couples together after Theodore had made his feelings clear. Chief among them that made him nauseous, unfortunately, were Ernie and Megan. Yet he took no joy in their ending, tasting only guilt at how mean he had been. He ventured over to the cold pantry and took out a pitcher of frosty orange juice, and then took down two small glasses. He poured the citrusy nectar into both while he chatted. "Sort of makes you want to vomit when people get like that." Michael said with a smirk. "And you're single. I've probably been guilty of doing it too, back with Gin or Cho." He shrugged, "I reckon Hannah's heart is in the right place, but she just doesn't understand how you feel right now."

Michael stared off into space, "Like you never want to be touched again... and you're sure you'll end life as a bachelor." He smirked and shook his head, "It doesn't quite work that way I've found. But the illusion at the time is comforting. We feel hurt and betrayed... so sod the world, they'll have to get on without us."

Then Ernie made Michael face two fronts of a war at once- what was revealed, and what he had to say to keep his friend sane and happy. "I don't think our friendship or how we behave with one another is anybody else's business, quite frankly. Its between us, and thats how it should always be. Sod the polltakers." Michael looked down at his hands and realized he was carrying juice for two... and they were sharing his plate like some couple in love. Hannah did, unfortunately, make an unusual point. "I don't think either of us are ready for anything," he said after his brief hesitation, setting the glass down in front of Ernie. I mean... I'm sure Hannah's all get back up on that horse and hurrah. But sometimes you just have to sit and take stock for awhile. Examine your options and clear your head."
"Yeah," Ernie agreed with Michael's sentiments. "And yes, I love her, and know she only wants the best for me, but like you said... well, I basically told her there was only one person I wanted and who didn't want to be with me anymore, and that I didn't think I'd ever care for anyone else like that again."

He looked up from the food, a look of epiphany upon his face. "So this is what you meant back then, isn't it. I- I did the same thing to you, didn't I. I'm so sorry, mate. I'm really, really sorry. I didn't know, didn't realize this was how you felt."

Ernie accepted the glass of juice and nodded. "You're right, I know it. We're damaged goods is what we are, you and I. You don't just mend in a day and move on. And who's to say how mates should and shouldn't act with each other? You and I have been through quite a bit lately - so what if we're close. Why does that have to mean anything? If you ask me, Hannah's been looking into things far too closely ever since Colin." A sip of juice helped wash down some of the shared meal, then Ernie took another bite, thinking how they needed dessert.
Michael looked up at Ernie and a slow to rise smirk as slowly died away into seriousness. "Truth is mate, you're absolutely right. You won't care for anyone else like you did Megan. It'll be different every time, once you choose to try again- and you will." Michael half-grinned and shrugged, "You will, you'll try again. We all keep trying, like fools. Because the desolation gets so old and so tiring that we force ourselves out of our rut. Or in the case of rebounder types, you force yourself to try and be serious again. And some will be equal but different from Megan, and some won't be equal at all."

Michael waved in a shrug, trying to dismiss Ernie's apology, "Look its in the past. Because quite frankly, its two extremes. Couples can't help but flaunt what they have, and single people who just got out or want it badly are always going to look on with envious eyes. Its life." Michael gripped the table and shrugged, "And yet the world goes on spinning."

Michael chewed a piece of broccoli and shrugged, "But yeah for right now, we're damaged goods. We've got our baggage." With the plate mostly finished, Michael coincidentally seemed to read Ernie's mind- because it was on his own. He ventured back over to the kitchen section and did some digging, finding a third of a leftover carrot cake. He hoisted it onto his slender fingers and carried it over. "We do what we want in our relationship and sod the critics." Michael said. "Hannah can wonder about us all she wants. Its not really her business. But quite frankly, in theory- you and I could do a lot worse than each other. We're both loyal, loving and have a lot to give." He smirked, "Even if there's idiots out there that don't want it."

A grey gaze looked at Ernie once again, "One kiss doesn't make you a raging bisexual. You told me you weren't ever attracted to Colin, and you were just experimenting." Michael took the first stab at the cake, "But if you ever do have those feelings again, there's no reason why you should avoid them. Its ninety-nine percent the same."
Ernie listened to Michael's wise words, nodding sagely. He knew his friend was right, but it would still take time - something they both knew as well.

"You know, my Mum has a saying - she has quite a few saying," he smiled as he explained, "but this one... she says baggage is what you get when you make the journey. That a person without baggage hasn't lived life enough to gain any. I think I finally understand that one because, no matter how much the last few days have hurt... I wouldn't give up a single minute with her."

The moment the carrot cake came into view, Ernie's eyes widened impossibly and his tongue instinctively flickered out to wet his lips. He only half-heard what Michael said next as his whole attention was fully on the cake. The moment it was within reach, he struck out with his fork to snag a bite. As the cream cheese icing met his tongue, he closed his eyes - carrot cake had always been pure heaven to him. "Oh yeah, that's the stuff," he muttered, opening his eyes and forking up another piece in time to hear the rest of Michael's words.

"We'll see when the time comes," he said softly, ducking his head a moment. "If the time comes. I don't know, I- I just don't think I'm ready to think about it all. It wasn't necessary as long as I was with Meg, but..." He sighed. "Truth is, I don't know who or what attracts me. The number of times I know I've felt something like that for someone I can count on one hand and have fingers to spare. But attraction or no... I can't deny that I liked it, now can I."

Another ecstatic bite of carrot cake, and another pause. "Someday, mate. When I'm ready. Until then, I need to tell Hannah to mind her own bloody business."
Michael nodded, "Your Mum makes sense to me. I wouldn't change the relationships I've been in so far, even though two of them hurt. I still sort of grew."

A very amused chuckle came from Michael at Ernie's lust for the cake, "I thought you said you needed time to love again," he said, ircling the fork in a gesture to the carrot cake. "Do you two want to be alone?"

Michael shrugged again, finishing his own rather large stab at the cake. "So don't think about it right now. I'm not going to force you. But you should definitely tell Hannah to mind her own beeswax." Michael smirked privately to himself while he played in a glob of frosting, "Just because we touch each other doesn't mean we covet.. you know... getting squelchy together."
At Michael's kidding about love and the cake, Ernie simply responded by shoving his friend in the shoulder before continuing his passion for cream cheese.

Then, he snorted. "Getting squelchy? Merlin, you're quite the romantic, aren't you Michael," Ernie teased. "It's a surprise they're not lined up around the corner. You keep talking like that, and you'll be sweeping me off my feet in no time. Is that how Muggles romance one another?"

Then as the piece de resistance, Ernie waved his cake-laden fork in Michael's direction, leaving a streak of cream cheese down his friend's nose. At this, he couldn't hold his laughter back any longer and let it loose.
Yes! Michael inwardly thought as his body rocked back from the shove. A shove and a laugh... soon Ernie would be back to his old self. "I can put down a registry for you and the cake. Maybe... Honeydukes? In the serveware department?"

"What," Michael shrugged and laughed, "Seducing you with flowers and chocolates and pretty words is a bad idea right now," he teased, puckering his lips in mock-irritation. He sighed and peered down at the cake, "Muggles aren't much different. Closets and cubbyholes and such." He grinned devilishly, eyes poignant, "Alot of Muggles try to get lucky at the cinema... or in overlooks of the city inside of cars."

"Actually I'm very romantic. I could out-romance you anyday, I'll wager." He grinned at Ernie then but his brag was short-lived. A second later and there was icing on his somewhat beaky nose.

Michael raised a single eyebrow. "You know... I so like you Ernie. Its a shame that I must destroy you now." He teased, and without even wiping it off his nose, Michael scooped an ample portion of icing onto two fingers and with a glare of seriousness advanced on his mate.
Ernie chuckled at the idea of anyone, let alone a couple of Muggles, trying to make the best of a small closet or cubby hole. "Well, I remember the cinema was dark, but what about the people around you? Aren't they afraid of being caught? And then there's the bloke with the light that goes down the room - seems like it's his job to catch people." Ernie's head tilted as he overthought the idea. "And 'cars', automobiles... I see we're coming full circle, mate. Wasn't it just a few weeks ago you were explaining to me that very point?"

Ernie put on an affronted look. "You? Out-romance me? I think not, Michael."

Ernie's eyebrows lifted comically at the threat of 'destruction', as if to say Bring it on. His expression, however, turned into one of horror as Michael used the icing as a threat. "Merlin, Michael, no! That's such... a wasted ot good icing!" He backed away from his friend with every step Michael took.
Michael audibly scoffed and scrunched his face in a smirk, "I don't know Ernie. They probably are, but I suppose if you're that horny, that desperate for someplace alone... you don't really care. That and most people are paying attention to the movie." And then Michael shrugged, "I haven't tried it myself.

Michael nodded, "Yeah I did. Trying to anyway, I got the feeling I mostly lost you at the time."

Michael's grey gaze glinted in mischief at Ernie's return challenge and mock-affront, "Well, we have no way to test the theory really. But I still think I could out-romance you." He finished with a grin.

Michael moved undaunted towards Ernie, his finger threatening to smear icing on Ernie. He made several stab-like feints to make Ernie lurch, then would wiggle his finger at him. "So lick it off when we're done." He smirked, "Or choose someone to do it for you. Fancy any of the House Elves to do it?"
Ernie couldn't imagine being so desperate for a place alone to snog that he'd settle for a crowded cinema, but he supposed some people probably fancied the idea of getting caught. He simply shook his head at the thought.

"Does your family have an automobile?" he asked out of curiosity. "Justin always visited me more often than I did him, and though I think they had one, I never got to see it up close. Perhaps that's why I still don't get it, I've never been for a ride in one."

Ernie grinned back. "Not to mention it's a rather subjective thing, especially considering one's target. Megan... wasn't very receptive to anything resembling romance."

Ernie jumped back with every feint in his direction, not wanting to get icing all over his nice clothes. "Me lick it off? Not on your life! And if you're not nice to me, I'll tell Hermione you suggested getting the House Elves to lick it off your fingers - she'd have a field day with you for that."
"Aye yeah, a couple," Michael nodded, "My Mum and my Dad both do. Mum works downtown and the tube is mostly fine, but we live more in outer edges of Bristol. Dad works clearly on the other side, so he generally takes the tube from downtown. He sometimes catches a ride home with Mum and they carpool." Michael shrugged, wondering how much of this was going over Ernie's head, "But he sometimes works late hours. Or plain dodgy hours."

Michael paused in thought, "If you pop down to Bristol for the holiday, maybe we should go for a drive. A bit south or west and we're in the Marches- its brilliant country. The West Country's quite... well... a paragon of Englishness, to my mind." Michael smiled a bit more, "With a bit of Welsh in there of course. Not really all that far from Cardiff."

Michael shrugged, "Ah well thats true. Its too bad about Megan disliking romance. Its such a brilliant aspect of a relationship I think." His eyes met Ernie's and danced happily, "When their eyes light up when they see what you went through just to see said smile- makes it all worthwhile."

Michael chuckled darkly, "I hardly mean it off my finger there, mate," Michael said, and with a swipe-stab he landed a glob of it against Ernie's neck. He feinted and tried to get the rest on his Ernie's nose, as a fitting revenge.
"I'll make the time, mate," Ernie replied with a smile. "With everything that's going on, I don't want to go the whole hols without seeing my best mates. You can't help but wonder if-" His lips shut firmly. -if each time will be the last.

Ernie was quiet a moment as Michael described a reaction to a romantic gesture. Ernie had worked so hard so often to do nice things - romantic or not - for Megan. Had she ever reacted in such a way? He racked his mind, but had yet to come up with such a memory. Had she ever reacted positively to his efforts, other than to say she never wanted him to do anything 'romantic' for her, or to remind him she wasn't a feminine girl who liked such things? The answer made his chest ache, and he quickly moved his thoughts away from such things. They were better left to another time.

Ernie gasped as he felt a glob of icing sticking to his neck after one of Michael's jabs. His hand went to the spot and immediately wiped the sticky substance away from his skin... but then he was unable to resist lifting his finger to his lips for a taste.

It was as he was tasting that he was distracted and forgot to duck away when Michael aimed for his nose. Now, they matched.
"You better," Michael teased, sort of interjecting over Ernie's trailed sentence. He frowned inwardly, thinking the same as Ernie, and it made him so uncomfortable to know that Ernie could be right. Maybe thats why he interjected- to avoid the discomfort. It didn't stop him from smiling at Ernie.

Ernie ended up saying nothing about romance, and Michael decided not to press it. It was evident that he was thinking too hard.

Michael laughed out loud as he streaked icing in two places on Ernie, in a way creating his twin. "We're acting like little kids," Michael chuckled, staring at Ernie's nose and then crossing his eyes to look at his own. Michael raised his hands in defense to show Ernie he was no threat.

A warm smile spread over Michael's face and he gently stepped closer. Moving, he cupped the clean side of Ernie's neck as he drew close. His grey eyes kindly looked into Ernie's eyes and he smiled slowly. As he did, he swiped the icing from Ernie's neck and sacrificed his trousers by wiping them there. "So are we alright?" Michael asked in a gentle, soft tone, looking at Ernie with a sidelong glance. He fingers then slid down Ernie's nose and removed the icing there.
"Well, I've heard plenty of girls talk about how us blokes never seem to grow up, so I'd say it's par for the course," Ernie kidded, grinning when Michael's hands were raised to end the 'battle'. He chuckled to himself, thinking how they must be a sight, both with icing on their faces.

Yet his chuckles died as his friend stepped close to cup his neck. He was curious about what was going on through Michael's head, but then when their eyes met, a strange feeling overcame him, one that was alien and confusing. It was something akin to standing at the edge of a cliff, being seized by terror from within at being so close to a fatal fall, yet having one's breath taken away by the view.

He loudly cleared his throat and self-consciously moved away from his friend. "Yeah, we're perfectly fine," he assured in a strong and steady voice that was matched with a smile, the kind Ernie often put on to hide his inner thoughts. "I think I'd better be heading off to do some studying before my rounds with Linus tonight. Unless there was anything else you needed before I go?"
With that swipe down Ernie's nose, Michael was transported to a very strange place. He felt his stomach tighten, like he was hungry. But he couldn't be. He realized- at a glance up into Ernie's eyes- that the room felt a bit hot all the sudden. Was he blushing? Michael couldn't tell. His entire face felt prickly and he instinctively looked down. He wanted to scratch the tip of his nose, but it was the one tell he knew he had- and doing it meant he was nervous or uncomfortable. He didn't want Ernie to think that.

What the bloody hell was that, Corner? Michael thought. He scoffed and nodded, rolling his eyes to make it seem like everything was entirely cool and entirely joking. But the image running through Michael's head said another.

"Shyeah, we should. I have some studying to do." Michael said with a chuckle, brushing his hair over his ear. "Was that just... uhh weird for you?" Michael asked boldly, glancing up at his mate.
"What? Weird? Me? No, not weird at all," Ernie lied, waving Michael's words away with a scoff. There was a part of him that actually felt relief that he wasn't the only one who had been uncomfortable for a moment there, but he would rather just not think about it.

Lately, that seemed to be how he'd been dealing with most thing, not thinking about them. It would have to end eventually, but he would put it off as long as possible.

"I'll see you tomorrow, all right? And I promise, no more avoiding, no matter what Hannah says. The next time she says anything, I'm telling her to mind her own business anyway." He stuffed his hands in his pockets, needing to do something with them.
"Oh," Michael said, wondering the reverse of Ernie's protests that all was well. "Well great. It wasn't... weird... then." He said tentatively. Michael's eyes recast themselves down- at first to Ernie's hips and then once he realized what he was looking at- away.

"Brilliant see you then mate," Michael replied with a well-acted smile. "And yeah. Give her a good talking to. Our relationships our own and... and we don't need her advice." Michael announced. Okay I didn't mean it weirdly... even if I just groomed my mate like he was a chimp. It was nothing.

Michael's hands too found themselves in his pockets.
"No, I told you, definitely not weird," Ernie reinforced.

"I will," he replied and nodded at Michael's words on Hannah, then started walking past his friend to head for the door. He instinctively started moving his hand to clap his friend on the shoulder, but in a fit of awkwardness, he diverted his hand to slide instead through his hair in a nervous fashion.

"Well, goodnight," he said and headed out with a heavy sigh. Bloody sodding Hannah. I'm going to kill her, I swear it!
"Ernie, wait," Michael said hoarsely as his friend passed him, his hand gesture so evident to Michael. Michael turned to look at him, hoping Ernie would also look at him. "I..." He began, wanting to confess his awkwardness, and concern over Ernie's obvious, "... hope you have a good night, mate."

Michael sighed and shrugged. His hands tucked into his back pockets. He tried a last bit of dignity and finesse despite his stupidity, jerking his head just enough to dislodge a lock of black hair from in front of his grey eyes. "If you need anything- or wanna talk- day or night. About anything. Come get me. Alright?"
Ernie stopped and turned around a little stiffly and awkwardly when Michael called out for him to stop. However, when his friend spoke further, his friendly words actually helped leech some of the tension away.

"I know, and I will, mate. Thanks. And I mean that." This time, Ernie did not hesitate to clap a friendly hand against Michael's shoulder. "Night," he finally said before striding off and out of the kitchens.