Je N'ai Pas De Mots
By Ammie Hawk
Disclaimer: Nope, just nope…
AN: So, this chapter took on a life of its own, but I am happy with it. So, happy Thanksgiving (to all who celebrate it) Anyway, moving on.
Harry woke the following morning in his godfather's former room at twelve Grimmauld Place. He hadn't really planned to go to the old townhouse when he left the Burrow, but he wasn't complaining. He had spent the rest of the previous day venting his frustration in the basement, both physically and magically, much to the dismay of his very ancient house elf, Kreacher.
He pulled himself out of bed and made his way down to the kitchen. He kind of regretted leaving the Burrow, as he would miss Molly's breakfast, but he couldn't stay around Ginny any longer, not to mention his own embarrassment. Looked like he was on his own.
He made himself a simple porridge and a cup of cocoa. As she sat there eating, he tried hard not to dwell on the events of the previous day, as it would only upset him all over again. So, instead, he thought about what he needed to do today. He should contact Fury and tell him to fuck off and quit, but he'd do that later, cause if he talked to the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. right now, he was liable to hex him. What he would do today was go and apologize to the remainder of the Weasleys, not only for lying to them, but the drama his actions had caused. Then he'd have to meet up with his cousin for lunch, but that wasn't anything too strenuous.
With that thought, he finished his meager breakfast and made his way upstairs to get dressed. Once he felt he could stall no further, he Apparated to the Burrow. He landed in Ron's bedroom, he wasn't a complete idiot after all and didn't want to risk running into the youngest Weasley if he didn't have to. Though, he was lucky to find his best mate in there, just finishing getting himself dressed.
"Harry!" the redhead nearly toppled over at his sudden appearance.
"Morning, Ron," he gave an awkward smile.
"What are you doing here?" Ron recovered. "We thought you'd gone back to D.C."
"No," he shook his head. "Couldn't bring myself to go back yet, so I ended up in Grimmauld Place. Anyway, is Ginny here? I need to talk to everyone, but I don't want to talk to her."
"No, mate, she's not," his friend chuckled wryly. "Dad sent her back to her apartment after you and Clint both left."
"Good," the bespectacled male sighed. "I mean, not good that she got sent away, good that she's not here right now. I really don't want to cause trouble for your family. Anyway, think we could get everyone together?"
"They should all be at breakfast," the redhead shrugged, taking no offense. "But Bill and Fleur are supposed to be leaving for France soon."
"Alright, let's get this over with."
"Hold up," Ron caught his arm as he headed to the door. "Are you okay, mate? I mean, with everything that's happened."
"I don't know," Harry took a deep breath. "A lot has happened, and I need some time, mate? I mean, with everything that's happened."
"I don't know," Harry took a deep breath. "A lot has happened, and I need some time. But I'm sure I'll manage. I always do after all."
"If you say so," brown eyes regarded him skeptically. "Just know that Mione and I are here if ever you need us. Mione's even offered to curse his balls off for you, or punch him in the nose, whichever suits her fancy at the moment."
"That's not necessary," the raven chuckled. "Though the sentiment is nice."
The pair then made their way down the stairs to the kitchen. As Ron predicted, everyone else was gathered in the kitchen, though not all of them were eating.
"Harry!" the Weasley matriarch was the first to spot them.
She shuffled away from the sink where she had been overseeing the washing of the dishes, and enveloped him in her arms. All the others watched with slight wariness, not sure how to approach the raven at the moment.
"How are you doing, dear?" she pulled back slightly, but kept her hands on his arms.
"I'll be alright," he flashed a weak smile. "But that's not why I'm here. I want to apologize, to all of you," green eyes flicked around the assembled group. "I lied to all of you, and brought a complete stranger into your house, and for that I am sorry."
"You don't owe us anything, Harry," Arthur stepped forward and placed his hand on his shoulder. "In fact, we owe you an apology."
"No, you don't," he shook his head.
"Yes, we do," the Weasley patriarch insisted. "We had not realized until you brought Clint here how bad Ginny's obsession of you had become. We should have noticed sooner and it should never have come to this. We think of you as one of our own and only want you to be happy. That's all we've ever wanted."
"Yeah," Fred grinned at him. "That's all we've ever wanted, Harrykins."
"Even if it's not with one of us," George waved his arms to encompass everyone.
"Or even that hot piece of man mean you brought over," his twin continued.
"Your happiness is more important than any of that," George concluded, gaining agreement from the others.
"Thank you, all of you," he gave them a genuine smile. "I really do appreciate everything you've done for me over the years. But I, uh, also came to get my stuff."
"You don't have to leave, Harry," Molly protested.
"I need some time on my own," he shrugged. "I need to sort through some things. I'll let you know when I get back to D.C. in a week, though I don't know if I'll be able to continue on at S.H.I.E.L.D."
"Whatever you decide, Harry," Arthur slipped his arm around his wife's waist and gently eased her away from their pseudo son, "just know that our door is open, no matter what."
"I know," he nodded. "And I really do appreciate it. But for now, I really should be going."
He knew it wouldn't be that easy to get away, as all the Weasleys came over to give him a hug. He finally managed to extricate himself from the group, and headed toward the stairs. He gained Percy's old room and began throwing his things in his bag. Even though they hadn't been there long, there were just too many memories of his time with Clint.
He shook his head, he was not going to think about that now. So, he snatched up his bag and Apparated out. He landed in his bedroom at Grimmauld Place and tossed his bag onto the bed. He'd unpack later.
With that thought, he made his way down to the library, where he had a nice fully stocked liquor cabinet. As he descended the stairs, he pulled his watch out of his pocket and looked at the time. Damn it! If he was going to drive, which he usually tried to do when on his own, he had to leave if he was going to be on time for his lunch with Dudley.
He gave a soft growl of frustration. He wasn't really in the mood to deal with his cousin right now, but it had been a tradition between them since they were eighteen. Both of them had agreed at that time that they would meet at least once a year, unless there was an emergency. And considering this wasn't technically an emergency, he wasn't going to be the one to call it off.
On that note, he summoned his keys and made his way out back, where he kept Sirius' old motorcycle. He pulled it out and put on the helmet before speeding off toward the restaurant. As he pulled up in front of their chosen spot, he noticed his cousin waiting for him by the entrance. He parked and removed his helmet and then went over to join the larger male.
"Hi, Dudley," he greeted.
"Harry!" the blond grinned as he pulled him into a hug. "Rachel sends her apologies, but Lacey's down with the flu."
"You didn't have to come, Duds," he frowned. "We could've done this another time."
"Don't be dense, Harry," his cousin shook his head and began leading the other into the restaurant. "Rachel and Lacy didn't have to be here for us to meet. So, let's get something to eat, and we'll catch up."
The bespectacled man couldn't come up with a solid argument against that, so he had no real choice but to follow. They found a table in the back, which was fairly secluded and they felt they could talk freely without being overheard, and took a seat. It didn't take long for a waitress to come and take their order.
"So," Harry said, once their drinks had arrived, "how've you been, Dudley?"
"Been good," he nodded taking a drink. "Rachel and I just sold our third game. And we're screening preschools for Lacey. Well, I say we, but it's all really, I just kinda smile and nod."
"You know," the raven chuckled, "I can't say I ever saw you as the domestic type. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for you. But seriously, growing up I never would've predicted this for you."
"I know, right?" Dudley couldn't help but laugh as well. "I was on a fast track for jail at that point. No, I actually have you to thank for all this, you know that though. Well, you and that dementoid."
"Dementor," he corrected. "But you know, it was you too. You could've blamed me for everything and become worse."
"Yeah, well," the blond shrugged as their food arrived. "Anyway, enough about me. How've you been? How are things going at S.H.I.E.L.D.? You wanna talk about not seeing something coming, it was that. I always thought you'd disappear into that… other world."
"Yeah, well," Harry scoffed, "that life wasn't for me. And I'm actually thinking that S.H.I.E.L.D. isn't either."
"Why?" his cousin scowled. "I thought you liked it there?"
"I do," the raven sighed. "I mean, I did. It's a really long story, but I found out Fury's spying on me."
"Why would he do that?" Dudley's expression turned confused. "How would he do that? I mean, you're one of the most paranoid people I know, next to my parents of course."
"As I said, it's a long story," he ran his hand through his hair in frustration, he really didn't want to talk about it.
"Harry, we've honestly got as much time as we need," the blond chuckled. "Rachel's not expecting me back any time soon. So unless you've got somewhere to be, this is obviously bothering you, so why don't you tell me about it."
"I'd really rather not," he shook his head.
"Come on, Harry," blue eyes leveled him with a look. "Don't make me come over there and make you."
"Fine," the bespectacled male gave in with a slight huff. "It all started about a week and a half, two weeks ago, when Ginny showed up at my work."
"Wait, Ginny?" Dudley frowned. "Your stalker, Ginny?"
"It's a bit more complicated than that, but yes," he nodded. "Anyway, I wanted to get her off my back once and for all, and I kinda panicked and grabbed the first guy I saw and introduced him as my fiancé."
"Bet that played out well," his cousin snorted.
"Actually, he played along great," Harry gave a weak smile. "But that should've been the end of it."
"Obviously not," the other prodded. "Otherwise, your idea of a long story is rather skewed."
"You're right," he agreed. "Ginny went and told her mother, who then invited my 'fiancé' to Christmas. So, to keep up the ruse, I found him again and offered to pay him to come with me on my vacation."
"Damn, that's pretty desperate, Harry," the blond gave a low whistle. "But I don't see how any of this has anything to do with Fury spying on you."
"Right," Harry shook his head. "Apparently when I found Clint again, he was in a section of S.H.I.E.L.D. I should not have had access to as an accountant. Which brought me to the attention of the Avengers and Fury."
"The Avengers?" he scowled in thought. "Why would the Avengers…? Wait, Cli… You got Hawkeye to pretend to be your fiancé?"
"Am I just a complete idiot, or does everyone know that?" he threw his hands up.
"Apparently," Dudley chuckled. "I mean, anyone who follows the Avengers would know. But then again, you never really did follow current events. Anyway, you were saying."
"Right," he took a deep breath. "Anyway, he agreed, but apparently, Fury gave him a mission to find out everything he could about me. And he fucking took it. And now, I have to find another fucking job."
"That sucks," the blond shook his head. "It really does. But from your reaction, I take it that this pretend romance got a little bit real?"
"I don't even know," he rubbed his eyes tiredly. "I mean, how can I trust anything he said or did? I mean, for all I know he could've been using whatever means necessary to make me lower my guard and get the information he needed."
"I get that," his cousin pursed his lips in thought. "But you're not entirely blameless in this either, Harry."
"What do you mean by that?" green eyes narrowed indignantly.
"Hear me out," he held up his hands in supplication. "Yes, he spied on you, but you paid him to come with you on this trip. You treated him no better than a common whore. For all he knew, everything you did, one way or another, was you getting your money's worth."
"But that's not how I meant it," he shook his head.
"It doesn't matter what you meant, it's what you did," Dudley shrugged. "But honestly, Harry, all that aside, you need to stand up for yourself. You have always run away. No, I know," he held up his hands to cut the other off, "you defeated Moldyshorts when you were seventeen, saved the world. But aside from that, you've always run away. You ran away from me, my parents, you're running away from your stalker ex-girlfriend, and now you're going to run away from a job you actually enjoy because things got a little tough. Grow a pair, Harry. Tell that crazy bitch to back the fuck off and that you're not interested. Don't be afraid to hurt her feelings because she obviously doesn't care about yours. And as for Fury, tell him to go to hell. You like your job and you're going to stay where you're at."
"Okay, can I talk now?" Harry chuckled wryly, and his cousin motioned for him to go ahead. "First of all, I don't run away from things. In fact, there are some things I didn't run away from that I probably should have. But, I will concede that you have a point. I have been scared of hurting Ginny. I do care for her, just not the way she wants me to. I've tried being subtle, in deference to her feelings, but maybe it is time for a more direct approach. And as for Fury, I've told him no before. And I do like my job and don't really want to give it up. He'll just have to live with it or not, that's on him."
"I'll hold you to that," Dudley gave him a stern look. "If I hear anything next year that even hints you didn't go through with either of those, I'll drag you out back and kick your ass, just like old times."
"And I'll let you, if I haven't done either of those things," he shook his head, and pushed slowly to his feet. "Anyway, I should probably be going. I kinda booked a flight back to D.C. tomorrow."
"Just one more thing before you go," the blond held up his hand. "About Hawkeye. I think you should talk to him."
"Dudley, I really don't…"
"Hear me out," he cut him off, "just talk to him. If nothing else, clear the air. Don't let it become a regret."
"When did you become so wise, Dudley?" he scoffed slightly.
"Oh, it's all Rachel," he grinned, placing a few notes on the table. "She's changed my life, and I'm better for it."
"Well, remind me to thank her the next time I see her," he couldn't help but smile as well, placing his own payment next to the other's.
"You do that," the blond slung his arm around his shoulders. "Till next time, cousin."
"Take care of yourself, Dudley," he turned and gave his cousin a quick hug before going to retrieve his bike.
It didn't take him long to get back to Grimmauld Place and store his bike out back once more. He made his way inside and up the stairs to his bedroom. He hadn't been lying when he told Dudley he had booked a flight for the next day. He had changed his original flight because he wanted to be home, in his own apartment for the remainder of his vacation, instead of alone in his godfather's gloomy old house.
Once inside the room, he grabbed his suitcase and dumped it on the bed. He needed to pack it properly if he wanted to fit everything in it for the return trip. As he began repacking his things, his hand landed on one of the ring boxes. His hand curled around the small box before using his thumb to flip it open. The inside was empty, but that didn't really surprise him as the ring was still resting on his finger. With a sigh, he pulled it off and placed it in its velvet cushion. There was no use pretending anymore.
As he set down the box into his luggage, he scanned the remaining objects in search of his twin. He quickly located it and pulled it over. With mildly trembling fingers, he lifted the lid. He let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding and his shoulders slumped slightly as his eyes landed on the empty slot. Great, now he really had to talk to Clint.
Ammie: Okay, don't really have much to say here... Just a few more chapters to go though. The end is in sight. Anyway, please let me know what you think.