Twenty Random Facts About Icarus G Utterson
He nearly killed his little brother when he was five.
He didn't mean to; he had never manifested before, much less had any ability to control it, but when his two year-old brother jumped out from behind the corner and yelled, the magic just happened. It shoved, harder than just his hands ever could have, and the next thing he knew, Androcles was going down the stairs and there was blood on the rug and he wasn't moving. Icarus was too young to understand "skull fracture", but he was certainly old enough to understand "broke his head" and "could have died." He didn't tell anyone what had really happened; he was also old enough to understand "my fault" and "really bad wizards go to Azkaban."
His interest in the old magic was driven by that guilt.
When Androcles turned out to be a Squib, most of the family took it relatively in stride, but Icarus knew that it was his fault. At first, he was devastated, his own magic almost vanishing, but then he remembered the stories his parents read him at bedtime of the old heroes, Tir Na Nog and the Faye. They thought it was just a child's fascination when he began demanding everything they knew or could get ahold of, but it was much more than that. Those were stories where you didn't need a wand or a Hogwarts letter, and Androcles was as Celtic Pureblood as any of those old heroes...surely there was something there that could give him something.
He didn't want to go back to Hogwarts for his fifth year.
The death of Dumbledore, the exclusion of Muggle-Borns, a new Minister, the open secret of who was really in charge, Snape as Headmaster, the longer-than-ever list of forbidden things, Dark Arts and Anti-Muggle texts required. Icarus was a Ravenclaw, sure, but he didn't think it took any special intelligence to know that this could not in any way be good. He begged his parents to find a way to keep him home or send him to another school, but they said attendance was mandatory, and even though his mother cried at King's Cross, there was no choice.
He hated Fritz Bagman. Hated him.
It wasn't just the workouts that made him sore for days, or the strict new rules about what they were and weren't supposed to eat. That, he could have found a way to live with. It was all the yelling, and even though the other blokes seemed to take it in stride, even thrive on it, Icarus couldn't ignore that whoever his father had played for, Fritz was just another student his own age, and he had no bloody right to call them names, to make fun of the ones who couldn't keep up, to act like he was so far above them. He was also convinced that the other fifth-years got the worst of it – Bagman had respect for the older ones and cut the younger ones slack – and Ravenclaw the worst of that. Their makeshift Drill Sergeant had no idea how close he came to getting jinxed every time he made some crack about getting their noses out of books long enough to break a sweat.
He was shocked that Seamus was "properly" Irish.
It wasn't fair when he thought about it, and sure, it was impossible to miss the name and the brogue, much less the look of him, but Icarus knew that Finnigan was from Belfast, and he'd always unconsciously thought of that as part of the UK, not real Ireland like Dublin or Cork. So when the rumors reached him of the stunt in Muggle Studies that would prove to have such consequences and he heard the mangled repetition of the old Gaelic hex, Parkinson had to tell him to close his mouth before Doxies flew in. It had never occurred to him that anyone else knew that kind of magic. That Finnigandid was both astonishing and exciting, and when the Irish formed their own little study group in the DA to work on those spells together, he really wasn't surprised to find that the older Gryffindor was one of the strongest Fire elementals he had ever met.
He wanted to leave the DA towards the end.
After Elliot, Michael, and Terry, it was just too much. Icarus was scared to death, and he knew the Carrows and Snape would be watching the Ravenclaws now with a fierceness once reserved only for crimson-lined robes, but after seeing what had happened to Smith, he didn't dare. Leaving the DA meant being banned, meant losing what little protection numbers could give, and the price of breaking ranks that the Carrows so brutally wrote on the last seventh-year remaining was a warning of an entirely different kind than they intended. It didn't matter why he had joined, or if it even if it still made sense. There was no way out.
He thought he had lost his mind during the Battle.
He had paired up with Oisin, and they had been sent with Shacklebolt and some others to flank the Death Eaters who had breached the castle. The entire thing was so surreal that he could barely make himself focus enough to fight at all rather than follow the instincts that were screaming, begging, pleading to run, to hide, to find his mother, wake himself, make it not be. Then there was a Death Eater whose mask wasn't like the others, Oisin was down and the man with the Nathair on his mask who had come from the pages of the Book of Kells was laughing at him in words that the enemy wasn't supposed to know and blocking the spells that couldn't be anticipated like they were first-year standards. Yellowed teeth of a monster in the moonlight.Buachaill baile teigh. Then pain, then nothing.
Returning to Hogwarts after was an even deeper hell.
How they expected him to go back, he couldn't understand. It wasn't a school any more. How was he supposed to study when the DA survivors all had to share the Gryffindor dorms that were still enough to hold them? How was he supposed to sleep when the memories rose with the moon over grounds still pitted and scarred? How was he supposed to eat in a battlefield, a hospital, a morgue where he had laid out the body of his friend there and killed for the first time there and was that faint stain there his own blood? The nightmares were unstoppable, the humiliation so awful because sometimes he couldn't help it, he'd just have a panic attack over nothing or break down sobbing until he threw up for no reason that should have mattered. When he went home for Christmas break, he weighed barely a hundred pounds and hadn't slept properly in two months. That time, his parents didn't make him return.
He was one of the first the Diabhal Dubh tried to recruit.
The day after Icarus' seventeenth birthday, he was approached on the street by a tall man in a dark Muggle-style suit that looked sleekly incongruous against his weathered, bearded face. He seemed familiar, and he certainly seemed to know Icarus, praising his work with the ancient Celtic magic and citing both of the papers the young wizard had managed to get published in the Journal of Historical Magic. He had wanted to go for lunch, to discuss "what the ancient magic could do for Ireland's future," but something had felt wrong, and when Icarus finally placed the voice several hours later, he broke into a cold sweat and began shaking so hard he could no longer stand. He had been real. He had been real and he had come back.
He knew there would be another war.
From the day he met the dark wizard again, Icarus became obsessed. There was nothing he could take to the authorities, nothing more than a familiar voice, a sable-silver beard, and a boy's flash of disjointed memory in the heat of battle, but he knew with a horrifying, gut-level certainty why it was back. He wanted to be like Riddle, but using the ancient arts, but Icarus couldn't even prove he existed, even as more and more digging into darker and more dangerous corners brought the circumstantial evidence to sickening heights. After six months of work, he received a letter. Your little wax wings will melt if you get much closer, buachaill. Why it didn't stop him, why it redoubled his efforts; he never really understood.
It was no accident that he put on weight in his late teens.
When his appetite returned after Hogwarts and the hollows between his ribs began to fill out, he panicked at first, although he knew intellectually he was severely underweight. Soldiers aren't soft! Bagman's voice still rang though his memory, but then guilt changed unexpectedly to defiance. He wasn't a soldier, never wanted to be again, and when he took a second helping at dinner that night, it was the first step of something carefully calculated. He would not be ready for the taking when it happened again, but nor could he bring himself to allow more than a few months could change if things got really bad. Twenty-five pounds above ideal was the number he settled on (though stress crept it closer towards thirty at times), and it kept his conscience clear even as the nightmares could be soothed so much more easily by a pass of his hand over his own body in the darkness that said it was over at least for now. Soldiers aren't soft.
He hadn't wanted to leave home as early as he did.
Icarus had been perfectly happy living with his parents while he worked on his MAGIs and did his research, but after receiving the letter from the wizard he had now learned was calling himself the Diabhal Dubh, he knew he couldn't put his loved ones at risk any longer. The declaration that he "really needed" his own place was forced, but didn't seem that unexpected, and he felt so much more shame than he knew how to express when they helped him find a flat, helped him furnish it, even put down the deposit for him, beaming all the while with pride as if he were doing something reasonable and young and healthy. As if he had moved on. As if he could be normal again. As if they thought wax wings could fly.
He had no second thoughts about taking in Seamus.
He had been at the University library until it closed, he never went home through the park where the homeless congregated, and when he had to, he always did his best to hurry through and ignore them. But this time, whether his subconscious had recognized the voice or merely the presence of another magical person, he had stopped. And once he saw who it was, there was no question that he would do anything in his power to help, because he understood. He knew the screams that never stopped echoing, the way that a flash of light could still make you spin with your heart in your throat, and how the smell of anything burning – even toast – could raise gooseflesh. There was no need for questions, nor for the thanks and self-loathing explanations that came through the tears over the tea and re-heated roast. Finnigan had been there that night. That was all he had to know.
He had meant the concept of the Sluagh only hypothetically at
Seamus had wanted to know about all the books and papers, and he had explained it all, including how the Diabhal Dubh was building his image as a figure of myth to build both fear and power, but it had been met with skepticism to say the least. No one believed in fairy tales, Seamus had declared, and how could a living man pass himself as a real devil? He had meant it just as an illustration, playing off the other man's almost legendary passion, but as he had pointed out that it could be done, that for example, Finnigan could be passed off as a Sluagh, and that was certainly something people would fear…he had stopped as the terrible epiphany sparked between them, and the smile had spread like sweet poison over the cracked, chapped lips. "Fire, ya said I were. Well, fight fire with fire, ain't it the way?"
He liked to build models.
It was a silly, useless hobby, he knew that perfectly well, and his parents' attic was already full of them, his own flat becoming dangerously similar, but he had loved it since he was a boy. Anything from modern Quidditch stadiums to ancient temples, he would start with the boxed sets, but they were only a guideline. The real fun was in detailing them, charming the little flags to wave, the tiny metal people to walk about, carving keyholes into doors even if they were going to be shrunken down again so small that no one would know, painting every petal of every flower in a windowbox to blush darker at the edges. There was only one he never finished: Hogwarts castle had been started in his second year in a burst of pride over the Triwizard Tournament, but after Diggory's death, he had put it aside. After Umbridge, it seemed distasteful, after Dumbledore, it seemed inappropriate. After the DA, it seemed unbearable.
He was careful never to let Seamus know he was bisexual.
It wasn't something he usually worried about hiding, as much just a part of who he was as his eye color or preference for dark over milk chocolate, but he did have a sense of self-preservation. And when one had systematically helped a man disassemble his qualms about sticking knives in people, and when that man got distinctly strange and rather aggressive when any mention was made about anything homosexual, it did not seem wise to mention that Robin -- the attractive library assistant Icarus occasionally went out with – wasn't exactly a girl.
He felt more guilt for his day job than anything the Sluagh ever
Living on his own meant needing an income, Icarus had soon realized, and he had taken a job as a tutor, helping prepare magical children for Hogwarts or for taking their OWLs on their own if their parents had chosen to teach them at home. It should have been easy, rewarding work, and the pay was good enough, but he hated it. Every eager little voice chattering about how much fun it would be to go to Hogwarts and play Quidditch and meet new friends…he wanted to shake them, slap them even, tell them what had happened there and that they had no right to think of it as a school. He never did, just bit his tongue and smiled and nodded and changed the subject, but then the guilt would come, because Icarus knew he was the one who had no right to want to damper their hopes. After all, that was exactly what it should have been.
He was surprised to find that he didn't mind being owned.
Riabha had been adopted from a basket of free kittens shortly after he had moved into his flat as something to make it a little less lonely being on his own, but the idea of the little gray tabby as a pet had almost instantly been proven ridiculous. The flat was hers, and for that matter, so was Icarus – and later, Seamus – and anything else she wanted. She was impossible, horrible, demanding, and had a maddening habit of viewing any piece of parchment as something that had to be sat on…but she also seemed to be a skilled Legilimens, and she always knew exactly when he needed someone very warm and very soft to curl up on his lap and have dark thoughts broken by the need to rub her ears right now.
His parents had no idea about what he was doing.
Part of it was to protect them. If they didn't know, they couldn't get involved, and he could even tell himself that they would be hurt less if they weredragged into it and had nothing to give. The truth of it, though, was that it protected what they were to him. No matter how much blood he had to scrub from the tub after Seamus came back on the very worst nights, he could go home the next day and his mother would ask about his thesis, Androcles would have a new girlfriend or be tinkering with his broom, and his father would offer him a pint and ask if he had time to listen to the match on the wireless. His flat was where he lived, but home was where the lies were like warm blankets against the ruthlessly frostbitten gale outside.
He kept records of absolutely everything.
They were well-guarded, and it took a team of Curse-Breakers three days to get into the filing cabinets, but when they did, it was more than worth their efforts. Every step of the three-year process of hunting the Diabhal Dubh had been meticulously preserved, including the rationale behind each detail of the creation of Seamus as the Sluagh. On the one hand, he would have been proud to know that those records were not only key in his friend's defense before the Wizengamot, but also helped fully acquit his former Commander and set warrants for any and all associates of the Diabhal Dubh. On the other, he would have hated being dubbed "Young Frankenstein" by the investigators. Of course, he had known he was playing God, but someone else had chosen to play the Devil first.