As he and Wammy left for Harry's house and that wonderful chocolate cake, L reflected that even with the headaches it brought, talking to Harry was enjoyable.
Harry watched cautiously as William ate the slice of cake he'd been given. From the moment William had come through the front door, all he'd been interested in was eating the chocolate cake Harry had made and now that he was actually eating it, he was ignoring everything else. Harry wasn't sure what to make of that. Normally when William ate a slice of cake in the kitchen, he paid idle attention to Harry and Thomas' conversations and either spoke up or stayed silent while his toes played with each other. But now, William was crouched on his chair, not moving at all other than to slowly chew. Which was making it horribly difficult for Harry to pay attention to what Thomas was saying.
"Er, well," Harry tried awkwardly after sitting down next to Thomas to drink his morning tea. "Do you like the cake?"
William continued chewing, swallowed and then took another bite. Harry watched him for a minute and scratched his neck.
"Okay, so, you are still mad."
William swallowed his bite. "Why would I be angry, Harry?"
"Well..." Because you're a prat, Harry thought, but saying that would only start a fight and Harry was tired of arguing with the odd man. "Because I didn't let you have cake last night?" he said uncertainly.
"I had cake without you, Harry." William shoved a large forkful of cake into his mouth and chewed vigorously.
Harry frowned. "I mean, because I didn't let you visit last night."
William swallowed again and took a long sip of tea (four sugars and half a cup of cream). "Oh, I'm not bothered by that."
"Really?" Harry said sarcastically.
"I'd forgotten about it entirely until you brought it up again." William's fork scrapped across the plate to pick up the last traces of cream.
"Alright, then why are you acting, so," Harry waved his hand restlessly. "So, oddly."
"You hung up on me," William said shortly around the fork he'd stuck in his mouth to suck on.
"William," Thomas chided over his teacup. William dropped his fork back on the plate with a glare and picked his cup up to sip at again.
"Wait, you're upset because I hung up on you this morning?" Harry asked incredulously. "You hang up on me all the time!"
"Only when there is nothing more to say."
"Nothing more to say!" Harry stared at the man. "You- you prat!"
"Well, you hung up in the middle of our conversation, Harry, I at least wait until we've both finished our parts."
"You don't know that!"
"Yes I do, Harry." William slurped his tea and placed the empty cup on the table before looking piercingly at Harry. "Now, why did you hang up on me?"
Harry glared. Why had he ever thought it was fun talking to such an impossible man? "I had something better to do than talk to you!"
"Really now, Harry," Thomas chided him now as he set his cup down. Harry shrugged uncomfortably, but refused to back down from William's flat glare or to apologize. William hung up on him all the time after all- every single call in fact, so it was perfectly fair for Harry to do so once to William!
"I heard you talking to your owl before you disconnected," William said darkly. "Was playing with your pet so much more important than apologizing to me?"
"Apologizing to you!" Harry sputtered angrily. "For not doing whatever is most convenient for you?"
"You yelled at me last night," William hissed. "When I offered you cake! Don't you think I deserve an apology for that?"
"You wouldn't stop bothering me! You act as if it's entirely expected for me to just go along with whatever you feel like, no matter how I feel about it!" Harry yelled.
"I did offer to change plans for your convenience! You still weren't satisfied." William was glaring now and gripping his pants in tight fists.
"I wanted to go to sleep!"
"So yelling at me was the only way you could achieve that goal?" William sneered.
"Considering it's you, yeah!"
"Alright, enough!" Thomas stood as he shouted, startling both Harry and William as they glared daggers at each other. Thomas coughed when they both turned to stare at him. "Ahem. Now, I think the pair of you ought to apologize for your deplorable behavior just now- Yes, William, you as well."
Harry glared at the table before looking briefly up at William. "Sorry, for, for yelling at you and calling you a prat."
"Sorry," William said flatly.
Thomas sighed warily as he sat down. "Good, now I think it best if we simply dropped the matter and moved on, don't you?"
"I still want to know what Harry was doing with his owl that was more important than me," William sulked.
"You are so self-centered," Harry muttered, crossing his arms.
Thomas glared at them both and they quieted once more.
After a long silence, Harry huffed. "Rowag brought something back, that's all. She's an owl, she does that sometimes."
"It sounded serious," William muttered.
"Yes, well," Harry glanced away. "It wasn't that bad... just, just not something I expected."
William opened his mouth to continue when the very creature they'd been talking about swooped into the kitchen from the hall. She must have delivered the phone; Harry had forgotten that as a post owl still in training, Rowag expected to be rewarded for every accomplished delivery.
Indeed, Rowag landed on the kitchen table between Harry and William's plates to chirp and flap with excitement, waiting for a treat. Harry sighed. It was childish, but after the way William had been acting all morning, Harry absolutely did not want to explain what his owl had been up to. Actually, even if William had been perfectly pleasant (a rare occurrence he was sure) Harry still didn't think he'd want to explain this.
An owl that stole cell phones was, well, embarrassing. Especially since he didn't understand why she'd done so in the first place.
"Your owl is on the table, Harry."
"I know that," Harry glared at William before getting up to fetch an owl treat from the cupboard.
"Why is she on the table?"
Harry sighed loudly. "Because she wants a treat." A treat he carried over to the table and fed to Rowag while William and Thomas watched.
"Why does she want a treat now? Shouldn't she be sleeping?" William looked up with his creepy half-lidded eye look.
"Because, she, uh," Harry thought. "She did something I asked her to."
William blinked slowly. "You can asks owls to do things for you, Harry?"
"No," Harry frowned. "Just Rowag."
"Ah, and, what did she do for you exactly?"
As Harry was trying to think of something that didn't involve cellphones, Rowag finished her snack and turned to chirp at William and Thomas.
"Oh, uh, you've met them," Harry said absentmindedly. Rowag turned her head to look back at him. William and Thomas looked up at him as well. "Er, well," Harry felt awkward under the attention all of a sudden. Why were William and Thomas looking at him like that? "You met William actually, Thomas was sitting in a car..."
"Are you introducing us to your bird, Harry?" William asked speculatively. Rowag turned her head back around to snap her beak at him. William stared.
"Well, she doesn't know you, you see," Harry sighed. He wondered if he should be relieved to be off the topic of what Rowag had been doing earlier, or worried that they were now focused on Rowag herself. "Anyway, it is getting late in the morning, so Rowag should be getting to her perch to sleep now," Harry said meaningfully, staring hard at the owl as he did.
Rowag fluffed her feathers and ignored him, opting instead to walk across the table to nibble at William's sleeve.
"Your owl is trying to eat my shirt, Harry."
Harry sighed. "No she's not. She just wants to know who you are. She, er, likes meeting new people."
"I have already met her though, when you moved her here." Rowag glanced up at this and stopped nibbling on the sleeve to perch-walk up William's arm. William froze. Harry snorted.
"Well, she was falling asleep then."
"Shouldn't she be falling asleep now?"
"Do you not like birds, William?" Harry asked with a wide grin.
"Her talons are very sharp, Harry." William was glaring at him now. Thomas coughed.
"Perhaps you should take her upstairs now, Harry," Thomas smiled meaningfully at him, making Harry grin apologetically. Honestly, he thought this was the perfect revenge for William's demand for an apology he didn't deserve.
"Alright, Rowag, c'mon." Harry gestured to the little owl. She hopped from William's shoulder, making the man flinch, and flapped her way to Harry. "You are tired aren't you?"
Rowag chirped and looked back at the men sitting at Harry's table. Harry glanced back at her, wondering at her interest in them. The owl gave a short shriek and fluffed her feathers in their direction. Suddenly Harry understood why she was making such a fuss about them.
"Oh! Yeah, that's him," Harry said to her. "Why- ah, hey!"
Harry watched in confusion as Rowag launched herself from his shoulder to fly straight at William, who ducked under his arms with a shout. Harry walked quickly over to the table to shoo her away.
"What do you think you're doing, Rowag?" The owl simply hissed at William, ignoring Harry completely, and when Harry made a grab for her, she flew off the table to land on the kitchen counter where she turned to hiss at William again.
"Stop that!" Harry said, walking away from the table to shoo her off to her perch upstairs. But the little owl swooped down from the counter as Harry reached it, landing on the floor beside William's chair.
William looked down uncertainly at the barn owl on the floor by his discarded shoes, still hissing like a demon from hell as her head wove back and forth like a snake's. Harry turned from the counter in annoyance just as Rowag struck. William fell sideways off the chair while Rowag, shrieking up a storm, clawed and slashed at the man's pants.
When William tried to get up, the little owl clung on until, just as it looked as though William was going to try knocking her off, a loud rip sounded. Harry rushed forward, in utter shock at Rowags ghastly behavior.
Rowag fell to floor flapping, along with William's torn pocket and its contents- a cellphone. Shrieking even more shrilly, Rowag began attacking the cellphone more viciously than Harry had ever seen her, clearly intent on destroying the thing. Harry tried to grab the owl, or the phone, anything to stop this random violence, and ended up get slashed by a stray talon for his efforts.
"Oh dear!" Thomas said dumbly from William's side as the pair watched Rowag's antics.
Harry had had enough. With a snarl, he turned from the kitchen, walking quickly to the entry to fetch his jacket. Returning to the room, he spread the jacket wide and lunged for his owl, snagging her in the folds of cloth. He pulled the ends of the jacket carefully around the bundle as Rowag shrieked and thrashed inside.
Then he turned to Thomas and William, who had moved to the opposite side of the table during the excitement and were watching Harry in shock.
"Please excuse me a moment," Harry smiled brightly at them while backing out of the kitchen with his bundle.
The moment Harry had gotten to his room he slammed the door closed and let the jacket fall open in his arms. Rowag was flapping her way free and turning to hiss at Harry a moment later.
"Don't look at me like that!" Harry said furiously. "What on earth is wrong with you? Attacking a guest like that!"
The owl fluttered up to his dresser so she could look disdainfully down at him and began cackling and shrieking while her wings flapped restlessly beside her.
"Well, of course he calls!" Harry said snidely. "How else would he talk to me without coming over here at all hours of the day?"
More shrieking was the reply. Harry stared at her.
"Wait, that doesn't make any sense." He frowned at the owl. "I know he calls at ridiculous hours, but he wouldn't bother calling when I'm not even here!"
Rowag glared cooly down at him and clicked her beak sharply.
"Well, obviously he knows when I leave for the day, and that I don't come back until late," Harry scoffed. "And that I don't take the cellphone with me. So there's no point."
Rowag puffed herself up and began hissing and bobbing again. Harry frowned worriedly.
"But... that's just silly," he said uncertainly. "I mean, why would he?"
Rowag gave a shill shriek before clacking her beak. Harry winced.
"Look, I'm sure it's just a mistake-" Rowag looked to be getting ready for another shrieking session. Harry waved her down hurriedly. "No! No, look, we'll ask him, alright?"
Rowag seemed to think about this before she chirped and glided down to Harry's shoulder. Then the two of them went back downstairs.
In the kitchen, Thomas had resumed his seat while William had scooted his chair closer to him and was staring at his tea and a new slice of cake blankly. The cellphone was lying on the far end of the table in pieces, the tattered scrap of William's pocket next to it. When Harry entered the room, the two men looked up at him quickly.
"My boy, are you quite alright?" Thomas asked in concern. His eyes were trained on the owl on Harry's shoulder, as if worried she might lash out again.
"Yeah," Harry said absentmindedly, his eyes firmly trained on William's blank face. "Yeah... Hey, William?"
The man looked up curiously. "Yes, Harry? Do I get an apology for being attacked and having my phone broken?"
"Huh?" Harry blinked. "Oh, right. Yeah. I'm sorry. Rowag's sorr-" Harry glanced at the puffed up owl on his shoulder, only barely keeping her hissing under control. "Er, well, I'm sorry. I'll pay you back."
"Er, I was thinking I'd just pay for the phone with money..." Harry said awkwardly.
William waved him off. "I can buy another phone. Make me a cake."
Harry blinked. "O-kay... Uh, anyway... May I ask you something?"
"What would you like to ask me?" William turned to pick up his tea.
"How many times do you call the cellphone?" Harry said quickly, hoping William and Thomas wouldn't think him crazy for asking such a thing.
The two men looked at him. "Don't you know? You do answer after all."
"Yeah, but," Harry sighed. "I mean when I'm gone and I leave the cellphone behind. Do you ever call the phone then, knowing I won't answer?"
William blinked. "No."
Harry jerked his head up from staring embarrassedly at the floor. "What?"
"No." William repeated dully. "There is no point."
Harry stared at him. "You're sure then? You've never called the phone when I'm not around?"
William looked blankly into Harry's eyes. "Of course I have not. What would be the point in such a thing, Harry?"
Harry stared at him a moment longer, blinking in shock. On his shoulder, Rowag began hissing again, but Harry felt this was less the furious hissing of before, warning of an attack, and more a jeering tone of hissing, the smug "you're-in-trouble-now" sort.
William was lying.
"Alright then," Harry said calmly before turning smartly from the room to head upstairs again. Rowag turned her head around to hiss mockingly at the man while they left.
Harry was perfectly calm. He was calm when he got to his bedroom, he was calm when he fetched the phone. He was still calm when he returned to the kitchen to find Thomas and William sitting up quickly from speaking in hushed tones over their teacups. When he went to rummage in a drawer for something, he was calm.
"Harry?" Thomas called hesitantly. "Is there something wrong?"
"Oh, no," Harry said pleasantly. He pulled a small trowel from the clutter, clutching it like a prize. Then he turned to a cupboard to pull out a small plastic box he'd saved from takeout months ago. "Everything's perfectly fine."
"I...see," Thomas said, though he clearly didn't. "Are you not going to finish your tea, lad?"
"In a moment," Harry turned to smile at him and he must have come off as more crazed than he thought, because both William and Thomas looked quite alarmed. "I just need to go to the garden for a bit."
"...What do you need in the garden?" William asked flatly, eyeing the trowel, box and cellphone clutched in Harry's hands suspiciously.
Harry grinned happily. "I'm going to bury the cellphone."
William and Thomas stared at him.
"Back in a mo."
The back garden of nine Argyle Square was rather small, only about two meters by three, and the last tenets had placed large stone tiles to make a patio of sorts. Harry knelt down in front of one that looked loose and broken and pried the trowel under an edge to lift the thing up. As expected, only half of it came, but that was enough.
William came out to stand over him, making Rowag hiss sharply, just as Harry was trying to drive the pointed end of the trowel into the frozen dirt.
"Why are you burying the phone, Harry?"
"Because-" The trowel struck the hard dirt. "-you won't-" The trowel struck again. "-take it back-" It struck a third time. "-and you won't-" The trowel dented the frozen ground. "-stop calling!" Harry huffed at the little progress he'd made. "So, really, this is the only thing I can think of."
"...Burying the phone in your garden is the only solution you could come up with?"
"Well," Harry huffed, staring angrily at the ground. "You won't take the phone back, you won't stop calling all the time, and you lied when I asked if you did! So," Harry stood and turned to face William. "What exactly am I supposed to do?"
"Why do you think I lied, Harry?"
Harry glared at him. "Because you did!" he shouted before stalking around the horrible, fish-eyed prat to go back into the house. The ground was frozen and the trowel couldn't dig through it. He could use a spell to simply make a hole in the ground, but he'd promised himself already that he would avoid getting into the habit of using magic for everything when he had muggle visitors all the time. So how was he going to dig through the rock-hard dirt?
L followed Harry cautiously back into the house. The morning was not progressing as he had planned. He only wanted an apology for Harry's behavior today and yesterday- not that he was really angry about it, it was only the principle of the thing, Harry had been rude so an apology was only to be expected- and to investigate the purpose of Harry's owl.
Instead Harry had fought with him, his pet owl attacked him, and now the boy had apparently lost it and was trying to bury his cellphone in the garden. Harry's apology hadn't even been adequate- he'd been insincere and there was no cake offered (the one they were eating didn't count). He was, in fact, beginning to wonder if Harry were somehow unstable.
"Harry?" Wammy was trying to reason with the odd boy now. L peaked into the kitchen, making sure to locate the owl first. Wammy was standing near Harry who was turning the stovetop on. "Don't you think there's a more reasonable response to this?"
"No," Harry said forcefully, placing the metal blade of the trowel on the heating coils. "He's the one being unreasonable! He lied! About something so stupid!"
"Yes, but," Wammy continued uncertainly as L slunk into the room behind them. "Don't you think you're over-reacting?"
"Is that prat going to listen to me if I don't?" Harry asked seriously, turning to look at the older man. Wammy seemed at a loss, so Harry turned to glance at L crouching behind the counter. "Well, William? Are you?"
Vaguely surprised at being found, L stood. "I don't know what you mean."
"That's what I thought," Harry said snidely. Then he turned to wrap a towel around the handle of the trowel. The scooped metal was red hot. "So, I'm just going to bury the bloody thing and we'll all pretend this never happened, alright?" Harry nodded and took his heated trowel back out with him, the barn owl on his shoulder almost crowing with joy.
"William!" Wammy said sharply. L looked at him blankly. If the man thought he was going to follow an unbalanced young man with a burning hot bladed weapon outside, he was seriously mistaken. "You must promise to stop calling incessantly!"
"How does he even know I was calling?" L said flatly, refusing to move. "I wiped his call log everyday before he returned."
"I don't know, but he is right that you shouldn't have done such a thing. Besides," Wammy glanced at the kitchen doorway warily. "He does seem terribly upset by this. Don't you think it would be best to patch this up?"
"He seems homicidal," L said darkly, still refusing to move.
Wammy winced. "Well, you already knew how much he dislikes being lied to after our outing to the Eye."
"That's no excuse to go around threatening people with hot, sharp pieces of metal."
"Oh, he wasn't threatening you!" Wammy said exasperatedly. "And the trowel wasn't that sharp! Besides, if he actually buries the phone, how will you call him?"
L thought hard. Was talking to Harry each day worth risking possible cauterized impalement? The investigation could continue just as easily without Harry's knowledge or involvement with L... But, the loss of contact with Harry meant the loss of more of that cake he made. L had tried every chocolate cake he could find in London, he'd not gotten to them all, but so far nothing was like Harry's cake...
Wammy sighed in relief, but stopped L with a hand as he turned. "Be careful though... be polite if you can."
A/N: Oh wow! It's been so long, hasn't it? I do apologize for the long wait, I'm afraid I've gotten busy with rl. Still am actually, but I felt the sudden need to procrastinate on my work. Also, I had the realization how this scene would play out. That is, I knew Rowag would attack L, and I knew Harry would bury the phone in the backyard, but I had no idea how that was going to happen. You can all thank Catzi for giving me inspiration! For some reason, just talking to her helped open my eyes! ^_^ Thanks Catzi~
In any case, I no longer have a beta, so fixing this chapter up was a long process (I'm sure I've missed things) and future chapters will be a while. Hopefully not as long as this one has been, but seeing as they aren't written yet, I don't know how I can get them out any faster. I hope everyone enjoyed this chapter (I hope someone's still reading this...) and I hope to hear from reviewers! This was a huge change in Harry and L's relationship, so what does everyone think?