a/n: this is the awkward moment where I have to own up to the fact that I've had this written for ages now, at least two months if not more. I've been putting off posting it because I didn't want to have two Lysander chapters next to each other but to be honest I doubt I'll get another chapter written before Christmas now and I felt guilty so I decided to just go ahead and post. Sorry, everyone!
Also if anyone has a spare minute and could check out my profile that would be much appreciated, I really need some help.
could we be
some people wear their history
like a map on their face
-L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N., Noah and the Whale
He goes into their bedroom quite a bit, and he doesn't really know why but he thinks it might have something to do with the way she blushes and clutches the sheets tighter around her and the way Lorcan shrieks at him to get out. He has a new excuse every time (-"I just wanted to borrow your quill"-"Did Mum write you?"-"Rose, Lily called"-) and it's something a bit like a game these days.
The unfortunate thing about the layout of his and Lorcan's shared flat is that their bedrooms are next to each other and the walls are really, really thin. And he loves his brother and everything but he's getting totally sick of his complete inability to remember silencing charms. So he's kept awake night after night and he complains about it over breakfast and she blushes more and Lorcan just sits there with a stupid grin on his face and his arm around her waist, spooning up Cornflakes with his spare hand.
Because Lysander's that sort of guy, he starts putting salt in Lorcan's packets of Cornflakes and bringing home creatures from work to wreak havoc on the flat so Lorcan has to spend hours tidying it and shrinking Rose's clothes when she leaves them draped across the furniture.
It doesn't help that funny sort of tightening around his heart, though, whenever she gives Lorcan that look or he hears her breathless moans through the bedroom wall.
"She's my girlfriend, suck it up," is Lorcan's only contribution when Lysander corners him alone one day and gives vent to his frustration, and when he walks away Lysander doesn't know what name to put to the feeling inside of him. She's stealing Lorcan away, this pretty girl with the red hair and the quick wit, and he wants to hate her for it. But the thing is, okay, the thing is that he can't.
He's up at six o' clock one morning. He's always been an early riser, bursting with energy, but these disturbed nights are taking their toll and so it's with far less enthusiasm than usual that he stands with his back to the kitchen, forehead leaning against the cupboard as he waits for the coffee machine to finish making his coffee.
"Morning," a small voice says from the doorway, and he whirls around to find Rose standing there, hair rumpled with sleep (and something else he won't think about), dressed in a man's shirt and with her arms wrapped around herself. He won't tell her that that's his shirt, that Lorcan borrowed it for his dinner with her last night; and he especially won't tell her what it does to him to see her wearing it.
"Morning," he replies, suddenly acutely conscious of the fact that he's standing there wearing nothing but a pair of boxers covered in hinkypunks, "Sorry, I didn't – I thought you'd be asleep for ages yet."
"Had a bad dream," she explains, and there's a faint blush tinting her pale cheeks as she crosses the room and drops into a chair at the table, deliberately not looking at his boxers.
He doesn't really know what to say next, so he just watches her for a moment and then turns back to his coffee. He pours himself a steaming mug and then, as an afterthought, cranes his head around, "Do you want one?"
"Please," she says, with a smile, and without another word he pours a mug for her and puts it on the table in front of her, lining up milk and sugar for her to add as she pleases.
He looks at her not looking at him as she focuses carefully on adding milk and, urgh, three spoons of sugar, and as she's not looking at him she says, "You take your coffee black now?"
"Yeah, I –" he begins, and then his eyes narrow and he cuts himself off, "What do you mean, 'now'?"
"Oh, it's just," she says, lips twisting in embarrassment as she glances up and meets his eye, "You always took it with milk at school. I remember."
He frowns at her, trying to work out why it feels like it matters that she remembers, but then she makes some inane comment about the weather and he replies equally inanely and they sit and chat about shallow things for hours, until she hears Lorcan stirring and heads off to take a shower.
Lysander watches her leave, eyes tracing the length of her bare pale legs beneath his shirt, and tries not to think about how that pretty red hair would look great spread out across his pillows with her body pressed down by his into the mattress and her eyes locked onto his, hazy and clouded and wanting.
It turns into a thing, these early-morning rendezvous', and gradually they start talking about things that really matter, deep things like the way it makes him feel that his parents practically abandoned him and his brother and how it is for her to have every move and every mistake documented by the paparazzi.
"I don't talk about this with Lorcan," she volunteers one morning when the heavy clouds seem to be pressing against the windows and the rain is hammering down. She has her knees drawn up against her chest, coffee clutched tightly between both hands (she's started taking it black recently and he doesn't know why he's noticed), wearing his shirt again. Lorcan is gone, risen early for the dawn shift in the emergency room at St Mungo's, and Rose and Lysander have been up since he left, sitting in the kitchen with their coffee talking about some things that matter and some things that don't.
"Me neither," Lysander tells her with a grin, and she elbows him with a mock-exasperated expression and he laughs and doesn't even complain that she's spilt coffee on his pyjama bottoms.
"He's my boyfriend though," she presses, looking worried by this, "Shouldn't he be the one I talk about this with?"
"What, and leave me with nothing of you at all?" Lysander retorts, managing to infuse his tone with enough to humour to make it come off as a joke, "Give me something, Rose. If I don't have your secrets, what do I have?"
She is quiet for long moments, and he knows that she's seen right through him, and he's wondering what he should do and whether she'll even care and whether she's going to say anything until, "You shouldn't say things like that."
"Things like what," he replies shortly, his words brushing her comment off, manner more brusque than he's ever been with her. She just looks at him, those hazel eyes so disconcerting and sad.
"Please," she says, "Please Lysander. Please."
"Please what?" he demands caustically, even though he knows please what, throwing his seat back as he shoots to his feet ready to storm off – he knows she needs him to be this guy or she'll regret what she does next.
"Please," she says again, quieter this time, eyes not meeting his, "Just…"
"The thing is, Rose," he tells her, half turned away, not looking at her over his shoulder, "I don't know whether you're asking one please or the other."
She frowns slightly, then, and she's looking terribly puzzled until suddenly her expression clears and she puts her coffee down on the table. He turns back towards her, resting his hands on the back of his recently-vacated chair, the muscles under his tanned skin twisting with tension.
"I don't know either," she admits like this is something of a revelation to her as much as him, "I really don't."
"Find out," he commands tersely, "Because I can't deal with this. It's either please be with you or please leave you alone. I can't hang in the middle like this."
"Lysander –" she starts, but he's already leaving the room, storming out of the apartment, oblivious to the fact that he's just in a pair of pyjama bottoms. He apparates himself straight to the beach he and Lorcan used to go to as children with their old, mad grandfather, and for hours he loses himself in the salt and the spray and the silence.
It's Lorcan who finds him. Unsurprising, really, since Lorcan is the only one who really knows about this beach. Lysander has long since lost the willpower to rage and storm up and down the sand, so he's just sitting on the dunes watching the wild water and wondering about drowning.
"Thought I'd find you here," Lorcan says, dropping down out of nowhere to sit next to his twin, "I got more nervous the longer it took you to come and whine to me."
Lysander just snorts half-heartedly, not even in the mood to think up a witty retort, and the two sit there in silence together for a while.
"So Rose broke up with me," Lorcan announces eventually, chucking a pebble in the direction of the surf, "She was very cryptic about it too. She said –"
"I don't want to know what she said," Lysander interrupts because he thinks it might kill him to hear her words coming out of his brother's mouth. But Lorcan continues regardless, the way he always has, and his words are welcome and like acid at exactly the same time.
"She said that she was sorry but she didn't love me anymore, and she didn't think it mattered because she reckoned I liked someone else anyway, and – and this is the weird bit so I'm going to quote – 'it was always you that looked like him, and never the other way around for me'. Weird, huh?"
Lysander is silent until he can't bear to be any more, and out of nowhere he turns and hugs his brother. He needs to do that, on occasion. It's always been them, see, the whole time, living out of each other's pockets and depending upon each other and Lysander can't bear sometimes how much Lorcan means to him.
"You know how, when we meet people," Lysander says out of the blue, pulling away from his brother, "It's always you that introduces us. And you say your name, and then mine, and everyone looks at me like they've just noticed that I'm there and they say, 'oh, he looks just like you!', which is kind of an understatement since we're identical twins and all?"
"Yeah," Lorcan replies slowly, looking like he's not entirely sure where this is going, "Except from that funny-looking mole on your –"
"Yes, not the point," Lysander interrupts hastily, and then he just looks at Lorcan and he says, "Rose said to me once that people said that because they liked you best automatically. No, don't try to deny it, it's true. 'Cause you're the friendly one and you're all open and emotional and shit and I'm sulky and insensitive and all those things Molly always complains about, okay? So they think I look like you, like I'm the copy or something, because they like you more."
Lorcan has the appearance of one who has just been told something they do not comprehend in any way whatsoever. Lysander suspects this has something to do with his appalling ability to phrase things, but he waits quietly anyway. He's not disappointed – Lorcan's face suddenly clears, and he's giving Lysander a look that says everything.
"And to her I looked like you," he repeats slowly, "Not the other way around. Which means…"
Lysander meets his gaze despondently, sheepishly, and replies, "I'm sorry. If it makes it any better, I only fell in love with her after you started going out with her, which shows you have great taste in women since I'm – what's that thing Lucy called me? Oh, yeah – 'emotionally stunted and incapable of feeling anything except for the most amazing of women'. So, yeah, well done…?"
"You're in love with her?" Lorcan repeats in total shock, hair falling into his eyes as he leans away from his brother to survey him better.
Lysander just looks at him. "That's really a surprise to you?"
Lorcan makes an unsure face and the brothers just sit and look at each other, neither really knowing what to say next. Finally, Lorcan loops an arm around Lysander's neck and they sit in companionable silence and stare out at the sea for what feels like an age.
"So, what now?" Lysander ventures at last, disturbing the comfortable peace as the sun starts to set.
"The future, my son," Lorcan tells him in a pompous old-man voice, like he's quoting someone, "What else but the future?"
"The future," Lysander concurs with a laugh, "Sounds like a plan." So together they clamber to their feet and stand to watch the day die. And if they daydream about two different girls with enchanting smiles and bewitching eyes, they don't mention it to each other.