a/n: I'm pretty sure I promised to dedicate this oneshot to Aiiimy. So here it is, Aimes! Hope you like it!
I'm going to miss doing these. Miss the frantic typing days away from deadlines, miss the opportunities to work a lot of oneshots into one timeline, miss all the characters… so, yeah, I'll just be over here, holding myself a pity-party.
I also feel I should explain the 'double pairing' – technically, it's just LouisKatie, but Laura is the Dead Ringer For Love girl and so she really needs to be put in there too. Plus she's in it more than Katie.
And, yes, this is Lo from Victoire's oneshot. The way I see the Weasleys, Fleur and Bill have Louis when Dominique is about sixteen/seventeen and Victoire twenty-three, because they miss having a baby around and Fleur wants a boy. So Louis ends up more among the Next Next Generation than the Next Generation itself. If that makes sense.
With the song: Dead Ringer For Love by Meatloaf.
deus ex machina
LouisLaura / LouisKatie
please please please let me get what I want,
please please please.
(- Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want, The Smiths)
There's this bar that he frequents. It's nothing special – dark and a little dingy and filled with smoke, Muggle to the very core, but he likes it a lot and he thinks that he could stand to spend an awful lot of time in there.
Lo accompanies him most nights, and he knows that a lot of people assume they're together. It's simpler that way, so he lets them think that – it saves him fending off the Muggle girls drawn to his good looks and the Muggle boys (and men) ensnared by Lo's. The Veela might be more diluted in her than in him, but it still gives them both a very subtle something that is nigh on impossible to resist.
"Beer?" she asks him when they arrive one evening – later than usual, today – at around nine thirty, already on her way to the bar.
"Peroni," he confirms, tossing a few Muggle coins at her and sliding onto a barstool, watching as she confidently pushes her way through a gaggle of people at the bar, getting to the front with very little effort. Lo is the sort of girl that people notice, you see.
Louis watches her pensively from his spot nearly opposite her as she leans on the bar and beams engagingly up at the barman, shamelessly flirting with him – she's harboured a secret crush since they first started coming here.
She's technically his niece, since she's his older sister Victoire's daughter, but she's only two months younger than him and the politics of it all makes his head hurt to think about it, so they don't usually discuss their relationship. They're more like cousins, although they're best friends at the same time, and he likes what they have. It's easy and it's comfortable and they share a flat and he wakes her up too early in the morning and she retaliates by bringing seemingly never-ending streams of boys back. Louis is all too used to getting up at his usual absurd hour and finding some sod in his kitchen using his kettle to make tea. But he forgives her because, well, they love each other and it's weird to think about being apart.
She gets the beers and returns to him, smile wide, cheeks somewhat flushed.
"Progress?" he inquires with a grin, poking her teasingly in the side.
"Fuck off," she retorts, hiding her smile behind her long blonde hair, brown eyes glittering, "Just because you couldn't charm a dead duck."
"That's a lie, and you know it," Louis informs her loftily, "I could get any one of the girls in this bar without even trying."
"Go on, then," she challenges, that glint in her eye at the prospect of a bet pure Weasley, "Pick a girl and charm her without trying. Two galleons you can't."
"You're on," Louis replies confidently, twisting in his seat to scan the bar for possible girls, blue eyes alighting thoughtfully on a redhead near the door to the loos and then a blonde by the music machine.
There's the sound of the door opening and shutting, and Louis turns further to see who's just come in, whether they might be a prospect, and then freezes. Lo notices his unusual stillness and cranes her neck to see who it is.
She rolls her eyes and gives Louis a "tut" that her Great Grandma Weasley would be proud of, before turning back to face forwards and trying to catch the barman's eye.
But all Louis is seeing is the girl in the doorway. She's amazing, he can't help but think, all long legs under her short skirt and limpid brown eyes that sweep across the room saying so much more than her full, kissable lips ever could.
"Her," he says somewhat hoarsely, snapping Lo out of her eye-contact with the barman, "She's the one."
"I'm upping the bet to five galleons," Lo informs him with a grin, having taken in the arrogant tilt of the girl's chin and the admiring stares of the other guys in the bar, "No backing down or else your man-card is forever invalidated."
"You're on," Louis replies, already halfway off his seat and over to where the girl has sat down.
"You're dead," Lo calls to his retreating back – she knows this type of girl, you see, is this type of girl – and then turns back to the bar.
Half an hour later Louis is sitting, feeling thoroughly rejected for probably the first time in his life, with Lo up in their flat. She's pressed a cup of tea into his hands and, atypically, doesn't complain even once that he dragged her away from her flirting.
"I don't believe it," he says, accepting the tea absently, barely noticing as she sits down next to him, "I just don't believe it."
"She didn't even tell you her name, did she?" Lo inquires, and Louis turns around because he can just hear the grin in her voice and he knows what she's thinking.
"Okay, okay, I know this is enormously satisfying for you and all, but –"
"Oh, Louis, you have no idea," she tells him firmly, grinning broadly, "For as long as I can remember you've had girls all over you – d'you remember Clara Duvale? We were six, Lou, and she told you she wanted to marry you. And then there was Izzy and Frankie and Eliza and Harriet… too many to even remember. And then we got to school and – hell, Lou, I don't remember a single girl ever saying no to you!"
"Yeah, well, it's not like boys ever say no to you, is it," Louis responds caustically, almost wincing as he thinks back over all those years of girls – a pretty good record, he has to admit, if he went between the ages of six and twenty without a girl ever saying no to him.
"Danny," Lo replies instantly, and Louis has to concede that point, remembering the hulking Quidditch player who'd so consistently refused Lo's advances. It was the first and last time he ever saw her crying over a boy.
"She was so… just so…everything. Everything I ever wanted. So… so…" Louis tries to explain, his mind looping back to the girl from the bar, his brain just not cooperating in conveying what he wants to say.
"I know," Lo replies gently, patting his knee, "It'll be fine, Lou. There are plenty more fish in the sea."
"I'm allergic to fish," he reminds her, and she gives a sigh and another 'tut' and orders him to drink his tea.
He forces Lo to accompany him back the next night, and the next, and every night the girl is there and every time Louis goes up to her she turns him away quickly and effortlessly. Louis keeps asking, hoping he'll wear her persistence down or something, but even the classic, "Hey, I'm Louis, my cousin's Hugo Weasley from Catacomb," which has worked in the past when all else has failed, doesn't prompt the flicker of a response.
Lo refuses to go back with him after six nights, but he keeps going, determined to wear this girl down. He doesn't know how, when he knows so little about her, she can have so thoroughly ensnared him.
"Just one date," he says to her one night without so much as a hello, distracting her from her friends – who all start giggling behind their hair, which is at least a small boost to his injured ego – and tapping her gently on the shoulder.
"For the last time, no," she replies emphatically, "Don't make me take out a restraining order."
"But you won't even tell me why," he complains heartily, folding his arms as he stares down at her, "Don't I even deserve an explanation?"
"Fuck off," she orders him shortly, and then turns back to her friends and engages them in deep conversation. Louis sighs and retraces his steps to his lonely seat on the bar.
"Your name, at least give me your name," he's asking eleven nights later. Yes, he's definitely become a bit of a stalker, but the fact that she's not bothered trying to find another bar to hang out in yet is oddly encouraging and the fact that her friends keep meeting her eyes and giggling makes him think that maybe he's still got a shot at this.
"What do I get in return?" she inquires boldly, and Louis pauses to think about that one for a moment, before something occurs to him and he beams broadly.
She sizes him up thoughtfully, and then he believes he might just see the glimmer of a smile at the corner of her lips, "If I tell you my name, do you promise to leave me alone for at least a week?"
"I promise," he tells her sincerely, beaming like an idiot, and she's certainly smiling just a little bit now.
"Hi, Laura," he says with his best lady-killer smile, "I'm Louis."
"I know. Now piss off."
Three nights later she marches up to him when he's sitting alone at the bar (and, yes, this is becoming an embarrassing pattern, your point?) and pokes him somewhat too hard for his liking in the back.
"Bloody hell, what're you – oh, Laura, hi!"
He is so genuinely taken aback by the fact that she's initiated contact that his brain almost goes into meltdown. He manages to cobble together a veneer of cool somehow, raising an eyebrow and putting on his sexiest voice.
"You want a drink?"
"Actually," she says shortly, her eyes raking up and down him, "What I want is to have sex. With you. Now."
"Right now?" Louis gasps, glancing wildly around him at the other people in the bar, and she stifles a laugh and rolls her eyes and grabs him by the shirt collar, dragging him off his stool.
"No, not right now. I thought at your house – you do have somewhere to live, right?"
"N- yeah, of course," Louis replies slowly, following her out into the London night, head spinning, "But… why? Why on Earth are you suddenly coming onto me like this?"
"I'm bored," she informs him as though this is the most natural thing in the world, "And I just broke up with my boyfriend. It's not exactly a secret that you fancy me. I was trying to think of someone who could give me one hell of a night, and you seemed the type."
Louis feels his ego swell, but it rapidly deflates again as she carries on.
"You know, good-looking, arrogant, up himself, convinced he's God's gift to womankind…"
"Don't deny it," she teases with a grin, and it's a harsh character dissection and he'd like to argue but then they're at his flat block and he kisses her in the lift on the way up and then they crash through the door, barely waving hello to a thoroughly astonished Lo in the kitchen before barrelling into Louis' room and losing themselves in each other.
The next morning he wakes up and she's gone. He can't deny that he's somewhat relieved – she'd been worth those weeks, yes, but it turns out that she doesn't have an awful amount going on upstairs, and as he lies on his back and stares up at the blank white ceiling he concludes that maybe it's time he started looking for real relationships rather than lusting after unobtainable girls.
There's a gentle knock at his door, and then Lo pushes it open, balancing two mugs of tea precariously in one hand.
"How'd it go?" she inquires as she seats herself wobbily on the side of his bed, smacking his knee to make him move up, handing tea over to him, "Was she 'everything you ever dreamed' and all?"
"Sort of," he replies ponderously, still slightly away with the fairies, "But it was kind of… I dunno. Like the fun went out of it the minute I got her."
"Boys," Lo says with a righteous roll of her eyes, moving out of poking-reach and taking a big gulp of her tea, wincing as she burns her tongue, "I'm sure you'll find someone, Louis. You're a great catch."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, spare me the self-help lecture," he teases, slipping his foot out from under his duvet to nudge her in the leg.
"You'd be lost without my lectures," she replies in a sanctimonious tone, and then gets up off the bed, balancing her tea carefully, "And get out of bed, you lazy arse. I've got Katie coming around in an hour for lunch."
"Who's Katie?" Louis asks as he clambers reluctantly out of bed, keeping his sheets wrapped around his waist and heading into the bathroom.
"Only my best girl friend," Lo calls after him, sounding exasperated, throwing a pillow at him, "I've known her for a year now, Lou, it's about time you met her, for Merlin's sake!"
Louis laughs and tries to recall a face to put to Katie's name, but fails.
One hour later Louis is sitting on the couch flicking idly through channels on the television when there's a knock at the door.
"Lo, door!" he yells towards the kitchen, but all he hears in response is a clatter of pots and a loud swearword, so with a grumble he struggles to his feet and opens the door.
"Hi," the girl on the other side says, looking a little taken aback at the sight of him, cheeks flushing red, "I'm Katie."
"Louis," he replies with a smile, standing aside to let her in, "Lo's uncle."
"We pretend we're cousins," Lo informs her, appearing from the kitchen, looking slightly panicked, "Otherwise it freaks people out. Ignore his charm, he's really an arsehole."
"Actually, I'm lovely," Louis responds firmly, nodding seriously down at Katie, "Ignore her. She's just jealous because I'm better-looking than her."
Lo throws a spatula at him and he dodges it, and by the time he's given up trying to retrieve it from where it's lodged in the wall - Lo can throw - his niece has beckoned Katie into the kitchen with her.
Louis watches the pair of them disappear, Lo's golden hair in front of Katie's chestnut, and he's thinking that something about Katie could be very easy to love when she pauses and turns in the doorway, glancing back at him with a shy smile.
Louis feels his heart beat a little faster, and in that moment is enormously glad that he decided to stay in for lunch.
a/n: if you've read to the end of these, thank you so much! You're all stars and I love you to pieces, each and every one of you!
(Still please don't be favouriting with reviewing, thank you muchly!)