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It’s been ten years since he’s last been in London. England, even. Appalling, how little fashion’s changed. But that’s the flipside of such a tradition bound society, he guesses. Thank Merlin, Edmund’s opted for his plain, old, grey travelling robes. All the love for Raj’s parting gift but if he imagines running around in a screech orange cloak with bloody bobbles along the hem, he’d look just like everyone else in this unnecessary complicated building.

The elevator zings open and he steps in, hoping for the best. It’s the third one he’s tried, after the fifth person he’s asked. Why had it been necessary to find work in the ministry of magic of all places? And why did they have to meet here just so he can pick up the security code for the apartment locks? Would that nice Deli around the corner have been so much out of the way?

“Department of Magical Tools and Items,” an omniscient voice announces. With a jolt the elevator stops. Awful fashionistas get out, two witches get in, who’d actually look professional in their trim waistcoats and adequately lengthened skirts, had it not been for their giggles. He realizes why, a moment later, as a flock of crimson draped Aurors march in. The last one of them being Peter.

Ed hears the surprised sound of his breath going shallow but no one’s batting an eyelash.

He’s been told, of course. That Peter had joined the academy, that he’d graduated top of his class. That he’s up for assistant head of department, even. Youngest ever to do so. Of course, he’s been told. But it’s been ten years since he’s seen him. Heard his voice. Peter had actually survived and thrived. Just like he always said he would.

“You know, Pevensie, it’s all bloody impressive how you got Duncęk but if I hadn’t flung those dumpsters in front of you, you sure wouldn’t be so ball-sy anymore.”

“And my gratitude towards you shall be eternally nutty.”

Raucous, manly laughter.

The last time Ed had seen him, he’d been a reckless boy with shining blue eyes, full of unshed tears, unable to say a word. Good to know he’s grown up to be just as reckless of a man.

“Cafeteria,” the indefinable voice announces and everyone shuffles out. At least, Ed knows now he is on the right track. Three stops after the food court is what Lucy said.

“Not hungry, Pevensie?”

“I’m just gonna drop off the report.”

“Bloody swot, when did you finish that already?”

“It’ll be but a minute, dear, leave some of the pudding for the rest of us, will you?”

“Haha,” his buddy responds and flings him the bird just as the door slides shut.

The elevator jolts ahead again only to stutter to an abrupt halt, that almost makes Ed lose his balance.

He needs to be more careful. Pete used to tell him a hundred times.

 

~°~°~

 

“You need to be more careful,” Peter says and steps through the portrait literally three seconds after him. “You didn’t glance behind you once. Anyone could have followed you.”

“Well, thank Merlin, it was only you then.”

“Just be more alert next time.”

“Oh, there’s gonna be a next time? That’s already decided then?”

“Why else would you have come.”

For a second they stare each other down. It seems like that’s all they’ve been doing lately. Merlin, this is so fucked up.

Ed, becoming aware of his creeping blush, casts his eyes away. But Peter, being Peter, steps forward.

“When I made that joke earlier,” Ed begins, his lips and voice just short of quavering, “the way you looked at me...”

Just like Peter is looking at him right now, he’d like to inform him, but Peter crowds him in and the words die on his tongue. A hand comes up, which he anticipates on his cheek but lands on the wall instead. “I don’t think I can hide any longer, Ed,” Peter says “Not even from you.” And then his older brother leans in and they kiss. They kiss. That’s how it all began.

 

~°~°~

 

“Peter, I-” Edmund starts, tries to balance himself out but is silenced by a grip on his neck and lips on his. He’s so surprised and so not. Because it’s Peter. His smell is all different, a new detergent maybe, there’s the sweaty stench of his physical labour. But when, involuntarily, Ed grabs Peter’s hair, there’s a whiff of the familiar. The always ducking into nooks at Hogwarts, behind wall mats and secret corridors, their excited, breathless laughter before their smiles melted into kisses. The warmth of the hand gripping his neck, has the same strength and forcefulness of their earliest clumsy attempts of learning each others bodies. The rough callouses are new. Purposefully, Peter steers them backwards until he has Edmund against the cold metal of the elevator. There’s goosebumps forming on his skin, whether from that or Peter’s hand questing beneath his robes and along his abdomen. A small moan escapes Ed’s mouth and Peter can’t resist, he has to lick into it. How long, oh how long has Edmund not tasted this. Him. Peter. His brother ends their kiss, cups Ed’s face and touches their foreheads together. They’re both breathing heavy.

“Ed,” Peter whispers. Like he can’t believe it, like there’s no way this is real.

Ten years they’ve not seen each other and this is what Peter does.

The elevator voice announces “Criminal Department”. With a zing the door slides open and Peter is gone. Just like that. Edmund is wrest to sea. Just like that. Just like Peter always does. Always used to do.

 

Finally, he makes it to the DOMA, Department of Muggle Affairs. The busy bureau is occupied by five wizards and witches, all tinkering with some to him unknown objects. On the last desk in the far corner sits Lucy, engaged in a heated debate with a supposed colleague. He stops in the doorway and watches her for a moment. Little, troublesome, daydreaming Lucy. He had missed her, of course, only his heart had never bothered to disclose how much. She has her hair in a high ponytail that frayed at the edges, a blouse with some flower knitting patterns on it and a bracelet, too big for her arm so it keeps jingling up and down with her gesticulations.

“Lucy, bathing ducks are clearly only meant for minors entertainment. Literature suggests nothing in the sense that adults could devise any other use from them!”

“Well, Effy, just because no one’s thought of it before, doesn’t mean it’s not a valid theory.”

“Whatever a bathing duck may be,” Ed chimes in, “their use or uselessness for adults is without question a concern of national importance.”

They both look up. A smile and scowl greet him.

“You’re joking, Edmund, but they may very well be,” Lucy reprimands him sternly. Nonetheless, she gets up and her arms widen like her smile. “You eternal wise-arse,” she says or rather blubbers because she’s crying now.

Ed looks helplessly at Lucy’s colleague, who pronounces, “Hi, name’s Ephigenia. You must be this hellcat’s other, yet equally attractive, brother.”

 

Once Lucy recovers, a rapid sequence of words bursts forth. When did you arrive? Oh, Peter will be blown away by how grown up you’ve become! Wait just half an hour and I’ll come right along. Is that all you brought? You absolutely must tell me everything! In Detail! Don’t dare leave out the smallest bit! Where have you been- what have you seen?

After numerous attempts of “Well-”s, “I-”s and “You see-”s, he finally manages to cut her off.

“Banyard, the Baymon, Lucy won’t you just give me the code to your apartment? Why does the bloody thing need one anyway? What happened to the old-fashioned use of simple keys?”

Dumbfounded, mouth left open, she stares at him. Then collects herself.

“Oh, you know how Peter gets. He insists it’s safer.”

“Safer?”

“He is the ministry’s star, after all,” Ephigenia adds. “Can’t have his little baby sister live all alone and vulnerable. All kinds of bonkers out there, these days.”

“I thought those times were over.”

“Ah, it’s worse than ever.”

“She’s joking,” Lucy says. “Peter just likes me to be careful, that’s all. If it were up to him, I’d probably have to put you through all sorts of disillusion, fraud and anti-fiend charms. Just to make sure that you’re you.”

Both girls, no women, snicker about it.

“But,” Lucy concludes and steps forward to whisper in his ear. “I’d know you anywhere. So, here, as long as you promise you won’t leave again.” With that she puts her chestnut wand against his temple.

 

Lucy tells him she’ll be home by seven, she has made a bed for him in the living room where he can get all set up. Edmund waves the smirking Effy goodbye and wanders back out of the office, back out of that horribly stuffy building. His heart stops with every announcement of the elevator. But he’s not to be seen.

 

Lucy’s apartment is tiny and tidy and entirely lovely. It’s held in light colours of beige, sommerset blue tones and all sorts of trinkets and books are stacked and hidden away. Her living room is part of an open kitchen, behind a bunch of drapes right by the window is a little nest build up out of cushions and blankets. Just perfect for reading and daydreaming. There’s some knitting utensils on the couch and he remembers her fledgling starts right before the war broke out. Then, something to occupy her mind with, now it’s probably to feel closer to Mum. Further into the flat he finds her bedroom. That room is basically one giant mattress. As well as a constellation of wandering stars on the ceiling. Looking closer he can see small names accompanying them. There’s a dark green planet labelled with his name that rotates ever closer to a warm orangy-yellow with Lucy’s name and a dark red, who symbolizes his brother. Edmund has rejoined their galaxy.

There’s an earthy, homely smell to this flat. Something like lavender and wholly unfamiliar. Nothing here smells like childhood to Edmund, despite what he had expected.

 

Lucy comes in late. A lot later than she had said. Edmund gives her one look, gets up from his cushiony nest, puts The Tales of Seafarer Caspian IX down and hugs her.

“Is that alright as a bed? I thought it’d be better than the couch.”

“It’s lovely but we’ll talk tomorrow, you look like you could use some sleep.”

It’s a testament to itself that her only reply is a smawn. Half smile, half yawn. Little ball of energy Lucy Pevensie experiences tiredness nowadays. He listens to her brush her teeth and then slump directly into her bedroom.

Edmund kills the lights with a flick of his wand and a mumbled, “Nox.” Then he gets to his makeshift bed. He looks up at the London moon, the same moon he’s so often looked at in India and China and Iraq and a thousand other places. Different places, same moon. That used to console him, today it’s making him edgy. Like he’s stuck, no escape. Absent-mindedly, he touches his lips.

 

The next morning he finds a note from Lucy.

Good morning, hope I didn’t wake you. I’m gonna take half a day off so if you want we could grab lunch somewhere? Just send an OWL. - Lucy :)

Briefly, he wonders why she wrote owl in all caps but then his mind wanders to Sahik in Bangladesh, who in order to communicate with Edmund over longer distances enchanted bushes to shake in certain rhythms. Naoko in Namazuru had a pet deer, whose antlers lighted up in kanji. Nidal from Argentina used the chirps of wayfarer birds.

Then he thinks of Hogan and Pwui, his and Peter’s barn owls. They had been brothers, who’d both fallen out of their nests and were found and rescued by the Pevensie brothers. They had always been pecking on each other yet always huddled together at sleep time. Even at the Owlery in Hogwarts, they used to share their spots and food and always joined Peter and Edmund when they went out on their brooms. He remembers the daring manoeuvrers they flew and yet still never managed to crash into each other. How they died trying to defend Susan.

Edmund takes a deep, calming breath. Then he showers, gets dressed, packs all the scattered pages of his yet unsorted manuscript and dives into London city to find someone who’ll dare publish all his years of fieldwork studying sociological anthropology.

 

At lunch time Ed has to duck into an insane amount of alleys to find an owl delivery service. Those used to be at every corner. This one is tended by an old man, who looks like a ‘Kauz’ himself, as the Germans would say. He picks a nice looking brown owl and attaches his messages with deliberate care. The little owl tries very hard not to jitter with excitement because as soon as Edmund says, “All done, you can fly off now.” She barrels ahead and only narrowly hits the open window. An hour later Lucy’s response arrives, not a single other costumer had been in during that time. Ed had thus been occupied with the rest of the owls who hacked and pecked him and swooned and sweetened to see if he had not another message in need of delivery. In apology he at least made sure to pet and feed each of them. When his little brown owl comes sailing back inside, she lands right on his shoulder, puffed out chest and majestically holds her little leg out.

Ed,

I’m so sorry, I said I’d only be half a day but work is incredibly staggering today. I’ll see you later at home, alright? I really am sorry.

PS: I can’t believe you’ve actually send an owl. Where have you been living?

 

All day, Peter lurks in his mind like a shadow. He’s unnerved at how his heart jumps at certain strangers. Some of them have his hair, even his broad back, once he’s sure he recognizes that pair of hands holding onto a bar on the tram.

 

Here and there he’ll see reminders of the war. Except no one would call it that. It was just a couple of unsettling years, starring randomly vanishing strangers, then neighbours, then friends. Rumours of secret organisations, rumours of awful tortures, then actual footage followed by a period of apparent return to normalcy that turned out to be the new age of propagandist techniques. Months later came the first murmurs of rebellion and from there it went downhill. A looming nightmare of chaos that was starkly approaching to become an inevitable reality.

 

~°~°~

 

“Did you hear about the fights in Tottenham?”

“The rebels got ‘em good.”

“Horseshit, they’ve all been executed, didn’t you read the prophet?”

“So what? That’s all dung anyway. They have to write what the minister tells ‘em to.”

So was the talk all over Hogwarts those days. No matter the strict policy of the headmaster and the severe punishments inflicted by the professors to those they caught gossiping. But if the whole school was talking, well… The couple disciplinary lessons doled out each day didn’t intimidate the student body for long. Not when faced with stories of real people’s traumas. Everyone knew someone or had a family member, who said the wrong thing to the wrong person and suddenly disappeared. It was only here, protected by the castle walls, they still dared to speak so reckless. Because it was a universally believed truth that Hogwarts is and will be the last safe place. Because it’s a school. Because it’s full of children. No one would ever attack a school full of kids. Was Edmund then the only one who actually say where all this was headed?

Most days he couldn’t escape the talk. Those days he’d always call on Peter.

“The rebels have stationed a camp near Brookridge.”

Ed does not care to hear of it so he kisses Peter’s collarbone and nips down to his chest.

“I’ve heard it from Norma Jean. Her Godfather joined them.”

Languidly, Ed strokes over Peter’s delicious Quidditch-curtesy abs. A ripple runs right through them. A shaky breath even, but he continues undeterred.

“Paul and Moira keep saying how stupid that is. “That’s what we have Aurors for. This is just making the situation more tense”.”

Ed nuzzles Peter’s swelling cock through his underpants.

“If they honestly believe anyone at the Ministry still has a working plan to de-escalate this whole thing, then they’re blind. It’s in the hand of ordinary folk now. It’s up to each one of us.”

“How about this ordinary folk focuses on what’s at hand?” Ed suggests and squeezes Peter’s dick, his thumb teasing the head. Peter’s hand finds its way into Ed’s hair. Finally, he’ll shut up, Edmund thinks, slowly working his brother.

“We should leave,” Peter suddenly moans. “We should join, too.”

Ed swallows Pete’s dick to shut himself up. Peter gets finally quiet, too. But a terrible feeling settled inside Edmund. From there it practically galloped to its end.

 

~°~°~

 

Saturday is the garden party.

“Do we really have to go?”

“Merlin, you’ve asked me this four times in the last twenty minutes. I mean they’re your family, too. What is it with you, they’re basically throwing this in the honour of your return. As far as I know they even invited a bunch of our old Hogwarts friends.”

“I’ve nothing to wear.”

“Oh please, casual is fine.”

Huffing, he sifts through his trunk. Raj’s screech orange parting gift is thrown out immediately. He does have that rather nice black shirt. It is casual, yet not too much so. A pair of good trousers and his normal shoes should be fine. Ought he to do something with his hair?

“Oh my, Ed! This is stunning! Where on earth did you get this?”

He throws a disinterested glance over his shoulder. Sure enough Lucy is fingering those bloody bobbles.

“It’s yours.”

“I could never.”

“I’m sure as bloody fuck not gonna wear it.”

“Language,” she chastises absent-mindedly, already holding it to her form. “It’s way too long.”

With a rapid cutting motion of his wand, Ed charms an inch off.

“There.”

“Edmund Augustus Pevensie!” Lucy exclaims. “Watch the appliqué, will you!”

 

Before they finally leave, Lucy hands Ed a small device.

Curiously, he inspects it, small and light, an oval metal shape. Suddenly words are seemingly written on the flat side.

That, my dear brother, is an OWL.” it reads.

Flabbergasted, he looks at Lucy.

“Owlless Written Letters,” she explains. “Super quick and super neat. I already hooked yours up to mine, just put your wand to it, think of however you want to contact and what you want to tell them them and off it goes!”

Disbelieving, he looks at her, then at the OWL.

 

Lucy gets so fucking many compliments for that darn coat, Ed is positively aghast. They’ve barely stepped on the property of that sprawling, white picket-fence residency with the oh so enviable family mansion, before they’re being bombarded from all sides. All right, maybe it isn’t that big but more than big enough for a family of five from the middle class. But Ed is forgetting, this isn’t any ordinary family. It’s the future head auror’s.

Apropos, here comes the Stepford wife. She is blonde, she is a bombshell, she looks absolutely spiffing in that soft rose cocktail dress, baby bump and all. She also manoeuvres a way through to them and with a hand landing possessively on Lucy’s back and the announcement of “The Buffet is served!”, everyone gets the hint and quietly shuffles off. Then she swerves around with a dazzling smile of perfect white teeth. Ed seizes the proffered hand to his lips.

“Natalie, how wonderful to finally meet. You look entirely divine.”

“Ah, so you do know of me. I wasn’t sure if my busy husband ever found the time to mention me. Or has our Lucy here already talked wickedly of me?”

“Oh, you know I’d never,” she slaps at their sister-in-law. “Edmund already knew all about you, I merely filled in the blanks.”
“Oh, I bet.”

“You have a beautiful home here, not to mention the garden. I’m sure it’s all your due.”
“Thank you, you’re very kind. I do what I can to provide my husband a warm and welcome hearth. It’s the least I can do.”

“Where are my cute little niece and nephew, anyway?” Lucy asks. “I haven’t seen them in forever.”

“Last I saw them playing by the swing set. They’re ever so excited to finally meet their famous uncle.”
“Now, I must wonder what wicked things you might’ve told about me.”

She laughs.

“Not me, dear Edmund. That is all on Peter, he used to tell the children tales of your adventures. I remain curious to hear how much of them are true. But now, you should go ahead and enjoy yourselves. I need to check on my pie. I hope to have you much more often as my guest now,” she says and squeezes Edmund’s hands.

 

So they go ahead and mingle. Ed clings to his sister’s side, he honestly doesn’t know what to talk about with these people he went to school with or used to be friends of. He does notice some faces missing, but they’ve been missing since the war and he doesn’t want to act impolitely by asking about them regardless. They could have survived. Peter did. Who, unnervingly, has not been attending yet. Natalie keeps excusing him, he’s been held up at the ministry. No one questions it, not someone of his standing.

So Edmund peruses the buffet for the third time. That wife is a Barbie and all but she sure can cook. He’s heaving the second spoon from the noodle salad when Peter steps up next to him, to take from the buns.

“Where are you staying?”

“It’s nice to see that you’ve made it. Remind me to thank your wife for organising all this, I’m sure it was too much work.”
“When can I see you?”

“By the way, your children are adorable. Especially Rosie, she’s so much like you at that age.”

“Ed.”

Reflexively, Edmund lets the salad fork fall. Because Peter said that, in that same voice he used to use all the time back then. When things got bleak and he felt helpless and needed him.

“Lucy leaves for work by 7.30. She’s never back before six.”

 

It’s 7.43 on Monday morning when Ed opens the door and Peter pushes him right up to it. Already devouring his mouth, already getting him undressed.

“I’ve OWLed in to work that I’m late getting Louise to Kindergarten.”

Ed doesn’t want to know.

It’s not far from there to the makeshift bed, to being down to their underwear. Unconsciously, they take a minute to just feel each other again. To revel in the old, to explore the new. And oh, Edmund can’t believe he’s touching these abs again, even more steeled now, than during his years as a Quidditch Chaser. His fingers fly over Peter’s chest, feel his heartbeat so strongly, go over his shoulders and down his tanned biceps, the fine hairs on his underarms, then up to Peter’s fingers who trace Edmund’s face so delicately. Slowly, tenderly their eyes meet, then their lips because Peter pulls him in again. It’s not long before their kissing grows heated and travels, to reach every spot that had to live for ten years without this touch. Finally, Peter works a hand into his briefs.

How I missed you, oh by all the stars and moons, I never knew how I had missed you. Edmund almost yells in confession, though he really never would.

Instead he too grips Peter’s, oh so wonderfully, hard dick and forces a languid, shuddering moan from his brother. Briefly, he wonders how long he’s been without proper handling. He hardly imagines his wife to deign herself to such primal acts.

For minutes they tease and please each other, until Peter cups his face and puts the question to Edmund with his eyes. Ed breathes in once, nods and turns around. One last soft kiss Peter plants against his neck, then he feels the mumble of words and the familiar spell working lube into his ass. When Peter pushes in, five seconds later, Edmund crushes his jaw together, fists cramping. It’s still painful like this. But he knows Peter couldn’t hold back. Not this time. Not after finally having him again. And he too, wouldn’t want it any other way. Edmund needs this pain, this clear sensation of his brother thrusting in deeper and deeper. Harder. Faster. Peter comes. In three minutes flat, maybe. But he turns the heaving Edmund around and brings him off with his hand, holding eye contact the whole time. He comes in a burst, shuddering and shaking. It lands on his chest and belly, clings to Peter’s hand, so visibly of a proof.

This is how it starts again.

 

Peter comes by whenever he can. Early off his shifts, in the middle of stakeouts, supposed late hours at the office, going out with the mates on weekends. When they can’t meet at Lucy’s, they do it on the loo in pubs, get into seedy motels, and dirty back alleys. Sometimes they meet in the middle of the night, walk briskly to a nearby park and deface the playgrounds. Once, Peter had two brooms ready for them and they flew out to the public training ground. If that didn’t hit him full force with Hogwarts memories, then Ed doesn’t know either.

It’s always the same. Just like back then. Only the neediness in Peter’s hands and lips has grown stronger. Afterwards he smokes. That’s new. Yet somehow it doesn’t surprise Ed.

Right now, in Lucy’s apartment, after they’re sated, Ed gets up from the mess of blankets and joins Peter on the balcony. London is bustling as always. Pigeons sit on neighbouring roofs and cats stroll through the street. A lady with a red hat and a white dog walks by. Edmund turns around and leans his back on the railing. Then he holds his hand out. Peter regards him for a moment, takes another drag then passes it on. He doesn’t watch Edmund fumble with his first ever fag. He doesn’t tease him for coughing either. They don’t talk much. There’s not much use for words between them. They’ve said them all.

 

~°~°~

 

“I think Susan suspects.”

“Fuck, seriously?”

Sex, as it turned out, was an incredible catalyst for Peter’s unfiltered side. Especially, if he was thrusting inside his little brother.

“She’s been giving me these looks and just- ah- yesterday, she said to me, all serious, if I ever- fuck, right there- if I ever needed to talk, about whatever, I could come to her.”

“If there’s anyone you’ll come for, it’s me, Ed.”

Then Peter picked up his pace and for a while there was nothing but grunting and lost moans.

 

“I’d suggest we be more careful for a while,” Edmund says, shrugging his shirt back on. “She’ll be gone in two weeks anyway. We can get back to it until they’ll make us board that train so all of us can be jammed into Uncle Diggory’s estate. If we ever get there and won’t all be brutally murdered by then.”

“You know how I adore your gloomy outlooks but if she’s really onto us we ought to do it the other way around.”

Peter gets up and disassembles Edmund’s just made up tie.

“We should play good, well-behaved brothers until she’s gone. Then we’ll be free.”

“Free? To do what exactly?”

Then his beautiful blond brother, with the deliciously dishevelled hair, cups his face.

“Ed, neither Mum, Dad, nor Susan can make me hide in the countryside like a coward. Not at times like these.”
Edmund’s breathing stocked.

“We should leave and join the rebellion. Together. I’d take care of you. We’d be together.”

He’d known all along. Now he just tried not to let Peter see how scared he was when he talked like that. He leaned forward, gave Peter a chaste kiss and touched their foreheads together.

“You’re such a fool.”

Peter grinned. Ed tried not to cry.

 

~°~°~

 

Two months roll away like that. Ed had almost forgotten how exhilarating it was to have an affair. Of course, this time there’s the undertone of shame. He is fucking a married man, after all. But like before, this is strictly physical. Or so he insists to himself. But the way Peter always lights up when they see each other and Edmund hurries into his arms, how he cups his face and stares so tenderly before finally they both close the last few centimetres. Sometimes, he really has to pull himself together not to say daft things that sit so slippery on his tongue and foolishly next to his heart.

Like, “You look handsome today.”

“I’ve been giddy all morning, waiting for you.”

“It’s like dying when you kiss me good night until I wake up and you kiss me good morning.”

“I wish you’d say ‘my’ before you say ‘Ed’.”

And worst of all, “Won’t you leave your wife and run away with me?”

Ten years ago he’d have laughed into Peter’s face if he had uttered any of those things. This time he’s shaking to the bones with the force it takes to keep those words in himself.

 

Three weeks ago he’d send his manuscript to several publishers. Old-fashioned. With an owl. Yesterday he had dinner with a prospective agent, Ava Morellis. She was entirely excited about the whole subject, played different scenarios through with him, pitched cover designs and book back intrigues, explained to him standard debut proceedings, fantasized for him a major press tour in case of undoubted mega instant success. She was flirting a little with him, too.

Ed kept thinking that if he left now, he’d still get an hour with Pete. If he left now, it’d be 47 minutes. 43 minutes. 36. Half an hour. Twenty minutes. Ten minutes, even five would be better than not having seen him at all that day.

That’s when it hits him. How bad it’s already become again. He can hardly talk to Peter about it, what they’re doing, where this is going, they were never all that good at the talking feelings stuff. He certainly wasn’t. They were brothers, who were fucking, that was awful enough but bringing ludicrous emotions into this. That this happened between them again was bad enough. He has no idea what it is that comes over them why they cant free each other and are so bound.

He indulges ten more days with this wrong pleasantness. Then he has Sunday lunch with Lucy in that Indian Deli, which she is completely obsessed about now. They eat with their hands and Ed is picking some cashews.

“I think I’ll go to the Philippines next. Ava has everything covered here, she’s more excited about the book than me at this point. And I feel restless, there’s a colony of wild birbades just migrated there. I’d love to join the team studying them. She thinks she could arrange something for me.”

“Yeah?” Lucy asks, not stopping with her dish. “Sounds great.”

“I’d be gone in less than two weeks if it works out.”

She does stop chewing then, looks at him and smiles a sort of painful smile. “I’ll miss you.”

Surprised, Ed smiles back. Surprised not that she’ll miss him but that she doesn’t protest. Then he wonders, once again, if he should tell Peter. Better not, Peter would never let him leave. Ed wouldn’t want to, in the end.

 

Peter comes by during his lunch break the next day. There’s no greeting between them. The mood shifted and Peter has noticed. He swaggers over to where Edmund lounges on his pillow nest, to where Ed doesn’t get up. Doesn’t smile or says a word. He looks down at him, impassive, a bit uneasy, too. Ed meets the gaze impassive as well but not uncertain. Where Peter used to have the certainty that Edmund would always meet him half way, it was now all up to him. So he unzips his trousers, takes his yet flaccid but swelling dick out and holds it for Edmund to suck on. But he just watches. Doesn’t move. So Peter goes down on own knee and pushes his hips forward making his dick bump against Edmund’s lips. Ed doesn’t move, looks at the head then looks up. Meets Peter’s gaze defiant. Another second goes by before Peter’s hand grabs a fistful of Ed’s hair, not gently, pulls his head down and his neck taught. Strung jaw muscles open Ed’s lips just the smallest bit but it’s enough. Peter pushes his dick past them, past the teeth and into that warm heat. A moment he waits to see if Ed will finally react. Ed waits. So with a snap Peter’s full length presses down his throat making him almost choke. His eyes close shut then, tears springing forth immediately. Peter can’t stop now, starts fucking Edmund’s mouth and Ed, too, can’t stop either. Needing this too much right now. Because somehow it feels like he deserves this, like this could be cathartic. To force out their hidden natures. Or what Ed believes their natures to be. And if he doesn’t know the truth behind their attraction, the brute and the unworthy, then who does?

Ed grabs Peter’s hips to try and stifle the depth at least a little. Promptly, Pete tightens his hold and pulls Edmund off. His face so puffy, his lips such a delicious red. Peter stands back up, divests himself of his robes and gets back on the bed in all his naked glory. On his knees he crawls over Edmund until he’s right in front of his face. Then he grips Ed’s hair again and puts the same strain on his neck, forces his dick back in, thrusts and fucks and ultimately comes. Edmuns swallows it all.

Gotten himself to the point of exhaustion Peter falls down to his side. Immediately he seizes Edmund close though and between puffs of breath kisses his forehead and cheek and nose.

“It’s been- it’s been a while since you needed it like this.”

Edmund curls himself closer to Peter’s heated flank and presses himself a thankful kiss onto his still heaving chest.

 

Half an hour later after they’re dressed again, before he has to leave, Peter gives him a soft, drawn out kiss. One of those that grow so quickly heated and makes his dick nudge the slightest bit. Ed throws all his plans right out of the window. How terribly, terribly hard love is.

Peter’s still cupping his cheek when the front door opens. It’s Lucy.

Instinctively, Ed startles backwards but Peter grips him tight, pulls him forward into an embrace.

“I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Then he lets go and walks toward their little sister. She lightly clears her throat.

“Natalie is looking everywhere for you. She’s pretty upset, your colleagues made some unwise jokes about your constant absences.”

“Did you send her home?”

“No- !” her voice almost rises in anger but she catches herself. “No, I sat her down in your bureau with a cuppa.”

“Thanks, Lu,” he says and still they hug briefly, Lucy just can’t not. “I’ll see myself out.”

The instant pop of his disapparition echoes unfathomably loud in the ensuing silence.

Lucy sighs audibly, goes through her hair.

“Why did I know, I’d find him here?”

“He just came to talk-”

“You’re lips are still swollen, Ed!” She swerves around.

He doesn’t bother hiding. It’s up now.

Lucy sighs again, shakes her head, walks back and forth and finally settles at the kitchen table.

“He’s married.”

“I know.”

“He has three little kids.”

“I know.”

“You are brothers.”

There’s nothing he could possibly say to that. Once in the desert of Gombaraji he tried to say those things out loud. How fated and connected he felt to this person, that was born to the same parents. How impossible his chest burned because he could not be with him. I’m sorry almost slips out but he’s not.

“Why did it have to be him? London is full of stupid guys. Why couldn’t you take one of those?”

Helplessly, he looks at her. She searches for answers, he can’t give.

“The first time around Susan cautioned me not to say anything. Because you were young and the times were terrible and now when you wrote to say you’d come back to England, of course I thought what if they start again but No, I’d tell myself. They’ve grown up now, it’s not like that anymore.”

There’s nothing.

“What were you thinking, Ed?” she pleads.

“It isn’t like that.”

“No? What is it then? You actually love him?”

His whole being becomes a vast nothing, absolutely nothing, if Peter isn’t with him. How could he possibly put that into words she could understand? So he just bites his lower lip and shrugs helplessly. Blinks tears away, because how shameful, crying for himself, for this impossible love.

Incredibly, this revelation shocks Lucy more than anything else.

“Ed,” she says almost inaudibly. “Oh, Ed.”

Finally, he breaks down.

“I’m sorry, Lucy, I didn’t mean for it to start again. I really didn’t. I have to leave. I know I need to leave him.”

 

Ava uses her connections. Lucy uses her connections. Ed gets the placement with the team on the Philippines. Two days he manages to avoid Peter with bullshit excuses. The messages get overwhelming, then nothing. Ed drops his OWL in a public bin. Two hours he spends nervously in a muggle café going over his notes and annotations. There’s a caution warning about an escaped fugitive Duncęk. Dimly he remembers that name but it all flows away the next instant because Peter slides silently onto a stool next to him. He casts muffliato, yet he still speaks so lowly, Ed is straining to hear.

“Stop trying to hide.”

“I’m not.”

“Stop trying to lie.”

“I’m no-”

“Ed.”

He says it so urgently, so vulnerable.

“Are you trying to leave me?” In lieu of an answer, Ed takes a shaky breath. “You are, aren’t you.”

Peter’s cherished fingertips land on his chin, turn his face around so their eyes lock.

“I can’t. I’m sorry, I just- I can’t.”

He slides out of Peter’s reach, out of his cast Muffliato, back into the unforgiving noise of London. He stumbles further down the street, ducks into the first alley, relieved not to hear a pair of following footsteps. He takes a last steadying inhale and disapparates. A hand clasps his shoulder. In the ensuing stomach turning whirlwind he sees Lucy’s flat transform then disappear again. Peter’s taken control.

With a thump his feet hit solid ground.

 

“I’m not just letting you leave me again!” Peter yells and yanks Edmund close by the robes. “I missed my chance last time but you came back and I’m not letting you go again!”

Ed is too disoriented to reply, behind Peter he glimpses masonry of a familiar old mansion. Peter brought them, unconsciously or not, to Uncle Diggory’s place. To the point where ten years ago it all had ended.

 

~°~°~

 

The plan was as follows: They’d arrive at their uncle’s mansion, they’d excuse themselves early from dinner for it had been an exhausting journey, they’d slip out when everyone was asleep, stumble two and a half miles through the woods and get on a muggle train towards Yorkshire because between one stop and another there was supposedly the rebellion’s headquarter. And if they were to join in earnest they’d have to report by the leaders to be send to wherever they’d be truly needed like good, little cannon fodder.

The worst part: Peter won’t realize how insane all that was. That it would only send them to one end; gruesome death.

But if Ed couldn’t stop him, who could? He knew that thing between them was more than physical, that Peter really wanted him by his side, to protect him and live ‘freely’, whatever that may entail. Only that scared Edmund to the marrow of his bones.

 

All day, through the train and consequent carriage ride, to the greetings and reunion with their parents and Susan (who still looked so knowingly at him) until they went upstairs to get up to their bedroom, to change for dinner and even all through that, with everyone catching up and rehashing everything from the last few weeks, he didn’t know what to do except grab Peter’s hand and desperately beg him not to go.

But with every passing second and the way his strong jaw was set, how calm his hands were and how passionate and certain he glanced at Edmund, he knew it was futile. So, the anxiety came, the cowardice grew, the fear overtook.

 

With a polite smile to the others and an expectant look to his little brother, Peter excused them early from dinner. Shortly, Susan’s lips opened but whatever was about to come out, she drowned in a sip of water. Everyone else, very understanding, wished them a restful sleep and ushered them off.

 

Once upstairs, as his older brother went over the map one last time, Ed brought it all to an end.

“Pete, come on, let it go already.”

“What do you mean?”

“What do I mean? This whole- lunacy of yours,” he said and gestured to their packed bags and the red marked map.

Blankly, Peter just stared at him.

“What did you expect, Pete? That I was really gonna come with you? I just pretended, so you wouldn’t run off while we were still at Hogwarts. I thought you’d get your senses back by then.”

“You never meant to come?”

“Of course not, bloody hell. You honestly thought we were gonna be evil wizard fighting boyfriends? It’s just stupid sex! And you were convenient. I’m not going to throw my life away for some ridiculous rebellion and surely not for your lunatic whims either, you’re such a pathetic blockhead.”

 

~°~°~

 

It hurt him, too. The things he threw at Peter. But back then, in that moment, he would have said anything to save themselves from having to fight at the war front. It was no use, though. No use how cruel he’d been, how wounded Peter looked at him and his shattered plans. It was no use how dearly he regretted not to have kissed him one last time.

Because Peter had disappeared. The next day his bed was empty and Edmund knew he was gone the second he laid sight on the unmade covers.

Three weeks later Susan was gone, as well. Killed at an attack while she was helping loading food rations for muggles off a train. It was so senseless, to Ed. She died as a tourist, didn’t even have a chance to fight. They heard nothing of Peter.

Two months later with ever more and more refugees coming to the village, Edmund had met Boris and followed him to St. Petersburg, as far away as he could hope to get.

 

“I saw that you’d been right, Ed! And it was even worse than you had countless times imagined. The suffering, the stench, the cruelty, but I saw the hope, too. In everyone’s faces. Old women, young men, little children. I saw it in all their faces. And we won! We did win!” Peter still has him by the robes, pushes him ever so further away from the mansion.

“Maybe my dreams had been crazy to you. But you were the only reason I dreamed them, anyway! All I ever wanted was for us to be together! I came to look for you. After. When things had settled down, after I properly mourned Susan and Uncle Diggory, after I was sure that Lucy was safely back to Hogwarts and Mum and Dad in Finchley. I followed your trace through a dozen countries, all the way to Egypt.”

Ed had shacked up with Cyrus for a time there, who was an American archaeologist. He’d only been with him a few months but he learned enough to survive the next years on his own.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have given up on you then,” Peter says and averts his eyes. His hands slightly loosening. “But I did. I thought it was over, that what you had said then was true and I had got it all wrong from the beginning.”

Edmund has to swallow.

“Well, I’m really not sure what you want from me.”

He looks up again, then, cups Edmund’s cheek.

“You used to be mine.”

This time it’s Edmund who pushes and shoves.

“’You used to be mine’? And what about me? What about me?”
“I just want you to be with me. That’s all I ever-”

“I’m not the one with the platinum blonde bombshell wife and 2.5 kids! That you would even ask me to destroy- if! If you’d even ask! You keep saying you want us to be together but you always make it so hard, Pete! You make it so hard.”

Not a second passes before his brother surges forward and clasps his face to kiss him, so desperately. Because this is the end and the last time and they both know it. So Edmund kisses back and lets Peter swipe him up, locks his ankles behind his back and lets Peter carry them off into the house. He kicks the rotten front door down and walks purposeful to the old library room on the right. There are still half a dozen pieces of furniture scattered around, not that Edmund has any mind to make a real note of them.

Peter sets him down on a once fine couch of red cushion. Ed is hard pressed to let go so Peter can stand up, but he frees himself nonetheless of Edmund’s wanton hold. Then he quickly divests himself of his robes, while Edmund simply looks on in awe. He will never not be astonished and mad about his brother’s body. There’s no one he could ever hope to compare it to, no one to have ever come close.

Now, Peter in all his naked glory, crouches down and deftly opens Edmund’s pants, gets his swollen cock out and kisses the head almost politely. It would wrest a smile from Ed, if he didn’t feel so light-headed and heartbroken right then. Sensually, Peter licks the whole length up, sucks on Ed’s balls and finally swallows it all down. With a harsh breath, Edmund’s hand flies to Peter’s hair. And Peter is really going for it, gives it his all. One last time.

Just before he’s sure he’s about to come, Ed pulls Peter off and up for more kisses. Simultaneously they get rid of all of Edmund’s layers, with Ed casting a quick spell before flinging his wand aside as well. It’s not long from there to Peter lining up. They halt for a second there, look at each other, understanding each other. Slowly, Peter pushes in and Edmund gasps. Peter strokes the hair from his forehead and Edmund can’t help himself, he throws his arms around his neck and pulls him close. He can’t take seeing him now, he doesn’t want Pete to see him, either. Not his reddened cheeks, not the brows furrowed in ecstasy, the open mouth letting out all these shameful sounds, not those tears. And Peter holds him, too. Borrows his own face in Ed’s neck. There’s wetness, too. But Ed couldn’t possibly be sure if it’s from Peter’s mouth or his eyes, as well. Not until Ed comes in a shuddering mess, crying out his brother’s name and Peter comes, too, making these broken, desperate sounds which don’t stop and so Ed does know. They’re both crying and grieving. Because finally they realize how loved they’ve always been by the other, how stupid they were, how futile it all has been from the beginning. But it’s too late now to regret that first kiss, to regret that they’ve ever touched the other.

They slide down to the floor since that is still more comfortable than trying to fit on the crammed couch. Naked and heaving, they lay there. Slowly, so slowly, they calm down. Their bodies are not touching any longer, soon it will be time to get up but not yet. Edmund reaches out and Peter interlocks their fingers.

“Do you think, if the war never happened, we’d had had a chance?”

Slowly Edmund turns his head to look at Peter’s profile.

“I can’t stay here with you, Pete.”

“I know.”
“I’m going to the Philippines. And you are going back to your wife.”

Peter turns his face around and looks at Edmund, full of longing, full of hurt. He stretches the other hand out and Edmund hurries into his arms. Peter lets out a shuddery breath.

“Only a moment. Gift me only one more moment.”

 

 

 

The Daily Prophet, 29 th November 2017

 

STAR AUROR REPORTEDLY DEAD

 

Peter Pevensie, youngest assistant head auror, has reportedly died after a clash with the fugitive dark wizard Duncęk, who had staged his escape from Azkaban only a fortnight ago. Although, there was no body of Auror Pevensie to be found, the large amount of blood at the scene leaves colleagues and experts with only one sombre explanation. Auror Pevensie leaves behind a widow with two young children and one on the way, as well as sister Lucy Pevensie and brother Edmund Pevensie, whose recently published book “Foils and Toils of the modern wizardry population” is currently making massive waves in the academic world. More on p. 6.

 

 

Far away, on a slowly swinging hammock on an island on the Philippines, Ed is rocking to and fro. His foot lightly grazes the sand underneath. A man called Peter, who was once known as his brother, is inside their little hut, readying dinner. No one talks of war any more and they’re finally together.

 

The end.