Andrew Joseph Minyard doesn’t know a thing about Nathaniel Wesninski until he’s sent to kill him.
That’s perhaps more unusual than one would suspect, knowing Andrew. His general disinterest is well known, but he has a personal stake in knowing the movers and shakers of the magical families on the East Coast.
Know your enemies, and all that. Andrew didn’t used to have those, until he met Kevin Day and finally picked a side that wasn’t himself and his best interests. Now he kills people for righteousness, or what the fuck ever.
“The Wesninskis have a new leader,” Wymack tells them, hands folded on his desk like this is very serious news. “It’s Nathan’s kid, apparently. He’s cleaned house. Or it might be more accurate to say that he wiped the old circle off of the map entirely.”
Like he always does, Kevin goes pale at the mention of one of those families. Wymack flicks him a glance before continuing, “It’s not immediately clear where he stands on the old family alliances, but it makes sense for us to move now while he’s unsettled.”
Andrew can see where this is going already. “I didn’t realise we were killing off children now.”
Wymack shoots him a level look. “He’s twenty-two. Barely younger than you.”
“Well, I suppose that’s alright then,” Andrew replies agreeably. “When do I leave?”
“Hold on. Didn’t he kill his own father?” Nicky cuts in. “Shouldn’t that require a little more investigation than ‘when do I leave’?”
Dan waves a hand. “He’s a mage. Killer or not, he won’t be able to protect himself against non-magical weapons.”
“Don’t worry Nicky. I don’t like to be too well prepared,” Andrew says. It’s not meant to be soothing.
That’s how he ends up crawling through an upper-storey window of the Wesninski mansion, cursing mages and rusted locks. The house is probably warded - Andrew couldn’t say. To him it’s just like breaking into any other house.
What he does notice is the complete emptiness of the building. While mages don’t often have non-magical defence - and Andrew would be a lot less successful if they invested in some attack dogs, or even burglar alarms - they do generally at least have people. But every room he passes - soundlessly, of course - has its door flung wide open to display its total emptiness.
Every instinct he has is screaming. For a moment, he wonders if Wesninski has cleared out of the house entirely. But, despite the limited information for this trip, Andrew knows Wymack wouldn’t send him on a wild goose chase. The mage is here.
He creeps down the stairs, sticking close to the wall. It’s a broad staircase, gaudy even in the near-darkness. Apparently the elder Wesninski had more money than taste.
The lounge is no more elegant, and still empty of people. Beyond it, though, light falls from the doorway. Andrew creeps towards it, palming one of his knives.
Apparently, all his quiet was wasted. The person through the door is waiting for him - and this, having met Nathan, is definitely his son.
Twenty-two he may be, but Wesninski looks like a kid. With his fair falling into his face as he slouches against the kitchen island, he looks nothing like someone who could have killed Nathan and the entire rest of his circle in one fell swoop. Any tracery of magic in him isn’t detectable to Andrew though - for all he knows, the air could be singing with it.
The only giveaway that this man isn’t as normal as Andrew is the curling tattoo emerging over the collar of his t-shirt. It’s a mage-mark, and it’s large. Even Kevin, the most powerful of the Foxes in terms of sheer strength, doesn’t have one that extends so far across his skin.
“You’re AJ Minyard,” Wesninski says. He looks excited about that. Andrew didn’t realise he was a groupie. It’s the danger of being a contract killer - being known by your signature. Andrew is Andrew, except when he’s AJ and earning his keep in blood.
“Usually, your kind is throwing spells by now,” he replies blandly. Not that it ever helps them.
“That would be a waste of time, though. Wouldn’t it?” Wesninski says. “You’re immune.”
Well then. “You’re smarter than you look,” Andrew informs him.
“It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why you’re so successful,” Wesninski shrugs. “I need to send a message to Kevin.”
Wesninski isn’t following the script. Andrew glances at his watch - usually they’d have gotten past the initial failed attempt to blast Andrew off of the face of the earth with magic and moved onto either running - unusual, mages didn’t like to run - or begging. “Do I look like a messenger to you?”
That earns a thin smile. “Oh, I’m sorry. Is that demeaning?”
“If you think I’m here for that, then you’re confused,” Andrew says.
Wesninski throws his arms wide. “Well, go ahead then. You know I can’t fight you. And it’s not like I can run.”
Fuck’s sake, Andrew didn’t come here for a conversation. Still, though - he throws a glance at Wesninski’s legs. “Too lazy for it?”
“Not exactly. I know you probably don’t care for magical theory, so the short explanation is that right now I can’t leave this house. Hence wanting to speak with Kevin. The best I could do is hide in a closet, and I can’t imagine that would deter you.”
“As sob-stories go, you might want to try ‘but I have children and a wife’,” Andrew advises.
“As if that would help me.” Wesninski rolls his eyes. “That’s fine. I wasn’t expecting you to help me for free. I’ll give you something you want in exchange.”
Andrew really should have just killed him instead of saying a word. Corpses are so much less trouble. He raises an eyebrow to signal that his patience is wearing thin.
“If you want a chance at getting anywhere near Riko Moriyama, you’ll help me,” Wesninski says.
That’s an interesting offer. “What makes you think I care about that?”
“Do you think it isn’t common knowledge in the upper circles about what happened between him and Kevin?” Wesninski says. “Plus you’ve been working your way through all the high blood families over the last year. I figured a Moriyama must be right up there on your wish list. Particularly that one.”
He isn’t wrong. “I’m not here to make a deal with you.”
“Are you sure about that?” That smile again. It’s really a wonder someone so irritating hasn’t been killed already. “I have access to the Moriyamas now, whether they like it or not. I think you’d like to make use of that. Better move fast, though - you aren’t the only one who wants to kill me.”
Riko would already be dead if he were easier to get to. And Nathaniel now has his father’s seat on the council, even if he killed for it - succession is muddy and ugly amongst mages at the best of times. He’d hardly be the first to do it that way.
He’s right. Andrew could use that. Getting into Castle Evermore is difficult, and Nathaniel has a free pass through the front gates. If he could smuggle Andrew inside…if he were willing to do so…
“What’s in it for you?” Andrew asks.
“What, you mean besides you not murdering me tonight and me getting out of this fucking house?” So sardonic. “I don’t like the Moriyamas any more than you do, Wesninski blood or no. I don’t care if I die, as long as Riko goes first.”
It seems their interests all line up. Andrew can deal with Riko at last, and might even get a shot at the other Moriyamas in the process. He smiles a little bit, feeling his face cracking.
“Well, Nathaniel. Looks like you might be useful to me after all.”
Wesninski makes a face. “I go by ‘Nate’.”
“I really don’t care,” Andrew tells him. “I would say ‘wait here’, but I suppose that’s irrelevant, isn’t it? I’ll come to you.”
The with a message or a knife is unspoken but clearly implied. Nathaniel - Nate - smiles thinly.
“Better hurry,” he says. “Offer ends if I’m dead.”
Baby, I’m dancing in the dark with you between my arms
Barefoot on the grass, listening to our favorite song
When you said you looked a mess, I whispered underneath my breath
But you heard it, darling, you look perfect tonight
Liebgott taking care of Tipper is one of the most tender moments in the whole show. The way he gently sets aside his rifle because he can he Tip is jumpy and disoriented, the way he talks to him, soothingly and quietly, only saying positive things, and the way he cradles Tip against him. It’s such a beautiful and heartbreaking moment, and it brings me to tears every time.
i can’t stop thinking about how, when robert starts saying his vows, aaron starts to laugh and kind of teases him about it, because they’re sitting in a garage and robert is using full names and it’s ridiculous really, isn’t it? yes it was his idea, but it’s completely absurd -
- but then robert says the word “husband” and aaron’s entire demeanour changes. it’s like a shock to his system - the idea that this, these vows, this moment, isso very, very real. it’s a wedding. their wedding. and suddenly aaron sobers up entirely, really starts to listen to what robert is saying, becomes utterly serious and sincere.
even later when he’s at a loss for words and kind of nervously pulling faces, he pulls himself together so quickly - because this is important to him and it’s important to robert and they’re getting married and he just… doesn’t want to ruin it.
Author’s Note: I never write stuff. (I’m not just saying that. I’ve honestly NEVER written a fic.) but I listened to Perfect approximately one billion times and I could not get this scene out of my head. Thank you sooo much to @wildegreenlight for being my kind beta and @jenn582 and @thefinalhorcruxx for being my cheerleaders. Without them it’s unlikely I would have bothered to finish.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The song faded to an end and Ron pulled away from the girl clinging to his waist, looking down at her with a lopsided grin. He could hardly believe they’d been dancing since he’d impulsively whisked her away from Krum.
Hermione gazed up at him, slightly breathless, a question in her eyes.
“Follow my lead,” he winked, took her hand and spun her through the other dancers past the edge of the makeshift dance floor and out through a gap in the marquee.
After the suffocating warmth inside the tent, the fresh air felt brilliant on his skin as he turned to face her, “Hermione… can I show you something?”
Her cheeks were flushed from dancing and her curls were wild, escaping from the intricate updo she’d worn to the wedding. She looks perfect.
“Of course, Ron.”
Was he mental or were her eyes actually sparkling?
The sun had long since set, but the breeze still had a warmth to it. They slowly made their way through a field towards a small pond with a rickety dock. Ron hoped she wouldn’t notice that they were still holding hands or if she did, he silently begged that she wouldn’t let go.
Ron dropped himself unceremoniously onto the end of the dock, tugging his shoes off and quickly shoving his holey socks into them. He cuffed up the edge of his trousers and let his legs dangle over the edge, bare feet skimming the water below.
“Sit with me?”
Hermione laughed and slipped off her own shoes. Ron reached a hand up to help steady her as she settled down next to him. “What are we doing here Ron? I have seen this pond before you know…. many times.” She smiled up at him and playfully knocked her shoulder into his so he’d know she wasn’t actually upset.
“I… well. Yeah, no. I just…”
One hand went to rub the back of his neck and he took a deep breath, “I just wanted to spend a few minutes alone.” She arched a questioning eyebrow at him. “I mean, alone, with um.. yeah.. you.” His eyes flicked to hers briefly and then focused on the pond in front of them. He could feel the blush literally climbing his neck. Good one Ron. Real eloquent. Bloody ‘ell. Eloquent! That’s the kind of word he should be using. Not ones like ‘um and yeah.’
He felt her hand gently cover his, he turned his ever so slightly and his pulse quickened when she intertwined their fingers.
“This was a brilliant idea Ron,” she smiled at him. “After meeting so many new people tonight, the idea of being alone for a few minutes sounds wonderful. Alone… together.” There was that twinkle in her eyes again. He could get lost in her eyes.
As they sat there, holding hands in the silence, Ron gathered every bit of courage he had and started to slowly move his thumb across the soft skin of her hand. Hermione let out a breath he didn’t realize she’d been holding and her head gently fell to rest on his shoulder.
She’s an angel. I don’t deserve this.
He’d lost track of how long they’d been sitting together when the sudden sound of music from the reception broke the spell they were under and he quickly stood up, brushing his trousers off, “Suppose we should get back before they send the twins to find us, yeah?”
Hermione rose slower, trying to straighten out her dress. She looked beautiful in that dress. She always looked beautiful, but his heart near to stopped when she’d walked out of the Burrow in that dress. She followed him off the dock and onto the grass, looking self-conscious as she tried to tuck the flyaway curls behind her ear, “I’m a mess.”
His heart beat faster and suddenly he didn’t care if his mum sent every single one of his siblings and Aunt Muriel out to look for them. She looks perfect. How can she not know? “Dance with me.”
“Here?” she almost giggled. Hermione almost giggled..!
“Yeah,” he nodded his head towards the tent, feeling encouraged by her reaction, “I love this song.” He extended his hand.
She smiled at him shyly from beneath her lashes, dropped the heels she was holding in one hand and bypassed his extended arm to lay her head on his chest.
His breath caught. What the bleedin’ell was she trying to do? kill him?
“I love this… song too.”
Ron swallowed hard and wrapped his arms around her waist. They’d been dancing together all night, but this time it was different. Familiar and yet completely new. Intense. It felt, somehow more; dancing in the dark, barefoot on the grass, with her between his arms.
They swayed together, the soft melody of a song in the distance floating in the air around them.
Life was about to change, it was going to be them against the odds. He should be terrified, but Hermione was the strongest woman he knew and Ron finally knew what he wanted. What he needed. The girl in his arms, and he was not going to give her up. They’d be alright this time.
Ron stilled and looked down, Hermione’s eyes were closed but her face was upturned towards his and there was a smile on her lips. He whispered beneath his breath, “darling, you look perfect.”
Her eyes flashed open and his heart pounded in his chest. Had he said that outloud?
Her smiled widened and she raised up on her toes, her face inches from his. He saw his future in those eyes. He lowered his lips towards hers….
CRACK! The sound of someone apparating nearby startled them apart.
“Oi!!! Ronnikins! ‘Ermione!” the sound of Fred’s voice echoed from across the field, “Are you out here? Mum’s gonna go spare if I don’t get you two back before they start the next round of toasts.”
Ron took Hermione’s hand and smiled a bit apologetically, but this time he had the confidence to lace their fingers himself. Someday… someday soon.
Does Al realize how lucky he is that his dad happened to own a suit of armor?? In the moment, Ed picked the best item to bond his soul to based on what could make his life easiest. What if the armor hadn’t been there? Ed was bleeding out, he didn’t exactly have a lot of time to think about it. Like
“Hi. I’m Edward Elric the Fullmetal Alchemist. I saved my brother’s life by binding his soul to this side of the portal.”