pairing: hercules mulligan x reader modern au words: 3800 warnings: swearing, probs some HP spoilers, flUfF request by @justcallmecinammon (shortened): reader is best friends with Herc and is his personal model for his designs. little does she know that behind all the best-friend camaraderie, there’s a little more going on. with some help from John Laurens and Co., they share their feelings.
Your best friend, Hercules Mulligan, was an aspiring fashion designer who preferred the outdated term “tailor’s apprentice.” Your best friend was also a broad-chested, dark-skinned man who stood at around six feet tall.
Not your typical big guy.
He certainly got some heat for it, and every time someone (namely, Aaron Burr) made fun of him and called him names (“sissy” being predominant), you would fly into a rage.
“Burr, you better shut up or I’ll rip your mouth off your face and stick it up your self-righteous ass,” you screamed one day. The two of you had been on a shopping run and had ran into Burr at the grocery store.
“Woah, calm down, there, Princess,” he said, that ever-present chuckle in his voice irking you.
“For the millionth time, don’t call me Prin—”
“Don’t worry about it, (Y/N). He’s not worth your time,” Herc cut in softly.
He pulled you out of the grocery store and began walking towards the apartment complex the two of you lived in. Your spaces were across the hall from each other.
“Herc,” you began. “How can you put up with him? You just…stand there. I don’t understand.”
“(Y/N),” he said, still quietly, “I make it a point not to bother with people like Burr. Besides, I’ll show them when I finally get my own shop.”
“Which will be very soon,” you said.
“I hope so,” he said, and a soft smile graced his lips, making you melt.
Oh, yeah. There was also the fact that you were completely infatuated with your best friend. You knew it was horribly cliché but couldn’t help it. He was always so kind and sweet, and although his career choice was unique, you loved him all the more for it. He would never fail to find a way to make you feel better, and it was impossible not to become more attached than you probably should. You doubted he liked you back; you had been best friends for five years and you had never once seen a sign of him feeling the same way. Therefore, you tried to keep it to yourself and could only hope that it wasn’t too obvious.
“Any plans for later?” you asked him.
“Well, it depends. Do you?” he looked down at you.
“Not much. I was just gonna watch the Harry Potter marathon that’s on tonight,” you replied.
“Well, that’s what I was thinking as well. But it wouldn’t be any fun without my best friend,” Herc said, breaking into a grin.
“That’s true. Your best friend has to agree,” you told him. “It starts at five, right? I’ll bring the Doritos. And Nutella.”
“(Y/N),” Herc jokingly protested. “You bring Nutella to everything!”
“It’s not a party without chocolate spread,” you shot back, crossing your arms in mock perturbation.
“I can’t argue with that,” he replied, as the two of you entered the apartment complex. “See you at five?”
“You betcha!” you smiled, hugging him tightly before unlocking your door.
And as he smelled your scent and felt you pressed close to him, Herc couldn’t help but wish as he had countless times before, that you were more than just his best friend.
You managed to knock on his door, despite the fact that your arms were full with an assortment of snacks that nearly swamped you. It swung open immediately to reveal a grinning Herc.
“Need a little help?”
“No,” you grunted. “Just hold the door for me like a good boy.”
“That I shall do,” he said, bowing as he stood against the door to keep it from closing. You quickly made your way over to the coffee table by the couch and dumped your things, almost knocking over the two cups of tea that stood steaming on the surface. Herc clapped and you made a mock bow. “Let’s see what you brought,” he said, as he shut the door and walked over to you.
“Oh my god. Four jars of Nutella? Even Laf couldn’t eat that much,” he said, referencing one of your mutual friends. The Frenchman had a secret soft spot for the chocolate spread and you had caught him more than once with a spoon in your pantry, readying himself to steal from your well-stocked stash of the stuff.
“It’s always good to be prepared,” you said. “Now come sit down. Sorcerer’s Stone starts in ten minutes.”
He plopped down next to you on the soft couch, grabbing a huge quilted blanket in the process. “I thought we could use this,” he said, shrugging.
“Oh my gosh! A blanket! I love you so much!” you cried, not even noticing him stiffen as you said the last few words. You grabbed a small pouch of Doritos and the movie began.
You hummed along to the opening song, and Herc looked at you with a smile in his eyes. “Look at you hitting all the notes,” he said, and you rolled your eyes at him before quoting the first five minutes of the movie verbatim. You finally stopped when he raised a pillow threateningly.
About halfway through Goblet of Fire, when the two of you had exhausted a jar and a half of Nutella, you began to feel slightly tired and rested your head on Herc’s shoulder, where it fit perfectly into the crook of his neck. You tried to repress the slight blush that came over your face despite your best efforts.
Herc’s eyes widened and he felt his heart beat faster. He was suddenly hyperaware of everything, from the soft scent of your hair to the warmth of your cheek on his shoulder to the brush of your side on his. Was it possible to calm one’s heart? he thought. Because you could definitely feel its increased speed. He tried focusing on the movie, ignoring the warmth spreading through his body that wasn’t coming from the blanket.
Your head stayed there for the rest of the movie. You couldn’t help it—Herc was just so warm and comfortable. However, you were jerked out of your haze during Order of the Phoenix.
“Oh my god!” the two of your screamed at the same time. The object of your horror was none other than Dolores Umbridge.
“Jesus, that laugh,” he said, as she cackled. “I literally want to burn her,” you replied.
“What is she even wearing? I wouldn’t be caught dead making something like that.”
“If you did, I would never speak to you again,” you deadpanned. “I’m not even kidding.”
“Well, good thing I won’t be making fluffy pink bathrobes anytime soon,” Herc said. “Don’t wanna lose you.”
But, oh, how he wished he had you.
You had finally given in to your sleepiness around the end of Deathly Hallows: Part 1. Herc knew it wasn’t worth it to watch the last movie alone (besides, his ugly sobbing at Fred’s death would probably wake you up), so he shut off the TV and quietly placed the remote on the table. He looked down at you, your head tilted back and mouth slightly open.
You were the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. His chest swelled with pride as he watched you breathe gently. How did he ever get a best friend like you?
Every time he thought of you, he couldn’t help but wish that you were something more to him than just his best friend; that you felt something more than just friendship for him. However, he dismissed the thought. You were sweet and funny and talented and beautiful and just the slightest bit inflammatory, all of which combined into an intoxicating personality that he couldn’t get enough of. He just saw himself as average. He loved sewing and designing clothes, but he sometimes wondered if you found that attractive or just lame. But then he would tell himself, she’s your best friend. She would have let you know if she didn’t support you one hundred percent. But no matter how hard he tried, you always seemed to ruffle his mentality.
Because he loved you. He’d be a fool to deny that.
“I’m here!” you sang, as you stepped into the design shop where Herc was an apprentice. A bell on the door jangled behind you as it shut.
“Hey!” His voice was muffled and came from the back of the shop. “Gimme a minute.” You stood by the counter and looked around at the clothes lining the store. It was a small place and dated back to the 1970s, but it was cozy and inviting and was a popular spot in town. Herc had been working there for three years and was saving up to buy his own shop. As you smiled at the thought of him, he appeared as if by magic.
A smile broke over both your faces. “Hi, Herc!” you squealed, giving him a tight hug.
“Gee, (Y/N), it’s only been like twenty hours,” he said, hugging you back.
“Well, I missed you,” you told him. “Besides, I’m excited for my fitting today.”
“Ah, can’t forget about that,” he agreed, tapping a finger to his forehead. “Let’s go. I was just setting up.”
Fittings had become a tradition about two years ago. Herc had asked you if you could be his model for a dress he was making. “For a project,” he said. You agreed, of course. You watched his skillful hands as he worked, cutting and sewing and measuring. Surprisingly, you didn’t feel strange at all when he measured your waist and such things. His hands were gentle and when they brushed against you, they sent a shudder racing through you that you had to work hard to suppress. You didn’t notice him bite his lip and turn slightly pink whenever that happened. The two of you covered up your feelings by chatting happily about whatever came to mind. You were so excited to see the final result and weren’t surprised when it fit you perfectly. What you weren’t expecting was that he would let you keep the beautiful piece of clothing.
“Herc, I can’t do this.”
“Yes, you can.”
“You spent all this time… Don’t waste it on me.”
“(Y/N), I would keep it if I needed to. I promise, that was a practice one. I won’t need it.”
You narrowed your eyes. “I think you’re lying.”
“Me? Never! (Y/N), please. Just take it.” You couldn’t resist his pleading eyes.
“Fine,” you sighed. “It’s gorgeous; thank you!” And the tradition began. You always felt a bit guilty, but Herc would always insist, and you weren’t about to say no to your best friend, not to mention the man you were in love with.
Today, a bolt of bright blue fabric sprinkled with yellow stars was laid out. “Oh, how pretty,” you said.
“Yeah, that’s what I was thinking,” he responded. “I thought you’d look nice in it.” He grabbed a length of measuring tape and stuck a few pins in the breast pocket of his button-down.
“Stand up on the footstool,” he said, and you got started.
After about twenty minutes of chatting, the bell rang again. “I have to see who it is,” Herc said. “I’ll be back in a few.” He laid down his tape and opened the door to the main shop. You heard familiar voices and grinned. You knew who had come—John, George, and Laf.
They were three of your friends whom you had met through Herc. John Laurens was a freckled man who always wore his hair back in a tightly curled ponytail. He was full of fun and never seemed to run out of things to tease you and Herc about. George Washington was older and more serious than anyone in your friend group. He had smooth tea-colored skin and always wore a ballcap of some sort on his head. You could always count on him for advice. Lafayette was a tall, dark man with corkscrews of hair which he always had off his face in a bun. He was born in France and still retained an accent and a love of food. He was fun-loving and never failed to bring levity to any situation, especially the ones where John left you and Herc blushing and stumbling for words after a well-placed comment on your relationship.
You could hear the voices getting nearer, and, soon enough, the three men popped into the fitting room. “Hey, guys!” you greeted them. “What’s goin’ on?”
“Not much,” John said. “But I see you’re busy with Herc.” “John,” you said, already blushing. “It’s just another fitting for a project of his.”
“Oh, sure,” he told you, rolling his eyes.
“Amie, it is so obvious how he feels about you,” Laf said.
“Guys! He’ll hear!” you cried. “Actually, he’s still in the shop. Good ol’ clumsy Laf knocked over an entire box of ribbons, so he’s sorting them again.”
Laf smiled. “It is true. I am not very graceful.”
“Why aren’t you helping him? I’ll do it if you won’t!” you exclaimed.
“He insisted multiple times that he had it under control,” George spoke up.
“But back to the real subject,” John cut in. “(Y/N), love, why can’t you see how much he cares for you?”
“He—we’re best friends, John. He could never feel the same about me.”
“But he does,” said Laf. “He looks at you as if you were the monde, the world.”
“It’s true, (Y/N),” George said. “It’s obvious to all of us. He’s clearly head-over-heels for you.”
“I—I don’t know what to say,” you said, as you tried to wrap your mind around what they were telling you. “How do you know this?”
“Well, ever since you really started getting close, we could tell,” George continued. “He started talking about you non-stop and he just seemed like he would drink in every detail of you when you were around him.”
“Yeah, he would literally talk for ten minutes straight about what you had done the day before with a blush on his face,” John said. “He’s got it real bad.” As he finished those words, Herc came in.
“Hey, guys! Why is everyone looking at me?” he asked, confused.
“That’s a great question,” you responded. “Now, shoo, children,” you said, making go away motions with your hands. “We have a fitting to finish.”
John snapped a two-finger salute. “Alrighty, then. Off we go, boys.” George waved to the two of you and Laf yelled, “Bye, amis! Don’t have too much fun!” The door closed shut rather vehemently and the bell rang as they left the shop. The silence was almost suffocating.
“I’m sorry about them,” Herc said. “They didn't—tell you anything that made you uncomfortable, did they?” he asked, concerned.
“Uh—no, no,” you said quickly, while pressing your hands to your cheeks in an attempt to cool them down. “No, we were just talking about, uh, stuff, you know? Like how the fitting was going, things like that,” you said, nodding while cringing at your words.
“Oh, I see,” Herc said. “Well, let’s get going.” Throughout the whole rest of the fitting, you couldn’t help but dwell on the words of your friends. Herc liking you back? Impossible! No matter how hard you tried, you couldn’t keep the friendly banter flowing as well as it usually did. When he finished two hours later, you excused yourself rather quickly and drove home as fast as you could without being pulled over. As soon as you got home, you flopped onto your bed and stared at the ceiling as if it would bring any clarity whatsoever to the day’s events. About five minutes into your intense dissection of every word that had come out of your friends’ mouths, your phone went off. You sat up wearily to see who had texted you.
Message from Herc 💗 6:58 p.m. You ok?
Your heart leaped into your chest at the sight of his name.
Yeah, just tired is all
Message from Herc 💗 6:58 p.m. Anything I can do?
You quickly typed a response.
No, I’m fine, I promise. I’ll probably go to bed before too long haha
Message from Herc 💗 6:59 p.m. Please let me know if you need anything. Night xx
Message from Herc 💗 6:59 p.m. No problem!
You shut off your phone and resumed staring at the ceiling. This was going to be a long, long, night.
You couldn’t stay away from Herc for long, and you had Aaron Burr to thank for it. One evening, you knocked on Herc’s door. “Coming,” you heard, and he appeared in sweatpants and a gray sweatshirt that read “King’s College.”
“Oh my–(Y/N), you look awful!” he cried. “I know. It’s all Burr’s fault. Stupid little…” you refrained yourself from cursing.
“I know. Hey, it’s okay, I gave him a shiner too.”
“Well, I was grabbing a few things at the store and he was there again with a few choice words about you. Needless to say, I got ‘im good.”
“Hey, you woulda been proud of me,” you grinned. “I busted his lip, gave him a black eye, and hit him in the—”
Herc’s eyes widened. “Oh, no. Not there.”
“Yep!” you said cheerily. “Right where the sun don’t shine! And I didn’t even get in trouble!”
He seemed at a loss for words. “Uh, well, come in. I’ll see if I can find something for your eye.” You stepped inside, and as you waited, a wave of exhaustion swept over you. You had barely slept for a week, and it was catching up too quickly for your tastes.
Herc came back with a bag of ice and helped you put it on. After some of the swelling had gone down, he led you to the couch. “Here, sit down. You need to rest,” he said.
“It’s just a black eye!” you protested.
“I don’t care. I want you feeling better.” With a sigh, you sat down and he followed suit. “You don’t need to keep defending me, you know,” he told you softly. “Burr will just keep going and going if you let him.”
“But you’re my best friend,” you murmured sleepily. “I don’t want anyone saying bad things about you.”
Herc looked at you, tenderness in his eyes. “Aw, c'mere,” he said, and drew you into his arms. He smelled like fresh laundry with a hint of cologne. His arms were warm and his muscular body was softened considerably due to his oversized sweatshirt. You had never felt so secure, and you drifted off to sleep before you knew it.
You didn’t hear the words, whispered under his breath only after he was positive you were asleep, whispered as if they were a deadly secret, the words that would change your life if you knew them.
“I love you.”
“Are you sure you don’t wanna tell her?”
“Yes, John! I want you guys to gauge her reaction,” Herc told his friend. “Please?”
“All right, ami, if you’re sure,” Laf responded. And with that, he, John, and George entered your apartment. Herc retreated into his own, cracking the door so he could still hear.
“Well, if it isn’t the Terrible Trio!” (Y/N)’s voice came across the hall to him and he swore his heart skipped a beat.
“You know it.” John.
“We’ve got good news,” George said. “About Herc.”
“Oh?” (Y/N) asked, sounding wary.
“He now has his own shop,” Laf said, and was promptly drowned out by the sound of her squealing excitedly.
“OH MY GOSH! HE FINALLY DID IT AND I KNEW HE WOULD! YESSS! I LOVE HIM SO MUCH!” Herc couldn’t keep a stupid grin from swallowing his face whole, even as his blood froze at her last exclamation. He could practically see her pumping her fist as she jumped up and down, her hair in a whirl. When she finally calmed down, John said something about the three of them having to go somewhere, and they made a quick exit. Herc’s phone went off: a text from George.
Went super well. Obviously. You should def do something about your feelings now.
He barely had time to process the message before (Y/N) burst into his apartment.
“OH MY GOODNESS, HERC, YOU DID IT! I’M SO PROUD OF YOU!” She smothered him with a hug. He wrapped his arms around her and after a while, she pulled back and tilted her head up at him, eyes shining.
Now or never.
“(Y/N), I have something to tell you,” Herc said, dropping his arms and fiddling with one of his sleeves.
“You can tell me anything,” you told him. “What’s up?”
“Well, um, there’s not really another way to do this, so I’m going to say it outright.” He closed his eyes briefly, as if gathering strength.
“(Y/N) (L/N), I love you.” He opened his eyes and looked down at you, clearly worried. “I’m sorry. I just had to tell you.” You were literally frozen in shock.
“I—oh my gosh. Do you really mean that?” you asked him, finally finding your voice.
“Yeah,” he confessed. “Ever since I met you, I’ve felt this way. I just didn’t tell you because you were my best friend and it would have ruined everything. I’m sorry, (Y/N).”
“No, Herc, I—I feel the same way.” His eyes widened.
“Yeah. All I wanted was for you to feel the same, but since we were best friends, I didn’t think you did.”
“Oh, (Y/N),” he said, taking you into his arms once more, “why do you think I let you keep all those clothes? Why do you think you were my cuddle buddy? I kept trying to show you in little ways, but you wouldn’t see.”
“I do now,” you answered. “I just can’t believe it.”
“You should,” he said. “In fact, just to convince you, I’m going to ask you something. Will you be mine?”
Your eyes welled up. “Yes! Yes! I thought you’d never ask!”
He looked down at you, that beautiful smile gracing his features. “Good,” he whispered, and kissed you softly.
“Y'know, (Y/N), I’m thinking about the next dress I wanna make for you,” Herc said a few months later as you were lying against him on the couch once more.
“Really? What’ll it be like?”
“Well, I can’t make it quite yet. Maybe in a few years,” he said. “Besides, it’s a secret.”
“Aw, I wanna know even more now,” you cried, looking up at him. He smiled at you and kissed your forehead.
“Well, all I can tell you is that it’ll be white.”
Nothing would please me more than to discuss breakfast foods with Henroldo. Is he a poached eggs man? Does he appreciate avo now? Does he like oats on cold mornings? Can he make good pancakes? Is toast an acceptable Nutella vehicle?? Maple syrup on everything???
got any plans for New Year’s Eve?” asked Cameron as he walked into the
break room. There sat Kirsten on her laptop, looking up concert tickets for
Camille for her upcoming birthday.
not really. Probably just gonna chill in my room, watch the ball drop, then go
to bed. What about you?” she replied, not turning her attention away from
for Cameron, was good. She couldn’t see the smile creeping into his face.
“Why don’t you come over to my place? It’s better than being alone,
shrugged. “Sure. Why not?” She closed her laptop and looked at him.
“Then we both have someone to kiss when the clock strikes twelve,”
she said with a smirk.
face immediately flushed. He let out a more than awkward laugh.
come on. It’s for good luck,” she said as she gathered her things.
“It’s not like it hasn’t happened before.”
don’t remember before so you have no say in that,” he defended, though he
had no reason to be. Kirsten just said she would kiss him; why was he arguing?
placed her things in her bag. Mimicking him from months prior, she said,
“Okay, you don’t have to say it like that.” She offered him a kind
smile. “I’ll be over at your place around seven tomorrow?"
glared at her as best he could without smiling. "I’ll pick you up."
need. I’ll just have Camille to drive me since she’s ditching me anyway. Just a
bit of guilt tripping,” she grinned as she placed her bag on her shoulder.
“See ya then.”
"save me a seat at msg" slightly broke my heart a little bit and I don't know why omg
it’s because he’ll always be our little troye. he’ll always be the boy that loves all of china. he’ll always be the boy who really can’t bake a cake as much as the cake looked kind of delicious. he’ll always be our beyonce. he’ll always be the boy who made an amazing song and a video entirely for charity. he’ll always be the sweetest boy in the whole world. and the hottest. he’ll always be the boy who gets shivers when he pees and who loves nutella more than almost everything else. he’ll always be our internet-addicted, procrastinating, forever alone (well idk about that actually) twink. he’ll always be that boy that hates bugs and wages wars against them. he’ll always be the person who doesn’t know what a garb is, and who has the absolute best spotify playlist ever. he’ll always be our thirsty, hot porn blog tumblr. he’ll always be a momma’s boy and a papa’s boy. he’ll always be scarred for life from tyler’s coming out. he’ll always be just troye to us. but just troye is kind of amazing.
it breaks my heart, but only in a good way. only in the best way. troye is living his dream. that’s freaking insane. and I’m proud to say that I’ve been on this journey with him. and when he blows up, ill be in the audience with nutella, holding one of two signs: either “I love you china” or “hummus”. i still can’t decide…
but in the meantime, troye sivan, it would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you