oliver askew

What Happiness is Really Like

A/N) so I know this took forever and my apologies to the dear anon that requested it. Hi I really liked this prompt and decided to do it. I hope you like it and it lives up to your hopes and dreams.

Summary) a girl with a physical handicap is stuck in a wheelchair for her entire life. Because f this, she doesn’t think anyone will ever truly love her. One boy proves her wrong.

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My hands shook from anticipation. Not from fear. I wasn’t afraid. Not yet. But under the unnerving stares of the other students, I didn’t think it would take long for fear to take over.

Of course they stared. Everyone did. Or they averted their eyes, or stared me only in my eyes, or pretended they didn’t see me at all. I didn’t know if that was better or worse than straight up acknowledging what they saw. I was a witch in a wheelchair. It was their issue if they couldn’t deal with it.

I stared straight ahead as I pushed myself through the crowd in the entrance hall, excited to reach the great hall. I wanted to know who i was; I wanted an identity of my own other than the wheel chair I sat in. This was my time, I told myself. This was my time.

I was broken out of my moment by a crash and the sound of someone falling. All the children in the hall turned to look. On a heap on the floor were four boys, each varying quite noticeably in appearance. A scrawny chestnut haired boy with the buddings of scars dancing on his neck. A boy thick as he was tall, bubbly and talkative, with sandy blonde hair and bright eyes. A boy with pitch black hair and olive skin, glasses askew on his nose. And one that I couldn’t seem to keep my eyes from. His hair was as black as the other boy’s, but his eyes were a shocking grey against the pale shade of his skin. He was pretty, I noticed. I had never noticed anyone like that before.

By the time the professors came in, muttering about how it was too early in the year for this and that they should wait till they were sorted for this behavior so their houses could “feel the impact of their misdeeds,” but the boys just laughed and stood before continuing with the rest of the group to the great hall. My eyes seemed to follow them.

I watched them as they each stepped up to the sorting hat and discovered who they were, and then it was suddenly my turn. The hat was brought to me, to avoid the hassle of maneuvering the chair up the stairs.

And when the hat called out gryffindor, I knew.

Suddenly it was like all the fog had been cleared away. This was the new piece of my identity. Gryffindor. I was a gryffindor.

I grinned excitedly and I rolled to the end of the gryffindor table, parking my chair and looking back up to the hat, where more children were being placed.

In the corner of my eye, I watched him.

The boy was too intriguing not to look at. He was this colorful bouncy thing, with a sensitivity and gorgeousness that was too hard to resist. And even as my life fell into place for the first time, I was looking at him.
——————

By fifth year, I had a personality. People had gotten used to the chair, other than the fort years that flowed in every year. But they knew better than to mess with a fourth year.

I wasn’t just the chair anymore. Or, at least, I could distract myself from the chair. It was almost like I was a normal person. I was a gryffindor. I was good at defense against the dark arts. I loved the pudding in the great hall. But in the back of my mind, I was still the girl in the wheelchair.

I took my place in potions on a brisk Monday morning in October. The dungeons had more of a stingy cold feeling than they usually did, but the fires of our burners helped chase the chill out.

I had been taking this class all year, sitting behind him.

It was almost an experiment. I studied him the way one would study a lab rat.

But he was anything except a rat. High set cheekbones, grey, dancing eyes, lovely black hair that swept his neck.

I discovered his name was Sirius Black. He was in my year and my house, which I already knew. He was friends with a small group of boys and girls, but he seemed closest with three of them. Their names were James Potter, Remus Lupin, and Peter Pettigrew. They were hilarious to watch. Like a comedy show performed live at Hogwarts. Something was always happening with them. Pranks and jokes, and laughter that always seemed to emanate from them.

I still had kept away from them. I was a new person from when I arrived at the school, but I was still the wheelchair girl. And until I could get over my disability and believe that I was someone other than the someone in my chair, it would stay that way. It almost broke my heart. I was separated from someone who didn’t know I existed, but it hurt so much to think about. Like we had this unbreakable bond that he just happened to not be aware of.

By the time potions had begun and Slughorn had started his lecture, I was too busy being enraptured by Sirius to pay attention. He was stealing glances at James while looking back at his notes, as if studying James instead of potions. I tried to take down some notes, more to make it look like I was paying attention, but only ended up doodling.

Doodling the back of his head.

It was, of course, an accident, but it ended up becoming a full blown drawing after a while. I wasn’t what one would call an artist, but drawing him seemed to take my hand away. It was easy, like I had been doing it forever.

The bell rang suddenly, and I was shocked out of my hazy daze. I began to pack my things away, attempting to slide them over the table and onto my lap so I could ride with them there instead of putting them in my bag. But everything came tumbling down.

Muttering curses under my breath, I began to gather all my things up, bending over my chair and scooping things toward me. After I managed to pick up half my things, I noticed the feet standing directly in front of me.

It was like a cheesy movie that I didn’t want to watch, let alone be in.

When my eyes reached the face of Sirius Black, he wasn’t looking at me. He was looking at the paper in his hands, where half of my notes were and where a giant doodle of him was. His lips curled up in one corner before he dropped his hand, meeting his eyes to mine.

“Nice drawing, y/n.”

He placed my things in my lap and walked out the dungeon door.

My heart just about exploded out of my chest. He knew my name. I knew how much I sounded like a star struck teenage girl, but he knew my name. I had never talked to him once in my life and he knew my name.

I raced down the halls, my mind going as fast as the wheels on my chair. I forced myself to be calm and sensible. He probably heard it on the class roster or something. That was it. He didn’t know my name. He just happened to have heard it. My heart slowed a bit.

But the picture.

Oh Merlin, the picture.

How the hell was I supposed to explain that to anyone? He probably told his friends. They probably thought I was a freak.

The bell for our next class rang, and I decided to do something about it.

When lunch rolled around, I took a deep breath and searched for him. He was in his usual place with his friends in the great hall. My hands all but shook as I made m way over to him and tapped his shoulder.

My breath got caught in my chest when his eyes met mine. I choked down my panic.

“Can I talk to you for a second?” I asked timidly, my voice barely above a whisper. But he heard it. He smiled and nodded, before nodding to his friends as if to let them know. They all stared over his shoulder curiously as I turned and quickly hurried away, not even checking to make sure he was following me.

I found a deserted classroom almost immediately. I knew where they all where because I used to eat lunch in the when I was a first and second year to avoid the stares in the great hall.

When I finally turned around, he was looking around the room with interest, and I waited for his to make their way to me. When they finally did, they looked quizzical.

“What color are your eyes?” He asked. I was taken aback, and I stuttered before choking out the color I was looking for. He narrowed his eyes. “Strange. I couldn’t tell. They changed from when you were in the dungeon to now,” he informed me, and I felt my cheeks heat up. Thank Merlin for the lack of light in the room.

“Um, okay,” I muttered, and he looked at me with a slight smirk on his face. I shuddered in a breath. “So I just wanted to apologize-”

“No need!” He cut me off. “I loved the picture. You’re really talented.”

My eyes were wide. “Thanks,” I said in a strangled voice. His smile widened. “Where did you learn to draw like that?” He asked, taking a step closer. I backed away a tiny bit. “I don’t want to keep you from your friends,” I told him. He shook his head. “It’s okay. The see enough of my anyway.”

I didn’t know what to say. He was looking at me expectantly and I was at a complete loss. “My grandpa,” I blurted out finally. It startled us both. Sirius laughed. “Really?”

“Yeah” I said. “He was a wonderful artist, and he taught me a few things before he died.”

That was all it took. That tiny piece of information in his hands, and it was like he was holding my heart. The way he stared at me when I talked, the way he was so intent on catching every word, made me feel so singled out. I usually didn’t like being the center of attention, but he made it so I wasn’t. I was what he was focused on, but the way he focused was the center of attention.

By the time the next class started, he had somehow learned all about my grandparents. I don’t even know how it happened. But talking to him was so easy. It was like breathing.

“Meet me in the courtyard, yeah? We’ll talk more,” he said before rushing out the door without waiting for my reply. I wondered if I’d ever stop getting winded when I talked to him.

The answer, I discovered, was no. Months had passed, conversations had flowed, and Sirius Black still managed to take my breath away.

It was like we had taken turns releasing all of our agitation. I learned about his family, and he learned about my disability. Talking to him made me feel like I was standing there with him instead of sitting in the chair looking up at him.

Per my request, I hadn’t met any of his friends. I was still so unsure of everything, it was like stepping on fresh ice every time I spoke about myself.

But I loved listening to him. Even in the midst of his saddest stories, his eyes would still be alight with a flame of rebellion that just made my heart do things that I didn’t know hearts could do.

And on a warm day in march, I discovered that his might have been doing everything mine was.

We found ourselves in the Gryffindor common room during dinner, and it was vacant if everyone aside from ourselves. We were talking and talking and the we weren’t. A silence fell between us. Not a bad silence. A contemplative silence. He broke it.

“Why didn’t you ever talk to me?”

The question shocked me. I decided to play dumb. “What do you mean?” I asked, my eyes on the flame in the hearth. He chuckled. “You know what I mean.”

I pressed my lips together and looked at him. He was sitting there with an open expression, just waiting to listen to me. “I’m in a chair,” I said lamely. But that was all it took for understanding to flood his features. He pushed off the couch and kneeled in front of me. I didn’t look at him.

“Y/n, can I tell you something?” Sirius asked. I nodded. “You have made your own life very hard because of your insecurities,” he told me. I looked up at him, unsure of how to feel. I knew he was a blunt person, so i decided it wasn’t meant to offend me. I just waited for him to continue.

“I know you see yourself as a chair with a body in it,” he started again. “You are more than that. As much as you don’t allow yourself to believe it.” He stood up and walked around my chair, turning me to face the fire.

“You are brilliant and articulate and talented and beautiful and so so so very important,” he declared, dropping to my level again. I said nothing, but watched him with uncertainty as my face flooded with color. My heart was beginning to conflict with my head. Everything he said, just because he said it, rang as true to my heart. But my head denied it with all of its power. His words went against everything I had every believed about myself. It was like throwing away a religion and grabbing onto a new one. But he was relentless.

“You told me about your life and everything that happened. I know how you’ve been treated in the past. I’ll never be on the level you’re on, but you’ve heard my stories, too, Y/n,” he continued, speaking so fast that his face turned red.

“I know I’ll never be able to force you to believe me. I know you have to find it within yourself to accept how perfect you are. But I’m sick of standing by and waiting.” He pulled my chair closer, and I leaned back as his face came in close mine. I could feel the warmth of his skin, even at his distance. Proof of the fire that never died within him.

I stared unsure into his eyes, but was met with only a fierceness that startled me. I had never seen anyone so passionate about anything. “I’m gonna be here to give you the push you need to accept yourself,” he whispered. He looked at me, and I looked back. I fumbled for something to say.

“How do you do that?” I finally whispered. He cocked an eyebrow in confusion, and from this distance, I could have counted his brow hairs. “What am I doing?”

I sighed gently, lowering my eyes to my lap. “Make it sound so easy to believe,” I told him. Hi fingers grasped my chin and pulled my gaze back to him. Like looking into an open flame. “It should be,” Sirius said. “It should be.”

And suddenly he was moving in. And then his lips brushed mine, and I tried to stifle my gasp. And when he pushed a little more toward me, we collided.

He kissed like he thought. Like he spoke. Like he stared. Passionate. Honest. Heated. All I could do was become absorbed in his flames.

I don’t know how long we stayed there. I only know the voice that stole me away from his lips.

“Bloody hell, mate!”

Sirius broke away slowly, as if reluctant. He turned his gaze to the door, where his friends stood, gaping with surprise. I immediately ducked my head. All I could think was that they must have been shocked to see him with someone like me. I must have ruined him. I must have turned his friends against him.

But his hand folding into mine seemed to send a different message.

“This is Y/N,” he told them. I swore there was pride in his tone, but I convinced myself otherwise. My overthinking came to a sudden halt when he finished what I had thought was a final sentence.

“My girlfriend.”

Eyes wide with disbelief, it was my turn to gape as all eyes turned to him. But he stared only at me. His lips were curled in a hopeful smile. “If she’ll have me,” he finished. I smiled, feeling my cheeks come to life.

“Duh,” I whispered, smirking boomed out laughter. His eyes twinkled with something I had never seen in anyone’s eyes before when they looked at me. I would have to figure out what it was.

“These are the idiots that follow me around,” Sirius explained in a matter-of-fact voice. “Watch it, Black,” James said, tossing a quill at his head. The other boys began to hatter and introduce themselves, and I was suddenly in the middle of that cloud of laughter that seemed to follow them everywhere.

Yes, I would have to figure that emotion out. But now wasn’t the time. I was happy right now, a new but welcome thing. The warmth around me drew my attention. I hoped from then on that I would never lose that warmth again. And, from the look on Sirius’ face, I won’t.
———————-

The answer was love. I never knew it. I had never seen it before. But that’s what it was. I didn’t know it resonated in my eyes as well.
——————
“If you drop me, you’ll understand pain,” I warned Sirius as he pointed his wand down at me. He rolled his eyes. “When have I ever dropped you?” He demanded. I raised an eyebrow. His face quickly shifted to apologetic sheepishness. “Let’s not dwell on the past, love.” I rolled my eyes.

“Wingardrium Leviosa,” he said. I felt the magic wrap it’s warmth around me and lift me out of the chair. I floated gently over the ground and toward Sirius until he clasped his arms around me and the magic vanished. He held me tight and upright, my feet stepping on top of his.

He smiled. “Shall we dance, m'lady?” I laughed and nodded. “We shall!” With a flourish of a wand, music spilled into the room and carried us away. We danced around the room to a song I don’t remember. But his arms were wrapped around me as he lead me through the room.

“This is good practice,” he told me. “Yeah,” I replied. “And you’re getting better!” Pride lifted his features. “Well, it’ll have to be absolutely perfect for the wedding.”

Butterflies erupted. The wedding. When Sirius proposed I had laughed, believing it was a joke. But I had never loved anyone more than I loved him, and I allowed him to convince me that he was telling the truth. That he wanted to marry me.

And he told me he wanted to dance.

Nerves had quickly accumulated, and I thought I would have to tell him there was no way. But he figured it out. He used the spell on me to bring me to him, and held me as he danced. He learned how to dance with me. And he practiced every day. We would glide around the room to a new song, and though we never matched the tempo, it never mattered.

I stared into his eyes again, jut to watch the flame ignite.

“Oh, for Merlins sake. Stop being all soggy,” James whined as he opened the door to the apartment. Sirius laughed, guiding me back to the chair and sitting me down. Lily, Remus, and Peter followed James in.

“So how are plans?” Peter asked, excitement alight in his face. Sirius grinned. “We booked the place for the ceremony and the reception. Going to be at a fancy park, isn’t that right, love?”

I blushed lightly, still not used to being the center of attention in this group. “Erm, yeah. A place down in Scotland near Hogwarts,” I told them, ducking my head. Lily sighed dreamily. “I wish James had been that romantic,” she joked.

“Ay!” James protested. “I’m romantic!” He declared. Lily gave him a sarcastic smile. “Yes. I believe you, dear.”

“Well, what about the finances? Need any help with the books or anything?” Remus pressed, looking between us for information. “Sit down, mr. Smarty pants. Funds are taken care of. Ish. Enough,” Sirius told him. I tried to hide how untrue that was.

“Well, if you need me to-”

“We got it, Remus,” Sirius insisted. “Relax for once in your OCD life.” Remus smiled and rolled his eyes. “Like I could.”

Lily dove into a conversation about dresses, but I had floated away. I was out of my body and looking down. And what I saw made tears well up in my eyes. I saw a me that danced. A me that smiled. A me that didn’t make me ashamed. And it was all because of him. I unconsciously reached out and grabbed his hand, smiling gently at him. Just to see him smile back.

This was happiness. I finally knew happiness.

Saturday Morning TV

Rated PG, no warnings. Oliver has to pay the piper. The 11-year-old piper with the terrifying stare. Part of the Artemis & Felicity Verse, takes place between First Day of School and Carnival Dreams. Artemis & Felicity Verse: Not That Kind of Hero || Council Meeting || Responsible Parenting || First Day of School || Saturday Morning TV || Moving Blues || Carnival Dreams || The Peanut Gallery|| Youth Culture

Oliver eased Felicity’s bedroom door closed quietly behind him, mostly to avoid waking her (though he doubted he would; he’d learned recently that she could sleep like the dead). Down the hallway, Artemis’s bedroom door was closed. They’d been meaning to bring up their relationship to her, but he got the sense that maybe six a.m. while he was trying to sneak out was not the best time. He breathed a sigh of relief as he crept past and there wasn’t any sound of movement from inside.

That same sigh died in his throat halfway down the stairs.

“So,” Artemis said, looking up from the little pile of blankets on the couch, where she’d apparently snuggled in. Across the room, some kind of sitcom played on the TV. “Your ninja skills are a little rusty.”

Oliver cleared his throat. “So it would seem. What are you—what are you doing awake at this hour?”

“I’m always awake at this hour.” Artemis rolled her eyes and then squinted. “Are you trying to sneak out?”

“I—um.” Oliver scratched the back of his head and could only thank random deities that he’d put on a shirt at least (though he still held his shoes in one hand) before creeping out of Felicity’s room. “I was going for a run?”

“In your jeans?” Artemis snorted.

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That moment when you knew Oliver’s heart thudded and he went off to dreamland for a few seconds. XD »—>