smelly-tongues

For Every Broken Dream

Chapter One (read on ao3) {4557 words}
At seventeen, James Potter’s only option is to work in service at the large Evans estate as a farmer. He can’t mess this up- he needs it more than ever. Shame things are never as easy as we want them to be.

Amidst a heavy blanket of snow there stands a shivering James Potter. His shoes are weak and frayed, multiple holes give the bone-chilling muddy snow access to his already numbed toes. He shivers, it’s unforgivably cold and the chill bites at his skin but still he marches on.

He fights against the harsh winter elements and pulls his tattered jacket closer around his shaking body. Then he stares up, mouth half open in amazement, at the house sitting on the hills.

The Evans manor looms over the horizon. It’s almost threatening.  

It’s the largest house he has ever laid eyes on; extravagant and massive. Bright lights shine out of every window and hot smoke curls out of the dozens of chimneys, boastful and mocking.

It’s taunting him.

The closer and closer he gets to it the more… breathtaking it becomes.

It’s elegant and his saving grace, providing him with shelter, warmth, food and coin. And yet he has a terrible feeling that in some ways it will be like a prison. That it will, ultimately, also be his downfall.

He lets out a deep, shaky breath.

He needs the money, he needs to escape the madness, he needs… hope . And this opportunity rose out of the ashes like a God-send; he’d be a fool to pass it up. He could not mess this up. 

This was everything to him.

Working for the Evans family, that’s his life now.

“Potter, I presume?” An old woman with striking blue eyes looks him up and down.

He feels her stare, at the state of his mud-splattered trousers and at the drenched jacket. He has half a mind to tell her that he can’t exactly control the weather now, can he? If it was sunny he’d be in a better appearance.

“Yes ma’am.”

But he remembers why he’s here. He remembers how important this is to him. That he can’t mess this up.

He looks at the woman straight and hard, like how he’s been told. Respectful, yielding. He’s in the working world now.

He gives her a clumsy bow, long legs buckle as his back bends. His cap slides off his head almost like it’s flying and lands, gracefully, into the puddle by his feet.  

It’s the woman’s look of wild alarm as he grabs for it and squeezes out as much excess water as he can before placing it back over his windswept hair. But it’s also the precarious shadow of someone in one of the large windows, watching as the woman addresses herself as McGonagall, the housekeeper.

James feels somewhat on edge, like he’s in a lions den.

It’s when McGonagall turns away from the house and he follows after begrudgingly that he can still feel that stare on his back.

He gulps; uncertainty and fear cripples him. But he marches on.

Past the house, up the gravel pathway, and into the never-ending wood where the trees are so numerous and dense that in summer time you probably wouldn’t even be able to see the sky through it.

It’s about a ten minute walk before he’s met with the farmer’s fields.

There’s a thick scattering of frost, but he can make out the allotments filled with seeds and growing vegetables, apple trees and bushes surrounding the large farm that’s to the side. A quaint looking, but relatively decent-sized, cottage smiles at him from across the lane. Animal noises and sounds fill the air, it’s almost refreshing.

A plump and excited looking man stands waiting for them, a dog wags his bottle brush like tail non-stop by his feet.

“Mr Slughorn,” McGonagall states when they finally halt to a stop. “This is the boy.”

Slughorn takes James’ hands and he’s swept up into the most uncomfortable and yet pleasant hug imaginable. Calloused and rough hands then shake him, gigantic smiles and well-spoken wishes fill the air, that James is most welcome and that they’re now family.

The big dog lets out a happy woof, far too excited now by the prospect of making a new friend, and runs towards the newcomer. Dirty paws jump at him and then James is on the floor, laughing for what seems the first time in years as a smelly, wet tongue licks his face.

Despite everything, James finds himself grinning. 

As long as he tries to forget about what happened… as long as tries to forget about the large house acres away and the rich family who reside inside it, he thinks he’ll enjoy it here.

Keep reading

Why I’m a cat person
Cat = good stim (purring, soft fur, scratchy tongue, kneading)
Dog = bad stim (loud bark, slimy tongue, sometimes smelly)
cats lose points for waking me up at3am and dogs gain points for always being happy to see me
All pets are good pets
The end

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Artist: The Residents

Songs: “Boots/Numb Erone/Guylum Bardot/Breath and Length/Consuelo’s Departure/Smelly Tongues”

Album: Meet the Residents (1974)