Pairing: Harry/OMC, future HP/SS (really, I promise!)
Rating: meh, PG-13 for language.
Summary: Harry and Nick have a very badly-written argument.
Notes: Okay, if I can get 1600 more words down today, I only have to write 3000 words a day. *dies* But I do have a couple thousand written that I can't put in yet, so it's not *quite* as bad as I make it sound. Also, argh. See endnotes, please.
No Sense No More
26 April 1999
Harry had barely been home at all the past three weeks. Every time he made it to his own flat, even briefly, Nick would ask him over. And he'd go, because he was made to feel terribly guilty every time he tried to say no. And he knew that wasn't healthy. He was no great expert on relationships, but he knew that constant guilt wasn't supposed to be a part of it. But he did enjoy himself when he was with Nick. Most of the time, that is. The gifts hadn't stopped, despite Harry's insistence.
It started with a dinner that Nick wanted Harry to go to with him. Harry didn't have any forma wear to speak of, so he'd gone shopping. Nick had come along under the pretense of helping him choose something. They'd narrowed it down to several ensembles, which had taken hours. Harry had taken a break to go to the loo before trying them all on again, and Nick had bought the lot of them while Harry was gone. They had a hushed and rather nasty row in the shop, which had ended in Harry storming out and going home. He'd refused to answer the phone for hours, but he couldn't stop Nick getting in, as he'd convinced Harry to give him a key a few day before. Nick pounded on the door for a while before using his key and storming in.
"You little bitch!" he spat. "I try to do something nice for you, surprise you, and you make an ass out of me in public instead of just saying thank you!"
Harry turned on him, fuming. "That's fucking right! I've told you ten bloody fucking thousand times not to buy me things like that! Because that's exactly what it makes me feel like-- your little bitch! I'm not your fucking dress-up doll to show off to your work colleagues! So stop fucking treating me like one!"
"Julian, you don't even know what it is to be owned," he growled.
"Fuck you. Take your fucking Armani and get the hell out of my house!"
"Not until you listen to me."
"I'm through listening to you. Get out."
Harry tried to shove him toward the door, but Nick had always been the stronger of the two of them. They scuffled, Harry trying to push Nick out the door, and Nick refusing to be pushed and trying to hold Harry still. It had stopped being a lovers' quarrel. They were fighting like two angry men. Harry finally succeeded in throwing Nick to the floor. Something heavy and solid was knocked from his pocket and skidded across the parquet. Harry saw it thud to a stop against the far wall. It was a gun.
Harry stood up, staring in shock at the weapon and wiping blood from his lip. "Who the fuck are you?" he asked in a hoarse, strained whisper.
"I'm the same person I was yesterday," he said, clutching his ribcage.
"Who are you that you have to walk around with a gun in your pocket?"
"One of millions of Americans who exercise their right to bear arms. Oh, or don't you have rights where you come from?"
Harry ignored the jab at his country. "You know that's not what I mean. Why won't you tell me what it is you do? Where all your millions of dollars come from? Who the fuck these people are you have me cook thousand-dollar meals for every week at the restaurant?"
Nick stood up to face him. "Why won't you tell me what you did back in England?" he countered.
"Because there's nothing to tell!" Harry said defensively. But Nick had a point. Especially since what there was to tell amounted to far more than nothing.
"Why is this about my money?"
"You're spending it on me, aren't you? A lot of it! Don't I deserve to know?"
"Why does it matter?"
"Stop answering my questions with questions! It just does, all right? It matters to me! How do you think I feel, knowing almost nothing about you, about what you do when you're not around me? You get to fuck me every night, but I don't even get to know where you work!" Harry shouted, slamming his fist against the wall. "It would be one thing if you said 'I can't tell you what I do because it's a big dangerous secret,' but you don't even tell me that! You just dance around my questions and change the subject!"
"Don't you trust me?"
"I don't know anymore."
They'd both calmed down enough that Harry allowed Nick to put a hand on his arm, though he flinched. "The truth is that I was born with most of what I have," Nick said quietly. "I didn't do a damn thing for it. The other part of the truth is that I'm a lawyer. I defend some really disgusting, terrifying people and keep them out of prison on technicalities. I didn't tell you because I was afraid you'd think I was like them."
Harry breathed a sigh of relief. When he'd seen the gun, he'd immediately thought back to the Daily Prophet article. Of course Nick wasn't in the mafia. That was just stupid. He'd have some long Italian name and talk about breaking people's kneecaps. "I wish you'd told me sooner. Your job's your job. I just thought you wouldn't tell me because you didn't trust me."
Nick shook his head and put his arms around Harry. "I'm sorry," he whispered into his hair, and then stepped back to look at him. "You're bleeding," he said, touching Harry's swollen lip.
"It's not too bad. Did I hurt you?"
"Knocked the wind out of me."
"Next time we argue, let's try not to have a fistfight."
"Well, let's try not to argue. Does it really bother you that much when I buy you things?"
"It's just... well, it feels more like you're giving me things you think I should have, not things you think I'd like, if that makes any sense." Yes, that was it. It was as though Nick didn't think he was enough the way he was. He'd thought about it over and over, yet again allowing his mind to wander into the past, remembering when he'd had all the vaults full of galleons. He'd bought gifts liberally then as well, but they'd always been things he knew his friends wanted.
Nick nodded. "I think I get it. But I did think you'd like the clothes. So tell me, if I were to get you something you really wanted, what would it be?"
"Really. What would make you happy?"
"Some gift isn't going to make me happy," Harry said, starting to get a bit miffed again.
Nick stopped him. "Let me rephrase that. What would you be happy about getting?"
Well, perhaps now was the time. "I want the restaurant. But I don't want you to outright buy it. I want to do it properly, with investors-- investors who aren't you!-- and bank loans. I would be very happy if you'd help me."
Nick smiled. "I still don't quite understand why you won't just let me give it to you."
And if he were honest with himself, Harry didn't quite either. He'd given all that money to Fred and George. But then again, it hadn't paid for the whole thing. They'd done most of the work. If he were to let Nick just give him this, he felt it likely that he'd be presented with a fully staffed restaurant ready to open without having to lift a finger. "All right. I'll let you give me some financial backing. But not all of it. I want to be the one to put the place together." Really, he felt ridiculous even letting him do that much. If they'd been together for years, he might think differently of it, but it hadn't even been a month. It felt like a premature commitment.
"What if I take care of the space, and you do the rest?"
Well…that seemed all right. He knew Stephen's rent wasn't even a quarter of what it cost to run the place. And if Nick bought the space outright…well, it was too good of a business move to pass up, despite the misgivings he still had. "All right."
Nick grinned widely. "You have no idea how happy you've just made me," he said, and pulled Harry into a deep kiss. "Come on, let's go have hours of make-up sex," he whispered deviously, his lips still brushing against Harry's.
"What about the dinner?"
"Screw 'em. I don't like those guys anyway." With that, he lifted Harry up and carried him off to the bedroom.
Postnotes: Okay. You guys have to tell me the truth here. Am I turning Nick into a horrible Stu? He started out as a plot device, but at this point I feel like he's getting out of hand. I thought I'd be able to get him out of the picture a lot sooner, but it's not looking like it's going to be possible because of how I've set things up.