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I like mine with a smile, Marcus + Alfie
Punctuality had been ingrained in Marcus from a young age. Even when he tried to be late, Marcus always arrived just in time or, at least, before everyone else. He supposed it wasn't a terrible habit to have but it did mean that he often found himself at his location 10 minutes before he actually had to be there. The badger had become an expert in twiddling his thumbs.
Luckily, today's activity meant getting food and Marcus was more than happy to try to get in two servings while he waited. In fact, the tradition of him having more than one breakfast on a Sunday was about as old as his and Alfie's tradition of eating the meal together. Marcus, of course, lived a very fruitful life but during particularly stressful periods he would say that is was the highlight of his week.
Moving to sit at the Hufflepuff table, he took his wand of out his pocket and rolled up the sleeves of his slightly oversized wool jumper. This was serious business. Reaching for his toast, he charmed his knife to begin spreading butter as he piled eggs, mushrooms and cooked tomatoes onto the bread. Then with a flare that he clearly had perfected overtime he sprinkled some salt and pepper and applied a healthy dollop of HP sauce.
Resting his wand next to his plate, he got himself into position for his first bite when he spotted Tyll, his tawny owl, fly into the Great Hall. Dropping his sandwich (which to his dismay fell apart slightly upon impact with the plate) he caught the letter the bird was catching before anymore damage could be done to this breakfast. Tyll, having no respect for Marcus's masterpieces, squawked as though he was happy to see the Badger and nipped affectionately at the fingers there were tightening around the letter.
Marcus knew exactly who this was from. His parents had been mentioning for weeks about the summer internship they wanted Marcus to take in June and know his parents they had probably already put in a good word for him. He felt his stomach drop, suddenly not being so hungry anymore, as he continued to stare at the letter not wanting to spill its contents just yet.
Girls were weird. All of them. It seemed the more interest he didn't show in girls, the more attention that they would give him. However, once he'd turn around and start giving them the attention that they seemed to be ultimately seeking, they'd suddenly grow bored of him? This was exactly why he didn't date. He didn't mind rejection, it was the relationship part that kind of freaked him out. The amount of maintenance and attention girls took was about the amount of an automobile - and more. There was perks to having a girlfriend though, like shagging one person consistently on the regular. That would be lovely. Not that Alfie would know anything about that. He was inexperienced in anything other than snogging incorporated with some really sloppy and ~awkward dry humping that wasn't really worth mentioning.
It didn't really help that he was friend zoned by the only girl he actually had eyes for; who also happened to be his best and longest friend at Hogwarts. Those feelings were messy and it really drove him mad sometimes when he sat down and thought about it. Especially when she was around other males, Alfie would grow very jealous and protective over the girl. He went around snogging other girls to keep his mind off of those things - it happened to be a great distraction - and the broom closet on the third floor happened to be prime real estate for getting close and sucking face.
This morning he had been pulled into the said broom closet by a promiscuous Hufflepuff that was really cute, but she had deathly bad breath. Alfie was yanked into the closet suddenly by the girl, which was always a great confidence booster, but he instantly found himself fleeing the scene when he realized how rancid her breath was once she tried to jab her tongue down his throat with extremely dominant force. Alfie quickly made up a half-assed excuse and fled for the Great Hall. He was actually planning on meeting Markus for a late breakfast before Brenda Bad Breath decided to breathe into his mouth like a dementors kiss. No, thank you.
Alfie reached the Great Hall breathlessly, his eyes immediately started to scan the Hufflepuff tables for a head of ashy blond hair. Oh, there he was. Alfies eyes narrowed in on his best friend, who appeared to be clutching onto a letter in his grip. It was safe to say it was a letter because his owl was still staring at him and nibbling his fingers as he looked to be absorbed in his own thoughts. Great. It looked like he would have to intervene to bring him back down to planet earth.
"Yooo, boyyoo. Someone looks like they need a huuuug." Alfie greeted in a comical sing songy fashion, while romantically hugging Marcus from behind very tightly and shaking him. Possibly trying to squeeze the air out of his favorite
Marcus hadn't realised Alfie was there until he started hugging him. The badger knew it was his best friend because 1) no one else hugged him like that and 2) he could smell him. The boy always had an aroma of wood and varnish lurking around him and a hint of what Marcus could only describe as 'outside'. It was comforting and he allowed himself to relax into the affection, bringing his arms up to Alfie's and giving them a squeeze.
"You alright, gymar?"
He laughed at the mention of Brenda, taking opportunity to stash the letter in the back pocket of his jeans while Alfie grabbed some food. "Do I want to know?" he asked, raising an eyebrow as he reached to resume his slightly decrepit breakfast sandwich.
To be fair, Marcus knew the broom cupboard on the third floor quite well. He had yet to be apprehended by Brenda but it was a perfect hiding place from getting caught snogging in the hallways by professors or, even worse, Filch. He, of course, had never been the one to suggest using the space but it seemed to be a Hogwarts right of passage that one found themselves making questionable decisions in there at least at one point or another during their schooling career.
"So I guess things aren't going well with --" he said, making a gesture that was somehow meant to allude to Serena. He was also being a little bit sneaky, knowing that if he could get Alfie to start talking about the Snake he probably wouldn't shut up and thus he wouldn't have to talk about the letter. It wasn't that Marcus got bored hearing about the Gryffindor's love-life (he valued any time spent with his best friend), he was just fed up of hearing about Serena bloody Blackwood. Like, he got that Alfie fancied her and all but personally Marcus didn't get it...
[OOC: "gymar" = Welsh for mate]
Alfie released from the bromantic embrace and took a seat directly next to his pal. He seemed to side step Alfie's first question, but he wouldn't pry...not yet. Marcus gave him a look like he possibly didn't give a flying hypogriff at what had happend in the broom cupboard, but he had to share with someone. Alfie wasn't normally one to kiss and tell but Marcus was his best male friend. Talking about these things usually made him feel a bit better too. Other than hitting around some bludgers, but that was a given that would be happening today at some point.
"Prob'ly not, but I'mma tell ya anyways." Alfie said nonchalantly, in actual fact, scooping up a pile of eggs and potatoes onto his plate before shoveling it into his mouth. "Her breath reaks like dragon dung. I couldn' breathe. Me eyes were waterin'. Don' go anywhere near her, I beg of ya." his eyes widened slightly, giving his friend a cautious look to express how serious the situation was before aggressively finishing off his toast with a chomp. Brenda would definitely be a lass he'd be avoiding proper like the plague. It wasn't often that Alfie actually felt the need to cower from a girl, but this morning was a bit traumatizing. And who knows what he could have caught with this encounter alone. Yuck.
Alfie's face went beat red when Marcus insinuated anything about Serena and himself. "I'm not going to do anything about it." he blurted, rolling his eyes to the back of his skull and huffing a puff of air through his nostrils. The Hufflepuff knew damn well the dilemma he was working with. Alfie was too chicken to do anything about it because he was convinced that he was forever in the friendzone when it came to the beautiful snake. Was it even worth risking their friendship that they had? To just go make everything unbearably awkward and lose one of the most significant people in his life? He didn't want that! The thought itself terrified him, but Alfie was completely smitten over Serena Blackwood. It made him feel like the worlds biggest loser and quite honestly it scared him because he knew that he couldn't really control how he felt. So a lot of days were spent at the pitch, where he knew he wouldn't get himself into mischief.
Marcus knew how to act around people. He didn't set out to be intentionally manipulative but he knew how to make people feel good about themselves. Sure, this behaviour was heavily influence by his parents and there insistence on bringing up a boy who would by upstanding in society, but genuinely Alfie did want the best for people. Part of him did still feel, however, that he had to do what was expected of him -- he occasionally had to push himself to try to find some light for those who needed it.
Around Alfie, he didn't have to try. That is to say, Marcus would go to the ends of the world for him.
Marcus pulled a face at the thought of dragon dung. He had once been forced to eat some by his cousin and it was not a pleasant experience. "Oh Christ," he said in solidarity of it being a terrible experience. "I'll be sure to keep my distance. No fear." And to his credit, Marcus didn't think he actually had made out with anyone called Brenda. A Beth, maybe, but not a Brenda.
His eyebrows furrowed as Alfie addressed the Snake problem, feeling bad that he had brought it up at all. He leaned over to pinch the Lion's rosy cheeks affectionately and then bringing his hand down to Alfie's shoulder gave it a squeeze. It was a gesture that said 'You don't have to tell me, but I'm always here'. He beamed at boy and then returned to the table to pour them both a mug of coffee.
"Have you decided what you're doing this summer? he queried as he handed the vessel to Alfie. "Just there's this music festival meant to be happening early August and I wondered if you wanted to go? We could go camping? Might be a laugh..."
As Marcus retreated with a look of regret for mentioning Serena, Alfie swatted away that concern with an easy going laugh. "Naaaah, it's fine mate, I'm just bein' a fuckin' weenie. I reckon I'm just upset because I wish she'd pull me into the closet instead of B.B. Brenda." Alfie joked with an apathetic shrug of the shoulders. There was no sulking in what he couldn't control, Alfie learned that at a young age. You just gotta trust the process. Alfie was happy to have Serena as one of his best friends if that was how he would be keeping her around in his life.
Marcus was such a great mate to Alfie that there wasn't anything the other wouldn't do for each other. Alfie would give the shirt off of his back to him and considered Marcus the brother that he always begged his parents for. Some would joke about their friendship being a bit overly bromatic and hilarious to watch. Alfie had always been a super overly affectionate person to begin with and had too much love to give, it would turn heads and cause jaws to drop at times. Some may even find it a bit overbearing and annoying at times. It was all out of fun and genuine love though, people were going to hate regardless, right?
Alfie took a bite of the pile that was on his plate while Marcus graciously poured them cups of coffee and inquired about any summer plans. "Thanks man" They clicked mugs before taking a sip of the warm life giving tonic. It also gave him a moment to think of Marcus' question. Which was still sending an entirely new wave emotions through Alfie - and he didn't want to show it. Nervousness, uncertainty, self doubt...all emotions that have been surfacing recently as the year came closer to completion. Soon he'd be done with Hogwarts and out in the real world doing...something. Not quite sure what yet, which was extremely terrifying, but again, trusting the process.
Alfie nodded his head with interest when he mentioned a music festival and camping. He was really into the idea... Two of his favorite activities mashed into one weekend, with hot ladies, and partying. "Nothing set in stone for summer yet. Honestly, I'm really hoping to get picked up by one of the national teams by then...but I don't wanna jinx it." Alfie said with a bit of uncertainty. Merlin, what was he going to do? He didn't want to make brooms for a living, or work behind a desk, that sounded like a complete bore. "Ohh, yeah! Like one of those Muggle parties with lazers, costumes, drugs, and other activities that are typically frowned upon?" he inquired with an eye brow waggle and mischievous grin. "Hell yeah, I won't miss it. Lets do it, mate! Those parties are wild. It will be fuckin' epic." Alfie nodded agreeably, he was always down for any idea Marcus had, the same Marcus with Alfie. They were great ride or dies and rarely asked any questions. This sounded like it could be one for the books. "You have any other plans for summer break? Your ma n pa still trying to throw you in every which direction?" Alfie inquired nonchalantly while taking another sip of coffee.
If there was one thing that Marcus admired about Alfie -- okay there were many but let's pretend he could only pick one -- it would be his infectious positivity. Maybe it was just because they knew each other so well, or that Marcus never wanted to bring anyone down with him, but the Gryffindor never failed to put a smile on his face and a laugh in his belly. While it still pained him to see his friend pine (for real, was Serena BLOODY BLIND) he was pleased it hadn't fully dampened his otherwise sunny demeanour.
He smiled as they clinked mugs, giving a small mug. Honestly, Marcus didn't really notice they were a power bromance or overly touchy. Granted, he wasn't a free-loving as his Hufflepuff persona often portrayed but it's not like physical content was a foreign concept to him. So what if some hugs lingered a bit long or they'd have conversations with their arms wrapped around each other's shoulders: it was just how they were with each other.
"You'll get in mate," he said, taking a sip of his coffee then remembering he hated black coffee so reach over the table to add almost as much almond milk to his brew. "You're Alfie fuckin' O'Callaghan, aren't ya?" And even though Marcus was totally biased, he knew that Alfie was a brilliant enigma and, like some Slytherin he could mention, Qudditch teams would be idiots to pass on him.
He laughed as the Lion mentioned drugs and similar activities: "Yeah, that's exactly how I was going to sell it to my parents." Mood sinking as the letter in his back pocket made itself present in his mind once more. Looking up to his friend as he enquired about his parents. Of course he knew, Alfie always seemed to know. Marcus breathed out nervously. "Yeah, yeah..." he said, eyes darting down again. And then realising that this was Alfie he was talking to he reached to put the letter down on the table between them. "This arrived today."
Marcus mentioned pitching the idea to his parents at it made him snort. He probably wouldn’t tell his parents about it, only because they would have too many questions. "All you gotta do is tell ma 'n pa that we're goin' campin' for the weekend." Alfie stated in an obvious tone while finishing off his toast crust. As much as Alfie considered himself a rule follower, he knew how to break them just as well as follow them. This just meant that he was smarter - and sneakier - when it came to doing stupid shit. He learned at a young age that he could get away with practically anything with his father, but his mother, she was the pettiest woman around. Very talented when it came to music and tuning any Muggle instrument under the sun.
Marcus was always the best at pep talks and inflating Alfies ego. He was seriously such an amazing friend, Alfie loved him like a brother he never had and would do anything for the Hufflepuff. The Gryffindor puffed out his chest, feeling Marcus’ mini pep talk already doing wonders. ”Thanks mate, I appreciate it. We will just have to wait and see.”
Alfies warm hazel eyes stopped on the letter, he then yanked the letter out of the other boys hands and tore it open without taking a beat, "Just read it, mate. The anticipation is gonna kill ya." Alfie grumbled while his fingers ripped at the parchment and peeled the wax seal that was keeping it closed. He shoved it in Marcus' face a bit obnoxiously, Alfie wasn't going to read it first because he respected privacy - especially when it came to family. Marcus would decide if he wanted to share the information with Alfie or not. Most likely he would because they basically knew everything about each other. Too much. At times. But that’s what made their friendship so special. He knew what they had was unique.
"Go on, whats it say?" Alfie encouraged him, his eye brows furrowed at the center of his forehead, displaying a very curious expression for his best mate. It was better to face your problems head on rather than harboring them and dancing around them forever. Maybe Alfie should learn how to take his own advice revolving the Slytherin he was crazy about.
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