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The thought of marrying Cecily Gallivan had occurred to Fitz in the way that the thought of marrying any attractive young lady did: a firm maybe and a hasty step away to more pleasurable topics, like sport or brandy.Fitzroy Prewett in Well. That took a turn.
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#33
  
Ford perked up at the words Padmore Park, as though he had not noticed where they were until Lestrange announced it (maybe he hadn’t). This was a welcome distraction from what they’d been just talking about, though, and Ford took a few hurried steps through the entryway, as though being in a physically different place would change the mood, even if it was only a few feet of actual difference.

“Want to get a rowboat?” he asked brightly. “I bet they’re all free, this late. Did I tell you,” he continued, without pausing to let Lestrange respond to the question about the rowboats. “About the drowning guy? I was here last month and I was in one of the rowboats and this guy nearly drowned in the lake and I saved him.” (Saved was perhaps a strong word). “Or I helped him, anyway. He didn’t end up drowning.”


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#34
  
Ford’s brightness came as a relief; it maybe meant that he wasn’t holding having told Cash about the money thing against Cash, or maybe it meant that he wouldn’t remember this conversation later.

”Isn’t it a little late to be rowing?” he asked, feeling a small but non-zero amount of trepidation about getting into a boat with someone this drunk. Cash had it pretty together, but he didn’t tend to spend a lot of time in boats, so — it might be risky.

”You encounter people in a lot of Situations,” Cash pointed out. He stood on his toes to try to spot any rowboats, never mind that he thought they were a bad idea. Dementors and drownings and ghosts, and whatever else Ford did. He had a lot of adventures. Cash tried to avoid most people. ”I’m glad he didn’t drown, though. He’s lucky you were there.” Cash had been lucky that Ford showed up, that day with the dementor — he wondered if the drowning guy felt similarly.

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   Fortitude Greengrass




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#35
  
Ford giggled at Lestrange's comment — particularly at the not-wholly-inaccurate characterisation of his various misadventures as situations. It made it all sound so mysterious and at the same time so formal, as though he were some sort of undercover auror going out on covert missions to save people from themselves. He wouldn't have expected himself to be the sort of person who got into situations of this sort, but that hadn't really prevented them. Situations, presumably, didn't much care whether you were the right sort of person for them; they just happened.

"I'm good at situations," he remarked. "Or… I suppose you have to be, if they happen often enough."


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#36
  
”Well, I’m glad you’ve developed a talent for them,” Cash said, a little genuine but mostly wry. Ford Greengrass was an interesting person to be around, with his haunted houses and ghost management and — ability to be invaluable in a crisis, and his secret money problems that Cash would never have guessed before tonight. Hm.

And — fear of drunk rowboats aside, he sort of wanted to see if Ford would giggle even more on one. ”That one has an oar in it,” Cash suggested, pointing.

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#37
  
In his current state Ford was as easily distracted as he was redirected. All thoughts of situations left him as Lestrange pointed out a rowboat with an oar. They’d gotten down to the water’s edge fairly quickly, hadn’t they? Or had they been walking longer than he’d thought? It felt as though they’d only been at the entrance a moment ago and — oh, maybe it was just because he was drunk and time was starting to seem a little more fluid than it ought to, but if that was the case than he was very drunk, which was a little worrying. If it bothered Lestrange, though, at least he hadn’t said anything about it yet. Ford made a mental note (which he would doubtless not remember) to send Lestrange a letter tomorrow and apologize for being an ass, just in case he was without realizing it.

“We need two oars, but —” he said, liberating one from another nearby boat with a flourish, which was not at all a good idea when he was this intoxicated. He wavered slightly on his feet but managed to get them both down again, and made a dramatic gesture with his arms that he hoped made the whole thing look a little silly and not like he’d nearly lost his balance. “Let’s go,” he said, climbing in before Lestrange could protest.

It was hardly any work to get it underway, even uncoordinated as he currently was — just one knot to undo and a good shove off of the little dock and soon enough they were surrounded by black water, with the lights from Hogsmeade just a blur in the distance (or blurred to Ford, anyway; maybe Lestrange was still seeing them clearly). “You haven’t done this before?” he asked; he thought vaguely that they’d talked about it a long time ago and Lestrange hadn’t said anything about it, but he couldn’t exactly remember. “I love this. It’s the only place in Hogsmeade that’s really quiet.”
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   Cassius Lestrange


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#38
  
The worst outcome possible here was that they would both drown, which in the scheme of things was not really the worst thing Cash could think of. To his credit, he didn’t point this out. He wasn’t sure he’d expected Ford to get them away from the dock so quickly, but Cash was the more sober one and he still managed to be surprised when they were suddenly in the boat over the Black Lake, watching the shorelights get further and further away.

”I’ve never done this,” Cash said, with a small smile. He either hadn’t or he didn’t have any memory of it, which meant that it was as good as new to him. ”I see why you like it, though. It’s nice.”

”But if you want quiet there’s the cemetery,” Cash suggested. It was morbid there, but it was usually a little quiet, as long as there wasn’t a funeral on — normally he wouldn’t have suggested something so morbid, but Ford was already weird about death, so. He’d probably like it.  ”I used to walk around there sometimes when I was a teenager.” Really what he meant by that was that he’d met Eli there a few times some summers, but he didn’t want to talk about that now.





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#39
  
The cemetery! What a delightful suggestion. Ford was giggling once again as he leaned on one of the oars, less at what Lestrange had said and more at what it brought to mind. “I couldn’t hang around in a cemetery. Someone might think I’m working,” he joked, shaking his head. Not that ghosts really spent much time in cemeteries (not any more time than living people did, anyway), but sometimes people who didn’t spend much time around them could be almost as superstitious about these sorts of things as Muggles could be.

“Besides, people can still interrupt you in a cemetery,” he pointed out. “Out here no one can reach you. Unless they’re a mermaid.”


Bree made this because she loves me <3
#40
  
He couldn’t help but laugh at the image of people thinking Greengrass was working in a cemetery — although, really, he didn’t think the other man would be out of place in a graveyard. They weren’t that far off from haunted houses. Surely there was some muggle running a seance out of one.

”Or if they’re drowning,” Cash pointed out with a wry smile. ”But if the point is avoiding everyone —” except Cash in this moment, apparently, but Cash still did not think he counted ”— then I see your logic.”





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#41
  
"Or if they're drowning, right," Ford agreed with another laugh. Did it count as an interruption if it was a situation, or was that something else? Either way, drowning people or mers, it was the sort of thing Ford was equipped to handle. Him and his situations. Hm. This thought, this confidence that he could deal with anything that happened in a place like this, had occurred to him unprompted, and was followed a moment later by a sort of internal curiosity at the idea.

Had he become the sort of person who was good at things at some point in his life without realizing it? Ford didn't tend to think of himself as such and it was making him a little uncomfortable, but not in a scary way. If he'd somehow become a person he wouldn't have recognized were he looking at himself from the outside instead of living it, the idea seemed almost funny at the moment, because how ridiculous was that? If he'd changed he must have been here when it happened — your life didn't go on without you while you weren't looking — so how silly was it to be thinking things had changed somewhere and he hadn't noticed?

"It doesn't happen a lot, drowning people," he clarified; his tone might have been almost defensive if not for the giggle that followed. He'd been rowing to get them out here but hadn't moved the oars since he'd started thinking about this, which Ford thought was fine. They could drift for a bit. They had nowhere to be, except the party they'd already left. He let go of the oars and reached up to rub his shoulder — rowing stretched the muscles there in a way that no other activity in Ford's daily life did — and entirely forgot to pull the oars up out of the water.

"Oh, no, we need that," he said as he noticed one starting to slip away, making a not-very-graceful motion to recover it.


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#42
  
Cash thought about pointing out that he never ran into drowning people, but he knew he didn’t really have much to stand on here — he was the person who’d created a dementor in his bedroom, which probably fell under the umbrella of a situation, and which he did not particularly want to remind Ford of when Ford seemed to be in a good mood.

(Because he was drunk, sure, but also he was giggling and stretching and if Cash ignored the weird conversation they’d had about Ford’s sisters, he could almost find this charming. Almost. It was in the neighborhood of charming.)

Or, it was in the neighborhood of charming until the oar started to slip and Ford moved for it and the boat lurched. Cash startled — although maybe startling wasn’t the best idea, because they were in a boat — and reached out to grab — Ford, or the oar, or something.

Certainly he wasn’t trying to accomplish what actually happened, which was that they both fell into the bottom of the boat. Cash supposed that this was better than falling into the lake, but he could hear the sound of the other oar scraping against the side of the boat as it fell, presumably, into the lake.

”Shit.”





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#43
  
Ford wasn't really aware of anything that was happening until it had already happened. He realized he was losing balance when Cash's hand was already on him, realized he was being pulled back when they were already hitting the bottom of the little boat. There wasn't really enough space for two people to be here with any degree of comfort, but the concept of having to sit up at this point was as inconceivable as trying to play a match of wizard's chess. Instead, he wriggled his shoulders slightly until he was right up against one side of the boat. There still wasn't any additional space between him and Cash, but at least they weren't on top of each other (or not by much, anyway).

Lestrange swore, which was the only reason Ford even noticed the sound of the second oar slipping away. He laughed — he couldn't help it — and said in as serious a tone as he could muster, "Well, that's it, then. We'll just be stuck out here forever."

They were far from helpless, of course, because they both still had wands and Hogsmeade was in sight and there was a whole city of merfolk right below them, but at least for the moment Ford wasn't in much of a rush. He looked up at the stars, content, and absently brushed his fingertips over Lestrange's arm where it was overlapping his own.
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#44
  
Maybe he should have been more concerned about rowboats before they’d gotten in one, or maybe he should have insisted on having the oars, or maybe he should have been more concerned about the oar than he was about Ford when he’d first leaned forward. This wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened — they still had their wands and they were in the Black Lake, not some massive body of water — but he was going to have to figure out how to deal with it, because Ford obviously wasn’t in any condition to.

Still, he wasn’t in a rush. They weren’t talking about anything uncomfortable and he could get used to staying in the boat, and as Ford’s fingers brushed against his arm Cash sighed and settled and tilted his head back to look at the overcast Scottish sky above them.

”Well, if you wanted quiet and solitude,” Cash said wryly, ”Getting stuck out on the lake pretty much has you set, right?”

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#45
  
"Mmm," Ford mumbled in agreement. Feeling Lestrange settle in next to him instead of getting back up and trying to fish out the oars was strangely pleasing, as though the two of them had entered some alternate world. Here, things like where the oars had gone or how they were going to get back to shore or the whole future as a sweeping generality didn't matter so much anymore. They could just stay for a minute, quiet, solitary but not alone, looking at the stars with a boat bobbing softly beneath them.

"Sorry I dropped the oar," he said softly, though the satisfied sigh he let out after saying this did not particularly imply that he was.


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#46
  
”Sorry I let us get on a boat,” Cash said, grinning — he didn’t sound sorry, either. This was — a weird angle to be at, and he felt sort of scrunched like a pretzel, but other than the physical discomfort the reality of it was comfortable. He could feel their limbs brushing together. Greengrass’ physical presence was reassuring. He was the sober one, but he had no qualms about this.

”Although I thought we were more liable to fall in than lose the oars.”





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#47
  
Perhaps it should have alarmed Ford that Lestrange had thought it likely they both might fall into the lake and had still agreed to do this, but at the moment he just found the idea a little funny. Wandering back to the house with his hair and his clothes all wet and dripping… what would Verity have said? Don’t worry about it, Ver, I just decided to go for a swim, fully clothed. But I had great company, you know — magical royalty, so you can’t be mad.

“Well, life is full of surprises,” he pronounced sagely (or something like it — he was too drunk to sound properly wise). He angled his head a little closer to Lestrange’s, enjoying the feeling of another body close at hand while he continued staring up at the stars.


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