bedazzled with rhinestones! (ignited) wrote in hp_crossovers,
bedazzled with rhinestones!
ignited
hp_crossovers

FIC: White Room, HP/Beatles RPS, Harry Potter/John Lennon, NC-17

Title: White Room
Author: Ignited
Fandoms: Harry Potter/Beatles RPS
Pairing: Harry Potter/John Lennon
Summary: “Pleasure, for a little while, one-night stand and see you following. Nothing more. John picks him for a night and Harry agrees.”
Rating: NC-17





I'll sleep in this place with the lonely crowd;
Lie in the dark where the shadows run from themselves.
-- White Room, Cream





Considering the smoke and blood of the past few months, it was strange Harry did not think much when it came into his hands. The Time-Turner. A tricky, little thing, swirls of glass and dulled gold. He'd taken hold of it, amidst rubble and splintered wood. He had picked it up absentmindedly while wind stung, like needles, on the back of his hands.

Now his hands are warm, and he's fiddling with a CD player, of all things, on a Muggle bus. It grinds along, he playing the part of a nondescript London teenager, bored, sullen. He manages to change CDs, stare out the window for a good five minutes, all the while not thinking of other days. Not thinking that he's got a Time-Turner underneath his shirt, and it's from the rubble of Hogwarts.

In the past, he has stolen from the gravesite of many, those dead in Hogwarts. However, now he does not care, and at the present time gets off the bus with that stolen item, a bauble.

Hermione's been looking for him. Ron, too. Ron is tired, a little worn around the edges, but clearly wanting to help. It wasn’t like school, best friends and joking, but there was still a connection there. One that played out whenever Ron or Hermione came in contact.

Draco. He’s been looking for him as well. More likely for sinister purposes -- batten down the hatches, fuck him down to the floor, curse and rail his name. Harry does not care, finding himself seated beneath an oak tree, legs sprawled, backpack between. Quite a number of Galleons, different possessions. Whatever he's got to his name, it's in there, buried and twisted like so many bodies his young eyes have seen.

Perhaps he really has run away from it all.

He touches the strands of the Time-Turner carefully, calloused fingers sliding along cool edges. Fringe gets into his eyes and he jerks his head, too roughly, too used to fast movements and split-second actions. Been like that for going on seven, eight years now. Always like that, really, when there were the Dursleys to be mindful of, but that was childish in comparison. They were nothing in comparison to Death Eaters who’d cause flashes of green light and spells that twist people's bodies in pain.

Harry has seen these things, seen thestrals, sometimes wishing to have not.

Maybe he wouldn't have met his friends and teachers, or would have, under different circumstances. He'd go home for Christmas and laugh at his father's jokes, help his mother with dinner. They'd sit by the fire, talk and laugh, friends over for good cheer. Sirius would be crouching over the Muggle record player, Remus giving a book or song recommendation to Lily. James, James would be sitting right near Harry, arm around his shoulder, saying some joke or anecdote. Either Sirius or Remus would get to him first, shaking their heads and giving protest. ‘It didn't happen like that,’ one of them would say, Harry falling asleep on the couch after the resulting hours of explanation, laughter, and love.

However, those things could never happen, nor take away the weariness to his eyes, the rough hands and defensive posture. It happens when you are in a constant state of motion, always moving, always quiet. He isn't the little scrawny first year any longer, instead in a state between boy and man.

It is here, this warm morning, that Harry uses the Time-Turner, letting the lull of wailing guitars from headphones carry him through time.

To where the music would not crackle with static, but be fresh, anew, and pulsating.




He is very much aware something has gone wrong when he felt himself fall back hard, right onto someone's foot.

“Ow! Off with you -- no layabouts here! Shouldn't you be in school, boy?”

Harry looks up numbly, staring into the sunlight and an irritated police officer.

“Day off?” Harry ventures, feeling quite stupid as the words came out of his mouth. He has finished school, did the whole post-school bit, got a lot of dead co-workers out of it. Surely he doesn't need to give another excuse to this random man. Just doesn’t need to.

“Well, off with you -- you can't take a kip in the middle of the bloody park.”

Harry does get up, moving down the park path to the exit. Biting his lip, he feels tense, rigid. People milling about, too happy, all carefree. Children with their kites and playthings, adults with quilts, picnics, bikes. There are a few people on benches feeding the birds, other people talking, laughing.

They are too happy, Harry thinks, but then realizes they live in a state of blissful ignorance. Then he feels jealous, for a moment, before he sees their clothes. Bright colors and mini-skirts, boots with heels. Men, their hair short, slicked back, nicely trimmed. These are not the seventies styles that Harry faintly remembers from books and moving pictures of friends and relatives.

He confirms the random flash of a thought by calmly bending down to pick up a discarded newspaper. It's under his arm and in his hands once he reaches the street. Cars too round, antique to the modern teenage eye, old models that would fetch a pretty penny back home in Surrey -- back wherever. Surrey wasn’t home. Hogwarts was. But Hogwarts is dead, and would never have cared for the price of Muggle things

1965, in small, faded print, Harry's eyes widening in disbelief.

“Fuck,” he says, but it's barely a whisper. His parents must be what, four, five?

The word 'fuck' sounds lame and wistful, not even beginning to cover it.




He has been walking for hours, too tired to twist gold and glass into normal time, too tired to care.

It is a silly thing to tempt fate, as Harry does, but he is not bothered. There are no pressing engagements, no faces he needs to see, skin to touch and shiver against. There is nothing to occupy his time. He’s on auto-pilot, legs awkward, walking, walking on. Passing faces he doesn't look at, curious glances at his attire -- plain shirt, jeans, and trainers -- and the headphones, backpack.

Harry pauses at a street corner, squinting in the sunlight, mouth set in a line.

There's a sign not far off, the words sending a slight chill down Harry's spine.

ABBEY ROAD.

He finds it silly to feel this way, even sillier still that he's been walking, traveling endlessly. A sharp laugh comes from a mouth not particularly used to it, a bark of a noise. The laugh is like Sirius, mischievous, childish. The thought of him makes Harry stop short. Look both ways before crossing the street; it wouldn’t be right to die before you're born.

He rubs the back of his neck, music bit too loud in the quiet afternoon, not to mention misplaced: Paul McCartney screaming ‘Why Don't We Do It In The Road?’ from his headphones. It's simply strange and off-putting as he's crossing one such road now. Inevitably, Harry tries to retrace steps that he cannot know, steps that take him to the famous crosswalk. Bold, broad white stripes, lamp posts, and there -- the white door and iron gates. Abbey Road studios, all pale pomp and circumstance, home of the four-headed monster. The Beatles.

Harry didn't really prefer them over other bands, but did know that Sirius liked them. He found some old records of theirs while going through Sirius's things at Lupin's once. Dusty, strange and foreign. The soar of airplanes, jangling of piano, stark guitars and pounding drums of the White Album entranced him. It was a passing thing, for he was in seventh year, occupied. War and all.

Now he had gone away from that -- some would call it running away, hiding, cowardice -- and could listen to their music.

The thought in his head makes him scowl. He should not be here. He should not be pursuing a childish dream of -- what, Sirius's? Not his. Not really his, he's a grown man after all, finished school and everything—

Harry sucks in a breath and stares.

A tall man with a solid build has exited the building, lighting up a cigarette. He does it casually, flame bright and snuffed out quickly, a flare extinguished. Hair a bit too long, moptop cut, white shirt, black tie, jacket, trousers and boots, pale skin.

John Lennon is walking in his direction, and it takes all that Harry can not to just stare at him.




It's funny, really, Harry thinks, how this man has affected others through music. Mention the name to Ron and Ron wouldn't care -- Muggles are strange, sometimes primitive in their ways. Not primitive, per se, but different. Taking the long way around. They don’t think seriously of magic, cutting up people and sewing them up again, like Mrs. Weasley would say. Silly Muggles. Silly, ingenious, strange, and they were quite good at music. That group. The one Lennon was in.

It's thoughts like these, random, feverish, that assault his mind, crazed and dumbfounded. Harry tries to keep his composure, not running around, not doing anything. Not like he'd run around really, because they weren't -- aren't, in this era -- his favorite group, and it's simply John Lennon walking by. That is all.

He moves to the edge of the pavement, trying hard to stare at the cars passing by. By now he's ripped off his headphones and shoved them into his bag, hurriedly turning his CD player off. Bad enough he's been walking around looking out of place. No need to accentuate the strange look with modern technology. Meanwhile, the object of his curiosity is now standing at the edge of the pavement, sucking down great lungfulls of nicotine. John runs a hand through his hair, taking a stray glance over in Harry's direction.

You cannot change the past, a voice says, small and barely a whisper, right in the back of his mind. You cannot, as much as you would like to.

But he moves forward anyway, on auto-pilot, rigid and focused.




John Lennon -- surround sound, it's fucking him -- cannot hold too much liquor before he goes off on a tangent, Harry notices.

Harry is proud he can carry a good conversation, enough to be sitting at the bar in the canteen nearby. John flicks ash from what has to be his fourth cigarette, leaning his chin on his palm. It is easy for John to smile, but it is more likely that his mouth is set in a thin line, pensive. Been a half-hour, lunch break and all, but John makes no move to leave. He's got his tie loosened round the collar, perfect, clean-cut image marred by the small sign of rebellion.

“I wasn't really into music before… uh, well, I didn't have the opportunity. To get into music, I mean. Too busy. My uncle wouldn't let me near the near the -- near anything, y'know.”

“That's how they are -- won't let you have any bit of freedom, sometimes. Think they know everything.” John squints, looking at the canteen sign randomly. “‘It's bad for you, that kind of music’. All that rubbish.”

“They don't get it. They treat you like a child and don’t tell you things outright. Then what happens? It goes to hell anyway,” Harry mutters. He's feeling a bit peaky, tired too.

Legs crossed, John leans forward and to the side, whispering something or other in Harry's direction. He stops mid-sentence, straightens.

Another tall man, not even, a boy on the verge, dark fringe in his eyes and gaunt face. Similarly clothed as John, a cigarette at the corner of his lip. He sidles up to John's seat, a bemused expression on his face, nodding towards Harry.

“And you call me the nipper,” he says, Scouse accent pronounced and amused. “Picking them up off the street, are we?”

“Fuck off, George,” John says, but it's sweet and by no means angry. “Honestly, no matters at all. You won't hear the end of it come tomorrow morning.”

“Yeah, yeah… Are you going to introduce us or not?”

John sticks the cigarette in the corner of his mouth, straightening in his seat. He claps a hand on George's shoulder, gesturing exaggeratedly in his direction. All the while, Harry can only smile a little, quiet and nursing a mug of beer. “This here's me mate, Georgie Harrison. 'Course he doesn't like me callin' him that -- and who would, really -- but it's proper and fittin' given the fact he's not much younger. Little sod that he is.”

Then John points to Harry, making him feel as if in the spotlight. “Harry Potter. I found him outside. We don't get many strange blokes out here -- at least, those that aren’t the shirtlifters. Except for Paul. He gets a lot of those types. They’ll stand around for him, trying to look all manly. Bunch of bloody poofs.”

He’s a strange bloke, and no wonder, considering the manner in which Harry’s dressed. Different for that time, but not overly so. Harry would look strange. Always has.

George nods cordially to Harry, who offers a small wave of fingers. Then he turns to his bandmate. “I think you're sloshed. We're supposed to be recording in a half-hour, John.”

“Fuck 'em. Dicks in suits, the lot of them. I'll record when I want to,” John snaps, irritable. “We've been running around like chickens with their heads cut off as it is. Give a man a moment's rest.”

“You don't need to get stroppy,” George replies, shaking his head, lip curling a little. “Just relaying the message. You know how Paul gets. Not that you care.”

“Oh, I do care. Paul wants a lot of things. And people, too.”

Harry's been listening in, and shifts a little on his stool, uncomfortable. Bad enough he shouldn't be here at all -- and much less talking, carrying on in low tones and curious glances -- listening to the daily toils and tribulations. He sees himself in John, flashes of similarities; how John rolls his eyes, impatient, being rushed. Clearly George isn't Hermione, nor do they share anything in common -- but reminding of tasks, how it affects John, that -- that Harry can see.

“All right.” George leans past John -- who's all closed eyes and barely open mouth -- to extinguish his cigarette in the tray. He pulls back when done, barely brushing John's shoulder with thin fingers. “Coming by Friday night?”

“I'll see. Don't wait up,” John says, getting a half-scowl, half-nod in return from George.

Harry is not sure what to make of this -- though it's obvious, isn't it -- and remains quiet. It's the banter that takes him back to the Great Hall, leaning back from wooden benches and eyeing white-blonde hair. Casual tones with broom closets, dark hallways and nearly torn coverlets.

But by then there’s another one coming in, a shorter man in a suit and moptop haircut. It’s Ringo. Harry watches him wave a little at John, clapping a hand on George’s back. They’re talking, at ease, jovial. George goes off with Ringo, who shouts a “see you in a bit!” to John before they leave.

Instead of speaking, Harry merely waves a goodbye to them both. He runs a hand through his hair right after.

John turns back to look at Harry, expression casual, eyes slits. Another long drag on his cigarette, he nods towards Harry. “So, you slagging off college, then? Or… Christ, I forgot what you said about coming up here. I'm gettin' old.”

“Left last year,” Harry responds, fingertip brushing the sleek rim of his mug of beer. “I'm from Surrey. Went to school in Scotland.”

“Boarding school, eh?” Harry nods. “You like it there?” He nods again.

“I never cared much for school,” John murmurs, slouching more in his chair. Clearly, he's drunk, that or half-awake. Perhaps both. Harry doesn't get too comfortable -- shouldn't be here, should be going -- as he's well aware that John might turn any minute and order him straight out. John seems too trusting and cocky. Let anyone in, strangers, and look what did him in—

Harry coughs, eyes widening at the thought. He opens his mouth to speak, wincing, then looking over at John once more.

“Are you always this available to talk to?” Harry asks, feeling clumsy and stupid all the while. It's taken talk of music, weather, general laughing and jokes to get here, and now he's gone and bollocksed it up. Good on you, Potter, go and make a fool of yourself before you were born. Make your mistake, your little jaunt, worthless.

However, John smiles at this, taking another puff of the cigarette. “You're a bright one. I like you, Potter.”

“You don't even know me, Lennon.” It's direct, this tone, and it surprises even Harry.

“Fuckin' A, I don't, but I like you already.”




He is careful to avoid many things, to avoid talk of magic and wizards, avoid sports with flying brooms and screeching witches for music. It does not leave much left over for conversation, but somehow, they're still talking, change of scenery or not. Harry asks if John's family is well -- John doesn't answer; he finds passersby more interesting. And it's fucking unusual for John to be like this, Harry thinks, remembering books and other media in passing. Stereotypes, things to sell newspapers. He’s all to familiar with that.

They both avoid topics, both agree on many. It is strange, disconcerting.

For conversation, Harry tells John about his parents, oddly enough -- they died when he was a baby, that is all. John ventures his own story in that regard. Mom giving him up to an aunt, then she was killed when he was seventeen. Hit by a car. It isn't magic, but just as terrible. Just as alone, trying to find some kind of connection that isn't there and never will be.

John's had to grow up quickly, through bitter wind biting kneecaps at primary school, cold, dank alleys of Hamburg, bullshit and flashbulbs of tours. It's a tale told ages and ages before, soft and blurred memories in the recesses of Harry's mind. He's distant, awkward and standing in the foyer to John's apartment quite suddenly.

The house is nice, not far from the studio. Some stairs up to the front door, two floors, not very wide. Two windows wide, in fact, pale stone front and two dark houses on either side.

“Cyn isn’t here -- she’s in Weybridge, up north. Got myself an apartment here for stays when we’re recording. With good reason. I don’t like going there all the time. It’s too boring. Kind of like a bus stop. You’re always waiting for something to come by.”

John walks past him quickly, leather cap on, slightly long hair brushing the high collar of his trench coat. He's sucking in nicotine like it's oxygen. John’s barely inside the apartment before he’s off to glance at the stacks of newspapers on a chair nearby. The moves belong to a stranger in his own house, disinterested with it all, intent on whatever tickles his fancy at the current moment.

Harry watches him, and likes him even more.




Between this act and the next, Harry makes a note to listen/watch John’s words -- for they are different, vital, alive.




John is not an easy one to read, but Harry does, quite curiously, skimming the surface. By now he is no longer standing in the foyer, but at an upright piano in John's sitting room, John at the keys. The room itself is modestly decorated, but doesn’t quite have that ‘lived-in’ feeling. Nice wallpaper, furniture, wood floors.

He leans forward, back, forward again, forever restless. Cigarette at the corner of his mouth, John nods up at Harry.

“Bit of a tune we're done with. For the marvelous new film in Technicolor.” He raises his tone at the end of this, affecting an announcer's voice. Just as suddenly, he stares at the piano keys, seeming to be unfamiliar with them. But he's squinting -- doesn't really bother much with his glasses -- and then his fingers find the right keys.

“When I was younger, so much younger than today -- I never needed anybody's help in any way. But now I'm older, and I'm not so self-assured... Now I find, I've changed my mind, and opened up the doors.”

He plays the piano skillfully, hunches and sways a little, fiercer as he goes on.

“Help me if you can, I'm feeling down... And I do appreciate you bein' 'round.”

At this, John nods to Harry, which makes Harry shift in place for a moment. Not like he meant it towards him, or anyone. Perhaps George maybe, or his wife Cynthia—

Harry coughs.

He finds it hard to smile.




It’s a silent agreement that’s gotten Harry here, in John’s room.

John himself acts ever so casual, going along, for it’s unspoken but mutually understood. Pleasure, for a little while, one-night stand and see you following. Nothing more. John picks him for a night and Harry agrees.

Harry doesn’t know what to make of it, deep down, but he takes what he wants these days.




Later that day, when Harry takes a deep lungful of smoke, sitting on the edge of the bed, he is thinking. Should he lie about things, casual demeanor, post-coital cup of tea in the afternoon? It is clear that he won't stay, and John won't either. The sky outside darkens, violet, black streaks cawing and heading towards the sun's dying rays. The street below is devoid of crowds, only stray people here and there, heading home from work. Gleaming white is a Rolls Royce parked outside, John's car.

Which was terrifying and ominous with John behind the wheel, having just passed his driver's test finally this particular year -- “flying colors, all that,” he said earlier while swerving through traffic, squinting through glasses with thick and angular black frames.

John himself is less hyper and laughing now, languid instead. He has his face pressed against the pillow, any sounds muffled. He does not talk in his sleep, nor does he snore. It's a sleep that renders him dead to the world, capable of drifting off at the drop of a dime at the right circumstances. Those sort of reflexes were learned when you were always out and about. You took rest when you needed, whether it be closed eyes, or full-on sleep. Cramp quarters, items, whatever -- you slept and did not care for dreams to come.

Over the next few minutes, the smoke from Harry's cigarette lingers and swirls, pale then fading. The room itself is cream-colored, small floral patterns, furniture dark mahogany. There's records, books, and newspapers scattered about, as well as thrown items of clothing on the floor.

Harry shivers, eyes closed, bare flesh of his chest prickling with the cold.

There's a slight moan, muttering. John pokes his head up, messy fringe in his eyes. “Harry?”

“Go back to sleep.”

John mumbles something, and it certainly isn't a nice greeting in return. “Like hell I am.”

“Your manager called a few minutes ago. He didn't sound too happy,” Harry says, making no move to get up.

“I'll get to Brian. Later. Not now.”

And it's all too strange, because Sirius has spoken of them, one of those nights when he was holed away at Grimmauld Place. It was warm and summer, Sirius talking to Harry over butterbeer procured from the kitchen downstairs. The records, the music, people. He did say Brian Epstein was gay -- and he seemed quite pleased at that bit of information -- but never more.

“Couple of poofs, that's what they'll say, the Beatles were,” John murmurs at the mention of Brian and of his current state of affairs.

“They won't say that. They'll say other things,” Harry says, which isn't lying outright, and makes him feel better.

“Mister John Lennon, heathen by birth, genius by death, screwed up lunatic somewhere in the middle,” John jokes off-handedly, moving to sit up. Half of his hair is sticking up with sweat, the other half fringe that sticks to his forehead. Cute moptop be damned -- it’s not cute now, although it amuses Harry as he’s grown his own hair out, so they’re almost similar in style. John cuffed him on the back of his head on arrival to the house, pointing this out and muttering about a “damn haircut that’s gotten out of hand.”

John doesn't bother to cover himself with a pillow or sheet, and instead sits naked next to Harry, stealing his cigarette and taking a smoke. White curves and languorous posture, pensive and tranquil.

Harry blinks, calm for a moment. He looks out the window.

Outside, there is a wail of a car horn, a screeching noise. Swerving, then possibly a crash—




Harry doesn't understand John, he decides, though he knows of fingers pressing against flesh and scrutinizing eyes.

John can laugh one minute, and bite off a cruel remark the next, a dizzying speed to which his mind works. A crazed symphony in movement, how he walks and talks, hot and cold, never neutral. He startles even Harry -- so used to defense, flinging attacks and responses against insults -- in his way, brutal, deadpan.

It's a slip of fingers against the small of his back or on his shoulder, gentle touch, prodding. He doesn't touch too often, but when it is, it's -- cliché, Harry thinks -- electric, a jolt, you deign to sullen yourself? Inside, he thinks John isn't always this way, knows he isn't. There's moments where he's quiet, speaking low, giving proof of a less callous side to him. With Harry though, he acts in the brash persona he’s known for more often.

This night, hours after the afternoon jaunt, he’s gesturing him towards the public toilets. They’re both cold and hurried under street lamps, walking briskly. This is strange to Harry, all the while familiar. Strange people in strange places. Owls and wizards. Not the same, but not much different.

There's still cold and cramped places, people with dark gazes, puddles and dirt underfoot. And it's just as uncomfortable up against a wall -- touch sense and breath against ear -- as it is in the common room, or in his own room. Carved stone gives way to dirty bathroom walls and don't let up Lennon, keep at it, yes, there, right there

Suddenly he's moaning and he likes it, likes it more than the usual, likes it all. The thrusts are rushed, the posture is uncomfortable, the air cold. It’s a terrible place to fuck, dangerous, but it works. It works when he stretches and cants his head, feeling John groan into his ear, saying coarse words. Fucks him up against the wall, hard, dirty atmosphere, harder, dirty and wrong, but it works, so he takes what he can get

It's clarity then, stupid fucking brilliant clarity, cliché, all that. But it's there, gripping a radiator near the window, soft orange pool of light on the ground outside the glass, in the fucking public toilets, that Harry feels something for the first time. It's not his first time for this, but it's feeling, feeling something, anything, deep and real. And it's probably not real, it can't be, all this.

Logic would say he wasn't there, he was off and dead in a ditch somewhere, merely yet another lifeless shell amongst too many bodies.

There's no fucking logic to any of it.

Something John might say and John was leaning into him, breathing deep, not talking. It was all business here, out in the world, a dangerous tinge to it. You didn't do this in public places, but John doesn't appear to care for rules. He seems tired by it, the Beatles thing, and Harry knew it was slowly happening. Slowly John would grow detached from it all, they all would, and then lives would change. Live and die.

It was funny how things could change based on miniscule events. Feelings, those little tricky things.

Harry feels release, a terrible shudder running through him, empty and full at the same time. He feels happy, ecstatic even, not a mask or weak response. It's a thrill, this, a downer once John pulls out of him, settling to a pleasant trembling afterwards.

It's not all glamorous, not big music studios or lights and cameras. It's a fuck in a public toilet, followed by exiting the building separately, surreptitious movements.

“Dangerous, isn't it?” John says, then bumps into Harry's side affectionately as they head down the street.




“Ever wonder what's the meaning to it all?”

“Not really.”

“Come on. Must've, once or twice.”

“I'm only eighteen.”

“Doesn't fucking matter either way. Age isn't a restriction.”

“… I have, actually. But then I figure it's nothing, it's just a string of events. There's no real plot. You go on, and things get worse.”

“You're on a right downer, Potter. Besides, they can never have any idea what's it all about.”

“…Life, you mean?”

“This one circus of many.” Hand gestures, wisps of cigarette smoke. The smoke is brighter in the soft lamplight. John smiles slowly. “Putting it in layman's terms for the audience, the Beatle thing. And it's all shit to you -- so I'll save you the time—”

“I don't mind.” He doesn't; he leans back and waits.

“They put you in school, wait around for you to stand up, sit down, raise your hand, do your work. It's all posturing, that. Tell you to tuck your shirt in, keep your chin up. Don't put your hair back, don't wear those sort of trousers, all that. It's all shit. Then you're out of school and expected to be a man. Breadwinner. They don't tell you anything after, do they? No. It's like you're born again, fumbling through these things and you're supposed to automatically know what to do. But you don't.”

John sighs, straightening in his chair.

“What then?” Harry's voice is low.

“You go on and carry it 'til you die, or others do first.” Then John laughs just as soon as he's said it, voice once grave, suddenly cackling. He lets the laughter fade and lights up a cigarette, suddenly intrigued by the play of light on his fingers.

At this moment, Harry feels very small.




When Harry leaves the morning after, John doesn't really show much by way of good-bye. It's understandable that he'd go. Nothing is ever permanent. As was the silent, traditional agreement. One night -- thank you -- never see you again. So when Harry leans in the doorway, cants his head, and sees John reading the paper, having a smoke, it's a quiet affair.

“I'm going,” Harry says. He shifts in place, adjusts the backpack strap.

“Oh?” It's said like ‘Are you now? Well, don't let me keep you’, by no means begging him to stay. He's always into of flights of fancy, things or people, that John Lennon, never restricting himself to one particular label. Saint, devil, martyr, whatever it is, it's constantly changing.

“Yeah.”

He doesn't really say ‘going for good’, but John can tell. He isn't stupid.

“Best of luck to you, Potter. May you find your way and not run off the road into a ditch.”

It's a very 'John' thing to say, common, strange, and altogether wonderful. Harry likes it, like so many other strange phrases of John’s, and will try to -- long after when many things have come and passed -- remember it well.

As Harry leaves, touching the cold curves of gold of the Time-Turner in his pocket, George has just entered the apartment. He locks the door carefully behind him. Ever so quiet, George looks at him.

He's here now, rigid yet loose, never standing up straight. It's a quality that makes him look shorter in comparison to John, although they are of the same height. Perhaps it's an innate thing, but perhaps it isn't -- George doesn't flinch at John's brusque manner. He only smiles knowingly, calm and at ease.

Harry knows that feeling. Taken him years to master that, steady resolve amidst unsteady actions.

“Leaving?” George asks, voice low, looking innocent in the foyer. Harry moves near him, adjusting the glasses on the bridge of his nose.

“Yes.” Harry feels awkward, and knows he shouldn't -- George seems more approachable and more easygoing than John . But he doesn't know George -- hell, he didn't know himself, much less John -- and so he nods to him. “Good luck.”

The sentiment is half-hearted, but somehow, George just smiles and doesn't try to ridicule him, to pass it off. He says, “thanks”, and after another look -- “always thinking, that one,” John said earlier in private -- moves past Harry to the staircase.

Harry is barely out the door, the sky lightening from violet to blue, when John's suddenly cursing his name at the window. Harry turns around immediately, staring, nearly falling off the steps to the door. He cranes his head up, looking at John poke his head out the window mischievously.

“You take care of yourself, Potter. You're a bright one. Don't let me down, all right?” He says it in a bossy manner, instructing him, telling him.

Harry gives him a wave with awkward fingers, before he's off and walking, hand patting his pocket, Time-Turner there. The pocket's a bit emptier, given that he purposely left an envelope on the top of John's upright piano.

Scribbles and words, solidified into warnings. No one gets all the answers, and Harry certainly would not give them had he known them all. He only gives him dates, facts. The day John will be killed, some others. Laying it all out for him would be cruel, as John is prone to spontaneity. Don’t tie him down by facts and numbers, Harry has learned that much. So he writes these little warnings, gives him other facts to let him know he’s not lying.

Clearly, Harry doesn't know everything, but there's a new clarity that makes him notice the change of color in the sky. The sting of April weather, even the damn birds all singing their heads off. The street is quiet, little cars or people. It’s good weather -- cold, but good. Stings him enough to know he’s alive, awake. Electric. At this time, at Hogwarts, Hermione would’ve been up studying, Ron chastising her. April is for showers, not for sleeping upon books. Or now, school behind them, she’d be off for the Order, as would Ron, both early to work.

They’d let him sleep in sometimes, and maybe they still would, today.

In this street, it is set in a time before hate and war, and while he can't stay here, it's taken thirty years before to set the time right. So when he sees the strange, yet familiar blur as time passes again, it's not ominous, this. Instead, a rush, one that's thrilling and terrifying at the same time.

It took a person from the past to get him there, to that feeling, so he waits to see if he can thank that person—

—Now.

END
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