Fandom: The raven cycle
Riassunto: Adam's life is always a compromise between what he wants and what he can have.
Note: HP!AU scritta per il promp "All'ultimo minuto" per Landedifandom
Adam’s life has never been easy, it’s a complicated dance between what Adam wants to do and what he will allow himself to do. One weekend at Hogsmeade with Gansey, Ronan and Blue or the Arithmancy homework that could wait another few days - but Adam wouldn’t allow himself to finish them at the last minute.
A night spent in Gryffindor’s dormitory playing chess with Gansey while Ronan calls them boring fucks and threatens to leave them to their boringness - but never actually does - or another shift at Rosmeda, trying to save some more galleons to actually buy a christmas gift to everyone,
So Adam allows himself three hour at Hogsmeade and then goes back to Slytherin’s dormitory to finish up his homework. He goes to Rosmeda to work, but he makes sure to spend his lunch with Gansey and Ronan instead of doing his potions’ homework.
It’s all in the subtle line between what Adam wants and what he can do. He’s usually good at never tipping too far into one of the two, an entire life used to never actually having what he wanted had trained him up for it.
He’s not perfect, of course, and sometimes he’s not patient enough - with himself most of all. Sometimes other people aren’t patient enough (or maybe they are, but everyone has a limit, and Adam is a master at testing people).
Still, this doesn’t feel like tipping his feet into one side or another for too long, it really feels like he just jumped and drowned.
Of course, it might just be because the lake in front of him looks kind of inviting with the hot summer sun shining upon his black robe. He’s hot, and ashamed, and so furious he thinks he might actually gather the energies to cast a crucio at someone (himself). Maybe it would be good to just enter the lake and let himself sink to the bottom and never get out of it.
“That’s kind of a gloomy thought,” someone says, beside him, and Adam shrugs. He’s stopped flinching at Noah’s appearing acts in third year, and at this point he’s given up the concept of privacy.
It’s not Noah’s fault if he can hear their thoughts, and he always tells them that they’re especially loud when they’re being idiots. Adam suspects he’s screaming into Noah’s ears at this point.
“He’ll get over it,” Noah continues, and Adam scoffs.
That’s never been the point, but he suspects Noah knows it as well. Of course Ronan will get over it, that’s what Ronan does, he blows hot and cold, it’s how he is. He’s mad at Adam now, and will probably be for a long while, but that doesn’t mean he’ll actually stop talking to him.
And, besides, he will have an entire summer to stop being mad at Adam. Or maybe let his anger grow so much that the only solution is bury it deep.
Noah sits silently beside him for another minute before he starts getting bored, or maybe he can’t really manage to be all there so far away from the castle. His body is even more transparent than usual while he stands up and goes to the lake. For a second Adam almost tells him to stop, that he will get wet, but when Noah simply glides over the water he feels stupid.
Noah is a fucking ghost, should have remembered that.
Still, he watches him for a moment and then says: “I can’t do it, why can’t he see that?”
He’s not sure Noah is close enough to hear him, but the other boy still turns towards him and studies him. There’s no judgement in Noah’s eyes, nor any of the complicated emotions that usually cloud Gansey’s eyes when they talk about this. Nor Ronan’s fury, but that has always been a beast that had only one owner.
“I couldn’t hear, did you say can’t or won’t let yourself?” Noah asks, and Adam bristles, but the other boys turns around and glides away.
Why can’t anyone understand that those two concepts are so closely intertwined in Adam’s mind that there’s basically no difference between the two?
He can’t because he won’t and he won’t because he can’t. Such a thin line he walks.
He doesn’t want to spend a (terrible) summer knowing Ronan is mad at him, but he can’t give Ronan what he wants. He would like to go to Ronan’s dormitory, sit beside him while Ronan says he’s packing and instead gets increasingly distracted by everything else until he has to throw everything in his trunk at the last second (“Don’t laugh, Parrish, you could have helped” “I’m not your guardian, Lynch, my luggage has been ready since yesterday” “Fucking nerd”) as they have done for the last three years.
Instead he’s here because he can’t give Ronan what the other boy wants.
This is the last summer, he thinks, and why can’t Ronan understand that. The last summer he has to go home, the last summer he has to suffer Robert Parrish. He’s so close, Adam thinks with glee, so fucking close.
Not close enough, for Ronan.
He recalls with clarity Ronan’s words from earlier, heavy with worry and bitter fury: “You’re seventeen Parrish, you’re a fucking adult, why do you have to go back?”
Adam had tried to explain once again that he needed the money, that he has almost gotten enough to get an apartment next year while he looks for a job. That it will be easier with his NEWTs. If he has to spend money for an apartment this year, then he’s not gonna have enough for next year.
But Ronan is not made of the same thing as Adam. He’s born of magic, loved by it all his life. Adam is born of nothing but dirt and blood, he’s been molded by his father’s punches and hatred.
Sometimes Adam likes to pretend that maybe without Hogwarts his father would have loved him, but the punches had arrived long before his acceptance letter. The fact that Adam had magic while Robert Parrish was only a squib never had anything to do with anything.
Ronan had told him that if Adam could ever get the fucking stick out of his ass, he could have seen that any of them would have been happ to give him a bed to sleep into. Hell, Gansey was almost desperate to do it.
That, everybody knew, was the wrong thing to say, but Ronan had never really cared about the right things to say.
Adam doesn’t want pity. Doesn’t want to be a burden that his friends drag with them for the rest of their life. Adam is so close to actually making it on his own, to being free.
He knows that Ronan is scared, that he’s worried and that makes him lash out, but Adam has used all his patience on making efforts to be with his friends. He doesn’t have anything left to give.
And so Adam had lashed out as well, cold fury carrying his words, while Ronan had screamed terrible things like he usually did when he was too worried to think.
Adam had stormed out at some point and now… well, now he’s brooding by a lake.
It’s the last night, the one night of the year when Adam doesn’t have anything else to do but spend time with his friends. It’s one of the best nights of the year, followed by the worst months.
A moment of happiness to balance out months of torture. The story of Adam’s life, really.
“You could still go,” Noah says, much closer now. His tone isn’t even hopeful, and they both know Adam won’t.
It’s one of the busiest nights at Rosmeta and while Adam had always refused to take the shift, he knows that it’s there if he wants it.
He doesn’t want it, but he will still take it.
The one good thing about Hogwarts it’s that it’s not really that hard ignoring the others. The only other Slytherin in their group is Henry Cheng, and it’s not like he and Adam are that close so he’s pretty sure Henry wouldn’t risk approaching him.
After work he goes straight back to his own dorm, and doesn’t think about the fact that Ronan knows the password and could come in if he really wanted to. It wouldn’t be the first time, really, and he’s sure that a lot of Slytherins would be appalled to know how much time Ronan spent in their common room. Ronan would be glad to tell them just for the pure pleasure of being a dick, Adam’s sure.
Instead Adam is alone tonight, just like it should be. Right?
“Stupid fucking idiot,” he says into his pillow and he’s really not sure who he’s talking about.
The next day Adam doesn’t wait for the others to arrive. They always manage to be late to the train. A part of it is Ronan, who takes great pleasure into being the most difficult person alive, but there’s also saying goodbye to Blue - who lives on Hogwarts grounds with his families, in a little hut close to the Forbidden Forest - and the desire to delay their separation as much as possible.
Today, for the first time since first year, Adam enters the train on time and picks one of the first carriages. He doesn’t know if the others will look for him, and he’s not sure if he should reserve the seats for them.
Their usual spot is in the back of the train, because Ronan might be the only person alive who actually enjoys the noise from the engine room (even magical trains make noise, and Ronan fucking loves it, even if it makes conversation impossible).
So he doesn’t really know what to do when the door opens and Tad and three other Slytherins blink at him. “Parrish, that’s a surprise. Are you alone?”
He thinks of an entire train ride with Carruthers and for a moment his pride doesn’t seem that important anymore. Still, he can’t really occupy so many seats on his own, so he almost opens his mouth to say yes when something thumps on the side of the door.
Adam can’t really see what happened, but he makes an educated guess looking at Tad’s face. “No,” he answers then, “sorry.”
He’s not really sorry, but he watches as Ronan shoulder checks Tad before entering the carriage with a sneer. Ronan looks dangerous like these, with some of the fury from the day before still lingering in his smile.
A lot of people had been surprised when Ronan hadn’t been sorted into Slytherin, but after years, Adam doesn’t know how anyone could ever think that. True, his certainty comes from experience, but one doesn’t need to be Ronan’s friend to see him. See the way he was so caring during Cure of Magical Creatures. How loyal Ronan was.
Plus, the gold complimented his skin.
Still, the other Slytherins scurry away with a rushed goodbye, and Adam doesn’t even bother answering.
Alone, they don’t say anything. Adam is curious to know what Ronan is doing here, why he’s alone, but there’s a tension he doesn’t know how to navigate.
Adam wants to ask, wants to spend the train ride laughing and maybe… But what Adam needs to do is remain firm in his stance.
The anger from the previous day has evaporated over the night, leaving nothing but the hollow tiredness that usually accompanied everyone of his decisions.
Still, time passes and Adam has never been good at this stillness. Ronan is a man of action, that’s true, but he’s also patient when he wants to be.
Adam has never mastered that skill.
So, ten minutes before the train leaves the station, and twenty minutes after Ronan’s entrance, Adam gives up. “Where are the others?”
“Saying goodbye to the maggot,” Ronan replies, like Adam is fucking stupid. “She was pissed.”
Because Adam hadn’t gone to her, he knows. Still, he has written her a letter, and one of Hogwarts owls will deliver it to her after the train has left the station. It might not be enough, but well… what’s another person pissed at him?
Adam doesn’t answer, and Ronan looks at him for a couple of minutes before he turns back towards the glass. He doesn’t say anything else, and Adam’s skin prickles with irritation.
“Ronan,” Adam says, and he doesn’t know if he should sound angry or apologetic, so he just sounds hollow. “Why are you here?”
“Going back home, man,” Ronan simply says, without even looking at him. “It’s the fucking train back to civilization, Parrish. We’ve only been taking it for six years.”
Right, why did Adam think the other would make this easy in any way?
“Fine,” he says, fed up. “You want to stay the entire train ride in silence? Fine.” He takes a random book from his backpack and starts reading it. He doesn’t even know what it’s about, really, and he’s sure that he has already read it, but that’s not the point.
Ronan doesn’t say anything for a while, enough that Adam starts to think that maybe they will actually spend the next few hours in silence if the others don’t show up, before he finally speaks.
“Just because I think you’re being a fucking idiot who will get himself killed, doesn’t mean I don’t want to see your stupid face before you go and get it broken again,” Ronan says, and while his words cut deep and his tone is all angry blood, Adam knows him enough to see the vulnerability under them. It’s a concession, it’s as close to a sorry Ronan is ever going to get.
Adam looks up from the book, and Ronan is looking outside the window, his ears slightly pink.
It’s not like this is completely new. Ronan and Adam had spent some quality time this year making out in the astronomy tower, but they’ve never actually talked about it.
Words are tools that neither of them wield well and so they tend to just avoid talking about things sometimes.
Usually when they talk they end up fighting, just like the day before, but Adam doesn’t want to fight today. Still, he also knows that they’re at an impasse.
Adam will go home, and Ronan will hate it. The fact that both of them know Adam hates it too probably only makes it worse.
Instead, he closes his book, and says: “You can see it better from here.” Ronan turns, then, looking at the place beside Adam like there’s a trap he’s not seeing and Adam thinks that he looks remarkably like one of the animals they usually approach in class.
“Who said anything about wanting to see it better,” Ronan murmurs, while he gets up.
“I do know you like to count the freckles,” Adam replies, and Ronan is so surprised that he stumbles and crashes in the seat next to Adam instead of gracefully sitting down. “Wow, what grace.”
“Shu- Shut the fuck up, Parrish,” Ronan says, covering his eyes with a hand. “Who fucking told you to say- you can’t-”
He doesn’t finish, but Adam isn’t particularly sorry. Ronan has been talking about Adam’s freckles a lot lately, after their encounters in the Astronomy tower. Adam doesn’t really get it, but a Slytherin can spot a weakness when he sees it.
He enjoys the sight of a flushed Ronan for a while, before they can feel the train start moving. Adam sees their door close magically on his own, and he thinks that the others must have decided to give them space.
Or maybe they didn’t want to be caught in the blast.
Merlin, Adam doesn’t have the strength to survive the explosion this time. Every moment on this train gets him closer to his own personal hell, and he fucking hates it. Ronan hates it too and, Adam imagines, hates it even more after yesterday.
It would be so easy to start another fight, but Adam… Adam wants comfort. He can’t have it, of course, because he won’t ask for it. But he still wants it.
“I don’t mind,” he says, then. “I like it.”
Ronan turns towards him, and he’s still a little red which Adam can’t help but smirk at. “You’re a fucking asshole,” Ronan murmurs, but it’s mostly fond. Adam knows very well that probably the fact that Adam is an asshole is one of the things he likes the most about him.
Adam hesitates, but then he raises his hand and takes Ronan’s.
“I know that you’re still angry,” he says, “but can we just…”
He doesn’t know what he wants to say, how to convey what he means, but thankfully Ronan seems to pick up on it and holds his hand tighter.
“Sure. We can talk about Tad almost pissing his pants earlier,” Ronan says, with a shrug.
“Should I be worried that you’re so interested in his pants?” Adam quips, just to look at the disgusted expression on Ronan’s face.
“Please. Also we both know that Carruthers only has eyes for your pants. Lucky, Parrish.”
Adam huffs because he doesn’t really think Ronan is right. Adam has never been anything but uncordial to Tad.
Still, it’s not like Adam is going to back down from a provocation. “Jealous, Lynch?”
“Yeah, Carruthers is a catch,” Ronan says, and there’s a smirk on his face. For a moment Adam can forget about the day before, and what’s waiting for him at the end of this ride.
“Fucking shut up,” Adam says and then proceeds to make sure Ronan’s mouth is too busy to actually say anything else.
They meet Henry and Gansey on the platform, and Gansey looks between Adam and Ronan with a worried dent in between his eyebrows.
Adam can understand why.
Ronan is glowering behind him, looking like a weapon loaded and ready to unleash hell. The good mood that Adam had managed to extort out of him is completely gone with the advancing realization of what awaits them.
Adam’s dad isn’t here, of course, he hadn’t bothered to show up in years, but that means that Ronan doesn’t have the one person he would love to glower at, so he’s glowering at everyone else to compensate.
It’s time to say their goodbyes, and so Adam hugs Gansey, shakes Henry’s hand and then looks at Ronan and says: “Try to contain your desires for Carruthers this summer.”
“Try not to fucking die,” Ronan answer and it’s obvious that whatever calm they had reached on the train it’s long gone.
“Okay,” Adam says and then walks away. He doesn’t turn around to see the moment of regret on Ronan’s face, or the whispered reprimand from Gansey. He’s just so tired.
Why can’t Ronan understand?
Adam’s way or no way at all. It has been his mantra since the first year at Hogwarts when he finally realized he had a shot.
And the thing is, the secret about being Adam Parrish, is that Adam knows what he wants, deep inside, and also knows what he needs. And they’re completely different things.
There’s no balancing them out like every other aspect of his life.
Adam wants to get out of his father's house now. He wants to spend his summer kissing Ronan under the sun. He wants to be happy.
Adam needs to stand up to his father. Needs to work this summer. Needs to be strong.
There’s no way of combining the two.
He stops at the entrance to the 9 ¾ platform and… this is it, another step and he’s back in London, ready to go home. He should take another step, he needs to do it.
He doesn’t want to.
He wonders if everyone is always so at war with himself or if it’s just a Parrish trait.
There’s what Adam wants and what he needs, and he can’t make them talk to one another.
Did you say can’t or won’t? Noah’s voice comes into his mind. Adam blinks, surprised, and he doesn’t know if it’s a memory or if Noah is really talking to him so far away from Hogwarts but…
Adam looks at the magical wall in front of him and at the last minute he turns back.
Ronan is unsurprisingly fighting with Declan, his favourite target to vent his frustration at, and Matthew seems to be desperately trying to keep the peace. Adam doesn’t even falter before stopping beside the two Lynch brothers.
“Adam!” Matthew says, with a smile. “Please help.”
Adam doesn’t smile at him like he usually would. Doesn’t even acknowledge Ronan’s startled What the fuck do you want, Parrish? He only has eyes for Declan.
They had been in Slytherin together for five years, but they had never talked much. In the beginning because they had nothing in common - a first year and a third year in Hogwarts - after because Adam was too firmly in Ronan’s corner in the everlasting fight between the two brothers.
Still, they know each other. And Adam sometimes even think that they’re similar in a way. They think alike, at least, but he has never voiced this opinion to anyone. Least at all Ronan.
Adam looks Declan in the eyes while he says: “I heard you were looking for someone to help with your farm. I’m top of my class at Herbology and I’ve been researching how to care for magical fields.”
No one speaks for a second, enough that Adam is worried he has given Ronan a heart attack. Declan seems to gather his composure quicker than the others. “Yeah. We usually require assistance during the summer. Our offer is room and board, since we require people at strange hours in accordance with the plants requirements. There’s also a monthly pay, standard wage.”
Adam already knew all this, having heart Ronan rant about all the stupid idiot his brother hired for the summer every year. “That’s acceptable. Do you need to see any referrals? I could ask Sprout for one.”
He sees Ronan move from the corner of his eyes, but Adam can’t let him interfere. Can’t… He’s trying and if Ronan helps, Adam will have to lash out more viciously than he’s ever had to. He doesn’t want to do that.
Declan stops Ronan with a hand, and he still hasn’t averted his eyes from Adam’s stare. “There’s no need. I’ve spent five years at school with you, and I know what you can do. Frankly you’re more talented than any of the professionals that we have on staff. You’re hired, Parrish. I’d say I don’t want to see you slacking off, but I don’t think you know what that even means.” He stops, thinks about it for a second. “Who knows, like this maybe Ronan will actually move his ass and help, instead of spending all his time with the Mooncalfs.”
With that Declan turns, and heads towards the magical car he has parked outside of the platform. Matthew smiles and follows him.
Adam and Ronan don’t move.
Adam speaks before Ronan can say anything. “I will work. Because I have to, because I need the money for next year. I won’t have much time to spend time together, I also have to read some books to prepare myself for the NEWTs and this…”
“Parrish, shut the fuck up,” Ronan says, and he sounds hoarse.
“No,” Adam insists, still unable to look at the other boy. “You have to understand because I can’t do this any other way. I can’t do anything more than thi-”
Before he can finish, Ronan kisses him. Adam is still talking, and the angle is terrible, but it’s the first kiss they’ve ever shared in a public place. It’s fucking awful.
“I won’t say thank you,” Ronan says, after, “because you’re not doing this for me, I know that. But fuck Parrish, work as much as you want. I’ll fucking help you and I might even not complain for five minutes every day. I don’t care about… I’ve spent the last four years watching you study, what’s another summer? It’s a fucking date.”
Adam blinks and then thinks about it for a second. “Still, I mean… I haven’t really asked you, if you don’t want me at the Barns, I get -”
“Why are you still talking? I told you to shut the fuck up. As if you don’t know that I fucking…” he stops, then, and Adam’s breath catches. Ronan closes his eyes, breathes, and doesn’t continue the phrase they could both hear. I fucking love you. “I want you at the Barns, dickhead. I want you… anywhere. Come sleep in my room, the rooms for the workers are terrible. We can put another bed or… you know. Or not. I don’t care. Just…”
Adam looks at the other, the hopeful and shining eyes, the way he’s blushing slightly. He’s embarrassed, but that doesn’t stop him from exposing himself to Adam, who could so easily cut him in pieces.
He’s looking at Adam like he’s a miracle.
And Adam… he loves Ronan, of course. But the other is right, he hasn’t done this for him. He’s done this for himself.
But he can do other things for Ronan. “I can stay in your room,” he says then, looking in the other’s eyes. There’s desire there, outshined by the happiness that’s making him glow. “The only thing is… won’t that make it difficult for you to dream about Tad?”
Ronan laughs, loud and obnoxious and Adam simply smiles.