The Sugar Quill
Author: Elanor Gamgee (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: What Will Come  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

Author’s Note: This story is another outtake from “Moody Slavic Man”, once again from Ivan’s point of view. This scene goes with the middle of MSM Chapter 10.

Viktor Krum and his world belong to J.K. Rowling. Edina and the Pashnik family belong to me, but they are very happy to share Viktor’s world.

A huge thank you to Jedi Boadicea and Zsenya for betareading!

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Ivan watched Viktor stride away toward his cabin, turning the letter over in his hands. He sighed as Viktor moved out of sight.

“What do you think it is this time?” he asked Edina.

“I don’t know.” She paused. “Hermione again?”

“Probably. You’d think she would leave him alone, now.”

Edina gave a soft laugh. “You don’t know what is going on between them,” she said, her tone slightly reproving.

Ivan didn’t answer. It was true. It wasn’t as if Viktor actually told him things. But he watched, and he knew things. He knew, for instance, that Viktor had been avoiding her all week. He knew that Viktor hadn’t even stared at her across the Great Hall this week, as he had done all year. And he knew, whether Viktor wanted to talk about it or not, that something had happened on the night of the third task that had changed everything.

Well, at least he knew this last thing for sure now, after Professor Dumbledore’s speech at the feast that evening. Ivan pushed the memory away. It was the last thing he wanted to think about.

As if Edina had read his mind, she softly said, “Ivan…”

He didn’t respond. He tipped his head back and stared up at the stars. There were quite a few of them now, clearly visible against the inky blackness of the sky. The silence stretched out, and he knew that she wouldn’t speak again, that she was waiting for him to talk to her as he had promised to earlier. She would wait for him to begin this conversation, and he suspected that she wouldn’t let him avoid it either.

“Do you think it is true?” he finally said, his eyes trained on the sky above, his voice sounding a bit strangled to his own ears.

He could sense her watching him. “What Professor Dumbledore said tonight?” she asked. He nodded without looking at her. “Well,” she said slowly, “It would explain a lot of things.”

Yes, it would. It would explain why Viktor had been acting like he was in shock all week, and it would explain the death of the Hogwarts champion. And it would explain Snape’s behavior on the night of the third task. An unpleasant vision of Snape, clutching at his left arm, appeared before Ivan’s eyes. He stood abruptly and walked over to the rail.

“Do you think,” Edina said, her voice sounding timid, “that they will…move quickly?”

Ivan turned on her. How was he to know that? He wasn’t a part of what his father—but then, she didn’t know about his father. She couldn’t know. It had just been a question. A simple question.

He took a deep breath. “I don’t know,” he said evenly.

But Edina had been watching his face, and now her expression was full of concern. “Ivan,” she began, but he shook his head. He didn’t want to have this conversation any longer. He sank down to the deck, leaning his back against the side of the ship. A moment later, Edina slid off her bench and came to sit beside him. He could feel the warmth of her all along his side, and he wished more than anything that he could avoid what he had to say next.

He had always known that he would have to tell her eventually, if their relationship lasted. He had known it, and yet had avoided the very thought. After Dumbledore’s announcement this evening, she deserved to know exactly what she was involved with. Besides, said a nasty voice in the back of his brain, if she wants to end it now, at least it would be a clean break.

Ivan had never been seriously involved with a girl before. Truthfully, he had rarely done anything seriously before his relationship with Edina. He had dated many girls throughout his time at Durmstrang, but they had always been light, airy acquaintances that had never lasted. In fact, he had only become close to Edina on this trip because he had been trying to find out more about one of her roommates. The moment Edina had turned those soft blue eyes on him, laughing at one of his stupid jokes, however, that had been it. Now, looking back, he couldn’t believe that he had attended school with her all those years without seeing how special she was.

Those same eyes were watching him with concern now, though he couldn’t bring himself to meet them. Edina reached out and took his hand.

Ivan steeled himself. “I need to tell you something,” he said, his voice sounding very far away.

Edina didn’t say anything, only squeezed his hand. She seemed to feel, and rightly so, that if she interrupted he might lose his nerve.

“What Dumbledore said tonight, about…”

Edina squeezed his hand again. “Yes,” she said.

“Well, my father is…” he stared out into the distance, where the giant willow tree loomed on the Hogwarts grounds. He could just see its topmost branches outlined against the sky.

This was hard to say out loud. He had never admitted it to anyone before, not even to himself. He tried again. “My father is…one of them. A Death Eater.” The words hung in the air like a physical presence, and Ivan wished he could shatter them, break them apart and destroy them. As if that would change the truth.

Edina didn’t say anything, and he turned to look at her. Her face was sympathetic, but showed no trace of surprise.

“You already knew,” he said.

Edina looked down and nodded.

“How?”

She glanced up at him. “Well, the way Dorek Landau talks…”

She didn’t need to say anything else. Of course. The way Dorek Landau went on about him, making insinuations about his father and how Ivan was a blot on the family name...and everyone knew what Landau was. Of course she would have figured it out.

“Why didn’t you say anything?” he asked.

She met his eyes, and he nearly flinched at the sincerity he saw there. “It was yours to tell or not to tell,” she said.

He looked down at their joined hands. His to tell. His dirty little secret. She had known all this time…he started to ask how long she had known, but then realized that he didn’t really want to know. It didn’t matter.

“So, you are not…” he said, still unable to look at her face. “You don’t…”

“What?”

“You still want to...be with me?” He dared to look up at her.

Edina was giving him her “you’re being an idiot” look, the ever-so-subtle raised eyebrow and near-frown that she flashed at him whenever he was making a fool of himself, but she didn’t want to embarrass him by telling him so. Ivan grinned in relief and slid one arm around her shoulders, pulling her closer to him.

“Of course I do,” Edina sighed against his shoulder. “Your father’s choices aren’t yours.”

Ivan ran a hand over her silky brown hair and kissed her temple. “I know,” he mumbled, wondering if he would ever stop being grateful to her, and for her. “I was afraid to tell you. I was afraid of what you would think. And now…”

A shadow passed over Edina’s expression. She ducked her head and buried it against his shoulder. When she spoke a moment later, her voice was slightly muffled. “I am worried about my brother.”

Ivan looked down at the top of her head. “Which one?” he asked. Edina had three brothers, and she referred to them all as “my brother”, so it was a question he was forever asking.

“Stefan,” she replied, her voice still muffled, and Ivan nodded. Stefan was the oldest, the brother to whom Edina had always been closest as a child. He was now twenty-one, and Edina had confided in Ivan earlier this year her sadness that she and her favorite brother seemed to have grown apart since he had left school.

“What is it?”

Edina didn’t answer right away. She lifted her head and tipped it back onto the arm he had around her, looking straight up at the sky as he had done earlier. He knew, watching her, that she felt the same shame and worry he did, and a mingled wave of sympathy and relief that someone else shared his situation swept through him. He squeezed her shoulders.

She looked at him at last. “I do not know for certain, I only suspect,” she said, “but, as I said…it would explain a lot of things.” She didn’t seem to want to elaborate on this, and Ivan didn’t ask her to. He knew, instinctively, that when she was ready to tell someone, he would be the one she would tell. The thought, and the certainty of it, filled him with a quiet warmth despite the circumstances.

Ivan kissed the top of her head and Edina smiled softly at him. They both lapsed into silence for a long moment, looking up at the stars once more. A thought that had been dancing at the edge of his consciousness, one he found even less appealing than the truth about his father, pushed its way through to the front. This would all be over soon, these quiet nights sitting on the deck of the ship and looking up at the stars.

Edina was obviously thinking the same thing. He wondered, for the millionth time, whether she actually could read his mind. Or maybe the thought was just as heavy on her mind as it was on his.

“We go home tomorrow,” she said.

“Yes.” He looked at her, but her head was still tipped back against his arm, gazing up at the sky. They would visit, of course. They had already discussed that. And once they both passed their Apparition tests, they would be able to spend plenty of time together.

But now, watching her in the starlight, her mouth slightly pursed the way it always was when she was trying not to cry, it didn’t seem good enough.

It didn’t seem right for them to be apart now, when things were dangerous. He asked himself if it would have seemed right to leave her if the third task hadn’t ended the way it had, if Dumbledore hadn’t made his speech tonight. The answer that his brain gave him was a resounding no.

Then Ivan Pashnik made what was perhaps his first ever major decision without his sister’s advice.

Edina,” he said, “marry me.”

Edina turned to him, wiping away a tear that had escaped her composure. “What?”

Ivan looked at her politely puzzled expression, one that said she was sure she hadn’t heard him correctly, and knew with every part of himself that this was the right thing.

“Marry me,” he repeated, looking her in the eye.

She leaned away slightly and regarded him. “You’re joking,” she said, but the tone of her voice was neutral. He couldn’t tell if she was hopeful or suspicious about the prospect.

She was giving him a chance to take it back, he realized. A chance to turn it into a joke that they could both laugh off and forget about. But Ivan had never been more serious in his life, about anything.

“No, I am not,” he said. “I want to marry you, Edina.”

She stared at him for a moment, her expression now one of shock. Then she looked down.

A nervous spasm flitted through Ivan’s stomach. She might say no. He hadn’t thought of that, until now. He hadn’t thought this through at all, he had only acted, had done what he knew was the right thing. She couldn’t say no.

“I know we are young,” he said, his voice low and fast. He stroked the back of her hand, still clutched in his own. “But if what Dumbledore said is true…I don’t want to be apart from you, Edina. I love you.” He had said these words to her a thousand times before, in varying states of seriousness, but he had never meant them more than he did now, and indeed, he had never felt their weight more than he did at this moment.

He looked up. Edina’s expression was unreadable. “Would you still be saying this, if…Dumbledore hadn’t said what he said tonight?” She looked at him very intently, as though the answer to this question was quite important.

Ivan thought about this. “I don’t know,” he said honestly. Her face fell a little. “I know I would have said it eventually, but that…helped.”

Edina looked at him for a very long moment, the slightest smile turning up the corners of her mouth. Then she pressed herself closed to him, leaning her head against his shoulder.

“You never answered my question,” Ivan whispered against her hair. He was fairly certain now what the answer would be, but he needed to hear her say it.

Edina raised her head. “Yes,” she said with a giddy smile, “Yes, of course I will marry you.”

Ivan knew that he probably had no right to be as happy as he was at that moment, with all that was going on in the world, but he didn’t care. He bent his head and met Edina’s lips. He didn’t know how long he kissed her, but when he came up for air, his head was spinning.

Edina sighed, eyes half-closed, and leaned over to kiss his shoulder. He pulled her in front of him, so that she could lean her head against his chest and he could put both arms around her. She settled in and bent her head back, looking up at the sky again and causing a few strands of her hair to tickle his face. Ivan didn’t mind. She could do whatever she wanted. She was his.

“We still have to go home tomorrow, though,” said Edina softly.

“I know,” Ivan groaned, nuzzling the top of her head.

“Should we tell people yet?” asked Edina. “Should we tell Viktor?”

Ivan paused. He hadn’t even thought about all that, too preoccupied with the fact that the woman he loved had just agreed to be his wife to care about the rest of the world. He hadn’t a clue what to do when it came to the practical parts of this.

“What do you think?” he asked.

“Well…” she twisted her head around to look at him. “We need to tell our parents first…I don’t think we should tell anyone else now. Not even Viktor. Not yet.”

Ivan understood. Leaving this place was likely to be hard enough for Viktor, regardless of what that letter said, and he didn’t need reminding of what he didn’t have.

“So it will be our secret, for now,” Ivan said with a grin, kissing her forehead. Somehow the thought of sharing this secret knowledge with only Edina was exhilarating.

Edina smiled up at him. “When do you want…”

“Soon,” said Ivan immediately. “As soon as we can. I don’t want to be away from you any longer than I have to.” It was true. Now that the reality of it was there, it seemed the most natural thing in the world that Edina should be his wife, and the most unbearable thing that she wasn’t already.

Edina grinned slyly. “My Ivan. Always patient.”

Ivan ducked his head sheepishly. “You know what I mean,” he said, absently kissing the side of her neck.

Edina arched her neck against his lips and gave a soft sigh. “I know,” she said, her voice breathless. “This summer. Soon.”

“Yes,” he said against her skin, making her shudder. Edina turned around to face him, twining her arms around his neck, and pulled his mouth to hers.

None of the rest mattered, he thought as he ran his hands over her back, kissing her with all the intensity he had. He had Edina. He was going to marry Edina. Whatever else would come, she would be with him.

The End

 

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