A Magical Roleplaying Experience 

"These are dark times, there is no denying..."
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Stories taking place in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland.
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 #35266  by Nikau Harrison
 
Location: A restaurant • Date: January 25, 2004
Time of Day: Evening • Weather: Chilly


Nikau didn't know what to expect. Rian had been his friend for over a decade, now, and he would never have foreseen this development to their friendship. Granted, Nikau's foresight was not exactly amazing. He had spent almost ten years married to a woman who had never really been more than his friend, after all, and had never thought he'd get a divorce.

But everything felt new, nowadays. Especially himself. He was wearing a suit, which, it was known, was the most uncomfortable item of clothing known to man. Nikau felt like he needed to make an effort. Even if it was just Rian. Maybe because it was Rian.

This was a date. Dating itself still felt rather strange to Nikau: the concept of it, after fifteen years of unhappy monogamy was novel. And the fact that he was going out on dates with men, that was also novel. But the fact it was Rian, of all people...

Dressed in his uncomfortable suit, sitting at the table he'd reserved in an intimate, dimly lit restaurant, not daring to drink anything else but water until Rian arrived, Nikau hoped it would go well.
 #35438  by Rian Mac Bradaigh
 
Dressed in smart trousers, a (new) shirt and a matching blazer Rian stood looking at himself in the mirror in his bedroom. At this rate, if he stood staring at himself any longer he would most definitely be late for his...date? Glancing down at his watch and back up at himself, Rian took a deep breath and grabbed his belongings on his bedside dresser and finally headed out the door.

The Irishman apparated to the outside of the restaurant that Nikau had reserved for both of them.

"This is just a night out with Nikau. There's absolutely nothing different about it." Rian told himself. He stood across the road from the restaurant, staring at it but for some reason, he just couldn't get his feet to move.

The two of them had been friends for years now. The two knew almost everything there was to know about each other but neither of them had forseen...this. Just over a week earlier the two had kissed for the first and (up until now anyway) only time. The kiss had been the only thing on Rian's mind all week and when Nikau asked Rian on this rendezvous, he had said yes, slightly hoping everything would be back to normal but also slightly hoping they wouldn't be.

Eventually, Rian crossed the road and entered the building. He spotted his friend across the room and made his way over.
 #35457  by Nikau Harrison
 
Had Nikau arrived too early? He wasn't sure. What were the rules of dating, again? It had been so long ago, with his ex-wife, he barely remembered it. He seemed to recall that most of their dates had taken place in bars. She was, after all, a tourist in his country. It had been a whirlwind, well, not exactly romance, but things had moved along fast and gotten serious when she'd discovered she was pregnant. He'd been on three dates since his divorce, and they had all happened within the past three months. None of them had been great. Hell, he'd had to arrest his last one when he started transfiguring the wait staff into chickens, bellowing that the meat was somehow both raw and dry.

Nikau was nervous. He had been drinking so much water while he waited that he was bound to need to go take a piss soon. His collar felt scratchy and he felt stupid in his suit. Had this been a terrible idea? What did a kiss mean, anyway? Or maybe, maybe there was something to it, and he'd just been too stupid to see it all along? Thoughts were racing through his head, and now he really needed the bog. And of course that was when Rian chose to appear. Bloody timing.

He gave his friend a slight wave, and a frozen smile.

'How's it going, bro? I mean, Rian. You look... you look nice.' Was this awkward?
 #35482  by Rian Mac Bradaigh
 
As Rian approached his friend, he could feel his palms getting slightly clammy. He rubbed them on his legs and returned the smile. Why was he acting like this? Rian had been on many dates in his life and always hung out with Nikau outside of work. Why did this situation have to feel so different?

At Nikau's compliment, Rian looked down at what he was wearing and looked back up at his friend with a small smile.

"Thanks," he said in reply. After a short silence, Rian spoke again.

"Nice suit. I know how much you hate wearing them," he said with a small laugh, stuffing his hands into his pockets. Merlin knows Rian needed a drink to take the edge off at this stage.
 #35485  by Nikau Harrison
 
Rian was just standing there with his hands in his pockets, and Nikau didn't know where to look or what to say. Was it awkward if he looked at Rian? Was it weirder if he didn't? And of course the other Ministry worker had to compliment him too. Words just felt heavier, now, didn't they? Nikau felt his cheeks suddenly burning, but his complexion usually did a good job of hiding that for him. Only last week, Rian saying he had a nice suit wouldn't have meant anything special, but tonight...

'Thanks,' he said, scratching at his collar as though it were trying to strangle him. It probably was. 'You should sit down. If you want to. I'm... I'm glad you came. I wasn't sure... I spent most of the week wondering if I'd been hallucina- Merlin's balls, I need to piss. I'll be back.' Manners flew right out the window as Nikau unceremoniously got up and hurried to the restroom.
 #35552  by Rian Mac Bradaigh
 
Why did he not know what to say or how to act? In recent years, Rian had definitely become somewhat suaver and knew how to act on dates. Kiss the lady on the cheek, pull out her chair for her, shower her with compliments. While his relationships over the last few years had never lasted any more than a few months, he definitely know how to behave on dates. But this was so out of Rian's comfort zone that he just didn't know what to do anymore.

Before Rian could reply to anything Nikau had said, the other man was running off to the bathroom. As Nikau was out of his eye line, Rian let out a breath that he didn't realise he had been holding in for all this time. The Irishman sat down, waiting for his friend to return.

Well at least he has also been thinking about what happened all week. Rian thought to himself, pouring himself a glass of water. He took a sip, wondering what to say when Nikau returned. Did he talk normal man talk like quidditch or drinking? Did he bring up what happened last week so early on? For once, Rian was stumped for words.
 #35558  by Nikau Harrison
 
Nikau did what he'd come to the restroom to do, and went to wash his hands. He looked at his reflection in the mirror. He looked like he was choking in his suit, but he still looked smart. Dreadfully nervous, though. He wet his hands with cold water, and ran them on his face. You can do this, he told himself. It was Rian. They knew each other. Yeah, but not like that, the voice inside his head said.

Nikau sighed, gave himself a few gentle slaps, and braced himself, then returned to the table, where he sat down and smiled his frozen smile, trying to pretend that this was normal.

'So... How was your week?'

Maybe that was a loaded question...

'How are you, mate? I mean, Rian. Um, did you catch the latest match?' Nikau finished lamely. There was nothing to be proud of here. What was Rian going to think? Nikau had invited him out on a date, and he couldn't snap out of the whole being mates dynamic.

'I'm sorry,' he said, pinching the bridge of his nose. 'This whole... week has been weird.' And honestly only because of the kiss and because of the anticipation surrounding this date.
 #35831  by Rian Mac Bradaigh
 
Rian tapped his foot under the table as he waited for Nikau to return. It seemed like he was gone for a long time. Was he actually gone for a long time or was time passing ridiculously slowly? The Irishman took a glance at his watch. Nope. Time was just passing really slowly.

Eventually, his friend returned to the table, Rian with his head buried in the menu until he sat down in front of him. At that, he put the menu down and finally looked at his friend in the eye, the first time since arriving.

Rian let Nikau ramble on before deciding to reply. Before that, however, he stopped a passing waiter, ordering two whiskeys for the men. As the waiter walked away, Rian decided to break this silence he had unintentionally been having since he arrived.

"Weird is a good way to describe it" he replied. "I definitely wasn't expecting it to have been this time last week." He paused, taking a sip of water that had already been brought to the table. "How has your week been?"
 #35835  by Nikau Harrison
 
Nikau sighed deeply as Rian didn't take the bait of talking about the match. In equal measure he wished Rian would have decided to speak about something as abyssmally normal as Quidditch, and was relieved that he hadn't let him get away with it. What was he expecting, here? Where did they go from there? It didn't seem like it was the kind of thing that could be ignored, but realistically, what did they do? Maybe he was getting ahead of himself. He just needed to wait and see how this date went.

'I, uh, I can't say that I've thought about much else,' Nikau responded truthfully. 'I never would have seen this coming, never in a million years.' Rian's lips, pressed against his, his hand on the back of the Irishman's neck... It had been a very distracting week. He couldn't say if he was glad that it had happened. It was just odd. 'Almost chalked it up to a drunken dream, or something.' Not that he'd dreamt of Rian before. He did now, though.
 #35838  by Rian Mac Bradaigh
 
It wasn't often that Rian was quite, he had certainly inherited his mothers gift of the gab, but in this situation, he just really didn't know what to say? I've been thinking non-stop about us? I don't think we could ever work? But I'd kind of like to give it a go? But also I really don't want to do that. How was Rian ever meant to have a conversation about what happened when he had barely processed what had happened.

"I've done very little else too." Rian replied eventually. He paused for a minute while the bartender arrived with their drinks. Rian thanked him and took a sip. Maybe this would make things easier.

"I kind of wish it was a drunken dream." he replied, his eyes focused solely on the menu in front of him. He didn't want to see Nikau's reaction.
 #35839  by Nikau Harrison
 
While Rian was silent, a million thoughts ran through Nikau's mind. Excuses to give, saying it was all an elaborate prank, trying to convince him it had indeed never happened... But no, that didn't work. And the Kiwi man didn't paint himself a coward. He didn't want to start now. He'd never thought about Rian that way, had he? The past and the present seemed to blur confusingly. He distractedly thanked the waiter for the whiskey he hadn't realised was arriving, and took a sip. It helped to ground him, but didn't do much else.

It was a comfort to learn that Rian had only been able to think about it too. Less of a comfort when he admitted wishing it was only a dream. Nikau wasn't sure how he felt about that one. It would certainly make things easier. He looked at his fingertips, and sighed.

'I'm fairly certain it did happen, though. I just don't know where we go from there.' Did they even go anywhere from there? 'This isn't any easier for me.'
 #35845  by Rian Mac Bradaigh
 
"Isn't it though?" Rian asked, finally looking up at his friend. "Isn't it easier for you?" he asked, almost pleading Nikau to tell him it was. Maybe that would make this whole thing easier if either of them knew how they felt or what to do next. "You're the one that's into men. Surely you know what happens next." Rian said, a hint of bitterness in his voice.

It wasn't Nikau that Rian was angry with. It was more himself. All week he had been thinking about what happened. Did this mean he was gay? How could he not have known? But maybe it explained a lot about his failed relationships. Maybe he never really loved them. But he knew that wasn't true.

But this wasn't how it was meant to go. Rian was meant to find a woman and marry her. They were meant to have a kid, maybe two, maybe three. The more the merrier for Rian. They were meant to live in a lovely cottage in the countryside and Rian would treasure his children and his wife. But instead, here he was at 42, a week after kissing a man for the first time and wondering if this is how it was meant to be for him? The black sheep of his family. The one his mother would be ashamed of.

Maybe this is who he was meant to be.
 #35847  by Nikau Harrison
 
Nikau looked back down at his fingers, not wanting or not able to look at his best mate. He didn't like the man's tone. It felt lashing, it felt like anger. Well, this hadn't been all of Nikau's doing, was it? He wasn't the one who had initiated the kiss. He hadn't stopped it, either, and he didn't know now whether he should have. Maybe he should feel guilty about enjoying it. Maybe he should feel guilty that it had been the most chemistry he'd had with a man since the guy he'd slept with. He certainly felt guilty about not feeling guilty.

Still, though, kissing took two people. And Rian had been just as into it as he had. He hadn't imagined that. He had run over every single second of that memory like a film in his head, over and over and over again.

'It's not easier for me,' he repeated. 'I've been on three dates before. I've been with one guy. Once.' Nikau ran his hand through his hair. 'I have no bleeding idea what I'm doing. I've never snogged a friend before.' He stammered for a while, and, at a loss for words, had a sip of his drink.

'I don't know what to do.' He wanted to say that he'd liked it. Didn't feel like it was what Rian wanted to hear, though. 'You're my mate, it's not like I planned for any of this.'
 #35917  by Rian Mac Bradaigh
 
Rian took a long sip of his drink as his friend spoke. "Neither of us planned it. That much is obvious." Rian replied, meekly. "So why don't why just..." he paused, and looked up at his friend, "Pretend this didn't happen."

Who was he kidding? That was never going to be the solution going forward. And he was only lying to himself if he pretended like he didn't at least somewhat enjoy his night with Nikau. Every time he thought about it he got that feeling in his chest, the same one he felt as the two of them leaned in close to each other that night. The feeling of Nikau's breath on his lips as the moved their way closer to each other. The feeling in his stomach as the two locked lips for the first time in Nikau's apartment. No, he couldn' just pretend it didn't happen.
 #35921  by Nikau Harrison
 
There must be something very interesting happening with Nikau's fingertips, because he found he could not look up from them. Rian's words were like a punch to the gut. Disappointment. He felt disappointed. He recognised it straight away, and found himself surprised of it. Had he really been hoping for something? Anything? Stupid, he was stupid. What a dumb thing to hope for. Why was he even holding out hope for anything? Since when had that feeling been there? He cursed himself some more.

Of course Rian was right. Nikau didn't even remember now why he'd thought it was a good idea to meet up and talk about this, even calling this a date, at all. They were mates, they should just pretend this had never happened. Totally.

Except for that unexplained pang of disappointment blossoming in the pit of his stomach. It hurt.

After a while, he managed to look back up at his friend, but only for the time it took to take another drink.

'Yeah. You're right. Wouldn't want to change anything. We should just... pretend.' Another drink. 'I'm sorry about it all, didn't want to...'

But of course it was going to change things. They were just going to tiptoe around one another, pretending it didn't happen, and Nikau, for one, was going to have to pretend that he had felt nothing after the kiss, pretend that he didn't know Rian had felt at least something, and pretend that he didn't mostly feel hurt right now. It was not going to be easy.

'If that's what you want...'