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Source (Arthur/Rita, PG-13)

Title: Source
Pairing: Arthur/Rita
Rating: PG-13
Word count: ~1,100
Warning: infidelity
Notes: Written for the Fabulous Low-Pressure Laissez-faire hp_unfaithful challenge for prompt 32. Arthur/Rita Skeeter. Anything to get a story.
Summary: Rita Skeeter knows how to handle her sources.

Rita Skeeter knows how to handle her sources.

The women: with attention, with coffee, with veiled questions, with reassurances of secrecy. With flaking make-up and mismatched clothes, to get them feeling generous toward her. With gentle goodwill so they think they’re doing someone a favour by spilling their secrets. Spilling secrets in a lot of well-meaning words, munching biscuits and washing down the bitterness of coffee with sugar. Rita’s sugary smiles for her women.

The men: with aloofness, with straight-forwardness, with just-fucked hair and otherwise pristine clothes. Bitchiness. Seeming attainable at the right times, and far-away at others. And sometimes: none of the above, but what they need from her.

She knows how to adapt. She knows how to give them what they want.

*

What her sources tell her is usually true, or at least most of it is. She twists and turns but never loses the root story, and enjoys it when she re-reads her own articles and sees the truth in fine print amongst the thick-spread shimmering lies. She likes to pick up age-old juice stories and test herself to see if she can still pick up the lines that are actually true.

She always can. They light up red before her eyes, those small sentences.

*

She knows from experience that it’s the silent ones that are the best observers. They slip in and out of the grey fabric of everyday, hear and see small details and click them together in their head. They don’t tell. They reconstruct and keep the secrets. They’re boring at first, but when she gets them warmed up they often become sharp and interesting.

Arthur Weasley was very nice and very boring when she kept knocking at his office door to establish contact. He sent her away nicely every time and kept it up for about two months. She’d started to think the man actually was nothing but this nice, grey mouse and that he just simply didn’t have a rough edge or mean streak about him.

But then one time she didn’t knock, and found Arthur Weasley furiously masturbating at his desk. A light sheen of sweat glistened on his neck, reaching downwards into an open collar, and his face was tight, red, and angry, so so angry.

That’s when he suddenly became interesting.

*

He gave in easily, all things considered. It probably helped that she simply stepped in mid-wank; it’s not like he wasn’t already making angry sounds before her mouth took his hand’s place, which made it easy to pretend he was just screaming at her because he was close to coming.

He did yell and rage at her afterwards, slinging insult after insult – but she wasn’t fooled, and knew that he would’ve made her stop if that’s what he had really wanted. After his tirade died out, and he stood there, chest heaving and trousers still undone, she fixed her gaze on him and said that if he really wanted her to go, he should just say so.

He did say so.

But she came back, and after a while he stopped telling her to leave.

*

He liked to take her out for coffee. This surprised her, because during the sex he made her feel so nameless, so small, something to be quickly enjoyed and then thrown away. He usually did make sure she had one orgasm before he started to fuck her, as if he knew very well that he couldn’t do it slowly so she’d actually enjoy it. It was fast and hard and usually painful. It left her trembling and cold.

But then he took her out for coffee afterward and asked her how many sugars she wanted. His eyes were soft then.

It confused her thoroughly, although she pretended not to care.

He told her the things he knew over the coffee table, usually with his eyes closed. She reckoned he knew he owed her this.

*

He had co-workers who would storm in and out of his office, so after a while they tired of the risks and sometimes checked into dingy hotels in Muggle Londen during his lunch breaks. There were dirty sheets and bland walls, and she usually only barely had time to take off her glasses before he started pulling at her clothes.

There, one time, just as he was pushing into her (her right leg resting on his shoulder, the stiletto shoe still on), she blurted out: “Why do you need this?”

For a moment he looked fierce, as though he wanted to say: “I don’t”, but then his face changed and he slipped out of her, most of his erection suddenly gone. She jerked forward, trying to draw him back in, but he backed away and got out of the bed.

She was ready to apologize already for some reason, as though she had broken some rule they’d set up. He rubbed his hands over his face and looked so tired, so exhausted in that moment. Then he looked at her, and she realised how she must look – knickers knotted around one ankle, her breast pushed over the rim of her not-yet-undone bra, stilettos still on. She had to look like a tart then, but instead of being empowering as it had before it felt humiliating.

“I’m sorry,” he said (maybe he felt he had broken some rule as well) and reached for his clothes. “I have to get home. Molly’s waiting.”

Before she had time to get angry, he’d left.

*

It was a strange end. Strangely silent. They’d always been so vocal when fucking that maybe it wasn’t illogical this way, but when she had envisioned the end of this strange affair when it had still been going on she had imagined rows, exploding words, maybe even fists. Somehow it felt less satisfying to have him leave her on a question mark note, as though she wasn’t even worth the answer.

It made her angry that she missed the way he asked her how many sugars she wanted. It made her even angrier that after a while, the answer to her question came to her on its own accord (“because this is what I’ve never had with my wife”) and really, its simplicity made it all the worse.

She sent owls to old sources that she hadn’t seen since she’d started this. She went back to how it was before.

She printed his stories and saw the little truths glowing red.

Comments

( 17 have gone here — leave an imprint )
onlyjustwhisper
Feb. 28th, 2009 03:06 pm (UTC)
Awesome awesome awesome! I never even would have thought of this pairing, but you made it very real :)

(By the way, I just posted my first fic, and it would be really awesome if you could read it - any tips/advice you could give would be gratefully received, especially because your work is always so good :D But only do it if you have time)
<3
holyfant
Feb. 28th, 2009 03:32 pm (UTC)
Glad this worked for you, because it was put together very last minute (the deadline for the challenge was today, and I didn't have anything written, I sort of suck). I'm not too sure about parts of it, but overall I think it's okay :)

Also, went over to read your fic! I hope my comment is helpful.
onlyjustwhisper
Feb. 28th, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
YOU DO NOT SUCK!!
Seriously, you are awesome.
And thank you so much for doing that and it was very helpful! Especially since it's not even your fandom :)
la_dissonance
Feb. 28th, 2009 07:30 pm (UTC)
Ooo, this is really really good. Love how her drive to know the little truths ties it all together. :D
holyfant
Mar. 1st, 2009 08:04 am (UTC)
Thank you! :D
themirrorofsin
Feb. 28th, 2009 08:42 pm (UTC)
wow never thought of this pairing!
great read I loved this:
"She likes to pick up age-old juice stories and test herself to see if she can still pick up the lines that are actually true.

She always can. They light up red before her eyes, those small sentences."

holyfant
Mar. 1st, 2009 08:05 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading, I'm glad it worked for you :)
themirrorofsin
Mar. 1st, 2009 11:55 am (UTC)
You're welcome and yeah really interesting xD
snegurochka_lee
Mar. 1st, 2009 12:12 am (UTC)
I really like this! The opening bit rings very true, that she would handle women and men differently (love the 'just-fucked hair'!) And oof, poor Arthur. :)))
holyfant
Mar. 1st, 2009 08:05 am (UTC)
Thanks!
featherxquill
Mar. 1st, 2009 03:35 pm (UTC)
*flails*

Oooh, I love this. I've always wanted to see this pairing written, and you've done it wonderfully! I love how grey and unfulfilling it seems, but the way you temper that with the quiet kindness Arthur shows her and the things she misses. And the little truths glowing red - *loves*.
holyfant
Mar. 6th, 2009 03:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much! I'm glad it appeals to you. I was quite fascinated by the pairing and the prompt; but I couldn't have it "just" be an affair (if there is such a thing, obviously...). Happy to know that got across :)
selmak
Apr. 12th, 2009 12:59 pm (UTC)
this is wonderful. Achy, painful and just... well... wonderful.
holyfant
Apr. 12th, 2009 02:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you :)
(Deleted comment)
holyfant
Sep. 11th, 2009 11:18 am (UTC)
Thanks very much, I'm glad it worked despite the almost-crackiness of the pairing :)
(Deleted comment)
holyfant
Sep. 11th, 2009 11:18 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I thought Arthur/Rita could never work without being crack, but then the story didn't want to be anything but serious. I'm glad it still worked.
( 17 have gone here — leave an imprint )

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