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Title: Cry Witch
Pairing: Roger Federer/Andy Roddick/Mirka Vavrinec, hints of Mardy Fish/James Blake
[ profile] fanfic100 Prompt: 066. Rain
Rating: R
Dedications [ profile] greeniebach for offering spell check services in light of my Word proving a pain in the ass, [ profile] astonish for spell checking, much help and encouragement -- seriously. Go feed her cookies -- and [ profile] scoobydumblonde for the final spell check. :D
A.N.: Halloween fic! I was amazed that the plot I’d had since summer actually linked in with a fanfic100 prompt. Whee for killing two birds with one stone. :) I know it's late but only by what, four days? Just? ;-)
Warnings: Um, not really sure. Abuse of Roger, supernatural possession of most of the ATP tour, especially evil!possessed!Rafa. General Halloween madness.

Extra note: This is *not* edited. I'm to sleepy to edit now but I've been promising this for days, so I want to post it because I won't have much time tomorrow. Sorry for any glaring errors; point them out and I'll fix them, maybe along with a few other things in the next few days. :)

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“I can’t believe you’re making me go to this Andy.” Mardy sounded petulant, tone close to a whine, leaning back in the passenger seat of their rental car with his arms sulkily folded. “I fly from Florida to see you and you drag me to some corny party.”

“It’s not corny.” Andy glanced across at his friend with an indulgent smile, chuckling at how the plastic fangs Mardy was wearing distorted his pout. “I think we look cute. Plus you get to see James in a cute costume. Cute. Costume. Mardy. Think about it.”

“He doesn’t even know I exist. He’s too busy moping over Ancic.” Mardy sighed then shot a look over at Andy with his first smile since they’d left the hotel, wicked and full of shiny plastic fangs. “You know I heard a rumour that Roger was going to be there.”

Andy cleared his throat, reaching up to push back his black cowboy hat with forced nonchalance. He’d heard the rumour too and dismissed it as wishful thinking out loud, all the time clinging to it with inward hope. Like hell he’d admit that to Mardy though. “Oh really? Guess his foot must be feeling better then.”

“You know it is And,” Mardy drawled, clearly enjoying his friend’s uncomfortable shift in his seat. “I saw you checking his website this morning.”

“You—“ Andy gave in with a groan, knowing when he was beaten. “Busted huh?”

“As of about six months ago, yeah.” Mardy grinned as Andy’s grip on the wheel wavered, just enough to wobble the car slightly. “You aren’t exactly the most discreet person alive And.”

There was no answer Andy could think of to that, so he stared fixedly at the yellow pools of headlights in front of the car, pretending to be concentrating on his driving. So what if he liked Roger a little more than he should? It wasn’t like the Swiss had noticed, being one of the most cheerfully oblivious people Andy had ever met. He had a feeling he could do a striptease in front of the guy and Roger’d just blink and ask if he was feeling too hot.

“Roger and Andy sitting in a tree, K I S S I-“

“Mardy!” This time the car wobbled a good few inches the wrong way, Andy catching his breath as he yanked them back on course. “Will you cut it out?!”

“Relax, it’s not like he’ll be at the party anyway. It’d probably not be the best move, with the tournament already pissed at him for pulling out. Him showing up at the free Halloween party they’re throwing for us? Not so smart.” Mardy leaned forward to peer out at the dark French countryside, nothing but black silhouettes of hills under a thickly clouded sky that suggested rain on the way. The moon shone briefly through a gap in the clouds before vanishing again, plunging everything back into darkness, leaving their headlights the only light for what seemed like miles. “Andy, are you sure you know where we’re going?”

“Yes. Maybe. You’ve got the map, if you feel like helping out anytime tonight.” Andy flashed a grin across the car to take the sting out of his words, frowning as he looked back at the road. “I know the hotel said the place was isolated but this is crazy.”

“Maybe it’s all part of the ambience. All alone in a haunted house sort of thing.” Mardy fumbled through the folds of his vampire cape to drag a crumpled map from the pocket of his jeans. Unfolding it, he tried to smooth it into readability against the dashboard. “Okay, we are…”

“Deserted Road, surrounded by Deserted Fields, looking for the Deserted House,” Andy muttered. “You’re right. This was a stupid idea. I’ll find somewhere to turn--”

“No wait; I’ve got it. We are going the right way.” Mardy traced the winding line of road with a fingertip. “We should be turning a corner any second and see signs for the house.”

“Well at least they got something right,” Andy observed as he slowed to go round a sharp corner, slowing more when a sign loomed up in the glow of their headlights. “What does that say?”

“Chambre De Sorcière. That’s it.” Leaning further forward in his seat, Mardy squinted at something hanging from the sign by string, vaguely round-shaped with pieces of straw sticking out in what looked like hair. A second later he sat back in his seat hard enough to rock the car, making a choked sound that had Andy looking curiously at him.


“It was a witch’s head, made of a pumpkin or something.” Mardy had his eyes screwed tight shut and his knuckles were white where they gripped the sides of his seat. “I swear the damn thing winked at me.”

Andy glanced back but it was too dark to see behind them, the sign already out of sight. “Sure it did Mar.”

“Andy, I swear—“

“Yeah. Sure it did.” Andy smirked and got slapped on the arm, jerking it away with a yelp. “Ow! What was that for?!”

“Being a smartass.” Relaxing back into his seat a little, Mardy shook his head as if to shake off thoughts of the witch and spread the map out again, having crumpled it in his hand. “Hey look, there’s a note on the history of the house here.”

“Great. A history lesson.” Not really listening, Andy leaned forward to peer out at the road again, seeing something that looked like gateposts flash past and the smooth tarmac under the wheels change to the crunch of a gravel driveway. “I think we’re nearly there.”

“Says here that it was the hiding place of witches in the seventeenth century,” Mardy murmured, scanning the faded type intently. “A crowd of enraged farmers caught one in 1648 and tried to burn her but the wind carried the fire to the house and it burnt down.”

“That’s nice. Could you possibly help me by looking for the house in 2005, not 1648?“

Ignoring him, Mardy kept reading. “The house was rebuilt but no one could live in it ‘cause apparently it was full of angry witch ghosts. Some guy hanged himself in the attic in 1903 and after that, no one wanted it.”

“God, the French really know how to pick a place for a fun party.” Rolling his eyes, Andy reached over without looking and grabbed the map, balling it up and tossing it over his shoulder with a blithe disregard for Mardy’s half-hearted attempt to stop him. “Now could you please help me find this goddamn house?”

Mardy glanced out his window. “What, that house?”

“What?!” Andy followed his friend’s pointing finger and swore, taking a turning that led up to the large, well-lit house at the top of a small hill. “I swear that wasn’t there a second ago.”

“Sure it wasn’t,” Mardy drawled. Andy shot him a venomous look but only got a laugh in reply.

The house when they reached it was a little anti-climatic, the yard in front having been turned into a carpark with signposts directing tourists to WC/Toilets and Le Musée De Sorcière/The Witch Museum, car after car parked in neat, very un-spooky rows. Jack-o-lanterns flickered by the open door but the effect was slightly spoiled by the large, brightly coloured banner above them which read Happy Halloween! in several languages. Andy pulled into a space near the door, spending a few seconds combing the fringe on his shirt straight and adjusting his hat to the perfect angle before getting out. Already waiting by the door, Mardy was watching him with amusement.

“Andy, he’s probably not here.”

Sticking his tongue out, Andy brushed past him and into the house, muttering “Shut up,” over his shoulder. A moment later something cold touched his arm and he leapt a few inches off the floor with a yell, Mardy catching him as he stumbled backwards.

“What… Andy you are such a dork.” Laughing, Mardy took a handful of candy from the bucket held by a life-size stuffed witch just inside the door. Heart still hammering, Andy realised all he’d felt had been the metal bucket handle.

“You made me jumpy with all that talk about burning witches,” he mumbled defensively, reaching into the bucket too as Mardy playfully shoved him. “You’re such an asshole Mar.”


It was a familiar voice, a little uncertain through the friendliness and Andy hastily let his handful of candy fall back into the bucket as he swung round. Mardy not-so-discreetly snickered at his side but Andy ignored him in favour of smiling at Roger.

“Roger! Hi! How’s the foot?”

“Better, thank you.” Roger’s hesitant smile steadied. He was wearing some sort of flowing dark shirt painted with silver chain mail, a plastic sword hanging from his belt, no crutches in sight. Andy frowned for a second then caught the faint wince as the Swiss shifted his weight, lifting one foot slightly off the ground. Not entirely better then, no matter what Roger wanted everyone to believe. Andy chose not to comment, taking a few steps closer instead, Mardy hesitating behind him with a mouthful of sweets.

“Where’s everyone else?”

“Through there.” Roger gestured to some double doors, standing wide open at the opposite end of the room with faint sounds of music and laughter drifting through. Following the Swiss’s wave, Andy noticed for the first time the lobby they were standing in, the gothic arches and curving stairway wrapped with black tinsel, lit with miniature pumpkins that glowed eerily through the gloom. Letting out a low whistle, he turned a full circle to admire it, returning Roger’s smile with a sheepish look.

“Sorry. I wasn’t expecting anything this impressive.” Weighing up his options, noting that Roger was starting to look uncomfortable, he decided to hell with it and walked over to drape an arm over the Swiss’s shoulders. “So what are you, King Arthur?”

“Maybe. I could be,” Roger shrugged but there was a smile playing at the corners of his mouth and he seemed in no hurry to shake Andy off as they turned towards the double doors. Mardy came up beside them, fangs in his hand as he crunched on the candy, seemingly still trying not to laugh. Andy didn’t care, too happy that Roger was here. “It was a last minute thing, being here and the costume, everything. The tournament called me this morning to ask if I was well enough to come, so…”

“That was nice of them, considering—“ Mardy broke off with a yelp as Andy stepped hard on his foot. “Um. Nevermind.”

“I was surprised too,” Roger said with another shrug, raising his voice slightly as they walked through the doors and the music suddenly got louder, coming from a speaker system set up on a stage at one end of a long room. It was filled with players and coaches in varyingly complicated costumes, from Ivan Ljubicic in jeans and a monster mask, to Fabrice Santoro’s full length, bright blue, silk magician’s robes, baggy sleeves billowing dramatically as he performed card tricks for a group of fascinated players. “I thought they’d never speak to me again when I pulled out for the second year running.”

“Not like it was your fault though… oh my god, is that Nadal in the pirate costume?” Andy stared, mouth dropping open as he watched the young Spaniard trying to entice a vampiric Coria to dance with him. “What’s he doing here? And he knows that someone stole his shirt right?”

“He said he had a special invite, same as me. As for the shirt, I think he gave it to Fabrice for a trick and never asked for it back.” Roger glanced around and Andy knew without having to ask who he was looking for, feeling Mardy press comfortingly against his side as the Swiss pulled away a little. “Can you see—“

“There you are Roger.” The words were heavily accented but pleased rather than impatient, coming from their left. Andy turned slowly to find the source, already knowing who it was without having to look and his heart sinking. “You missed James Blake daring Mirnyi to dance with Massu.”

“Really?” Mardy snapped to attention at Andy’s side, looking at Mirka with a grin. “Did he do it?”

“He did. Full body contact, everything, and yes, it was as disturbing as it sounds. You should probably be happy that you missed it Roger.” Mirka smiled, tilting her head back so she could see them from under the brim of her large witch’s hat, wearing a black dress that seemed all sparkles in the dimly lit room. “Hello Andy, Mardy.”

“Hi Mirka.” Andy forced the words to sound as normal as he could make them, hoping the shadow from the brim of his hat hid his flush. He liked Roger, more than liked if he was being fully honest, but Mirka was nice. Too nice for him to feel comfortable lusting after her boyfriend, at least in front of her. “Enjoying the party?”

“Yes,” said Mirka in a tone that implied ‘no’, pursing her black-painted lips into a pout. “I came all the way from Switzerland for the ghosts but I haven’t seen one yet.”

Roger shivered, Andy feeling it run through him too where they were pressed together. “Good.”

Smile widening, Mirka rolled her eyes and looped her arm through his, leaning against him on the opposite side to Andy. “He’s scared of ghosts,” she stage-whispered to the Americans, ignoring Roger’s half-stifled protest. “He almost didn’t come when they said it was a haunted house.”

Andy opened his mouth to interrupt Roger’s protests with a teasing remark but Mardy distracted him with a tap on the shoulder, leaning in to whisper, “I feel like a fourth wheel. I’m going to find James.”

“A fourth- Mardy, what?!” All Andy got was a shrug and a wave, Mardy disappearing into the crowd. “Mardy!”

“Was it something we said?” Roger asked with a hint of anxiety, dragging Andy’s attention back to him. With a sigh, Andy shook his head and leaned more into the Swiss’s warmth, careful not to put too much weight on the bad foot.

“Nah, he’s lusting after James. Probably wants to stalk him for the night.”

“Blake?” Roger sounded… well, stunned was the closest Andy could come and he glanced at the Swiss to be met with an incredulous expression. On his other side, Mirka looked equally surprised. “But I thought you… he…”

“What?” Andy asked but there was a screech of feedback from the speakers before the Swiss could answer, answered by a chorus of mockingly-whiny groans from around the room. The middle aged man in a suit who climbed on stage waved an apologetic hand and tapped the microphone, smiling broadly at the crowd. Everyone fell silent, expectantly.

“Welcome to the Paris-Bercy tournament Halloween party!” the man announced in a thick French accent, Andy frowning as he tried to follow. “I hope you are all enjoying yourselves?” He waited for the yells of approval to die down, some of the players clearly already towards the drunken side of tipsy. “In a moment, we will begin our entertainment for the evening, so if you could all move out onto the dance floor…”

“Will your foot hold up to this?” Andy murmured to Roger as the crowd obediently shifted into the centre of the room. Roger took a deep breath, returning a raised eyebrow from Mirka with a firm look.


“If not, just poke me or something. I can carry you off in a dramatic, knight in shining armour fashion.” Andy grinned at the Swiss’s answering glare. “Or I could leave you to be trampled, take your pick.”

“You have my permission to drag him off by his hair if you need to,” Mirka murmured, shooting Andy a wink from under her hat. Roger’s outraged sounds were cut off as the man on the stage cleared his throat.

“Among you tonight, there is a witch.”

A ripple of surprise ran through the crowd. Andy looked round and caught sight of Mardy standing by James, grinning over at him. He absently smiled back, still listening.

“In a moment, we will play some music for you. As you dance around the room, think about who could be the witch.” The man smiled suddenly, an edge of malice to it; Andy blinked and it was just a smile again, maybe a little teasing. “By the end of the dance, you must have accused someone and the accused must stand trial, on charges of witchcraft.”

“Do we get to dump the witch in a lake or something?” Andy heard someone murmur behind him, prompting a few giggles. Beside him Roger was smiling with a faintly bemused edge, leaning a little too hard on Andy for the American to be happy with him having to dance.

“Roger, you’re sure your foot—“

The music began before he could finish, some sort of old-fashioned waltzing tune that had everyone hesitating briefly, not sure of the steps, before most people settled into a half-formal swaying in couples and groups. Andy refused to relinquish his hold on Roger and the Swiss made no move to pull away from either him or Mirka, all three of them swaying slowly in time to the music as they let the crowd move them around the room.

“Witch!” Andy heard hissed at him and Mardy spun past with a laughing James, sticking his tongue out. Andy stuck his own out in return and yelled “Witch!”, pointing at Mardy, whose smile vanished as the crowd around them laughed. There was a laugh from Roger beside him too and then someone snarled “Witch,” behind them, Andy’s head snapping round to look at the venom in the word. He caught a brief glimpse of dark eyes fixed on Roger and then the crowd swallowed whoever it was up, the music moving faster now.

“Was that Nadal?” Mirka asked in surprise, looking across at Andy. Roger was silent, glancing back over his shoulder with badly masked hurt that had Andy hugging him closer in tacit comfort.

“Just some jerk messing around,” he answered, making his tone deliberately dismissive. “Don’t let it bother you R-“

“Witch!” someone else growled behind them and it was echoed by a more teasing “Witch!” from Santoro, patting Roger on the shoulder with a smile as he danced past. Roger opened his mouth, seemingly to return the favour and someone shouted “Witch!” from somewhere in front of them, Andy catching a glimpse of a pointed finger through the press of people. Somehow, he didn’t think everyone ganging up on Roger had been the idea behind the game and the Swiss was starting to flinch at the hissed voices, trying to mask it with a forced smile. Andy had just decided enough was enough and had started to steer Roger over to the edge of the crowd, people whirling past to the music that was now almost too fast to follow, when someone bumped hard against him and he lost his grip on the Swiss.

“Roger?!” The crowd carried him away, people refusing to let him through as he tried to see Roger or Mirka’s hat through the crowd. It was impossible, everyone moving too fast and with the occasional whisper of “Witch!” too faint to follow. He turned in a circle, trying to see and caught his foot on someone else’s, stumbling, falling—

-- only for someone to catch him in the abrupt silence as the music ended, slender hands with black-painted nails helping him up. Andy glanced at Mirka’s worried face and knew she’d lost Roger too

“I can’t find him anywhere,” she whispered, gripping his hand on the edge of too tight. “I hope he didn’t fall.”

“People would’ve stopped to help him up,” Andy said firmly, only half-believing himself. There had been something weird, something malicious about all the snarled whispers of ‘witch’ a feeling that hadn’t gone away yet as everyone stood in silence, a few mumbled comments hastily hushed. There was a shuffle of movement, clearing a space in the centre of the room, and Andy stretched up to his full height to see.

Roger was standing in the open space with James and Ljubcic on either side of him, clearly trying to smile and almost managing it. Even from the edge of the crowd, Andy could make out the worry underneath the attempt, the Swiss standing with a faint hunch to his shoulders as everyone stared. At least he looked unhurt, Andy consoled himself, standing firmly on both feet.

“Is this the witch?” a voice that Andy recognised asked, trying to sound serious but with giggles bubbling up. By craning his neck to the side, he could see Nadal standing in front of Roger with his hands on his hips, obviously trying to look stern. A chorus of ‘Yes’’s answered his question, Andy and Mirka’s ‘No!’s getting lost in the noise. Nadal nodded thoughtfully. “Proof?” he asked.

“He’s hundreds of points ahead of us!” someone yelled from across the room, someone else adding “Even though he’s played less.” Another voice from in front of Andy suggested “He wins too much to be natural!” and a general murmur of agreement echoed around the room.

“Hey,” Roger protested just as Andy opened his mouth to yell something supportive of the Swiss. “This isn’t fair. If I was the witch, I wouldn’t have been injured the last few weeks.”

“A curse backfired!” someone shouted from the back of the room amidst general laughter. Andy felt Mirka’s hand tighten around his and looked down at her, squeezing reassuringly back.

“It’s okay,” he whispered. “They’re all just messing about.”

“No, there’s something…” Mirka broke off, shaking her head. “It doesn’t sound like they’re joking Andy.”

She was right; now he listened, he could hear people laughing but there was an uncomfortable edge to it, the shouted accusations not coming out like jokes. With a frown, he looked across the crowd at Roger and met the Swiss’s dark eyes, wide and anxious. Roger didn’t like what was going on and that was good enough for him.

“If Roger wins to much then so do you Nadal!” he shouted across the crowd, trying not to flinch as suddenly every eye in the room was on him. “You’ve won just as much this year so you must be the witch!”

For a moment, the crowd wavered, hesitating. Andy just had time to return Roger’s grateful smile and then people were pushing him and Mirka forward with angry murmurs.

“These two are in congress with the witch!” Nadal announced as Andy was pushed forcefully into the open space, catching Mirka as she almost fell out the crowd behind him. “Spreading false lies and rumours. What should we do with them?”

“Burn them!” someone yelled. Andy swung round, trying to see the speaker as Mirka flinched beside him.

“Hey, wait a minute!” he protested. “I hardly think that’s fair and…” Something occurred to him and he turned to glare at Nadal, now watching them with a blank expression, arms folded sternly across his chest. “Since when do you speak English so well?”

“Quiet!” Nadal narrowed his eyes, glancing from Andy to Roger and back. “These two are a distraction from the real threat. Lock them up and we’ll deal with them after we’ve burnt the witch.”

“WHAT?!” Andy’s outraged shout said everything that Roger’s stunned expression did as players moved out of the crowd, tying their hands. Fighting the people holding him, Andy glanced up to swear at them and met Mardy’s eyes, reading the warning that told him to shut up and go with it. With an immense effort, he forced himself to relax. It was only a game. They weren’t really going to burn Roger, because that’d be beyond crazy.

“Burning torches?” Nadal asked and James nodded, waving to the door where a couple of players stood with - - Andy couldn’t believe it, staring across the room in disbelief – actual burning torches, dripping sparks. Before he had chance to yell stop or wait or maybe you’re all so fucking dead when I get my hands free, him and Mirka were dragged away by Mardy and James, towards the lobby where they’d come in. Andy caught a last glimpse of Roger’s frantic, helpless struggles and then they were out the room, being dragged towards a small door at the back of the lobby.

“Mardy!” Andy tried, starting to struggle against his friend’s tight grip on his arms. “Mardy, what the fuck is going on? Let us go!”

“Witch accomplice,” James muttered darkly, returning Andy’s glare with an equally malicious one. “We’ll burn you after the witch.”

“He’s not a witch; it’s Roger. Have you all gone totally insane?” Still struggling, Andy looked helplessly across at Mirka who was pale under her make-up. “You okay?”

“Yes.” She swallowed hard but met his eyes steadily. “We have to get to Roger.”

“I know.” Andy looked around, still resisting as they were dragged to the small door, pushed through. He couldn’t find any weapon he could use to get his hands untied, no sharp edges, nothing. He fell through the door still tied up, landing on a pile of coats and bags, breaking his fall. A second later Mirka landed on top of him with a muffled “ouch”, rolling to one side.

Mardy,” Andy pleaded, his voice muffled by the coats. He wriggled over and sat up, staring at his friend. “Mardy, what’re you doing? You’re locking me and Mirka up, you’re going to burn Roger?” There was no answering recognition in Mardy’s stare and Andy went cold, icy shivers racing down his spine because Mardy never looked at him like that. He hadn't even known Mardy could look like that.

“We’ll be back for you after the witch,” James announced, stepping back out the room, Mardy behind him. He had the same blank stare as Mardy, looking at Andy as if he didn’t know him at all. “We shouldn’t be long. Witches burn quick.”

Mirka made a stifled sound beside Andy, choked and shocked. Desperate now, Andy staggered to his feet as James started to shut the door.

“Mardy, for godssake, it’s me. You’re about to burn Roger. What the hell is going on? Mardy.” He put every whining tone that he’d used on the other American through the years into the name, begging, and he caught the sudden, startled flash of blue eyes as the door slammed shut.

There was a stream of German from beside him, Mirka staggering upright and glaring furiously at the door. She was white under her witch make-up but unwavering, swearing furiously. Andy blinked; he’d known she was tough but he’d have expected at least a few tears, not snarled German curses that sounded rude, even though he had no idea what she was saying.

“Mirka,” he tried, struggling to get his hands free, though he thought maybe reaching out to hug her would get his hand bitten off with her in the mood she was in. “Calm down.”

“They’re going to burn Roger!” she yelled at him, switching to English. “How am I supposed to be calm?!”

“They’re joking.” Andy didn’t even convince himself, giving in under her fierce glare. “Alright, so maybe it looks like they’re not. But this is Roger! The tour isn’t exactly going to set fire to their number one on a whim, except possibly Nadal who seems to have lost his mind. Maybe they get a little annoyed at him sometimes but… burning him as a witch?!”

“Did you see Mardy? He didn’t even recognise you.” Mirka sank back down, slumping against the heap of coats. “There’s something going on here Andy, something weird. You haven’t been here so long, maybe you haven’t had time to notice but it’s been weird ever since Roger and I got here earlier. I don’t know what it is.”

“Ghostly possession?” Andy offered, slumping down beside her on the coats and leaning miserably against her warmth. It made him remember Roger, warm against his side and he shuddered, wondering what was going on outside the room. “This has to be a joke.”

“Maybe.” Mirka was silent for a moment and then she looked up, eyeliner smudged, eyes huge in her pale face. “What if it isn’t?”

“Then—“ Andy couldn’t even laugh it off, as hard as he tried. If it wasn’t a joke, then he was sitting doing nothing while the tour-gone-mad burned Roger outside, the thought enough to have him scrambling to his feet and starting to pace the room. No windows, only the one door and he’d heard the key turn from the other side when James closed it. Even if he could get his hands free, there was no way out. He kept pacing anyway for lack of anything else to do, pausing to kick the door hard as he passed. For a moment he thought he heard raised voices from the other side but the wood was too thick to let anything through clearly, solid planks that barely shook even when, out of options, he threw his whole weight against it with a thud.

“Andy!” Mirka struggled to her feet behind him as he threw himself against the door again, deciding to go for the ‘if at first you don’t succeed…’ method. Anything was better than sitting around, helpless. “Andy, stop. You’ll hurt yourself.”

“And being burned alive will be like getting a gentle massage,” he muttered but stopped, leaning his forehead against the cool wood of the door. “I really, really hope this is a joke.”

A shoulder touched his, awkward, neither of them very manoeuvrable with their hands tied. Andy glanced sideways at Mirka, returning her strained smile with one of his own and turning enough that she could lean against the door beside him, head resting on his shoulder. Her hat had been lost somewhere, strands of soft blond tickling Andy’s neck as he turned his head to look at her and, this close, he couldn’t help but notice the way her teeth pressed anxiously to a corner of her lower lip, the flutter of her eyelashes. Something soft was on the tip of his tongue, something murmured to make her look up at him but he swallowed it with an effort. It certainly wasn’t the right time to be flirting with the girlfriend of the man he’d spent months lusting after, not when he could hardly think through worry for Roger.

“Roger and I had all these plans for tonight,” Mirka murmured, softly wistful and just like that Andy snapped back to reality, gritting his teeth because the last thing he needed to hear was details of Roger and Mirka’s romantic plans. Oblivious to his thoughts, Mirka kept talking. “I told him it was stupid to come all the way here to see if we could get you alone but you might’ve noticed that Roger’s stubborn. Once he gets an idea in his head it stays there, usually longer than it should.”

“It probably makes him a better tennis player,” Andy said automatically, not really listening. Only the part of him that was used to answering press questions when half asleep picked up on what she’d said, and then it took him several seconds to re-run the words through his mind, another few to believe he’d heard right. “Wait, you came all this way because—“

There was the loud click of a key turning; Andy didn’t realise until too late that he should move, already falling through the opening door. He crashed into someone warm and solid, Mirka falling too with a surprised gasp and all three of them ending up in a heap on the floor. Andy was instantly scrambling up, ready to fight off whoever it was even with his hands tied but froze when he saw Mardy glaring at him.

“You moron, what were you leaning on the door for? I come to rescue you and get flattened.”

“Well if you hadn’t locked us in there in the first place, I wouldn’t have had to flatten you now, would I?” Andy demanded but his irritation couldn’t last, not with the relief of Mardy looking at him normally again. “You have no idea how happy I am to see you Mar.”

“Tell me how much you love me later.” Shaking his head, Mardy helped Mirka to her feet and started untying her hands. “They’ve got Roger out back and when I say they weren’t kidding about the whole burning thing, trust me – they really weren’t.”

“Oh come on, this is all some sort of huge set-up right?” Andy turned to let Mardy untie his hands too, straining round to see his friend’s face. “Like they’d really burn Roger…” His voice trailed away as Mardy looked up, meeting his eyes. “You aren’t kidding, are you?”

Mardy shrugged helplessly. “I can’t explain it. One minute all I could think of was burning the witch -- I mean Roger -- and then you said my name and… it was like someone switched a light on. Shame it didn’t work for James.”

“Why, what…” Andy followed Mardy’s look, leading to a wooden seat where James lay slumped, unconscious. “You knocked him out? Wasn’t that a little harsh?!”

“I had no choice! They’re all possessed or crazy or something Andy and Roger needs you to go, right now. Go.” Mardy pushed him desperately towards the door. “I’ll—“

“Stay with James,” Andy said over his shoulder, halfway across the room. Mirka was already nearly out the door and he sprinted to catch up, shaking his hands to get rid of the stiffness of being tied. When Mirka hesitated at the door, he touched her shoulder and she flinched.

“Hey,” he said softly, fingers curling back slightly, uncertain. “Just me.”

Mirka took a deep breath. She was pale in the flickering light from the jack-o-lanterns, heavy eyeliner only adding to the dark shadows around her eyes and a faint rumble of thunder in the distance made her flinch again, nervous. Nevertheless, she managed a small smile.

“I know. Which way?”

“Maybe—“ Andy glanced up and down the yard, noting the signs for tourists pointing around the corner of the house. “Round there, I think. Mirka, what’d you mean—“

“Roger,” she reminded him, already a few steps away. Biting his lip, he nodded and sprinted after her, struggling to see in the darkness away from the lighted doorway. He almost crashed into Mirka as she stopped dead at the corner, taking a moment to catch his balance before he looked up and saw what had stopped her.

There was a pyre, tall and neat with a stake rising from the middle. What kind of nut has a pyre in their back yard? Andy asked himself incredulously until he noticed a lopsided sign in French beside it and realised it had probably been an exhibition, part of the Witch Museum. Probably the owners of the house had never thought that a group of tennis players might come along and tie their terrified Swiss number one to the stake. They’d almost certainly never have guessed said players would be brandishing burning torches, seemingly with every intent of using them to put the pyre to its proper use but that was exactly the scene Andy took in at a glance, a mass of players with Nadal at the front, all staring intently at a wide-eyed Roger tied to the pyre –- and burning torches, dripping sparks far too close to the stack of wood for Andy’s liking.

“Shit,” he hissed as it hit home for the first time that it wasn’t all a joke, no elaborate set-up or Halloween prank. Roger was struggling in earnest at the top of the pyre, kicking out in a way that had to hurt his injured foot but no one was so much as making a move to help. “Now what?”

“Get Roger,” Mirka muttered and, before Andy had a chance to ask what the hell she thought she was doing, she stepped out from behind the house, waving her arms. “HEY! Assholes!”

Every player turned towards her as one, lit eerily from the torches. Mirka barely hesitated, making a rude gesture before bolting down the garden into the shadows, pursued by the entire group of players with a shouted chorus of “Witch!” Andy wasted a second staring after them in mute awe, mixed with worry for Mirka and then he was across the short space of yard between him and the pyre. Roger made a muffled sound into the gag tied over his mouth as Andy scrambling up the stacks of wood, wincing at the splinters tearing into his fingers.

“Hi Rog,” he panted at the top, clinging to the stake for balance and reaching out with his other hand to pull the gag down. “You okay?”

“What took you so long?” were the first words out of the Swiss’s mouth, somewhat desperate. “Burning torches Andy!”

“Whine whine whine, I get tied up and locked in a room, still manage to come rescue you like I promised and all I get is whined at,” Andy muttered, pretending annoyance but the relief at getting to Roger in time was strong enough to make his hands shake as he tugged at the Swiss’s bindings. “No matter what I do…”

Roger had gone quiet, his frown faintly visible in the dim light from the house’s window as he looked over his shoulder at the American. “When did you promise to rescue me?”

“You don’t remember? Dance floor? Dramatic, knight-in-shining-armour?” With a flourish, Andy tugged free the last knot and let the ropes fall. “I promised to rescue you and I have.”

“Oh.” Roger turned, all shadowed in the faint light but Andy thought he saw a smile. “You know what the rescued maiden in distress usually rewards the knight with, don’t you?”

“Hhhmmm, money I guess? Diamonds? A really big castl-“ Andy never got to finish his teasing, cut off mid-sentence by Roger’s hand closing around his wrist and dragging him forward. There was a second when he couldn’t see where he was going in the darkness and then Roger’s warm, wet mouth was on his.

Oh, was Andy’s first thought, closely followed by something resembling mmmmm as his arms came up to pull the Swiss closer, opening his mouth under the kiss. It was everything he’d been thinking about for months, Roger hard and slender against him as the kiss deepened, the Swiss’s tongue slipping over his lips, a hand coming up to curl through Andy’s hair, cowboy hat long since lost somewhere back in the house. Andy shivered, a brief moment of complete disbelief and happiness and then it was over too quickly, Roger leaning back. The happiness stayed for all of a second until Andy opened his eyes and realised he could see Roger properly, the Swiss lit by the flickering light of—

-- torches. Oh. Heart sinking, Andy looked down. Surrounding the pyre in a tight circle, holding a struggling Mirka, the players silently looked back.

Beside him, Roger made a choked sound and when Andy risked a quick glance, he found him staring anxiously at the captive Mirka. Andy had a startled second to wonder who exactly the Swiss wanted before Rafael stepped forward, pointing his torch threateningly.

“Witches!” he declared, any trace of his usual accent gone. A faint roll of thunder from overhead gave the word more drama than Andy could stand; crouching, he chose a fist-sized piece of wood and lifted it speculatively, eyeing the young Spaniard. Roger grabbing his wrist made him drop it in surprise.

“Andy, no!” It’s still Rafael inside, somehow. We can’t hurt them.”

“If it’s them or us, I’m going with us,” Andy insisted but let his hand fall. “Roger, we have to do something. They’re not kidding.”

“I know.” Roger shrugged helplessly. “But we’re not… whatever they are—“


“—yes, so we have no excuse.”

“We need an excuse to defend ourselves from being burnt alive by a bunch of vindictive ghosts?!” Andy demanded and if his voice was little shrill, he decided it had every reason to be. “Roger, we—“

“Silence witch!” Nadal jabbed the torch in their direction to make his point, scattering sparks, some of which landed on the stacked wood. “Put her on there too. We’ll deal with all them at the same time.”

Mirka was pushed forward, stumbling over the edge of the pyre and almost falling as Ljubicic pushed her again. There was a snarl from Roger and Andy had to grab him around the waist to stop the Swiss throwing himself at the Croat, knowing from the hostile faces all around that it would probably be a very bad idea.

“Roger,” he hissed at the Swiss, letting go with one hand to lean down and help Mirka up to the top. “What did you just tell me?”

Roger was still tense against him for a moment, stiffly furious and then he sighed, relaxing in Andy’s arms. “It’s not really them.”

“Right.” Andy cautiously let go of him. only relaxing when the Swiss didn’t hurl himself into the crowd. “Though if you still want to hurt Ljubicic after we get them through this possession thing, feel free. I’ll even help.” He looked at Mirka, now clinging to his arm with a bruising grip. There were twigs in her hair and her eyeliner was smudged down one cheek, her attempt at a smile unsteady. “You okay?”

“Yes.” She returned his disbelieving look with a slightly firmer smile, though her grip on his arm didn’t loosen. “I’m fine.”

Roger caught one of her hands, pulling her the few steps over to him into a hug and she went with a smile, though she didn’t let go of Andy. “I’m glad you’re okay…” Roger started to murmur, softly, then his eyes went wide, going down to the wood at their feet. “Andy.”

“Wha-“Startled, Andy followed his stare and swore at the thin trails of smoke drifting up from the pyre, probably from the sparks of Rafael’s torch. “We- we should probably run.”

“Where?” Roger asked despairingly, looking around at the tight circle of players. “They won’t let us through.”

Andy backed up, stopped short as his back hit the stake. “Since the alternative is being burned alive Roger, I’ll take the angry tennis players any day. Maybe back this—“ He turned, meaning to head down the back of the pyre where the crowd was thinnest and stopped short as the first of the torches was thrust into the stack of wood, catching instantly. Andy had to back up a step from the heat.

Roger grabbed his arm and dragged him back, out of the flames’ reach. Thunder rumbled again overhead, loud enough to make all three of them flinch this time and Andy wrapped his arms around Roger to keep them all upright, bitterly regretting not making a move on the Swiss before. Maybe then they wouldn’t have come to the stupid party if he had; maybe they’d be snuggled together in a bed somewhere, sharing strawberries or mid-sex or—

“Andy,” Roger whispered, pale in the flickering light, smoke starting to drift up around them now. “Andy look.”

“What am I supposed to be looking at?” Smoke caught in his throat and he coughed, dragging a hand over his stinging eyes. “Rog, I—“

Fingers caught his chin in a tight grip, pushing it up so he was staring at the sky. Lightening was flickering ominously across the heavy clouds, low and thick and full of—

“Rain.” Mirka sounded desperate, her hand on Andy’s arm slipping down to find his hand, gripping it tight. “It’s going to rain.”

It was, Andy realised, the thunder rumbling closer, almost overhead. He gently detatched Roger’s fingers from his chin and wrapped an arm around the Swiss’s waist, pulling him close. Roger leaned against him without taking his eyes off the sky and Mirka shuffled closer too, still gripping his hand.

“Hey look,” Andy said softly, listening worriedly to the crackle of the flames around the edges of of the pyre. The smoke was getting thicker and Mirka coughed, pulling the neckline of her dress up to cover her mouth. “If we don’t—“

“It’ll rain,” Roger interrupted, staring fixedly at the clouds. When Andy opened his mouth to try again, the Swiss shook his head emphatically. “It will.”


“God, don’t you ever shut up?” Roger muttered, only half-exasperated and his hand came up to tangle in Andy’s hair, pulling the American forward. Andy thought he heard Mirka laugh at his muffled “ngh” of shock before Roger kissed him again and then he couldn’t think of anything but the other man’s mouth on his, demanding all his attention. He was so absorbed in kissing Roger, fingers tightening convulsively on the Swiss’s hip as teeth dragged across his lower lip, opening his mouth to the push of Roger’s tongue, that he barely noticed the first cold splatter of rain across his face. Only Mirka’s grip half-crushing his fingers made him reluctantly lean back, breathless –

-- and the rain came pouring down in torrents, soaking him from his shoulders downwards, streaming into his eyes until he could hardly see Roger standing just inches away. The flames licking at their feet died with a few helpless hisses as did the torches and everything was plunged into darkness.

For a few, relieved moments, Andy didn’t move. Roger was still pressed against him and his hand was still locked tight with Mirka’s, though he couldn’t see either of them in the darkness. He didn’t need to; Roger was leaning into him, close enough to get his point across even if he hadn’t already kissed Andy – twice, Andy was still dealing with the shock of it – and Mirka stepped in just as close a moment later, lips brushing his ear.

“So,” she murmured over the sound of the rain. “Since getting burned as a witch isn’t on your to-do list anymore, I guess you’re free tonight.”

“I might be,” he said with a grin, turning his head so his lips brushed her rain-wet cheek. “Depends what you have planned.”

Roger leaned in, his mouth finding Andy’s even in the dark. “Oh,” he whispered against Andy’s lips, tone wickedly suggestive. “I’m sure you’ll like it.”

* * *

An hour later, Andy was leaning against his rental car, waiting for Roger to get back from trying to talk a tearful Rafael out of the room he’d locked himself into. With the fire out and the rain pouring down, everyone had… ‘woken up’ was the best comparison Andy could come up with, players slinking away or coming over to them to apologise with varying tones of guilt. No one had really discussed what had happened; no one really wanted to. The few tournament officials present had been as affected as everyone else and Andy doubted anyone blamed them, since it was probably hard to arrange a mass possession by the vindictive ghosts of witch hunters.

Still, he thought he’d keep a close eye on them for the rest of the week. Just in case.

Beside him Mirka was almost asleep, head resting on his shoulder. Andy shifted just enough to slide his arm around her and she snuggled against him with a murmur of appreciation, dress still damp under his hands. The rain hadn’t lasted long, just enough to thoroughly soak everyone and Andy was just reflecting miserably on how soggy his feet were when Mardy came out the house, helping a still-dazed James. He glanced over at Andy and smiled, supporting James as they walked over.

“Hey And. Weird night huh?”

“Yeah, you could say that.” Andy shifted his arm around Mirka to get more comfortable, noting Mardy’s smirk. “Not one word Mar.”

“Me? Would I even think of such a-“

“Mardy,” Andy said, a note of warning in his tone. The other American relented, though a trace of smirk still lingered.

“Fine, I’ll stop. Especially since I wanted a favour – could you give James a ride back to the hotel with us?”

“Ye- actually.” Andy paused thoughtfully, nudging Mirka who made a sleepy sound. “Mirka, are you and Roger coming to the hotel for the night?”

“Mmm. Probably.” Mirka buried her face against his neck, muffling her next words. “Ask Roger.”

With a grin, Andy tossed the car keys across to Mardy who caught them one-handed. “Take the car. I’ll go with Roger and Mirka.”

Mardy hesitated, keys dangling from a fingertip. “You’re sure you want this? I mean, three—“

“Goodnight Mardy,” Andy cut him off, still grinning as he pushed off the car with a growled protest from Mirka for being made to move. He squeezed James’s shoulder with the hand not around her as he went past, shooting Mardy a wicked look. “Make him grovel for knocking you out James. He deserves it.”

Mardy’s outraged “Hey!” was left behind as Andy walked to the door, half-carrying Mirka who refused to loosen her grip on him. He hesitated on the brink of going in, uncertain and then Roger saved him the decision by walking out, right into him.

“Ow.” Andy grabbed the Swiss as he stumbled backwards, helping him catch his balance. “Sorry.”

“I’m fine,” Roger assured him. A smile crept across his face as he took in Mirka, curled half-asleep against Andy, her eyes closed and curls of blond falling over her face. “She doesn’t look like she’ll be letting go any time soon.”

“She is still awake and can hear you talking about her Roger Federer,” Mirka grumbled without opening her eyes. “Can we go back to the hotel now?”

“”Yes. Rafael’s not quite so upset now he knows I’m not angry, though I think the whole thing might take some getting over.” Roger rested a hand on Andy’s back as they crossed the yard to what Andy assumed was Roger’s car, the Swiss’s fingers tangling in the fabric of Andy’s shirt, as if to keep hold of him. “Andy, will you be… staying with us?”

“With pleasure,” Andy said softly, trying to ignore the desperate surge of hope. “If you want me to.”

The smile Roger was flashed at him was broad, amused. “Why do you think we came all the way from Switzerland to be here?” He caught Andy’s hand as the American was helping Mirka into the car and pulled him in close, brushing their lips together. “You know, it was worth being almost burnt alive to get you.”

“Yeah well next time, just try asking.” Andy kissed him again, lightly, and pulled away, climbing into the car beside Mirka in the backseat. “Let's get out of here.”

“The sooner the better,” Mirka agreed sleepily, sliding across the seat to snuggle against him. Andy absently petted her hair as they drove out of the yard, twisting to watch the house fade into the dark behind them.

“I have a suggestion,” he murmured to Roger, lowering his voice so as not to disturb Mirka. Roger glanced at him curiously in the mirror, frowning slightly.


Andy smiled at him, loving the answering one from the Swiss, a shiver running down his spine from the edge of suggestion, of want in it. Despite being locked up, tied up, almost burnt alive and then soaked, maybe he was glad he went to the party after all. It seemed it'd got him Roger and Mirka and, after wanting at least Roger for so long, Andy thought he’d even deal with possessing ghosts again. Though, to be on the safe side…

“Next year,” he suggested, “if they throw a Halloween party for us? Let's just stay home.”

~ Fin ~

Date: 2005-11-04 03:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Posted to the locked post re: the spelling problems. And some other stuff. *pouts*

However, I love this and the possession bit? Freaky. They should've known they were possessed by Rafa's English. :-/ I'm just glad that ANdy calling Mardy by name snapped him out of it so they could go help Roger.

Intense and lovely. Worth the wait. :-)

Date: 2005-11-04 03:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Eeee, thank you so much! I've never realised before how many things I miss without my spell check. -_- And I know I'm sorry about the Mardy/Tommy thing but I write so much Andy/Roger, I like to throw in some new pairings on the outside every so often. Plus I'm pretty much in love with the idea of Mardy/James. The pictures of them in that article on James in Deuce a while back, plus the fact that it seems they mention each other almost as much as Andy mentions Mardy? Totally sold me on them a couple. Sorry. :)

I had to have a slightly freaky Halloween fic. ^__^ All summer I planned Rafa's part to be played by Marat... and then he isn't at Paris. And then I realised neither is Rafa and had a brief, frantic rewrite of a few lines. All the boys getting injured plays hell with my plotbunnies. -_- And I'm glad Mardy saved the day too... I like Roger far too much to turn him into charcoal. ;-)

Thank you. *blushes* I'm very glad you like it, since my muses still feel rusty after a month of not really writing at all.

Date: 2005-11-04 06:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*grin* So write Andy and Roger with other people and leave my Mardy/Tommy alone!! *pouts*

It was fun. I love scary fic. Well, technically, Roger wasn't there either... and by the way, Marat will be there to present the winner with their trophy. I saw that... somewhere. I don't remember where now. :-P *pets Mardy* He's a good boy. Got horrible tastes in this, but he's a good boy. *snuggles Roger* I think you would've had a mutiny on your hands if you'd let Rogi get fried.

*pets you* Then gee, write more!! ;-)

Date: 2005-11-04 04:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*cracks up at the last line*

Mmmm........that was fun! Again, Again!! *bounces*

Poor Rafa though *huggles him*

*snorts at Mardy knocking James out*

Date: 2005-11-04 04:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Now, I wasn't expecting THAT. Damn.

I almost want to kick Rafa for what he did, but I'm sure he was so very sorry afterwards I just can't *pets him a little*

Roger and Andy? Yum, as usual. And the fact Mirka's in there too just makes it cuter *snuggles them*

I really thought they were gonna burn Roger. Poor baby *snuggles more*

I really liked this! Worth the wait, as Katie said :)

Date: 2005-11-04 05:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
oh wow. that was really scary, because I was reading it in a dark room at night. oh my gosh. the minute the mention of witches and ghosts appeared, I got a little squemish, because I'm a little bit scared of such things, but I'm glad I stuck it through.

I really liked how determined and steely Mirka is in this. I bet she's like that in real life. And the first few lines with Mardy and Andy really made me laugh out loud.

It was wonderful.

Date: 2005-11-04 06:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well worth the wait! I actually got a little creeped out. Rafael as the ringleader gave me the willies. Loved tough chick Mirka in this, and the way Andy reacted when he felt like they were starting to gang up on his Roger.

Just one question...did Mirka and Andy and Roger make it rain (without knowing they could)? That's the idea I got, and I'm running with it.

Date: 2005-11-04 10:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Original, intriguing, involving with an amazing characterization.

What’s he doing here? And he knows that someone stole his shirt right?”
This line made me laugh aloud...
Great great fic

Date: 2005-11-05 09:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yay! I'm so glad you're finished! Good thing too because I was about to read "The Edge of Night" for the five thousandth time. Not that I don't like that story but still it's nice to have some new fic.

Love the costumes. They are so perfect for the characters! And yeah they should just stay away from the ATP parties from now on:).

Date: 2005-11-08 09:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*snuggles Rafa* You did so not mean to try and burn Roger as a witch, or hurt Andy or Mirka. *nods* It was the evil spirits of crazy French peasants that did it. You are still a cute little Spanish boy and Roger still loves you in a strictly platonic sense as you belog to Carlos ... and possibly ever other Spanish speaker in existence, but that is beside the point.

And in a completely unrelated note, I am not as late with my feedback as I thought I was. Which doesn't mean I'm not late. But I blame work and school and essays and tests.

I love how Roger goes hoping that he and Mirka can lure Andy into their web and Andy goes thinking that he'll never get a chance with them. So really, the evil spirits of a crazy French peasant mob who want to burn pretty, tennis-playing men may have done them all a favor.

But I cannot get over my absolute hatred of Blake's fans at the US Open to like him enough to see him with Mardy. *snuggles Mardy*

And there was something else I wanted to say, really, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was now.

Date: 2007-07-10 03:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
OH MY GOD this is brilliant :D:D:D!!!

OK, OK, where should I start?

I think the thing I like the most is how I can practically see the whole thing unfolding as if I were watching a movie in my head. I absolutely enjoyed it.

I love your choices of the costumes for the characters, kind of reflect them (though that doesn't mean Mirka is a witch no no *g*) and poor roger getting so scared - hell, anyone would be scared our of their mind at the prospect of being burned alive. I love your Andy and Mirka and how Andy wants them both for him and it turns out they both want him too *g*.

Rafa as the leader of the witch-burner made me giggle XD. Especially when Andy said, Since when do you speak good English?? XDXD.

Thanks for this, clo :D. I very much enjoyed this one ♥♥♥

Date: 2007-08-24 10:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh that is hugely amazingly different. I love it, great idea, quite refreshing actually, I LOVE halloween! =D


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