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September 10

Do you think McGonnagal wears plaid knickers?

September 11

I do. They're made out of scratchy black wool crosshatched with fat, hideous red and yellow stripes. I bet she has a nasty rash on her arse from January 1 through December 31. Not that I needed that mental image while eating my kippers.

September 12

Good morning, Potter. Did you have a good summer? If you spent it with those horror stories you call relatives, I rather doubt it. You look like shit, to be honest. Tired. Sad.

I saw them once, picking you up at the station. Your fat cousin with the piggy eyes; he's so large I imagine he and Hagrid could swap clothes. Your aunt, a shriveled piece of work, her mouth all puckered up in disgust at the sight of you. And your even more enormous uncle. Did he ever have a neck? Do you know I got the feeling he wanted to hit you. That your merely standing there made him want to backhand you. Am I right?

September 15

My summer was fair to middling. A lot of time spent by myself. A lot of wanking off.

September 16

I see you looking around, wondering who is owling you these letters. I have no intention of revealing myself. Call it a random whim. I've often gotten into trouble with my whims, but live by the sword, die by the sword; or, in this case, the quill. I like how a quill feels cupped in my hand, how the feather kisses my chin every now and then.

September 17

Merlin, Granger can be shrill, can't she? I never gave a thought to how your friends might interpret these silly little letters of mine. To put the record straight: I am not Voldemort. I am not an agent of Voldemort. If you want me to continue writing to you, nod your head.

September 21

Good. Instead of the owl business, I'll leave your letters in the visor of the armor on the third floor near the Charms classroom.

September 22

I never intended for you to respond. It might be wiser if you don't. I'll answer a couple of your questions. I am a seventh-year male. I am not a Gryffindor. I will not tell you which house I am in. I will not tell you whether we are friends or not. It doesn't matter.

I smelled the weather change today. Of all the seasons, I like autumn best, although I am rather passionate about flowers. I think this is a sign I'm courting schizophrenia. My soul revels in the fading of the year, while my senses search for the scent and sight of the new.

Why am I corresponding with you? Because this is our last year, our last opportunity to "speak" to each other. Put it down to my being unbearably shy. And exceptionally curious.

I love to write letters. If you continue to ignore my remonstrations and write to me, you'll find that each time you pick up a quill you'll discover something in yourself. That the quill almost casts a spell. I am so much more honest and creative on paper than in person. Of course, it's also easy to lie on paper. Creativity and lying go hand in hand.

It's a cheap addiction. Parchment and ink cost much less than cigarettes, that's for sure. Financial considerations aside, I'm much less angry on parchment. I think before I write. Unlike my public persona. I frequently say things I later wish I hadn't; more often than not it's displaced anger searching for a target. And there are number of convenient targets.

Have you ever been angry and then hated yourself for it? Or, conversely, been angry and thought, "I had every right to be angry. Fuck off."

September 28

I haven't written in a few days because I wondered if perhaps this whole exercise was foolhardy. What could two people possibly say to each other in a year that they haven't already said in six? Then, happily, I got your hysterical letter about blowing up your Aunt Marge. I swear; I could almost see her floating over the Forbidden Forest. Where's a gun when you need it?

October 1

What do I get angry about? Far too many things to list. There isn't enough parchment in the whole of Hogsmeade. Primarily it's my family's expectations of me. I imagine you're somewhat in the same position. The wizarding world expects you to save them, more than willing to sacrifice the body and soul of a seventeen-year old boy to Voldemort. Assuming you're successful at it. But these aren't people who love you. They're faceless nobodies. My parents are never satisfied with my achievements. It's never enough. They hold their love hostage.

I don't know what is worse: to mourn for a love that is only the most ephemeral memory or to mourn for a love that is only too real but always out of reach.

October 5

For god's sake, Potter, did you write this while flying on your broom? I actually used a translation charm to decipher it. No excuses. Do not scrawl again. It is rude to expect your correspondents to cast spells on a piece of parchment that looks like it lined the nest of a hippogriff. I am not joking. My letters to you take time. Look at them as a gift. If you can't spend the time it takes to write a decent letter, don't write at all. Do not feel obligated to write. I am not interested in appearances. We must be honest with each other or this whole thing is off.

No, I've never been in love, nor do I wish to be. Love in my world is synonymous with obligation, demands, duty. Yes, I can imagine in your case it's slightly different; you feel a weightlessness, a lack of center. Well, you can have some of my center. Have you read about the Salem witch trials (why is truth so much scarier than fiction?) where they killed wizards and witches by placing a board on their bodies and then piled rocks on top of the board, one by one, eventually crushing them to death? Some days I can barely put one foot in front of the other, the stones are that heavy.

October 15

Dating? I suppose you could call it that. Catting around is more like it. I've got a reputation, somewhat deserved, but, fucking hell, I'm a seventeen-year old boy. I think about sex all the time. The ache is so intense, I started smoking last year just so I could put something in my mouth. I spend hours imagining what someone looks like under their robes. What they might feel like under my hands, my mouth. And no, I am not lusting after McGonnagal and her woolen knickers. No matter how many times I wank off, which I do at least twice a day, I'm always thinking about sex. Don't you?

October 18

Three times a day on average. I'm impressed, Potter. Who'd have thought that behind that shuffle and blush lurked a perverted wanker?

October 22

My sexual experience? I debated whether to tell you this, because on the one hand, it might be a little bit of a relief if you turned out to be a righteous homophobic bigot, but if you aren't, then you've gone up several notches in my estimation of you. Which could be problematic.

I am gay.

I've had sex with several girls, and every time it felt good but wrong. A nice way of saying I got off, but what kind of endorsement is that? I'm a teenage boy. I could probably have an orgasm fucking a milk bottle. Anyway, every sexual experience with a girl left me angry and somehow empty and hungry. Not much better than a wank I could have given myself with a broken finger. Why wasn't there more? Was something the matter with me? I'd spend hours with a girl, I'd bring her to orgasm several times, and my orgasm was always ho hum. It was enough to stop me from propositioning McGonnagal, but not much more than that. A hand job, a blow job, even a fuck. It didn't matter. I'd still be horny enough to hump a banister, yet my dick was soft. Horrible.

Salvation came on a Hogsmeade weekend in our sixth year, I was standing outside of Honeydukes waiting for some friends when I saw a young wizard walking down the street. He was about twenty and dressed in the tightest black leather pants you've ever seen. I could tell where the crack of his arse started. Merlin's balls, I wanted him. I wanted to run my hands over that arse, pinch his nipples, lave my tongue over every part of his body. I desired him like I've never desired any girl and I knew. That if he gave me a hand job, a blow job, or let me fuck him that my hunger would be sated. For once. Okay, for a couple of hours, maybe, but I wouldn't feel that white hunger for just a little while.

Can you imagine not wanting?

October 26

So you're not a homophobic bigot.

And you think you might be gay, too.

I'm a little shocked, but you always surprise me. Which is a nice way of saying I'm constantly underestimating you.

Kissing that Chang bint was mortifying? You mustn't look at it like that. Utter cow. How dare she use you as some pathetic Diggory substitute. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Do not make any decisions vis a vis your sexual preference. Being a Gryffindor, you are, no doubt, looking for true love. Harry, sometimes you just need a good fuck. I suggest you try both girls and boys to determine exactly what way you swing. You might be a switch hitter. When Zabini graduates he'll probably head a new Ministry: Head of Bisexual Relations.

October 30

No, I was not being nice about Chang. I am not a nice person. You would do well to remember that. First of all, that Diggory was such a total bore. Not that he deserved to be AK'd--�but really. A grindylow has more personality than he did. For her to assume you'd willy-nilly step into his mundane shoes and be her boyfriend...� You, who are anything but mundane. I cannot write another sentence about this. It's just too ridiculous. She could have asked for comfort, and since "noble" is your middle name, you'd have donated a shoulder for her to cry on for the next ten years and not expect a single snog in return. But no. She expected you to exorcise Diggory's ghost. How cowardly. How stupid of her. Even in death we should have our dignity. She did both of you a disservice.

See you at the party.

PS. I hope my ghost has dignity, otherwise, what's the point?

November 3

Yes, I was there. I go to school here. Remember? I had a good laugh when Lavender Brown's costume was hexed off. And it wasn't Parkinson who uncharmed her costume, it was Granger. I saw her do it. Brown was chatting up Weasley over in a corner of the room, and Granger, in a jealous hissy fit (how very Slytherin of her), zapped her one. Of course, it sort of backfired because then Weasley got an eye full of Brown's luscious tits... �Oh well, the course of true love never ran smooth.

November 7

Yes, I still fuck girls. For appearance's sake. And no, I'm not officially "out." My father would kill me.

November 9

The stones are heavy today, Harry. One more and I think I will die. I can barely breathe.

November 12

Snape was dreadfully unfair to you today? Snape is dreadfully unfair to you every day. Stop whining. You'll get your N.E.W.T.S in potions, Granger will take top marks. As usual. Weasley will be in the rear. Somewhere. As usual. I refuse to discuss classroom politics with you. Too boring. Do you really want me to start cataloguing all the rules you've broken for which you never once got reprimanded? Indeed, if I remember correctly, you received extra house points for various and sundry high jinx. A discussion better left unwritten.

Let's talk about sex. Whom do you fancy? I think that Finch-Fletchley has lovely legs, Finnigan looks like he's hung (do tell do tell!), and I could never, in a million years, imagine shagging Weasley. The thought of red pubic hair! No fucking way. Oh, you possess a rather nice arse. Quite nice. Your shoulders filled out over the summer. Are you brown all over? You also have sexy hands.

November 15

Do I have a nice arse? I haven't had any complaints.

Yes, I've fucked quite a few boys. Blaise is an excellent fuck; his cock is the size of Wales. No, I'm not exaggerating. Extremely enthusiastic (if a bit loud) and always willing. Do not let him top you or you won't be able to ride your broom for a week. I might as well confess; we had a brief but torrid affair. He's the best of both worlds: an aggressive bottom. Which is the way I like them. Sometimes I wonder if I ever fucked a truly aggressive girl that I'd play both sides of the fence. Strike that. I'm an unrepentant shirt-lifter. I forgot about Pansy. A male top with a female body.

Stay away from Terry Boot; he's twisted. Likes it rough and like to give it rough.

If you follow my advice and experiment with the fairer sex, Lavender Brown really does have nice tits (if you like that sort of thing), and she'll pretty much fuck anything with two legs and no spots. You don't have any spots that I can see so you'd be in like, well, Harry.

I'm going to start charging you for advice, Potter.

November 20

Finnigan has a dick the size of a gherkin! What a fucking shame. I was under the sad delusion that all Irish were hung like horses. Is he any good at giving blow jobs? Nature abhors a vacuum.

November 26

You know, Harry, if you ask Finnigan to give you a blow job, we'd both benefit from your experience: (1) you'd get your dick in someone's mouth--I firmly believe that blow jobs are impossible to screw up, even Longbottom could give a decent head; and (2) I'd get to read about it in detail. Lick. By. Lick.

December 1

You have no need to be embarrassed. Your innocence is actually quite charming and not just a little sexy. When men fuck men, one person is dominant. The top. The person who puts his dick up your arse. This is the person in power. The person getting the dick up his arse is subservient. Or, in sex slang, the dom and sub. Why? Because nature really didn't really intend for dicks to be thrust up arseholes. This sounds like buggering someone is painful, and that the person on the bottom is screaming for mercy. Not true. All I can say is that if I knew I'd never have sex with a man again, I'd kill myself. It's all about trust. The bottom trusting the top not to ram his dick into you. Timing, a decent rim job, and generous helpings of lube also have a lot to do with it. I'm not sure what you'd be: a top or a bottom. You are a very trusting person, too trusting, actually, but you do have an edge to you. No one watching you on your broom would ever take you for a bottom.

Interesting.

December 2

A rim job? When someone sticks their tongue up your arse. Basically, you snog someone's rectum. And before you shriek and drop this parchment in utter disgust, I will tell you that when someone does it to you, you'll be shrieking and it won't be in disgust. It will be more like, "Oh fuck, don't stop! Don't stop!" Trust me on this one.

Lube? Something to ease the way. There are a couple of charms one can use to prepare another person's arse for an eager dick, but I like the Muggle way best. Call me old-fashioned. Rim job first, then the person doing the fucking usually coats their fingers and dick in lube (any substance that is oily) and then sticks first one, then two, then three fingers up the fuckee's arse--or four fingers if you're stupid enough to bottom for Zabini--to ease open the muscles for the fucker. Once the fuckee is loose enough, or frankly begging hard enough, fucker eases dick into fuckee. Then the fun really starts.

Why does one person have to be the top and the other the bottom? Why can't they just fuck? Be equals? I don't know, I think it has to do with us essentially being pack animals; someone is always the top dog, so to speak. You might actually be the one person who upends that whole notion.

For your wanking pleasure. Suck on one of your own fingers, stick it gently, and I mean gently, up your arse, and bring it in and out while you jerk off.

December 3

You used two fingers? Perverted wanker. I knew you'd like it. What self-respecting faggot wouldn't?

December 5

Am I good in bed? I don't know how to answer that question. I've fucked Zabini, and he was in hog heaven the whole time. Boot fucked me, and he would probably say I was hung up and a lousy lay.

Am I a top? Yes. I'm a definite top; however, recent events have led me to wonder if that's always the case. I'm beginning to wonder if I just haven't found my top. I do know that it isn't Boot!

Let me tell you what I'd do to you if you were my partner. Hypothetically, of course, and I am only using your name as an example.

Assume we're lying down on someone's bed. Yours or mine. I like creature comforts. The shag against a door is all fine and good every now and then, but for our first encounter, I prefer that we focus on each other, not on the splinters digging into our arses.

We are clothed and nervous. Even me. Our hands are shaking. Merlin's balls, we want each other that much. First, I run my hands over your face, tracing the line of your jaw and cheek bone, the curve of your mouth with a gentle forefinger. I remove your glasses. You shake your head because you feel too vulnerable when you can't see. I understand this. I place them on the bedside table. I take your hand in mine and let you feel where they are. I whisper, "They're right next to you on the nightstand. It's okay." Your shoulders relax and you whisper "okay" back to me.

Propped up on one elbow, I look at you for a minute. You really are quite beautiful, Harry. When I feel your shoulders tensing up again, wondering what I am doing (have you thought of charming your eyes so that you can see all the time, you silly git), I lean down and kiss the side of your mouth. Not as a tease, but as a question. "Do you want me to kiss you again?" You respond favorably (i.e., moaning, hissing, something along those lines). I lick your bottom lip with my tongue. Again, another question. Do you want my tongue in your mouth? Let's assume you agree to this, manifested by some tangible physical reaction (like grinding your groin into mine). Then we explore each other's mouths with our tongues. It starts off slowly, perhaps a little tentatively, because you're shy and unsure, and I don't want to scare you off; however, because you're a randy bugger, you ramp up the intensity of the kiss fairly quickly, and I follow suit. All hell breaks loose. We begin to bruise each other's mouths in a futile attempt to get "more." More remains elusive even as we lick, suck, and inhale each other.

We break away because both of us are panting so heavily, and we are frightened (yes, me, too) about just how intense that kiss was.

I must taste behind your ear. I move on top of you and lave, kiss, and suck your ear, your neck, your collarbone, all the while grinding my erection against yours in lovely little circular motions. I run my hands under your ratty tee shirt (will you buy yourself some decent clothes?) to pinch your nipples while I eat your neck. I saw you in the shower once. Your nipples are gorgeous. Are they sensitive? I hope so. Let's assume yes. You begin to moan into my kiss because my fingers are doing very wicked things to your nipples. I bend down and begin to do even more wicked things to your nipples with my mouth. While caressing one nipple with a thumb, I caress the other with my tongue. I bite down gently and pull. You arch up into me, oh, Harry, your dick is so hard against mine; I can't stand it. I move back up to your mouth to kiss you again. I didn't think it was possible to kiss someone like this, but we tear at each other's mouths. You grab my arse with both hands and pull me against you. Hard. Christ. I roll us on our sides and gently cup your erection with my palm and close my hand around it. I can feel the heat of you through your trousers. I begin to massage your dick. You're so excited a wet spot seeps through the fabric. You call my name and whisper, "Please, oh please." Are you aware you're saying these things? I unbutton and unzip your trousers. You bat my hands away, and with your own hands you scramble to pull down your trousers and pants. I wrap my hand around your dick. I whimper. You feel like no one else, Harry. You feel so fucking good. With one hand massaging your balls, my other begins pumping you in a slow steady motion, with a nice little twist at the end. I watch your face. You begin to fuck my hand, up the pace. Now I know what you'll look like when you fuck someone, because you are a top, Harry, no doubt in my mind. Another time we'll take it slow, but not this first time. You're desperate. You begin to pump faster. I cannot take my eyes off of your face. When you come, I've never seen anything so beautiful in my life. Your joy, the fact that it was me, my hand, my mouth, that brought you to this place. Me.

I think it a colossal mistake to send this letter. I know I will rue it.

December 9

I should trust my instincts. I apologize. I'm not trying to seduce you. In fact, let me reiterate: it would be a fatal mistake if we met. It would not be like the previous letter at all, I can assure you. I'd prefer it if we do not discuss our sex lives again. Since you do not yet have a sex life, we shall stop discussing mine.

Yes, I do pick up and drop off letters when I know you're busy. Why are you so insistent that we meet? Expose ourselves. Isn't this enough? To have no expectations, no pre-conceived notion of the writer, the writer only defined by what he writes on the page. I find this enormously liberating. Aren't you enjoying this? I am.

December 10

Yes, I'm selfish. Yes, I know who you are, but you do not know who I am. In rebuttal, however, I say to you that we are equal. I have no expectations of you beyond your written page. I'm more honest with you than I've been with anyone in my entire life. This isn't a stretch for you, as you are, by nature, an honest person. Perhaps the reality is that I need this cloak of secrecy and you don't. Can you accept that?

I am not a little surprised that you have yet to figure out my identity. It seems fairly obvious to me. After giving it some thought, I've concluded that either (a) you're an utter moron, or (b) your perception of the letter writer is completely antithetical to your perception of the real person. The latter I suspect.

In light of this spectacular disconnect, I doubt I'll ever reveal my identity. Probably a blessing for both of us. If my insistence at anonymity becomes onerous and you wish to stop writing, just say so. It isn't fair. I agree. I am not a fair person. All I can say in my own defense is that the person on this page is someone no one else has had the privilege to meet.

December 15

Thank you.

What do I want to do after school? That is as much out of my hands as it is yours. All I want to do is survive this war, although I am not convinced that the survivors will be the lucky ones. Aren't you ever furious that you never were allowed to be a boy? If I were you, I'd probably be institutionalized in St. Mungo's by now. First, parked at those nasty relatives of yours after your parents were murdered, then saddling you with saving the wizarding world single-handedly when you were just a child. A CHILD!

While you are the ultimate poster boy for sacrifice, we've all dedicated most of our souls to this impending battle. There isn't a child here at Hogwarts that doesn't talk about "Before the war," "During the war," "After the war." The war is our yardstick, our measure. For everything.

You and I have morphed into men over the summer. Our bodies have betrayed us. But I don't feel like a man, nor did I ever feel like a child. Ever. I don't think you did either.

Not that I realized this until recently.

While walking through Muggle London this summer, I fell in behind the most annoying Muggle brood. There must have been twenty in this family. Oh all right, five of them. The parents were being extraordinarily silly, making faces, sticking out their tongues, and telling jokes where the beginning of every joke began with "Knock, knock." I kid you not. It was completely inexplicable. Amazingly, the children were amused by all this, giggling for what seems like hours after every joke. My first thought was if either of my parents were to ever display such lack of gravitas, I'd owl St. Mungo's immediately and confine them to a padded room without a second thought. My second, however, was how much I hated those Muggle children for having the nerve to be so carefree. Have you ever felt carefree? I almost hexed them I was so jealous.

I stood outside of the Leaky Cauldron, watching this family walk away from me, the sound of their laughter fainter with each step they took, and I wondered if I was the only seventeen-year old who woke up in the morning chronologically seventeen but who felt like seventy. And then I realized you might know what it was like.

Our generation's childhoods were considered a given gift to Dumbledore and Voldemort. They killed off one generation and then had to wait for their offspring to grow up. How impatient they must have been! But they couldn't even see fit to let us be children. Our allegiance was demanded at our first breath. They feasted on our youth to keep the war alive. And now we are men. Ripe for killing. Are you holding on to a sliver of your soul just for yourself, Harry? Something to have after this is over? Something to share? With someone?

December 18

I am not wise. I am bitter.

December 20

Yes, I'm going home for Christmas. You are going to the Weasleys, I assume. I love Christmas. And not for what you think. Although I do admit that I am something of a present whore. But that's not all. My parents, whose relationship is probably worthy of study at St. Mungo's, really try during the holidays. They throw an enormous New Year's Eve party, the details of which are only thing in the entire fucking universe they don't fight about. They actually act like they love each other, chatting about what to serve, what party favors to hand out, what color scheme they should have this year. These discussions are endless and go on far into the night for a solid week. And it's really quite funny, because the party is the same every year. No detail changes. Not one thing. But it's like discussing the details ad nauseam makes them remember a time when they didn't fight, when they actually talked to each other instead of at each other, and we all get to pretend for a week or two that this is the way it is, instead of the way it was.

I always get a ton of very cool clothes. Which I love. Which I look very good in. In fact, I look like a fucking stud.

Happy Christmas, Harry. I hope you have a nice holiday.

January 4

I am glad you liked the gloves. Your hands looked cold the other day.

Happy New Year, Harry.

I missed you.

January 6

What a horrible way to start the New Year. Do not even consider shagging Finch-Fletchley. Possibly the worst lay I've ever had. What was I thinking? A Hufflepuff!

January 7

Yes, I slipped up there. Twice. (a) Discussing my sex life; and (b) the Hufflepuff thing. But honestly, do you think the writer of these letters is a Hufflepuff? Possibly the most insulting thing you could ever write to me.

So we've whittled down my identity to two houses: Ravenclaw or Slytherin. I'm certainly intelligent enough to be a Ravenclaw--and certainly devious enough to be a Slytherin.

Malfoy was chatting up Brown so you couldn't move in? This is the infamous Harry Potter, youngest seeker in a century, ceding to Draco Malfoy? Although I must admit, he's formidable competition in the fucking department.

Be honest. Who would you want to fuck? A Ravenclaw (a) who will make sure that there is at least a couch to bend over; (b) who will have two tubes of lube in the case of any eventuality; and (c) post-coitus will explain in excruciating detail why you had such a good time. Or. Or. The Slytherin (a) who could care less where you fuck as long as it's right now; (b) who if no lube is available will rim you until you beg; and (c) whose only comment will be, "If we don't shag right now, I'll rip your balls off."

I rest my case.

Don't be so hard on Mr. Malfoy. He wouldn't make you search for a couch while you were suffering from a crippling case of blue balls.

January 10

I can't seem to get away from discussing my sex life. Or should I say, you can't. No, he's not the world's most perfect bastard in bed as he is in every other aspect of his life. In fact, I think I can honestly say that you would be most surprised should you ever, horror of horrors, find yourself in his (or him in your) bed. He is an extremely considerate lover and, although I think he would vehemently deny this, rather playful. You would have a good time. Trust me. And he has an incredible body. Don't take my word for it; ask Zabini or Brown.

January 14

Color me surprised. You hate Malfoy. Yes, I agree he's a�what did you write�"A fucking nasty git who should have been drowned at birth." Yes, he is often nasty, and most of his fury is directed at you and your friends. It would be impossible to deny that. Although I would point out that based on the fact that Dumbledore made him Head Boy, he's not as horrible or as limited as you are determined to believe. Perhaps you are a convenient target.

January 16

Why are you a target? I don't know. Ask him. He might be more sympathetic to you than you would think. His birthright has left him with no more choice than yours did.

January 20

Malfoy was actually nice to you in Potions today? For all of thirty seconds? Let me guess. He said something polite. Being completely overwhelmed by Malfoy appearing to be remotely human, you knocked over the potion that the two of you had been working on. He responded by calling you an oaf, the two of you got into a fist-fight, and Snape ended up giving both of you detention.

January 21

Okay, so he called you a lummox not an oaf. Detention as horrible as usual? How's the eye?

January 22

You're afraid? We're all afraid. You must never think that you're alone. I am here.

January 23

The side of right? Console yourself with that notion when you are standing next Granger's grave or Weasley's grave. Or both their graves. Do you honestly believe that Death Eaters don't love their children? They believe that their cause is as "right" as you do. It's not all about power. Come on, you're not that stupid.

Why do I believe there is no "right"? Because each "side" will be digging graves. Each "side" will be burying their children, their husbands, their wives, their friends. I hope to christ your notion that it was *right* comforts you when you smell freshly turned earth from newly dug graves.

January 26

Yes, I am upset. We've never known what life is like without Dumbledore and Voldemort pitted against each other for hegemony of the wizarding world. It is almost impossible to imagine my future without this conflict defining the perimeter of my entire experience.

My birthday is soon. I've read over my letters to you. I sound so old.

When the stones are just too fucking heavy, when I feel I only have one breath left in me, I picture myself in Rome, sitting on the edge of the Trevi Fountain. It is a beastly hot day, and I have one foot in the water. I am reading a novel, an iced espresso is sitting on the stone ledge next to my leg. My knee is resting against another. A hand absentmindedly caresses my thigh.

And I can breathe again.

January 28

I will say this. I do believe that you will win. Not because you are right or that Dumbledore is right, but because you are more powerful than you know. Than Voldemort. Dumbledore knows this. I know it. I know it because I, too, am a very powerful wizard, much more so than anyone gives me credit for. I pick up your letters, and your magic caresses my fingers. It answers my own. It calls to me. Every time I get a letter from you, I press it to my face and it's like you're kissing me.

January 29

Please ignore previous letter.

February 5

Am I going to the Valentine's Day Ball? Yes, I will be there. Who are you going with?

February 7

I do not want to hear that "too shy" bullshit. Ask someone, you twit.

February 8

No, we cannot meet. You would regret it. You must trust me on this. I cannot believe you still don't know who I am.

February 9

So Zabini propositioned you? Before or after you accused him being the letter writer? Are you sure it was a real proposition? You're rather naive about these matters. But in a good way.

February 10

Good one, Potter. Yes, a hand to the crotch qualifies as a proposition. I can't believe you turned him down.

February 11

I told you to ignore that letter

February 15

I want to apologize profusely for last night. It was unforgivable of me. Not embracing you. Hexing you.

I was having a cigarette in the shadow of the tower, and I saw you sitting there in the dark. The gay tinkle of the music from the Great Hall seemed almost obscene against the dejected sloop of your shoulders. I could tell something was terribly wrong and then as I neared you, I heard you crying. I regret doing the immobility hex on you, but how else was I to comfort you? I do not regret holding you. My mother used to hum that exact lullaby in my ear when I was small. It always made me feel safe and loved. Did you feel safe and loved?

February 16

Good.

February 20

You played a brilliant game. Congratulations! You always do. No, I didn't see Malfoy's face when you got the snitch on the last second, but I can imagine the rage, the frustration. I don't think he will ever beat you, but you do have to admire him for never giving up. Don't feel very well, must sign off.

February 24

Yes, I feel better. Marginally.

February 26

My mother and I visited London last summer for our yearly mother/son shopping binge. Since we have virtually nothing to say to each other these days, all discussion revolves around whether this year's fashions are more hideous than last year's. Inevitably they are, but it doesn't stop us from spending a goblin's weight in galleons. Clothes are one of the few safe topics left. Other commentary, say, "Merlin's balls, that arse is begging to be shagged," wouldn't go over well.

While my mother was getting fitted, I walked into a Muggle shop to buy a pair of black leather pants. A mystery: Why are Italian Muggles the only tailors on this entire planet who can sew a decent pair of leather pants? Another aside: I look utterly shaggable in these pants. A wet dream walking.

Anyway, while debating over the color of one pair of black pants versus another pair of black pants--yes, there are various shades of black, so stop rolling your eyes, Potter--the background music changed. I stood transfixed for the entire duration of the song. When it ended, I buttonholed a salesman, unshaggable with a capital "U," and asked him if he knew the name of the band. "The Beatles," he sneered. "What planet did you grow up on?" Pat me on the back, Harry. I did not hex his dick to the size of a nicoise olive. Although I was sorely tempted. The one line that has haunted me ever since is, "And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love you make."

Doesn't that capture perfectly a Gryffindor/Slytherin romance? Stop frowning, Harry. Light and dark. Give and take. You're frowning again. Think about it. The Gryffindor teaches the Slytherin about love, and the Slytherin teaches the Gryffindor about passion.

February 27

That's the first nice thing you've said about him. I was beginning to think you were harboring a very unhealthy obsession about Malfoy. Elegance on a broom. He would like to be described that way.

March 1

Because you write about him all the fucking time. That or my sex life. No, I haven't been with anyone for weeks. Well, that's not true. Zabini and I had a one-off, and it was fucking awful. All my fault. I'm jerking off all the time. It stops me from going mad, but only just.

Stop badgering me about meeting.

March 8

Fuck you, Potter. You and that fucking invisibility cloak. I WARNED YOU! In almost every letter. How meeting me would be an enormous mistake. How you would regret it. Yet, being the nosy, insufferable, never let anything lie, Gryffindor GIT that you are, you had to push it. Had to find out.

Don't you dare say that I deceived you. That I duped you. Everything I've written to you in the past few months has been true and honest. Everything. I've been more honest with you than I've EVER been with ANYONE in my entire life, and you've reduce it to some pathetic payback. Like I'm going to announce to the Great Hall that Harry Potter is a fucking faggot. That he likes to put his fingers up his arse when he wanks off. If you think I'd do that after all these months, fuck you!

How could you not know it was me? Are you fucking clueless? Practically every single letter screams "DRACO MALFOY WROTE THIS!"

I know why you're so furious. You've discovered I'm not the person you thought I was. I'm a fairly decent human being, someone you actually like. How perfectly galling! Someone you're dying to fuck. You want to fuck me, don't you? Fuck that toerag, Malfoy. That makes you sick to your stomach, doesn't it? That's why you're furious. Not at me, but at yourself.

You can just fuck yourself, Potter. With ten fingers for all I care.

April 1

No, I do not want to meet with you. This is done.

April 4

I am owling you this letter because you MUST read it. If you don't read it to the very end, I will send you a Howler next time, and the entire school will hear what I have to say. You know me. I will do it.

Are you trying to wind me up on purpose? I told you to leave Boot alone for a very good reason. The third time we fucked he essentially raped me. He'd been a little rough the first two times in a skating-close-to-the-edge but still exciting and not yet freaky sort of way. The third time he completely lost it. He likes to humiliate his partners, hurt them. I think it's because he hates himself for being gay, hates his partners for making him desire them. Stay away from him. He'll hurt you.

Do you want the gory details? He threw me on the ground, pushed me onto my stomach, and shoved into me without any lube or anything. Tore into me. Called me a bunch of names, horrible names, while he battered my arse and kidneys. Do you know why? To punish me. Because my arse was so sweet that he got off. And he hated me for it. More? Want to hear about how I bled for days afterwards, pissed blood for a week. More?

I have no right to ask this, but I am begging you. Please stay away from him.

April 7

Yes, I pushed him off his broom. I saw him copping a feel off of you under the table at the Three Broomsticks. He's lucky he only broke his arm. He so much as looks in your direction again and I'll break the bastard's other arm. With my bare hands.

April 9

Stop owling me, you annoying twit! You want to apologize in person. Right. I'll give you three minutes. Astronomy Tower, 11:00 pm.

April 10

How did I know? I didn't. I just hoped it would be like that.

May 10

Yes, I do. No, I can't say it, I cannot even write it. Just know that I do.

June 3

You saw the owl from my father. The summons. Yes, I am called to take my Dark Mark. He writes in glowing terms about the glory of serving the Dark Lord. You can fill in the blanks. Basically it's time for me to show the world that Lucius Malfoy has raised his son to be the penultimate little Death Eater.

I must now make a choice. Several months ago I wrote to you that I felt unbearably trapped, that I didn't have a choice. Now you offer me a choice, and I hate you for it. I must choose between you and my history, my family, even perhaps my destiny.

You are ruthless, Harry. A ruthlessness I've only seen you display on the Quidditch field. But then again, I've never seen you in love. Sending me a picture of the Trevi Fountain. Do you even know what you're asking? You think that all this "baggage," as you refer to it, is nothing. Just window dressing. It's what has defined me for nearly twenty years. It is my birthright just as much as being the son of Saint James Potter and Saint Lily Evans is yours. You are not asking me to give up much. You are asking me to give up everything.

Suppose I say yes. Do you think that Granger and Weasley will ever accept me in your world? Granger? Maybe in twenty years. Weasley? Never. He will hate me until the day he dies. And he will never forgive you for putting him in the position of choosing between his hatred of me and his love for you.

I'm sitting on the edge of the lake, a cigarette dangling out of my mouth. These fags are going to kill me. One finger worries the bruise you put on my neck last night, a reminder of your passion. Your passion for me. I stare at my other hand, the one that wears my family's signet ring.

I do not know what I am going to do. Know that I love you. Very much.

I feel like a snitch. There's you and my father, both seekers. On my father's side is six hundred years of power and tradition and history. On your side, there is the promise of iced espresso and passion and love. You are both reaching for the snitch simultaneously, it's only a question of who is faster. But then you rarely lose, do you, Harry?

It does beg the question. Does the man choose his lover or does the boy choose his father?

The day is warm, and my fingers are swollen from the heat. I take off my shoes and wade into the lake up to my ankles. A shiver snakes up my spine, the cool water licks at my toes. I think of Rome, you at my side, our feet in the water, and all of a sudden I am there. We are there. Together. I close my eyes and imagine the smell of history that is peculiar to Rome. I slide my hand into the water in the hope that the chill will ease the pressure on my fingers. Loosen the ring.

Do you know that "ciao" is both hello and goodbye in Italian?


Sequel to this is Lush Life