"I need to know the way you feel.
I'll give you everything I am
And everything I want to be
I've put it in your hands … "
~ The Color of the Night
"Seamus, wait!" I try to stop him but I can't.
He shrugs my hand off his shoulder. "Dammit. I've told you before, I’ve got no time for this," he snaps. He leaves so fast, without looking at me.
It's always like this. Every time I try to get him to explain - explain us - Seamus looks busy and excuses himself, taking off as quickly as he can. He'll avoid me for weeks. I'm sure that today and tomorrow he'll enter the dorm just in time for bed, take off his robe with his back to me and jump into his bed drawing the curtains. All without looking at me.
As if I haven't seen him naked before.
As if I'll burn him by looking.
As if there's nothing between us at all.
It'll likely go on for two or three weeks, and then one day he'll swagger up to me in an empty corridor after dinner and breathe into my ear, skipping the hello's: "Potter, do you wanna...?"
His lips will make 'Potter' sound obscene, like a curse. Like a password.
We'll slide into an empty classroom or check if our dormitory is empty. And then we'll do what he calls 'wanking together' and I don't, because I don't know what this thing really is.
Every time I try to figure it out, I ask Seamus about it. When I do, he’ll say "Harry", like we're friends - just a pair of mates who had a row - if you could call a weeks-long silence a row.
This time, I watch the empty corridor he disappeared into and I am sick - sick and tired of it all.
I don't know how to end it.
Ugh. I must've caught a cold during yesterday's practice. My throat hurts and a chill runs down my spine in waves that make me shiver. Yesterday was bad for flying: too windy, but Ginny kept us at it ‘til dark. At least it's February and it gets dark early. I didn't even feel myself getting sick last night but today I barely made it through lessons.
I should go find Madam Pomfrey, get a Pepper-up or two but I feel feverish and tired. I’m too exhausted to move so I stay in the empty Transfiguration classroom and stare at the wall. I can still hear Seamus' last words. My mind spins, overtaken by recent events.
When Angelina picked Ginny as captain nobody took it seriously. But she was really good at it and in the end we all took a vote. I raised my hand with relief: at least it left me out of the running. I just wanted to get back to playing, to being the Seeker, to hearing the spectator shouts, excited or disappointed, no matter, as I finally catch that stubborn golden ball. We’ve already won once this year, and everyone was so happy. They carried me up to the common room and started singing me praises.
I like it, but I'm no leader! I can't be responsible for all of that. After Dumbledore's Army stopped meeting, the whole school was allowed to learn Defence openly, and we no longer have to train in secret. I'm back to being a student. Just another ordinary bloke. Except I've got this scar.
And, also, I'm not into girls.
Hermione had been the first to inform me of that fact. Of course.
It was a couple months ago. We were in the library, getting ready for the next class. She asked me for a book she needed but had forgot on the shelves. I brought it to her, set the thick tome down on the corner of the desk and gathered her hair back from her face, without much thinking. Hermione pushed her hair behind her ear and muttered 'thanks' and I said 'no problem' back.
I sat and stared at the formula for Snape's next Potions homework due by the next lecture. I can't say I'm a genius at Potions but I don't make as many mistakes as I used to. Maybe I finally developed an immunity to Snape's contempt, or maybe he just stopped paying attention to me. In any case, he went along with having me in his class again - dunno what Headmaster Dumbledore did to persuade him - but in any case, I'm back in Potions for now. Even my brewing ability has improved, now that Snape’s started ignoring me during lectures.
A minute later Hermione rose to her feet and said quietly, so Madam Pince couldn't hear: "Let's go for a walk."
I blinked and looked at her. "A walk? As in a break from studying? Are you feeling alright?"
"Let’s go!" she commanded, ignoring my sarcasm. "We need to talk."
We turned in our books and left the library.
"Where to, the common room?" I asked.
"Outside," she answered, far too focused. She seemed concerned.
So outside we went. It was winter and it was getting dark early but we still had about an hour and a half of daylight left. We put on our cloaks and walked toward the iced-over lake, on the bottom of which the giant squid lay happily hibernating.
Hermione was silent and I didn't prompt her. Ron and I had had enough of "Hush! Lemme think!" thrown in our faces, so I kept quiet.
At last she faced me and touched my sleeve, bringing us to a stop. She even looked like she was about to say something, but as our eyes met she looked down.
I didn't like that.
"Hermione?" I started cautiously. "Are you alright? What happened?"
She shook her head frantically. I noticed her cheeks were scarlet, and not because it was cold - we had our winter cloaks with fur collars and our warm hats. We hadn't even walked far, so it couldn't have been the weather. I had a bad feeling about where all of this was going, very bad. I pushed the nagging sense of something terrible away and tried to ignore it. But I couldn't help but wonder: does she suspect? And so I shifted from foot to foot like an idiot, staring at her fringe and her ears turning bright red. At last she got the blush under control.
"Harry," she said softly, her eyes narrowed, "So we're friends. You, me, Ron. Right?"
"Yeah," I answered warily, not even sure what she was getting at.
"You know you can always tell us the truth."
I hate when someone asks for the truth! When someone says I don't want to tell them something, it’s never a good sign! Bloody hell, I thought, I’m not even sure what truth I'm supposed to be telling.
"All right. Just do it. Ask what you need to," I said, with a half-smile.
She wavered for another few seconds and then she spoke, selecting each word so carefully: "It's probably none of my business... tell me if it's not. Just, please, don't be mad. Um... Harry, I get this feeling you’re not interested in girls much, are you?"
I had been afraid of her asking this for awhile and I still wasn't ready to answer. I froze in front of her and couldn't even make a sound, I was just blinking at her through my glasses and kept pushing them up and fixing them on my nose. She stood in front of me all embarrassed, tugging on the bright fringe of her Gryffindor scarf. At last, I found my voice.
"What? Why would you even think that?"
"I’ve noticed something about you. You are different with us: with me, with Ginny, with Luna, I don't know who else, with all the girls. Except when you were with Cho, then you acted normal. Didn't you notice? Ron's all shy and embarrassed, and Malfoy is impossibly smug. Finnigan thinks he's better than us and you're just... friendly. But then I look at how you act with the boys - well, except for Ron - but I suppose you just get along well them, especially the boys in our House… and, oh, forget it, all right, nevermind!" she cried out at once. "It's nothing. Just, please, don't be mad! You can stop staring at me like that any second now."
She said a few other things about how she’d done some reading in the Forbidden Section and that I shouldn't be ashamed and she was sorry and that she just wanted to be supportive. But I hadn’t heard anything past 'Finnigan'. And so I went along with it. I confessed, and I also confessed that I didn’t consider myself a miserable freak and that I'd definitely share if I felt I had been. Hermione made me swear to it and that seemed to make her happy. She must've thought telling her made me feel happy. Apparently I’d seemed all gloomy and depressed. I said I felt better already because we’d talked and it was all good now. After that we headed back to the castle. Since then I tried not to give anything away and I’ve avoided her keeping an eye on me for weeks since.
I lied. Freak or not, I felt miserable. I still feel miserable.
With all the effort I can muster, I rise from the bench and walk in a daze to the classroom door. I need to get to the infirmary. I can't be sick, I can't! Not when there's a Quidditch match against the Slytherins coming up.
In the evening, when I've had enough of both medicine and Madam Pomfrey's scolding ("Potter, how old are you? You should've said something earlier! Do you want to get pneumonia?") I lie in bed and watch the others turning down the sheets and fluffing up their pillows. They'll undress, turn off the lights and some time later the silence will only be interrupted by peaceful snores.
... or by the rushed, ragged breaths of someone trying to go unheard.
It's a bad habit, listening into the silence until the entire tower quiets down, but it made me realise who I was interested in. I don't like what it's called. At all. In the Muggle world they call it queer but I'm not a Muggle and I don't know yet if I even want to use that word to describe me.
In any case, I know some blokes in our dormitory don't bother with the Silencing charms. When I hear someone moan softly, like that, it makes me want things: to grope my way around in the dark to them, jump under their warm bed covers, find that hand, same one that's rubbing at that hard cock and cover it with mine. Then replace it. I want to find dry lips in the dark and whisper: "Can I help? You'll like it..."
I know I won't do it. Not anymore, no matter how hard I get at the thought that someone might touch me back after, to be nice. No matter how much I want them to be gentle as they do so, I have too much to lose if ever give into this madness. That's how it all started with Seamus.
I did it once, I went along with my hottest fantasy, knowing that I was mad and only expecting a fuck-you in return. But Seamus was too aroused to protest and didn't push me away. Even better, after he arched up and came in my hand and caught his breath, he fumbled with his hands over my body, going lower and lower and making me choke back a moan, biting down on my own knuckles. Seamus pushed my hand away from my face and attached himself to my mouth: all fury and teeth, fucking my mouth with his tongue in the same rhythm that he rubbed at my cock. I came so fast, it was the first time anyone had ever touched me and it was so brilliant that every part of my body reached out for him. Not even my body alone: I thought I was in love with him in that very moment. I bent down to kiss the hollow between his collarbone, a fast, still broken up, but already mocking whisper interrupted me in my tracks. "Well well, Potter, didn't expect you to be such a freak. You're not so bad at it."
I stopped mid-action and looked up. At least in the dark he couldn't see how red my face was. My cheeks were so hot, and I could feel my eyes getting wet. Seamus carried on. "At least I know who to go to if I’m bored with wanking alone. I'll call you for help, yeah?"
I didn't answer and it felt as if I’d fallen from the sky and was being trampled in the dirt. He tugged on my hair. "Deal?"
I gave a miserable nod. Seamus responded with a jaw-cracking yawn and added lazily. "Right then. Clean up my sheets already and go back to bed. You can't sleep here."
I didn't sleep that night after what had happened: I was so relaxed and sated, but so humiliated. Can you blame me? Even if I did cry, so what? No one saw me. I kept my breathing quiet, I swear.
We all do things in the dark that no one's supposed to know about. And if the Boy Who Lived didn't cry fighting Voldemort, he surely wouldn't bawl after someone tossed a tiny insult towards him after he’d experienced the most wonderful thing that can be shared between two people.
I was so certain I wouldn’t be able to face Seamus again after that night but he acted like nothing had happened between us. I was relieved at that, but it was a bitter satisfaction: I was disappointed and hid it.
That evening in the common room he walked up to me and whispered in my ear:
"Well, Potter... wanna?"
My heart leapt for joy and collapsed somewhere in my stomach. Not even knowing what I was about to do, I turned and faced him, and I probably looked like a puppy, begging. It must've been such a dead giveaway that he continued with a teasing snort: "Oh, come on. You'd better not come on the spot."
We went up to our room in a hurry - not together, of course - he went first and I followed three minutes later. When I walked in. Seamus cast a locking spell on the door, although I never heard him cast it. He stood before me naked and his prick was pointing almost straight up, teasing me to taste it. With a strangled groan, I walked over to him and put my hands on his shoulders, stopping myself from falling immediately on my knees and taking him in my mouth. I think Seamus liked me hesitating. We were almost the same height - he's a bit taller maybe - so it was no problem for us to meet mouth to mouth. When I regained my senses, after a kiss burning hot like mulled wine, Seamus was fumbling with the zipper of my trousers. His robe lay on the nearest bed next to his other shed clothing, his shirt spread open. When he freed my aching cock I clung to his shoulders, losing my balance along with my wits.
He chuckled. "Let's lie down before you fall down."
Not lifting my hands off his body, I let him lead me to bed. It was his bed, and I fell down onto it, dragging him with me and putting my arms around his neck in a frantic embrace. I thought I'd lose it as soon as our bodies touched but Seamus pushed my hands away, despite my protests, and pulled back, watching me. I lay there, unbuttoned, my glasses crooked; he fixed them and then jumped off the bed as he grabbed my trousers by the pant leg and pulled. He had to sit down for that and as he straightened out, with one easy, natural move he took my prick in his mouth and wrapped his fingers around the base and - I cried out, I think. And then I exploded so hard!
I made love to him, afterwards, gentle and careful, kissing every inch of that tanned, lean body long after he came, only wishing that our hour before curfew never ended. But again, Seamus shook me off and said to fix myself up and clean the duvet.
We went on for weeks like that, sometimes every day, sometimes every two or three days. I couldn't relax, I was so afraid I’d give us away by one wayward glance or word.
And then I wanted to be sure in what I was already over-confidently calling 'us'. I didn't need a daily confession of what he felt, I just wanted to hear it once. The truth.
But it was over.
We weren't close enough, and now we never will be. When I tried to push him too hard on something so delicate, he might've called me 'Harry', but it sounded just as cold and formal from his lips as 'Potter' spat out by the likes of Snape.
Finnigan pushed me away and left me high and dry for a week; I wanted him three times as badly. I must've looked so thin and so sickly that even Ron asked if I was all right, and Hermione suddenly began talking of 'depression' treatments. Was it then that she began suspecting something's wrong with me? Her logic and intuition are good. Too good. But when it's all said and done, Seamus said those magic words in my ear just before Potions class, and it made me shudder. I can't remember how I waited til the end of the lecture; Snape gave me a Dreadful but it didn't matter, nothing mattered when it came to waiting for Seamus.
We did it again: made love, that's what I call it; or mutual wanking, that’s what he calls it.
I couldn't wait for long: I asked him again a few days later what he thought of our unusual relationship, and again I was left high and dry.
And then again.
I learned at last that I'd likely be waiting alone forever before he ever said anything kind to me.
In the rare moments we are together still, Seamus' touch is so sensual. And still, he pulls back further and further from me, or perhaps I can see that he does so much clearer now. He does not need me, maybe he never did.
God, I want him. So much.
Everyone undresses, trading jokes and going over today's happenings. I watch them from under my eyelashes, pretending to sleep.
Seamus comes in last, he doesn't even look in my direction. He seems so happy he’s nearly purring. Bile rises unwillingly against the back of my throat. Why is he making me feel so miserable, so dirty, as though what we're doing together is shameful and wrong? How can he be so happy about it all? Doesn't it bother him, not knowing where we stand?
Is he just using me to get off? Can't be! But why else would he treat me like dirt? Is it because I’m someone who needs more than just getting off? Yeah, a freak. Am I supposed to just be OK with that?
Finnigan throws me a brief glance and then walks over to his bed. I can smell him from here, he smells so good. Then he starts to undress.
I can't see him, and I'd give anything to be able to just turn my head his way and watch him. But he’d know I am doing it on purpose, that I’m still awake.
He's provoking me just to get a reaction.
At last, the creaking of the bedsprings signal that everyone's gone to bed. The dorms grow darker and in that darkness I hear Seamus.
"Daaamn, guys, Patil's just as good as they say."
All the laughter and follow up jokes aren't even registering. I find the strength not to cover my face with my pillow, I know he's still watching me. Seamus is so hard to fool.
I just stare into the dark, remembering that I forgot to draw the curtains. Of course not, I waited to see him come in!
It must've been how he knew I was still awake.
It's OK. It's going to be OK. So many things are OK in the dark.
It's a long, long time until I manage to fall asleep.