Owain hated parties, usually. The chaotic dancing, the loud music, the people trying to shout at each other over the loud music… It just wasn't his scene. Not that he had a 'scene’ anyway - well, not unless you counted the library, but he was pretty sure that you couldn't count the library. So there he was, surrounded by various people that he either didn't know or didn't want to know, with a fizzing concoction of alcohol in one hand whilst he used the other to aimlessly pluck popcorn from a bowl on the side. He watched absentmindedly as a pretty East Asian girl took three shots in quick succession, earning herself a round of applause from the onlookers in the room. As she flicked her long, dark hair back, she caught Owain’s eye and winked. Embarrassed that he hadn't clapped along with everyone else, he turned around to stare out of the kitchen window.
'Why are you here?’ a sneering voice echoed through his mind. He held his drink tighter and glanced over his shoulder. No one was stood by him. A hot prickle ran up the back of his neck and without thinking he reached back and rubbed at it, as if he could stop the panicking sensation by physical force. Not now, he thought desperately, please not now. He studied his reflection in the window, look at his freshly cut and styled hair, and the shirt and bowtie his older sister, Rhiannon, had picked out for him. He made himself take a nervous sip of his drink, then cracked an awkward grin. He could make himself look like he belonged, right? Right. Because he did. Belong, that is. He did belong.
“Jonesie! Looking as cracking as ever!” A thick Scottish accent boomed across the room. Owain jumped, almost sloshing his drink down himself.
“Fuck you, Jon”, he laughed and turned around as his fellow dorm mate made his way across the room to him. Jon clapped him firmly on the back,
“Ah! Don't wish you could?” He winked, then looked about the room with a sigh, “speaking of, slim pickings tonight, mate.”
“Or no pickings,” Owain replied glumly, “at least for me. Volkov is in the garden with the Dubois girl and the false Gryffindor, you know.”
Something flashed across Jon’s expression, through it didn't falter.
“... I’ll be back,” he gave Owain another cheeky wink, before disappearing off to find Sebastian. And probably have some decent sex. Owain tried not to envy him, after all, there was better than Volkov…
In a sudden surge of adrenaline, Owain forced himself to down the last of his drink and shuffle through the swarm of people in the kitchen. Where he could, he tried to avoid touching anyone. Everyone he passed smelled of testosterone and alcohol; he didn’t want that smell clinging to him for the rest of the night. Not when he was going to find Matty and tell him once and for all that he liked him. Maybe. Or maybe he’d just find Rhiannon.
“Owain!” another drunken cheer interrupted him as he pushed his way out of the kitchen and into the hall. There, his sister’s best friend Daya was stood, with a drink in each hand. Beside her was an older guy, easily 6’2, who was glaring at him. Realising he had potentially interrupted a moment, Owain blushed and hastily took the drink Daya was offering him.
“Cheers, Daya,” he tried to relax, taking a long glup from his cup, “have you seen Rhiannon?”
“Talking to some twat in the lounge,” she mumbled, waving a glittering hand towards the end of the hall, “tell her I miss her!”
“Will do, Daya,” Owain reassured her with an awkward pat on the back, and made his way down the corridor.
Matty sat on his father’s kitchen counter holding his third or fourth drink. He was enjoying laughing at Kit and Lyanna who were mixing up a deadly drink that would surely kill him, he liked days like this where he felt he could let loose and his nerves didn’t get the best of him. Drinking gave him this surging, fiery, feeling in his belly, like he could take over the world if he put his mind to it. He supposed this is what confidence felt like; not like he would know, but he was sure as hell good at hiding it. Jon came brisling out the hallway door and into the kitchen (it was far too full of people, but Matty didn’t mind) he then gave Matty a thumbs up and a wink as he went outside where laughing of a sadly familiar person could be heard. Sebastian Volkov. He only invited him for Jon. Lyanna turned to look at who Matty was giving a hopeless frown, and her face matched his, though there was a hint of sadness too.
“Ah ha!” Kit cheered, holding up a drink that turned from a toxic green to an infectious yellow colour and bubbled like it was alive. When he noticed the other two faces, he knew immediately who it was about. In fact he nicknamed the expression as the Russian stare due to how often the friendship group made it.
“Truly no hope for our Jon,” he tutted but laughed, “When will he learn the price of a good lay doesn't mean shagging Slytherins’ biggest twat.”
“Bigger than Malfoy?” Matty laughed shaking his head, Sebastian was bad but I mean surely not ‘Death-eaters son’ bad.
“Ugh, don’t remind me of him. I already have to put up with him too much back at Hogwarts.” Kit scrunched his nose up in displeasure at the reminder of their unwanted roommate.
“Let’s drink to forget!” Lyanna chimed in, giving the two boys a shark like grin, Not that Kit would willingly admit this but Lyanna was a unstoppable force at anything she put her mind too, even on the Quidditch pitch watching her effortlessly score for Ravenclaw made even the die hard fans of opposing teams admire her. Kit was also probably regretting agreeing to a round of toxic shots with her.
The three of them poured the beverage they made earlier into separate cups and held their noses as they gulped it down, cringing at the bitter taste. Lyanna finished first, her eyes watering, then Kit finished, no longer looking so smug about his creation, and finally, Matty who was left in pain wondering why he ever agreed to do anything Kit tells him too.
“Nothing like a good ol’ mixture of magic and muggle alcohol to get you fucked.” Kit muttered while looking at the bottom of his now empty cup. Everytime Matty gulped down one of them he was reminded of why you don’t mix muggle and magic things but here he is, wobbling his way off the kitchen counter, the alcohol already working it’s magic as he steadied himself on his two friends and said,
“I need to find Owain.”
Lyanna and Kit looked at each other and sighed like it was a common occurance of a drunk Matty, they started to bicker.
“Maybe it will be good for them?” Kit shrugged.
“They’ll be embarrassed dorks all around Hogwarts.” Lyanna added, with a raised eyebrow.
“Or happily romantic dorks!” he said with a smirk.
“Well you’re getting the blame!” Lyanna stopped trying to argue against it.
“I’ll surely take the title of the world's best wingman.” Kit turned to Matty who was looking at the two smilingly blissfully, he loved his friends.
“Go and find Owain, Matty, and for Merlin's sake tell him how you feel!”
Matty didn’t give him a reply, just turned and confidently strode towards the living room where he knew Owain would be camping out. When he reached the open doorway and got his first glimpse of him he felt a huge surge of affection fluttering in his stomach. He could just walk up to him right now and tell him. He could, watch him do it. He was going to tell him, tonight, in his father’s living room. In front of all those people. But what if he rejected him? What if he just says yes because of the crowd? Fuck. Matty could feel his throat closing up, the affection turing to anxiety until his body couldn’t go any further, it just wanted to flee. He was never a brave person; do you see him sporting red robes? With a regretful glance he rushed towards the stairs where he shared a knowing look with Rhiannon, who was lingering by with Ahar Das and all but rushed away into the comfort of his bed sheets, to live out his panic.
Once again Owain pulled himself past snogging couples, people dancing dangerously on the stairs and through to the living room. In here, at least, it was a lot more quiet. Once glance around the room and he realised that that was probably because most of the people in the room were Ravenclaws. Figures.
“Hey,” Rhiannon smiled as Owain slumped down next to her, before turning back to Ahar Das, whom she was clearly in deep conversation with. They appeared to be the only sober people in the whole house, discussing the practical use of magic and whether or not it was acceptable to use magic for menial tasks, like cooking and cleaning. Ordinarily Owain would have joined in (Das had such fascinating insight of squib perspectives on things, because of his brother Saamir) but tonight his mind was preoccupied… He'd already been here half an hour, and he still hadn't seen Matty, and despite being sat in a more relaxed environment, his palms were growing increasingly clammy and his heart had begun to speed up.
Rhiannon took his hand in her own,
“Owain?” She raised an eyebrow to him, her own way of asking him if he was okay.
“Yeah?” He replied, trying to ignore the curious look that Das was giving him.
“Go and find Matty,” his sister told him firmly. He opened his mouth to excuse himself from doing as she said, but she put her hand up to stop him.
“You’re stalling, kid, now go,” she waved him away, “you promised you were going to tell him tonight, did you not?”
“I did,” Owain replied glumly.
“Then get a move on!”
As Owain got to his feet, he raised an eyebrow at his sister,
“Daya wants you, by the way.”
Rhiannon rolled her eyes, but smiled.
“I’ll find her. Go!”
Taking a deep breath, Owain stepped back out into the hallway, narrowly dodging a quaffle that had been flung over his head.
“Sorry!” A chorus of voices cheered as a group of Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs thundered past him and out into the front garden. For the second time that night Owain wished that Matty wasn't such an all-round well liked guy. He was friends with almost everyone, or at least, everyone who wasn't popular or an asshole. It made house parties an anxiety inducing nightmare; he knew basically no one, and no one knew who he was either. To everyone but his close inner circle of friends, he was just Rhiannon's little brother. Not that he minded it much. So long as he mattered to Matty.
He put his hand on the staircase bannister, downed the last of his drink, and took a step up.
“There we go,” Matty smiled to himself, watering the last plant on his shelf. He found himself drunkenly patting it, before wiping the remaining post-panic sweat off his forehead. Music thumped through the floorboards of his bedroom. It was his party, and he was having a good time… But he didn’t want to go back downstairs just yet. Instead, he sloped over to his bed and sat down on it heavily. He’d not even seen Owain all night; if Jon hadn’t mentioned they had arrived together along with Rhiannon, Matty wouldn’t even know that he was here. That was Owain all over - hiding in corners, tucking himself away as much as possible. On any other occasion, Matty would seek him out. But not right now. Right now, he wanted to rest…
A loud crash came from the hallway, followed by a chorus of Welsh swears. Matty sat upright - he had fallen asleep against the wall - only to watch Owain stumble through it.
“Matty?” Owain called out loudly, laughing as he pulled himself back up with the support of the door. Despite his wish for calm, Matty felt his lips stretch into a grin before he could help it.
“Are you alright, mate?” he asked, laughing too as Owain half-walked, half-fell towards the bed. Both boys were cracking up by the time Owain had sat beside him, alcohol alleviating their initial anxieties. Without thinking it over Owain slipped his hand into Matty’s. The action made them both blush, but Matty gave his palm a soft but sure squeeze.Owain returned it.
Without letting go of one another, they lay back on the bed, the thump thump thump of the music washing over them. Perhaps if they had been any other teenagers, left alone in a bedroom, something more would have happened. Instead, they only talked.
“I can’t believe this year’s almost over,” Owain murmured, running his fingertips along the inside of Matty’s arm.
“I can’t believe we’re almost in our seventh year, our last year” Matty replied, turning his face ever so slowly to look at the boy he had known he loved for at least three of the six years they had been dorm mates together.
“Yeah,” Owain blinked, before looking back at Matty, then laughing again, “okay, okay… I’m drunk.”
Matty grinned at him, raising a playful eyebrow, “yeah? Me too.”
They cracked up again, their noses brushing as they folded into each other. After they had calmed down, Owain took Matty’s other hand.
“Matty?” he asked.
“I love you,” Matty blurted out suddenly. They stared at each other.
“No, Matty, I,” Owain took a deep breath in, “I… love you.”
“Me too. You. I love you too,” Matty nodded, his vision swirling even though he was sure he could see Owain clear as day.
“No, Matty… I love you like this,” Owain said. And he kissed him, soft as you like, on the lips. Another quiet moment passed between them.
“I love you like this too,” Matty replied slowly, before bringing his hands up to Owain’s face and kissing him right back. Passionately, brightly, carefully, surely, he kissed him.
“You taste like mouth,” Owain mumbled against Matty’s lips, and both the boys laughed. They laid back on Matty’s unmade bed and kissed again, and again.
“You taste like firewhiskey,” Matty returned, blush still bright on his cheeks. Owain shrugged clumsily, pushing up onto an ebow.
“Is that bad?” he asked with a smile. Matty shook his head and the two embraced again, the thudding of the music second only to the beating of their hearts. After a while they drew apart, and Owain still had enough whiskey in his system to cuddle into Matty without embarrassment. They lay in each other’s arms, Owain tucked neatly under Matty’s chin, smiling to themselves.
“Six years, the whole time hoping… I didn’t even know you were gay!” Matty shook his head and Owain shrugged.
“I’m not gay, I’m bi - I think,” Owain shrugged, kissing Matty on the cheek, “you could’ve asked!”
“I know… But we’ve always told each other things…” Matty thought about his words, careful even now their shared secret was out, “... When we’re ready.”
“Are we ready?” Owain looked up at Matty, suddenly anxious himself. Matty sensed his apprehension and once again kissed Owain, this time firmly. Like a promise.
“I am,” he nodded, his curls bouncing about his head. Owain’s face split into a grin.
“Me too!” he almost cheered. They sat up, fingers locked together, truly seeing each other’s feelings for the first time.
“Owain!” a voice - Rhiannon - shouted up the stairs. The two boys sprung apart, their few moments of privacy interrupted.
“Yeah?” Owain called back, trying to keep the embarrassment out of his voice.
“Grandpa said to be back by midnight, we need to go!” she warned. Both boys looked to the clock. It was quarter to already; they had fifteen minutes.
“I’ll be right down!” Owain said. Before Matty could say anything, Owain threw his arms around his neck, hugging him tightly.
“I don’t want you to go, not now, not after all this,” Matty mumbled against Owain’s head. His hand slipped into Owain’s and he rubbed his thumb against the inside of the shorter boy’s palm.
“I know,” Owain chuckled, “me neither, but I can’t keep Rhiannon. Or Grandpa.”
“But we’ll talk about this, right?” Matty bumped his forehead lightly against Owain’s. The stolen intimacies were addictive, and both of them were on an absolute high.
“Of course,” Owain took Matty’s face in his hands, before kissing him a final time, “we don’t have to pretend, not anymore. I’m yours, now, if you’ll be mine.”
“How could I say no to such a fine Welsh accent?” Matty attempted a smirk, which turned goofy as Owain’s eyes lit up. They left the room, holding hands, and meandered down the stairs.
Jon wolf-whistled as they reached the bottom step, earning a punch on the arm from Owain. Kit, on the other hand, looked as though he’d finally discovered the answer to a confusing, yet obvious once you thought about it riddle. Lyanna gave Matty a knowing wink and stepped aside as the two boys faced Rhiannon. Her lips quirked a half smile.
“Owain Jones,” she shook her head at her younger brother in fake disapproval, “whatever am I going to do with you?”
Too embarrassed to kiss again in front of so many others, Matty and Owain shared a quick hug before Owain said goodbye to the rest of the friends that had gathered around the fireplace. Both the Jones siblings took a fistful of floo powder, Rhiannon stepping forwards first.
“Ruberry Cottage!” and she was gone. Owain followed suit.
“See you Monday!” he called to his friends, but his eyes were only for Matty. They shared a knowing look.
“See you Monday,” Matty nodded, batting Jon away as he attempted to ruffle his hair.
“Ruberry Cottage!” Owain cheered, and the floo fire pulled him away, from what he’d always credit as the best night of his life.