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"Where did you get this?" Abraxas asked, reaching down to pick up one of Tom's hands, raising it so he could see the impressive and heavy ring on his finger.

It was warm for September, and both of them had drifted from the Castle on the first weekend back at school. They were down at the far end of the lake, as far from the school and as close to the edge of the Forbidden Forest as they could get without being out of bounds. Abraxas was sitting with his back against a tree while Tom was laid with his head and shoulders in his lap. A pose that had started in the middle of the previous year, and both had found natural to resume again after a summer apart.

Tom didn't answer the question, but he smiled up at Abraxas, moving the hand with the ring from the other boy's fingers to touch his pale cheek instead. "We've been back a week and Dumbledore has already stopped for a chat twice."

Abraxas tsk'd low in his throat, turning his head towards the touch of Tom's fingers, the question about the ring and where it had come from already gone from his mind. Tom had a way of doing that.

"Why does he watch you so closely? You're of no concern to him."

"He thinks differently, I suppose. Such a nosey Professor in general. I'll never understand why it was HIM that came to find me in the first place and not Headmaster Dippet. Should have been his job.". He paused for a moment, smiling as his hand drifted lower. "You have a freckle under your jaw."

Abraxas smiled, looking down at Tom as the other boy touched the spot where the freckle was. "I know. The only one I have."

"On your whole body?" Tom arched any eyebrow slightly, his dark eyes suddenly very suggestive, enough to bring faint colour to Abraxas' cheeks and the bridge of his nose.

"That I know of... Yes... But I suppose I can't see every bit of my skin."

"Mm." Tom made the one noise, closing his eyes and shifting slightly on Abraxas' legs, letting his fingers trail down the front of the other boy's throat before falling away, his hand resting on his chest with the other. The ring was on full display again but not longer of any interest to the other boy and Tom knew it.

Both boys fell silent, Abraxas absently and gently stroking Tom's hair, smoothing it back from his face as their minds wandered in separate fantasy. It was quiet save for the wind and the gentle lap of the lake against the shore. No birds or students or anything else that made noise was anywhere near them. They were essentially in their own bubble of space and time. A place they had both grown to find a great deal of comfort in.

"I wish we were done school." Abraxas eventually said quietly, his fingers stilled but entwined in the strands of Tom's hair, his eyes looking out across the lake.

Tom opened his eyes to look up at Abraxas, something flickering in their depths that the other boy didn't see. "What would we do if we were done school?"

"I don't know. But I'm tired of classes and the dorms and the drafty persnickety castle."

"You'd rather be in your Manor, I suppose." Tom's tone was dry, slightly scolding as his eyes narrowed a bit.

"I'm sorry." Abraxas said immediately, looking down at Tom with apology written all over his face. "I know you love it here. I shouldn't complain."

"And you shouldn't placate me simply because you have a home to go to away from here. But I appreciate your apology all the same."

Tom's face turned slightly smug as he closed his eyes again. A look that made Abraxas smile in amusement. That was Tom all over, a study of complex hypocrisies and self satisfaction. It should make him angry, he certainly wouldn't put up with that sort of thing from anyone else. But somehow Tom made it charming. It was impossible to be angry with him.

"Perhaps you can come and stay with me this summer." Abraxas said, smiling down at the other boy, stroking through his hair again.

"You know I can't. I have to return to the orphanage every summer." Tom slid one hand up to curl around the one Abraxas had in his hair, pulling it down to rest against his chest as he opened his eyes to look up at the other boy again.

"Next year is the last year. You won't go to the Orphange after next year, why on earth would this one summer matter?" Abraxas frowned, splaying his hand against Tom's chest, unconsciously moving it up to press over his heart. "Besides, it was Dumbledore that told you that. Ask Dippet, he's the one who should really have the say."

"Maybe." Tom said, committing to nothing, which wasn't new. Abraxas was used to that, all he could ever do was make a suggestion and then wait and see what Tom decided on his own time.

"The offer is there. You'd like it and my family would like you."

"Would they, though?" Tom asked, a slither of dark in his voice as he pulled Abraxas' hand upwards, ghosting his lips against the back of the blonde boy's fingers as his eyes flicked upwards. "I'm not so sure they'd like the boy that was leading their golden child astray."

Abraxas flushed again, deeper red from the combination of the touch of Tom's lips and what he was saying. "They wouldn't know."

"You think we could hide it?"

The blonde looked away then, smiling in his own self satisfaction at what Tom was implying. That they would be so hopeless around each other that everyone would see it without them meaning to.

"Perhaps not."

Tom kissed the tip of Abraxas' index finger, then sighed, lowering his hand to his chest again.

They fell to silence once more, enjoying the quiet and the company until the sun started to dip lower on the horizon and the light started to get more orange.

"We should go in." Abraxas said, looking down at Tom who smiled up at him.

"We will. Just a few more minutes..?" Tom said the last bit as a question, as though Abraxas really did have a say in it when they both knew he didn't.

"Just a few more minutes." Abraxas agreed, and leaned back against the tree. Both of them knew he'd stay out all night if that was what Tom wanted. Happily, and without question.