“You dropped this.” The accent is foreign. Durmstrang - Will’s immediate thought, but this boy is boarding his train.
“Thanks.” Will smiles shyly, takes the book he’d dropped - fingers brush.
Silently, they boarded. Same compartment. Introductions. Talking and laughing. Will is happy not to start his first day alone. A promise made to stay friends no matter which house they are sorted to. A promise kept despite those around them.
Year end comes quickly. Saying goodbye - Hannibal is leaving already. Will’s heart races as he grabs the other boy’s tie, pulls him forward until their lips meet. First kiss of many.
An awkward start. An awkward week of avoidance and then arguing, confessions and then kissing in darkened corridors.
They’re told they should take sides. They have no interest in anyone other than themselves. What Harry Potter did or didn’t do, what he was or was not, doesn’t concern them.
Hannibal is warned by Snape - detention if they are caught again. They become more careful, they find a room meant just for them. The Room of Requirement. It has a double bed, they giggle. Too young to make that leap.
A promise to stay in touch this summer. A promise broken.
No letters come. Will is ignored. Hannibal looks glum but doesn’t look at him.
Hannibal’s uncle has been told. He’s not permitted to see the Gryffindor boy. He is warned, for Will’s sake. He ignores Will and his heart breaks.
Will sits in the room of requirement, a single bed now. He sits and waits and his heart breaks. Letters home to his dad that his grades are failing. No trips to Hogsmeade. He watches his classmates leave, all but Harry. He thinks to befriend him but the boy disappears. Will is alone.
Hannibal misses Will during the long year.
Will is sad, his father worries. A new school year.
Such furore, two other schools and a Tri-Wizard Cup. He sees Hannibal across the hall, pale and thin. He wants to hold him but doesn’t dare.
More commotion, Potter again. Some drama - again. But a dance and someone has spiked the punch and Will drinks and drinks until someone guides him away and takes him to a room with a bed and holds him whilst he sleeps.
In the morning he wakes in Hannibal’s arms. They make love with hands, mouths and hearts. Hannibal cries. There’s nothing to be done.
Secret letters. Hannibal hides them but his uncle suspects. Just as he suspects his uncle. Sees the Dark Mark glowing. This is what Potter had warned about. Hannibal aches inside, he wants none of it, he just wants Will safe. Summer can’t end quick enough.
“Dumbledore’s Army?” Hannibal scoffs. Will is upset, angry. He proves its worth by producing a patronus - a dog. Hannibal is impressed, tells Will he loves him. They argue anyway. Apparently sides must be taken.
Will doesn’t understand the dangers. He won’t listen. This isn’t for fun, a game - Potter will lead him over a cliff.
A silent summer, his letters go unanswered. He hopes Will at least reads the warnings.
The school is bleak, the campus pregnant with impending doom. Hannibal hears Draco weeping at night. He starts sleeping in their room, it has a single bed now. Will never comes.
Will avoids Hannibal in the corridors, he doesn’t want to talk to him, afraid of what he might reveal to a Slytherin. He’s been warned against talking to them. This isn’t a game anymore. Potter has a mission.
He thinks about that promise they made the day they met. He remembers them making love.
All summer Will wants to tell Hannibal that Potter was right, rub his face in it. More though he wants to hold him - be safe and loved. He won’t do either. He convinces his father to let him return to school.
New teachers come, no one’s safe, not even Slytherins. Hannibal is punished, not told why. He knows it’s because his uncle has told them he loves a Gryffindor. He takes the pain, never says Will’s name.
Battle comes to the school. Death. Hannibal will gladly run, but not without Will.
He finds Will waiting for him in their room.
Will smiles at Hannibal as they skip over the ocean on a conjured wind. The world had spun off its axis and back again but they’d remained conjoined - pulled back together. They were loved, they were safe. They had survived high school.
In the brilliant sunshine they laze and feed each other, lace each other’s skin with kisses sweetened by sticky fruit. They consider life upon their return, to this seemingly new world.
Until then they float together.
“I wanted to run away with you so many times.”
“It’s all I ever wanted for you Will, for both of us.”