Chapter 1 : give life to those scathing words and confrontations--the world could use a few more complications
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“Lysander?” Louis Weasley materialised in the doorway, eyes lingering on his damp cheeks. “What’s going on?”
“Lorcan is at Mungo’s.”
“I thought he was overseas? What happened?” His voice cracked with trepidation.
“They called it a freak dragon training accident.” The words crawled their way out of his throat, leaving behind only a raw reminder of their truth. “He’s burnt up pretty badly.”
“Dragon burns aren’t easy to treat,” he said. “What did the Healers say?”
“They—they said there’s nothing left to do but wait.”
“Do you want to come inside?” asked Louis.
As he swung the door shut the stark dusk gave way to an even deeper shade of gloom. He strode around his kitchen in haste. Lysander was hunched over, a lifetime’s worth of worry etching itself onto his face as Louis put on a pot.
The two men sat across from one another for several minutes. No words were uttered as they sipped their steaming cups of Earl Grey.
“Stay tonight,” said Louis, finally stomping out the silence. There wasn’t any more discussion necessary, as Lysander had never needed much convincing to fall into his arms. They were sharing an expressive glance and then, before either could form a hesitant thought, they were in bed, tangled in each other.
Louis lay wide awake, long after Lysander had submitted to fatigue’s gentle caress. There was a lone ray of light surviving the black in his field of view. He shifted onto his side, legs sprawled out at odd angles. Although he was fast approaching twenty-one, he had yet to lose his lanky figure to adulthood.
While doubt had danced in this bed far too many times, Louis could feel that the night would prove pivotal. Uncertainty had plagued him for years, but after the events of that hushed evening, he felt he could say it with conviction: Lysander Scamander was in love with him and always had been.
If you must mourn my love
“Lorcan is dead,” said Lysander, not bothering with a greeting.
Louis couldn’t bring himself to piece together a tired cliché out of the fragments of his scattered thoughts. His first instinct was to drape his arms around Lysander, pressing his shaking frame to his chest. They stayed like that for a while, a quivering, tear-soaked mass.
Louis pulled away, studying the man before him. “We should get some fresh air.”
They ambled down the pavement side by side, matching blonde hair waving in the wind. Bundled up in heavy cloaks, chattering teeth accompanied them on their stroll. It was the coldest weather yet that year and the numbness of the day pervaded in more ways than one.
“The Healers told me that he died of severe burn complications,” said Lysander. “Complications.”
“Complications.” The word tasted foul on Louis’ tongue. “I can hardly wrap my head around it.”
“I don’t think I’ll ever believe that he’s really gone.”
“How is everyone holding up?”
Lysander wiped his eyes with his forearm. “Mum is getting by and, well, you know what my dad’s like. He’s...not talking.”
“I’m sorry.” Louis reached his arm out enough to just barely touch the other boys’ hand, but didn't go so far as to grab it. “I don’t know why this had to happen.”
They’d been friends throughout their time at school. In fifth year they shared their first kiss while Lysander was still figuring out why he’d always felt so drawn to his dormmate. Sixth year brought some stability in his life as he had finally worked out his feelings for Louis, but all of that progress was derailed when his grandfather got sick and his dad stopped speaking. Seventh year was filled with family therapy sessions and all-consuming stress over career prospects.
It didn’t seem as though they’d ever been on the same page for long enough to compose their affection into more coherent terms. In the time since leaving Hogwarts, they’d been busy with their separate lives for the most part. That isn’t to say that there weren’t moments of vulnerability over the years enough to tempt Lysander back into Louis’ grasp, but a few fleeting nights had never amounted to something tangible.
As they wept together that night, everything between them, for better or for worse, felt real.
Mourn with the moon and the stars up above
“We can’t keep doing this.” Lysander had impulsively shown up at Louis’ flat that afternoon, unnerved and disheveled. Winter had just begun to really set in, painting the windows in a delicate frost. The frigid air didn’t do much to quell the burning sensation spreading through Louis’ chest.
He opened and closed his mouth several times before coming up with anything to say. His eventual response was not as eloquent as he might have hoped. “Why not?” The whiny tone that escaped his lips ended up sounding a bit like a spoiled child.
Lysander decided not to merit his question a reply, instead avoiding his line of vision, eyes fixed on the floor. They’d always been a melancholy pair, tragedy and heartbreak following them to the ends of their own separate worlds.
Louis was aware that, in real life, things weren’t always going to go perfectly. Even as he acknowledged this, he knew that he would not give up so easily. In a fit of compulsion, he rose to his feet in one fluid motion, closing the distance between himself and Lysander.
Again, they fell back into a comfortable pattern. It wasn’t emotionally healthy or sustainable, but that never seemed to matter in the moment. Both men knew that sleeping together would change nothing, but it had seemed prudent to Louis, if only to see Lysander’s peaceful face once more as he slept, in sharp contrast to the defeated expression of his waking hours.
In the morning he might leave and never return, but Louis had one last night.
If you must mourn
The months passed, unforgiving and tortuous, as time tends to be. The cold faded into spring, colouring the area with life. Louis dragged his feet as he walked, taking time to build up the courage he needed. He stood outside of Lysander’s flat, breath shallow in anticipation of the man on the other side of the door.
Working up the nerve to knock did nothing to mitigate his apprehension. He waited for an agonising period of time. He began to have second thoughts, an escape plan forming in his mind. Before his change of heart could take hold, the door swung open, startling him out of his inattention.
Lysander looked as alluring as ever, hair tousled and eyes curious, boring into Louis. He stood silently, allowing Louis the first word.
“Have you moved on?”
Lysander wasn’t surprised by this question, finding his answer without thinking. “No.”
“Then what are we doing?” Louis hadn’t broken their eye contact since the door had opened.
“You deserve...something else.”
He was used to Lysander’s self-doubt, hardly blinking at his declaration. “Will you walk with me?”
They walked together, taking slow, measured steps as they shielded their eyes from the bold sunlight. The city was beautiful that day, flower pots hanging in shop windows and vibrant blossoms gracing the limbs of trees.
“Why aren’t we together?” Louis spoke the words without embellishment.
“Because only one of us is getting anything out of this,” said Lysander. “I’m done stringing you along.”
“It’s all I know how to do.”
“We can learn something new together,” Louis suggested.
“I want to, I really do.” Lysander took a deep breath.
“Why won’t you?”
“Good things don’t last in my life.”
Louis brought himself to a halt, placing a hand on Lysander’s shoulder. “You don’t have to be alone.”
They contemplated each other for a moment, a quiet suspense hanging in the air. Louis spoke again.
“Will you be my boyfriend?”
Lysander’s expression betrayed his shock. Every insecurity he’d ever felt flashed across his face in that instant. The question was allowed to float between them for several seconds before, finally, his answer came.
Breaking into a smile, Louis held Lysander’s hand tighter for all that he’d gone through to win him over.
Don't do it alone
The poem in the chapter title is written by me. The story title alludes to ‘You’ by Keaton Henson, where the lyrics in italics are from.
This story isn’t connected to any of my other stories.
Rolf, as described in this story, has a condition called selective mutism that generally occurs during childhood, but has been known to affect adults as well.
‘You don’t have to be alone’ was a tiny reference to my fic Morbid. I throw these in sometimes because I can’t let go of the past.
Thank you to Roisin for being my beta yet again. You’re amazing and continuously inspire me to improve.
And last, but not least, I’d like to dedicate this to SamMalfoy93 for being generally awesome and supportive of everything I do and, also, for being largely responsible for my newfound love of Louis.
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