Meet

POV Charlie Spring, age 14

The houses were divided, not just Slytherin from the rest… all of them. What was the solution the Headmistress came up with? Form. Wow. Great play Headmistress Mcgonagall. Due to the animosity between houses in quidditch matches, dueling club, and the recent divide in the DA, and apparently in exploding snap games Professor Lovegood put on, the professors thought it was prudent to force the four houses into the same room, in hopes that that would somehow make everything better. So that's how Charlie Spring found himself making his way over to the bulletin board outside the great hall to see about his newest mandatory class.

"Hello." Said a monotone voice. Charlie startled at whipped around.

"Merlin, Tori." he complained.

"What's up?" She asked, sipping at her ever present cup of lemonade.

"I'm looking at the roster, I'm in Professor Potter's form group now." Charlie shrugged.

"You're just sulking because form means you won't get to spend more time with Tao, Elle, Aled, and Issac?" Charlie hummed nonchalantly. She was wrong. The real reason he was sulking, just a bit, was because Ben had canceled on him again. They were supposed to meet in the library but then he got a paper airplane telling him that Ben actually wanted to meet him at break in a deserted classroom on the 10th floor. Charlie had sent a plane back but still didn't feel good about it. Still, this was Ben, it would be fine…. Right?

"Well you better get going." Tori said. Charlie nodded and left, but not before seeing James Potter go up to Tori to pester her. Charlie chuckled a bit at their very unlikely friendship but Tori had been friends with James since first year, and it had gotten Tori into more trouble at Hogwarts than it seemed their mother could stand. Charlie shook his head.

'I shouldn't think about her, not now.' he thought sadly.

Charlie walked into the Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom and looked around. Professor Potter noticed his entrance and waved him over.

"Hello Charlie." Professor Potter said warmly, the green eyes behind his round glasses twinkling. "Here to join the ranks of my form?" he asked, grinning.

"Apparently so." Charlie muttered. Charlie liked Professor Potter alright but it wouldn't be until next year that he would have Potter for DADA. Now he had Professor Weasly. She was a little intense and also was the quidditch professor… and Charms Professor Lovegood's wife… and ex star chaser on the Hollyhead harpies.

Since Tori and James were friends, Potter had often apperated James to the Spring household over the summer, so they were sometimes on a first name basis. Potter insisted he be called Harry over the summer because he had enough of Professor Potter during the school year.

"Let's see, where did I put that seating plan? Ah yes, You're over there with Nicolas Nelson, he's a Gryffindor and one of the quidditch players, beater. He's the Team Captain actually. Only one year ahead of you, so hopefully you'll get along."

Charlie had to suppress a roll of his eyes, not only was Charlie a Slytherin, but Nelson was a Gryffindor quidditch lad. Charlie wondered if he would have to endure a full year of this guy talking about quidditch strategy… or perhaps being bullied by him like he was last year. A beater as well? They tended to be the most thick headed of the lot, though apparently this guy was Captain so he couldn't be a complete dunce.

"Or you could just sit in silence." Potter said, noting Charlie's suppressed annoyance. "Doesn't really affect anything at all." Charlie smiled at the sarcasm and walked toward his indicated seat. A few girls walked out of the way and Charlie saw him, and the world seemed to slow. He had reddish blond hair, rich brown eyes, and a cute lopsided smile. When Charlie sat down he noted the galaxy of freckles all across his face.

"Hi"

"Hi"

At break Charlie walked into the deserted classroom to see Ben re-reading the plane Charlie had sent.

"Hey." Ben said, moving his hair out of the way and walking towards Charlie.

"Sorry about earlier." he said.

"It's fine." Charlie said, smiling. They both stepped closer to each other.

"I miss your face so much." Ben said sweetly, making Charlie laugh, embarrassed.

"Um, did you have a good Christmas?" Charlie asked.

"Yeah." Ben said. Charlie shifted a little and pretended that Ben was actually looking at his eyes, instead at his lips. "Yeah it was alright. You?"

"Yeah. Yeah it was good, um, my whole family was round for Christmas day and-" Ben cut Charlie off with the kiss Charlie knew Ben had been wanting this whole time. Charlie felt a little beaten down when he'd been interrupted but closed his eyes for the kiss.

"You're so cute." Ben said, after pulling away. Charlie laughed, a little uncomfortably.

"Okay."

Ben kissed him again but for a little longer before letting go of Charlie and stepping back. Charlie didn't miss that Ben's smile disappeared and he wiped his lips before ending their meetup.

"See you later then yeah? Still don't tell anyone about this." Ben picked up his stuff then left, not waiting for Charlie's goodbye.

Over the next few days, Charlie often saw Nick Nelson in the corridors. They bumped into each other on their way into form. Passing by each other in the hallways, and greeting each other in form and just everywhere they saw each other. Charlie even exchanged hi's across the Great Hall once, and it was totally worth Tori's raised eyebrow. One day, much to Charlie's delight, they were going the same way.

"Hi."

"Hi." They exchanged their usual greeting that never failed to make Charlie smile.

"Are you going that way?" Nick asked, gesturing down to the left.

"Yeah Transfiguration." Charlie said.

"Oh same." They started to walk together, and Charlie realized that Nick must have Professor Black, while he had Professor Parkinson. Charlie also noticed the Transfiguration homework in Nick's hands.

"Are you literally doing your homework while walking to your lesson?" Charlie asked, aware he sounded incredulas.

"I might be." Nick responded.

"That's very chaotic." Charlie commented.

"That makes me sound much cooler than I actually am." Nick said, coolly. Charlie wondered if Nick even knew he was the quidditch king?

"Do you want me to do that for you? Charlie asked. Even though Nick was a year ahead of him, Charlie could see the little mistakes in Nick's work and how to fix them.

"No, I'm good."

"I can tell you the answer." Charlie pressed.

"Well then I won't learn." Nick argued, and Charlie was a little surprised.

"But if you're stuck then I can-" Charlie reached over to grab the paper. Nick tried to pull the paper out of Charlie's reach, and after a little bit of a scramble, Charlie pulled back after he felt something on his hand.

"How dare you!" Charlie said, in jest as he looked down at his hand. A blue mark, a little line from Nick's pen. Nick took his hand and tugged it over, and Charlie must have imagined the little spark he felt when Nick touched his hand. Nick's hand was warm, and Charlie felt small even though the touch was both fleeting and minimal, Nick's hand enveloped his own. Nick put two dots above the line making the mistake look like a smiley face.

"Better?" Nick asked, his lopsided smile back on his face.

"Maybe." Charlie answered, trying to keep up his sarcastic fasade from moments before. Merlin, was this whole interaction only moments?

They continued walking, some people side-eyeing them as a Gryffindor and Slytherin were seen being companionable. As well as the fact that it was Charlie Spring who passed them. The Slytherin Gay boy who was too weak to deal with the homophobic 6th years, never mind that he was only 13, walking with Nicolas Nelson, Gryffindor Quittich king.

Charlie glanced away from Nick to look ahead and spotted Ben walking toward him.

"Hey." Charlie said. They just saw each other, it was normal to say hey to your boyfriend even if he was in the closet.

"What?" Ben asked, obviously confused.

"Uh, just hey." Charlie answered, his heart going down into his stomach at the situation.

"Why are you talking to me, I don't even know who you are." Ben answered then turned to Nick like Charlie wasn't even there. "Alright mate?"

Charlie barley heard Nick respond with, "Yeah alright."

Then he was gone and Nick was looking at Charlie with slight confusion. Perhaps concern.

"Your friends with Ben," Charlie remarked, as a way of defusing the sudden tension.

"Oh yeah, he's in my year. We hang out,,, sometimes." Nick said, sounding slightly distracted.

"Oh" Charlie responded, trying to sound light but walking ahead of Nick to avoid more interaction. Charlie made his way into the Transfiguration Class without another word to the Gryffindor. He was too distracted, and perhaps too upset.

Lunch came and Charlie found himself at the Ravenclaw table with Issac and Aled, waiting for Tao. None of the three of them spoke, Issac buried in his book, Aled in his homework, and Charlie in his thoughts.

Suddenly there was a loud smack on the table.

"I did it again!" Tao Xu lamented as he sat down. "I got Elle a drink again!"

"Didn't you do that yesterday as well?" Issac asked, finally putting down his book.

"Yes Issac, yes I did, and on Monday." Tao said dramatically.

"Elle's not here." Charlie told him, despite the whole table knowing that.

"I know…" Tao sulked.

"She's not been here all week!" Aled pointed out, looking up from the charms textbook they'd been pouring over.

"I know I just keep forgetting!" Tao complained.

"Tao, you're allowed to miss her." Charlie comforted him.

"Okay, fine obviously it's good that she's getting time to work with Madam Pomfry. I just hate that now our one time to see her outside hanging out on the weekends is gone now." Tao slumped onto the table.

"Yeah I get it." Aled said.

"You hardly speak." Tao accused. "It's just hard, there used to be five of us and now there's only four. Four is just uhhh.. I don't know…" Tao's voice faded out for Charlie as he spotted Nick at the Gryffindor table, passing around a red quidditch ball to some other guys Charlie vaguely recognized from when he'd gone to the last game of the quidditch season last year. Charlie watched as Nick narrowly caught the ball and a big smile lit up his face as some of his other friends clapped. Tao seemed to notice Charlie's gaze.

"Is that Nick Nelson? The guy you sit next to in form?" Tao asked.

"Who?" Charlie asked but it didn't really come out as a question, even to his ears it was obvious that he was trying not to be caught staring.

"The one that looks like a golden retriever?" Tao added and Aled snorted out a laugh.

"He doesn't look like a golden retriever!" Charlie said immediately. Just as he said this, Nick went chasing after the ball. A first year Gryffindor picked it up and gave it to him, then Nick jogged back to his friends, a subtle look of success on his face as their passing game started again.

"Okay, he does." Charlie amended.

"I can't believe you've been sat next to quidditch king, Nick Nelson!" Tao laughed, "Like what are you even gonna talk about every morning?"

"We talked!" Charlie protested.

"Really? About what?" Tao asked, his sulky dramatic demeanor vanishing to one more serious. Charlie thought back to their first real conversation in form.

"Charlie, you don't have a tissue do you? My Ink pot just…. Exploded." Nick had said, hands and shirt covered in blue and a sheepish look on his face.

"What were you doing?" Charlie asked as he led Nick to the nearest bathroom.

"I accidentally mumbled a charm while writing an essay, I was touching my wand with my left hand and it was pointed at the ink pot." Nick explained, pink dusting his freckled cheeks.

Once they got to the bathroom, Nick tried running it under the water with soap.

"It's not coming off!" Nick complained.

"You're gonna be blue forever!" Charlie laughed.

"It looks like I'm wearing blue gloves!" Nick said, half laughing, half complaining.

"You can make it the new school fashion." Charlie suggested.

"Yeah, I'll pretend it's a muggle tattoo." Nick joked, making Charlie laugh.

"Well," Tao said at the end of Charlie's story, "Be careful."

"But why?" Charlie asked.

"Why?" Tao repeated, "Look at them!" Just as he said it, the boys on the quidditch team converged on Nick as he caught the ball and tackled him to the ground, all yelling and laughing.

"And look at us! We are a group-trio- whatever, of borderline outcasts. He is the star player and captain of the GRYFFINDOR quidditch team. And he's friends with a bunch of loud, gross 5th and 6th years that are exactly like the guys who bullied you last year." Tao drummed his finger on the table for emphasis.

"But like- Nick- he's different. He's nice."

"I bet he's a whole different person when he's with his bro, dude friends." Tao said, making both Issac and Aled laugh. Charlie continued to watch as the quidditch boys ran out of the great hall to play outside, the girls on the team running after them.

Tao dug out a small piece of paper and a pen to write to Elle.

'Hey I have news from the Ravenclaw table' he wrote. He folded it and with a small charm set it up to Elle. He soon got the paper back but with new writing.

'Spill the tea.' she had written.

'Charlie's obsessed with this quidditch lad from his form.' Tao wrote.

'Oh NO' Elle's response came as quickly as the first time.

'Why is he like this?' Tao asked. 'Anyways HI how are you? How's the hospital wing today?'

'Honestly a lot better than the great hall, it's so quiet here.' Elle wrote back.

'OMG Heaven. Made any friends with the other medical kids?' Tao asked. Elle's response came slower this time.

'Yeah, everyone's really nice!' Just as she sent the airplane, a quiet clearing of a throat made Elle lookup. Madam Pomfry was standing there.

"Are you sending airplanes, Elle?" The old woman asked. "Well?"

"Um, yeah." Elle put away her quill and ink.

"I don't make exceptions even for new students. You can talk to your friends after school."

The next day, in his free time Charlie got an airplane from Ben, asking to meet in the library. Charlie didn't bother to respond with a plane of his own, but still made his way to the library. Near the forbidden section Ben was standing, waiting for Charlie. Ben stepped up to him and took his hand.

"You know I'm sorry for ignoring you yesterday." He said. Charlie and Ben both looked down at their interlocked hands, but all Charlie could see was the little smiley face Nick had drawn on his hand the day before.

"Yeah." Charlie whispered, knowing it was a lie. Ben came closer and kissed him, though Charlie didn't close his eyes or kiss back. He just let it happen. A million other thoughts were running through his head. Ben pulled back for a moment before cupping Charlie's face and going in for another. Charlie had never wished he could apparate more.

Charlie opened his lunch box in the corner of the potions room, feeling numb, and the food looked as unappetizing as ever.

"It's been quite a while since you've hidden in here at lunch." Professor Malfoy remarked, as he graded essays at his desk.

"I'm not hiding." Charlie said.

"Then what are you doing?" Malfoy looked up and raised an eyebrow at him.

"Eating lunch." Charlie said, gesturing to the untouched sandwich in his lap.

"Oh right." Malfoy said, sounding disbelieving, "So everythings okay. There's no bullies I need to sort out again?"

"No. Everythings fine." Charlie said. Malfoy didn't look like he believed Charlie but he went back to grading.

"Actually there is kind of someone." Charlie admitted. Professor Malfoy looked up again and this time put his pen down.

"A bully." he asked.

"I've… I've got a boyfriend." Charlie said, feeling a bit of a sour taste in his mouth.

"Ah well, congratulations." Malfoy clapped his hands together as applause.

"Not-" Charlie tried, then re-thought what he wanted to say. Malfoy sighed and his face turned serious.

"It's-" Charlie tried again.

"Okay.." Malfoy said, obviously completely detached from grading and paying attention to Charlie.

"I don't even know if.. I don't think he even thinks we're boyfriends anyway." Charlie managed. "He ignores me sometimes. He doesn't even like people seeing us talk together in the corridors. He pretends that he doesn't know who I am!" Charlie sighed. "Then when it's just us two he's fine."

"Well have you talked to him about how this makes you feel?" Malfoy asked.

"No."

"Maybe you should talk to him then." Malfoy suggested, making Charlie groan. "What did you want me to say? Break up with him?"

"I don't know." Charlie sulked.

"Well, do you want to break up with him?" Malfoy asked.

"I don't know."

"I can't solve your problems for you Charlie. What about you friends, have you talked to them about it?" Malfoy asked.

"They wouldn't get it." Charlie said, quickly.

"Why not?"

"Beacuse their not gay."

Malfoy sighed again. "Just talk to him. It's better to be honest about your feelings in the long run."

"I hate being honest." Charlie complained.

"I know!" Malfoy said, "It took you three months to tell me you were being bullied." Charlie smiled a bit, and looked down at his food. He decided not to eat it and exited the potions room.

When he walked out of the dungeons, he saw Nick playing with the Gryffindor quidditch team outside the great hall. Harry Greene had just passed him the big red ball the chasers used, Charlie had forgotten its name. Then he saw Ben talking with a Slytherin girl near Nick. They talked for a bit before kissing. Charlie turned around and ran for the dungeon, determined to get to the Slytherin common room as fast as he could.

When he got there he immediately took out a paper and pen, He wrote 'Do you have a girlfriend?' Then scraped the note. On another, 'I HATE YOU!' scraped that too. Finally he wrote and sent, 'I don't want to meet up anymore.'

He got answers from Ben two minutes later.

'?'

Charlie sent the note back with 'sorry' on it.

'I don't understand? Ffs we're not gonna get caught.' Charlie knit his eyebrows and chose not to respond. He got a new airplane a minute later.

'Don't ignore me Charlie.' Then another. 'Hello?'

If any more came, Charlie didn't even look at them.

Next day he was alone at the Slytherin table staring at the bowl of cereal in front of him.

"Morning."

Charlie startled. "Merlin Tori."

"Why's your face like that?" She asked.

"Broke up with my boyfriend." Charlie answered.

"Was he a knob?" Tori asked without missing a beat.

"...Yes." Charlie answered.

"Well done then." Tori smiled a little and took a sip of lemonade.

On their way to their form Tori spoke up.

"Hypothetically, what sort of boy would you want to go out with?" she asked.

"One that doesn't mind people seeing us talk to each other would be nice." He answered with a smile.

"Someone who's also a nerd, or do you want an opposites attract type of thing?" She asked, in a voice that while still monotone, was playful for Tori.

"I don't think I can afford to be that specific to be honest." Charlie said.

"Hypothetically though. Dream guy." she pressed.

"I don't know."

"Come on."

"I dunno just- someone I can have a laugh with and who's nice and kind,,, and likes being with me." Charlie said, happened to glance away from Tori to see Nick hanging out with some friends before form.

"I'd probably just settle for someone tall." he muttered before walking into Professor Potter's class and leaving Tori behind.

Next thing he knew, he was at the brooms class Professor Weasly had set up near the quidditch pitch. It was a sort of obstacle course where you had to weave around large beams to win the race. Charlie was currently in the lead. He was on his own Silver Mist broom, while it was old, Charlie was the fastest one in the class. Charlie took care of his broom when he wanted to be alone and needed to think and he felt the freedom James and his dad described when they were on brooms. As he blew through the course he vaguely noticed most of the Gryffindor team waiting for the class to end so they could practice on the course.

"Common students!" Professor Weasly yelled, "We've been doing this all term and no one's beaten Charlie's time yet!" she yelled, her words invigorating Charlie and the lightness in his heart seemed to give him a burst of speed.

No one noticed the Gryffindor team captain's eyes locked on Charlie's figure as he flew.

Later, Charlie was in a deserted courier trying to pry his books out of the music locker he'd been assigned the first week of school.

"Hey."

Charlie startled and turned around, meeting Nick Nelson's eyes for a second before scrambling down to pick up his music that had fallen out of the locker. Nick got down as well and helped Charlie pick up the fallen books.

"Thanks." Charlie said and smiled.

"You play the drums." Nick noted. '

"Oh, uh yeah." Charlie stuttered a bit.

"That's so cool!" Nick said, and he sounded genuine.

"Thanks." Charlie said again.

"I had something I wanted to ask you." Nick said. Charlie's heart rose and pink seemed to flood into Charlie's vision.

"Charlie… I wanted to tell you that I'm gay too. And I'm in love with you. Do you want to go out with me? I want to be with you forever." Charlie's heart soared and a yes was on the tip of his tongue before everything suddenly faded.

"Do you want to join the inter house quidditch team?" Nick asked.

"What?" Charlie asked, still a little dazed from his daydream.

"Because of the house division, Professor Potter and Professor Weasley decided that they should put together two more quidditch teams that were both inter house. Professor Weasly asked me to join and get more people for the team. And I saw you race in Weasly's class and you're like, really fast, even though you looked like you were on an old school broom So… I thought you might be interested.

"I was on my Silver Mist." Charlie clarified.

"Okay, uhh, that's fine."

"And I don't really know how to play quidditch." Charlie said.

"That's fine, I can teach you." Nick said, starting to smile.

"Aren't I a bit small and weak to be a quidditch player?" Charlie asked.

"The inter-house teams won't have a championship like the house teams, and we'll probably let in younger players, so it's not that serious." Nick said.

"So you're saying I am small and weak." Charlie said, in a faux accusatory tone.

"Wait, no. No." Nick looked a little horrified at possibly offending Charlie, making Charlie chuckle. Once the Slytherin started laughing, Nick seemed to realize it was a joke.

"So, do you want to join?" Nick asked.

"It's literally just another silly crush." Tao said after school when Charlie explained the situation to him.

"It's not a crush!" Charlie protested, "I don't just fall for any guy that's nice to me." Tao gave him an unconvinced look. Issac just looked amused by the whole thing.

"And you're sure that you want to spend a whole hour with giant, moronic, quidditch lads?"

"Yes." Charlie said with conviction. Tao looked at Issac who shrugged like 'what can you do?'

"It's your funeral." Tao said, and the trio laughed. Tao and Issac then started up the grand staircase up to Ravenclaw Tower and Charlie started the trek to the quidditch pitch.

As Charlie walked into the locker rooms, he heard some boys talking about him.

"Charlie Spring for chaser?" someone said.

"Isn't he in year 2?" another asked.

"No year 4." someone that sounded like Nick said.

"He's like well.. Skinny though." said the second one.

"Can he even play? I heard one of his weird friends trash talking quidditch." another said.

"I'm sure he's a nice guy but we actually want to be decent."

"Does he even like sports?" someone that sounded like Harry Greene asked, "Everyone knows he's gay." Greene continued. Many of the boys laughed and that's when Charlie had decided he had enough of eavesdropping. He walked in the door. Everyone looked up and stopped talking. Nick stood from the bench to greet him.

"Hi." Nick started.

"Hi." Charlie answered, looking awkwardly around. The only other person from the Gryffindor team was Harry Greene and James Potter. James looked up and waved to Charlie before talking to some year two's who looked nervous. Charlie started to get changed into quidditch robes without another word.

In the air, Nick and Charlie were in the middle of the course while the rest of the team, who all already knew how to play quidditch, was practicing on the field and seeing who would play for what position. Charlie hovered on his Silver Mist while Nick had a Fire Bolt. There had been other brooms that came out but the only broom now considered higher quality than the Fire Bolt was now the new Lightning Bolt. A new stream of Nimbuses had come out, and were faster than the Fire Bolt, but again, not as high quality, and broke down to snail speeds after two years. The Silver Mist was an odd broom. Mysterious in the way it worked and its maker anonymous. It had been an advancement akin to the Fire Bolt when it first came out, there were only 300, all handmade, and now considered useless in the face of modern models, but Charlie's broom was probably just a little slower than Nick's Firebolt, considering how well he took care of it.

Charlie glanced over at the yelling interhouse team. Two Chasers collided and fell off their brooms, though Weasly levitated them and their brooms to safety. Charlie looked back at Nick.

"I know I was joking about being weak but I'm definitely too weak for this." Charlie said.

"Where is your 'can do' attitude?" Nick asked.

"Oh, she left. Long ago." Charlie retorted.

"Just try. We'll fly in a straight line and I'll throw the quaffle to you." Charlie still looked unsure so Nick gave some encouragement. "Come on, I bet you can do it." Charlie nodded. They started, flying straight but fast. Nick nodded to Charlie and then threw the quaffle at him. Charlie caught it with one hand, and naturally put it under his arm. He was feeling good until he looked ahead. He was speeding right for a beam in the obstacle course. He let go of the quaffle to get a two handed grip on the broom, and then made a sharp turn down, to avoid the wood. Then he pulled up and slowed down, meeting Nick on the ground who had flown down to retrieve the quaffle.

"That was perfect." Nick said, smiling like the golden retriever he was.

"Up until I dropped the bloody thing and nearly ran into a beam." Charlie muttered. Nick must have heard him because he waved his hand a little. "Eh, details, the catch was great and that's what matters. Now let's try again while we're moving a bit more." Charlie groaned.

"Come on!" Nick yelled as he mounted his broom and went up into the air again.

"I'm going to die." Charlie muttered as he mounted his Silver Mist and went to meet Nick in the air.

The practices were actually pretty fun. Sure the locker room was awkward as hell, but between Nick and James, Charlie managed to ignore the judgy stars he got. After a few one on one practices with Nick, the last where Nick beated and Charlie just got used to being aware of the bludger and avoiding it, with the quaffle in hand Charlie started to play with the rest of the team. There were just enough people two have two teams with Charlie, and so now practices were just games. Charlie was quickly becoming known as the fastest and trickiest chaser. Once he got the quaffle there was nothing any other chaser could do to get it back from him. He fell short however because he didn't have great aim, so if he wanted to throw to another chaseror score, the team would end up losing the quaffle. Also, he was hyper aware of the beaters and bludgers, and the sides of the pitch. He would often drop the quaffle to get a better grip on his broom if he noted any one of his fears getting too close. He also tended to drop the quaffle a lot around Nick. Even if Nick was on his team, Truthfully Charlie knew that he would get distracted by Nick just existing, but Nick was… hot when he was focused.

Still he got a lot of crap for not being able to keep the ball in his hands. Also the problem with aim affected his ability to score, so people mostly thought that his flaws outweighed his strengths. Though… he did get better… with the aim thing, and people did recognize it when he scored. He also kept up one on one practices with Nick, which helped him too.

One day as he was leaving the locker rooms he got a plane from Ben for the first time in weeks.

'You're at quidditch right? Meet me at the music block after.'

'Why?' Charlie wrote back.

'Please, Charlie. I just want to talk.'

'Fine.'

Charlie didn't like it, but he went to go find Ben. He didn't notice Nick standing behind him watching him walk off.

When Charlie got there, Ben was waiting for him.

"Charlie." Charlie looked around to see Ben leaning against the wall of a classroom. Charlie put down his stuff by the door, and looked at Ben.

"You're wearing a coat? It's not even cold." Ben remarked.

"It's february." Charlie said, not in the mood for… Ben.

"Lame."

"What do you want, Ben?" Charlie asked, trying to impersonate when Tori was done with being annoyed. Ben walked over and tried to cup his hand to Charlie's cheek. Charlie batted his hand away.

"Don't touch me." Charlie said, in the same no-nonsense monotone.

"Merlin, what's your problem? I'm trying to be nice." Ben said.

"I said I don't want to meet up anymore." Charlie got straight to the point.

"Yeah and I don't believe you."

"What?" Charlie almost couldn't believe what was coming out of Ben's face.

"You're clearly just scared of getting caught." Ben said.

"Why would I be scared of getting caught?" Charlie asked, "Everyone at school already knows I'm gay! You're the one who's scared of getting caught. You can't even look at me when other people are around. Not to mention the fact that you have a girlfriend. Yeah I've seen you with her at the school gate. Thanks for telling me. Oh wait, you didn't."

"Don't be angry with me for not wanting to come out yet!" Ben said, stepping closer.

"I'm not angry about that." Charlie said, "If you're figuring stuff out, fine. Take your time. I would have been there for you. Don't you think I, of all people, would understand if you're figuring out your sexuality?"

"Then why are you angry with me!?" Ben asked, anger flaring in his voice.

"I'm angry because you never even slightly cared about my feelings! We only meet up when you want to. Where you want to. When you feel like kissing a boy! You don't care about me at all!" Charlie accused, his own anger matching up with Ben's.

"Well it's not like anyone else is going to want to go out with you, is it?" Ben asked. Charlie had no response for that. It might be one of the few things Ben and Charlie agreed on. Charlie started to look down, but then Ben was pushing him into the wall. Their lips met, and the only thing going into Charlie's head was 'NO! Stop! I don't want this!' Charlie tried to struggle but Ben was stronger than him, and he had Charlie pinned.

"Don't!" Charlie managed.

"Charlie." Ben said, frustration evident in his voice. "I know you like me."

"Stop it!"

"Charlie, I like you. But I'm figuring stuff out. Literally what more do you want from me?" Ben asked, shaking the other Slytherin a little, as if that would make Charlie agree with him. Ben went back in to kiss him. Then he was being pulled off Charlie. It was Nick. He had his wand out and had used a spell Charlie didn't know to make a protective shield around Charlie, then he threw Ben away from them.

"HE TOLD YOU TO STOP!" Nick yelled, wand still out and pointed at Ben. "Go on, FUCK OFF!" And Ben ran. Charlie looked down, suddenly aware of the tears running down his face. He wiped them away furiously as Nick turned around to look at him.

"You okay?' Nick asked.

"Did you hear all of that?" Charlie asked.

"Most of it." Nick admitted. "I just… You seemed kind of like something was up while we were getting changed, so I… I wanted to check if everything was okay."

"I'm sorry." Charlie apologized, though he wasn't quite sure why. Maybe for worrying Nick.

"You have nothing to be sorry about." Nick said.

"Sorry."

"You say sorry a lot." Nick commented, maybe an attempt to lighten the mood. Charlie opened his mouth but Nick cut him off. "Don't say it!"

"I kinda want to say it."

"Don't!" They both chuckled a little, the stress leaving them in the action. Nick patted Charlie's arm.

"We should get out. We'll get locked in if we stay here much longer."

"Yeah." Nick and Charlie walked toward the door.

It wasn't long until they reached Hogwarts, and went into the castle.

"I'm going this way so…" Charlie said, gesturing to the staircase down to the dungeon.

"Yeah, I'm that way." Nick said, taking a step towards the grand staircase.

"Okay, bye." Charlie smiled, waved to Nick a little before also stepping towards where he needed to go.

"Bye." Nick said shortly and turned around to go up the stairs. Charlie however looked back to watch Nick as he climbed the stairs. When Charlie got back to the Slytherin common room, he immediately got out a pen and paper to try to think of a good airplane to send to Nick. He then took out his wand to make a special type of airplane with the paper. When Charlie charmed the paper and cut it in half it meant that each person didn't have to send the paper back and forth, and instead could see messages as soon as they were completed. You could also see when a person was writing, and if you crossed anything out, the ink would vanish. Charlie had a group chat like this with Tao, Elle, Issac, and Aled that they used in class sometimes, but they all agreed that the chat was probably the only instant communication they needed. Charlie didn't want to know Tao's reaction to what he was doing, but maybe it would impress Nick?

However, after sending Nick's slip to him, Charlie found it exceedingly hard to actually write to Nick, especially because if and when Nick got the slip, he would be able to see that Charlie was writing.

Charlie first tried, 'Thank you for being-' then crossed it out. 'I really-' crossed out. Charlie made a growling noise that a few 5th years shushed him for. 'You shush,' Charlie thought to them, 'It's not like you're trying to instant message a hot Gryffindor are you?'

Finally he settled for 'Thanks x - Charlie'

When Nick saw the airplane on his bed, he only smiled.