Colin and George left the room of requirement the next morning, having not returned to their dorms the night before. Colin sent constant glares at George, who couldn't seem to stop himself from keeping up a constant stream of poorly concealed smirks at Colin's current state. Apparently, Professor Snape's flare for dominant behavior had sparked the same flame in George. After having fucked Colin quite literally all night-well into the wall, floor, armchair, and eventually the mattress—George had refused to put the healing cream on the sore boy's ass. Needless to say, Colin had been firmly reminded exactly who his ass belonged to. Though he had thoroughly enjoyed the lesson, he wasn't so enthusiastic about sporting the limp that he absolutely could not conceal to the whole school. Never mind sitting down, Colin thought bitterly. His entire ass felt like one big bruise.

They received their usual amount of stares as they entered the Great Hall for breakfast. Being the only openly gay couple in the school, this was understandable, and Colin had grown used to the attention. He was relieved that no more stares than usual were thrown his way, but he blushed furiously as the stares remained on him for much longer, and ended in knowing grins. He clung tighter to George's hand and moved closer to his side, wanting nothing more than to disappear into the folds of the older boy's robes.

Colin didn't swat George away when he helped him climb over the long bench, though he wanted to. He sat down very slowly, not realizing he was holding his breath until he released it as his ass settled on the bench. A snicker on his left alerted him to Ginny's presence beside him. She was just as bad as her brother when it came to concealing her humor about the whole situation. He tried to return her knowing look with a glare, but ended up having to bite the inside of his mouth to keep from smiling too hard.

"What are doing here, Gin?" George asked over Colin.

"He was my friend before he was your boyfriend, so I'll sit with him if I want," Ginny answered, turning to her plate and adding butter to her toast.

"Well, alright then," George muttered, obviously amused by his little sister.

Colin and Ginny were soon in a discussion about the essay that was due later that day in Herbology, but they were both distracted as their little group seemed to grow as the Hall filled with more students. Katie Bell sat on the other side of George, though she usually sat a few places down with the other Gryffindor Quidditch Girls.

"Hey," she greeted them. She was met with confused faces for the most part. Colin and Ginny gave cheerful enough "hello's", but George, Lee, and Fred seemed perplexed to find her sitting there. "What?" Katie asked, "Afraid the lesbian will rub off on you all?" she joked.

That broke the ice. Colin and Ginny both had to stop themselves from choking—Colin on his pumpkin juice and Ginny on her toast. Fred and George laughed louder than was necessary, but that wasn't so unusual. Lee just smirked and was the first to speak, "…so you're finally coming out of the closet then?"

She pulled that morning's Daily Prophet out of her robe pocket and plopped it on the table in the center of their little group. "Well, I figured if Harry could come out, so could I."

"What?" Colin and George were the first to react, both snapping their necks to look at Katie. Ginny was the first to snatch the paper off the table though.

"I see you haven't heard, yet." Katie smirked, obviously pleased to be the one delivering this gossip to them.

All eyes turned to Ginny as she unfolded the paper. Colin's mouth fell open as he read the headline on the front page: HARRY POTTER SPEAKS OUT: "I AM GAY." Ginny had just opened her mouth to read the article aloud, when Harry plunked down across from her, right beside Fred.

"Good, I see you've all heard the news," he gestured towards the paper and began filling up his plate, seemingly unaware of the gaping mouths around him. "Have you had a chance to read the article yet?" he asked, looking around at the stunned group.

"No, just the headline," Colin answered, surprising even himself. He chanced a glance across the Hall at Malfoy, who was just tossing the paper aside. He raised an amused eyebrow as the Slytherins around him attacked it like ravenous dogs, eager to read such juicy gossip.

Harry smiled at them before reaching across the table and gently taking the paper from Ginny. "There's really no need to read this. The bottom line is, I'm gay. Oh, and I do have a boyfriend, but I didn't tell the Prophet who he is." He smiled at George and Colin, making it obvious to the rest of the group that they knew who the mystery boy was.

"You realize mom and dad are going to flip when they find out that you told the media before them?" Fred's question effectively broke the silence and tension around the group.

"Ooo," George cringed. "He's right, Harry. You're going to have to deal with an angry Weasley woman."

"Actually, I sent them an owl last week," Harry shrugged.

"And you didn't tell us?" George asked incredulously.

"And I always thought of us as brothers," Fred added, playing at having his feelings wounded.

"Yes, and brothers share everything," George said meaningfully.

Colin did choke on his pumpkin juice this time. He sent a glare to George.

"Of course, you're right, George. Please except my apology. I do hope we can continue sharing," Harry smirked at George before turning it on Colin.

Colin was quite proud of himself for the glare he aimed at the harry potter.

"Right, so no hidden meaning in any of that," Fred stage whispered. "So did you tell mom and dad who the boyfriend is? I assume so, since those two obviously already know," he said, motioning to Colin and George. Colin couldn't help but feel a little pride at being in on Harry's secret.

Harry, George, and Colin shared a smile before Harry answered, "Yes, and they took it much better than expected. Ron, on the other hand…" he shook his head in the negative.

As if on cue, Ron sat down beside Harry, "Gee, mate, I didn't take it that bad!"

"You haven't spoken to me in two days," Harry challenged.

"Yeah, well…sorry about that. But I was bloody shocked! You tell me you're in love with…him…it was a lot to take in," Ron explained.

"In love?" Katie chimed in, obviously thrilled at the idea of Harry in love. "Who is it?"

"I'm sure you'll all find out soon enough," Harry smiled before adding, "And no telling, you three!" He sent warning looks to Colin, George, and Ron.

Owls began swooping in overhead, landing on the shoulders of their owners, some dropping small packages in mid-flight. George and Colin both looked up expectantly, not knowing what the owl would look like. Colin snuck a look at the head table and had to stifle a gasp when he found Professor Snape's smirk directed at him. He blushed furiously, but managed to sneak a shy smile in his professor's direction.

"Aha!" George quietly exclaimed as a very small package was dropped directly over him. He caught it, and before Colin could even get a good look at the non-descript brown wrapping, George had slipped it into his pocket.

"What you got there, brother?" Fred inquired.

"That's a secret that not even brother's will share," George answered with a smirk.

"I'm feeling very left out of the family with all these secrets floating around," Fred grumbled.

They all seemed to find the situation funny, but Colin's laugh died off as his attention was brought to Ginny, whom only he seemed to notice. She was quietly eating her scrambled eggs, not laughing, and adding nothing to the conversation. That was not like her.

Ginny kept to herself during Charms, and Colin kept a wary eye on her, though he didn't ask her anything about what was wrong. He was determined to partner with her in Herbology, although he usually paired up with Clint, and she usually paired up with Luna. As expected, Professor Sprout gave the assignment and told them to pair off. Colin had stuck to Ginny so that she wouldn't have a chance to make her way over to Luna. Just as he was extending his hand to get her attention, Vinson sidled right between them.

"Hey, Colin, I was hoping you'd switch your routine up today and partner with me," Vinson asked quietly.

Colin blinked up at the taller boy—really, all the boys are taller than me—taking a moment to let his question sink in. "I-" he glanced past Vinson's shoulder and could see Ginny talking to Luna. Too late, he groaned. He looked back to Vinson, who was turning redder as the moments passed. "Sure, yeah," Colin answered back, disappointed that he wasn't getting his chance to talk with Ginny.

He silently approached the work table, not noticing the let-down look on Vinson's face.

When class ended, Colin shoved his Herbology book into his bag, intent on catching Ginny before she left the Greenhouse. Unfortunately, Vinson stopped his plans again. Colin was forced to stop his beeline to the doorway when he felt Vinson's hand wrap around his wrist.

"Yes?" Colin said impatiently. He immediately felt guilty when Vinson let go of him and took a step back. They'd shared a dorm for four years now, and Colin had never seen such a pained look on the other boy's face.

"Oh, it's nothing. I'm sorry," Vinson said quietly, eyes on the floor.

Colin looked at the boy in confusion, surprised and all out baffled at his obvious state of distress. "Vinson, is something wrong?" he asked uncertainly, stepping closer to look up into his downcast eyes. Ginny will just have to wait, apparently.

Vinson looked up, surprised at Colin's show of concern. "I've been wanting to talk to you about something, but…" he paused and Colin was even more baffled as his fellow Gryffindor blushed even redder and looked away before stuttering on, "…well, you've just seemed so busy, and you rarely spend the night in the dorm, so…I just…haven't had the chance."

Colin was stunned as a previous conversation he had had with Ginny came back to him. I wouldn't get too close to a certain Gryffindor boy in your year while showering, her words came back to him. Oh my god, it's him! Vinson is totally crushing on me!

A slow smile, barely concealed, passed over Colin's face as his eyes widened in realization. He couldn't help feeling flattered. It had been him who had gone after Harry and Draco and Snape. He hadn't really gone after George, but it's not as though George had really gone after him, either. Colin didn't know anyone that had a long standing crush on him. Seeing Vinson begin to fidget as the silence extended between them, Colin quickly spoke up, "Would you like to walk me back to the castle? We can talk on the way," he offered sweetly.

"I don't know, it's not really that important-" Vinson tried to shrug it off but Colin wasn't going to stand for it.

"No, I insist!" He reached out and looped his arm through Vinson's, urging him to take the lead. Vinson nervously led Colin out of the greenhouse and towards the castle. They walked slowly and were easily passed by the other students, but Vinson still hadn't said anything. "So…" Colin urged as they approached the lake, "what is it you wanted to talk about?"

Vinson heaved a sigh, most likely in an attempt to shake the nerves before answering. "I guess you know about Harry, you know, with the article in the Prophet…"

This threw Colin off a bit. Okay, so maybe he has a crush on Harry and not me. "Yeah, I expect the entire Wizarding World knows by now," he laughed, removing his arm from Vinson's. "Is that what this is about?" He was truly feeling pity for Vinson. From the look on his face, he really liked Harry, and was probably really upset to hear that he had a boyfriend.

"No, not really. It just got me thinking…" he paused. Colin opened his mouth to urge him to continue when Vinson suddenly stopped, facing Colin. "Look, Colin I know you're with George, and I really don't mean any disrespect to him or to you, but…" he looked away, but only for a moment before he looked at Colin with eyes that held a hint of pleading. "I've liked you for a long time, and I know I should have said something sooner, but I didn't even know you liked guys until you got with George. I just…I guess I just wanted you to know. I'm assuming that George is your first boyfriend, and he'll be graduating soon…and…and if it doesn't work out with you two, I just want you to consider me."

Colin looked at Vinson wide-eyed. He'd thought he'd be getting some lusty confession from his dorm mate that would lead to a sexual encounter, but…shit, he really likes me. "I…I don't know what to say," Colin answered quietly and honestly.

"It's okay," Vinson sighed, taking a resigned step back. "Like I said, I know you're with George. I just wanted to throw my hat in the ring…I guess. I'll see you in Defense later," with that, he just walked away.

Colin was rooted to the spot. He felt so bad, even though he hadn't done anything wrong. He watched Vinson enter the castle before slowly following in his footsteps. Why couldn't he just want a shag? That I could give him.

Colin entered the Gryffindor common room, immediately looking over the room for any sign of George or Vinson. He was relieved to see that Vinson wasn't present; although, that probably meant he went up to their room, so Colin resigned himself to be in the common room for a while. The only red hair he saw was Ginny's, and lucky for him, she was alone near the fire. He walked over to her, and sat on the sofa right beside her.

"Hey," he said softly. The way she jumped at his words made it clear that her thoughts had been far away.

"Hey…Colin," she mumbled, but didn't meet his eyes.

"You wanna tell me what's wrong," he asked, leaning towards her. She was obviously holding something in, and the look on her face told Colin that she wasn't going to tell him anything. "Come on, Gin, we've been friends for four years-" he was cut off by her arched brow, "—okay, so we've known each other for four years, but I think we've really become good friends recently. You can tell me what's wrong," he said sincerely.

She looked as though she couldn't breathe, like she was holding whatever was wrong inside with all her willpower when, in a gust of breath, she let it out. "You knew about Harry being gay, didn't you?" she asked quietly.

Colin only hesitated for a second before answering, "Yeah," he said, unable to stop the apologetic note in his voice. "But…I honestly never thought about it, but I guess I thought you knew, because of…you know, how close Harry is to your family. He's like a brother, right?"

Ginny's answering laugh was quiet and devoid of humor. "He's like a brother to my brothers, but…I've had this crush on him since the first time I saw him. And I think he kind of knows it, too. Today, when I saw that headline…and then I found out that he told you and George and my parents and Ron…and I assume Hermione, too…I just…feel like he should have told me, too. I don't think I deserved to find out like I'm just…one of the masses." She shrugged her shoulders and offered a sad smile to Colin. He had never seen Ginny Weasley so utterly defeated.

He sat back on the couch and put his arm around her, glad when she didn't fight it. He held her hand, stroking his thumb over the back of it. "That was pretty shitty of him," he finally said to her, softly. "I'm sorry."

"Thanks," she muttered. Colin knew she wouldn't cry—Ginny Weasley was tougher than that, but he prepared for it just the same. He, of course, knew exactly what it was like to be an emotional being. Her next question, however, he was not expecting.

"You know who his boyfriend is, too, don't you?" she whispered.

Colin tensed. "Ginny…I can't…I can't tell you-" he stuttered nervously.

"Yeah, I know, you won't tell me. I guess I'll find out along with everyone else that means absolutely nothing to Harry," she said sulkily. Colin was afraid she would be angry with him, but she pulled her feet onto the couch and curled up to him, welcoming his comfort. Maybe she did it on purpose, just to get him to tell. Colin didn't know. He just knew he felt bad for her, and he didn't think she deserved to find out along with the rest of the school. He also knew he shouldn't tell her—it's not my secret to tell, he chided himself. Against his better judgment, he wrapped his arms around her and whispered into her hair, "It's Draco Malfoy."

He kept holding her, tense for the outburst. As the seconds went by and nothing happened, Colin relaxed and began stroking the girl's back. Minutes had gone by before he realized that Ginny was indeed crying. She turned her face into his chest and continued to cry silently. That sat that way for a while, and Colin was glad that not many were in the common room—especially Harry and any other Weasleys. Eventually, Ginny brought her face out of his robes and took a deep breath.

"You alright?" he said quietly, not loosening his grip on her.

"Yeah. Sorry about that," she answered, voice thick.

"It's alright, you should see me cry. Well, I guess it's not too awful—your brother did ask me out during one of my emotional break downs." Colin wasn't necessarily trying for humor, but it did the trick. Ginny's laugh was quiet but genuine. They sat in silence for a few more moments before Ginny sat up, wiping her face with her hands.

"Thanks, Colin. You're a really good friend," she smiled over her shoulder at him. "And don't worry, I won't tell anyone you told me," she assured him with a small smile.

"I'm going to have to tell George I told you…if that's okay," he muttered.

"Fine by me, you can throw yourself under the bus, I'm just letting you know that I'm not gonna throw you under," she laughed again.

"You sure you're okay?" Colin asked again.

"Yeah, I'm just wondering what it is with me being attracted to gay men!" she exclaimed, all signs of sadness gone. At the disbelieving look on Colin's face she continued, "Oh! I'm not kidding. Other than Harry, there was also Dean. Ron told me about him being gay. Then I had this little crush on that Zabini guy from Slytherin—but I guess you already know about him, too?"

"I don't like him," Colin muttered, crossing his arms over his chest in a fake pout, bringing another laugh from Ginny. "Did George let you know that he wasn't into girls?" he asked.

"No, I overheard George and Fred talking about it-"

"What were they saying?" Colin interrupted, very interested to hear his boyfriend's opinion of the Slytherin.

"Aw, come on, I can't tell you that! George would kill me!" she said.

"Not fair!" Colin exclaimed, feeling no need for further explanation.

"Okay, you're right—but you better not tell him I told you this!" she pointed her finger at him in a threatening manner.

"I swear! Out with it!" he demanded.

"It was nothing really. George just said that he gave really really great head, and he was kind of suggesting that Fred go for him. For some reason he thought Zabini would be more Fred's type than his," she shrugged, but Colin had a feeling that he knew the reason that Zabini would be more suited for Fred than for George.

"Well, I guess I did already know that…but George left the part out about…Zabini's skills," he said. "Anyway, you have more gay crushes to share?" he perked back up.

"I'm glad to see my misfortune brings you such joy," she said sarcastically, but continued on, "and then there was this little tiny crush I had on you-"

"—no way!-"

"Yes way, but don't worry, I'm totally over that! And then, well, there was Vinson, but he's obviously been in love with you since merlin-knows-when," she trailed off, rolling her eyes and leaning back into the corner of the couch bringing her feet up onto Colin's lap.

"Oh, godric, I had nearly forgotten about Vinson," Colin moaned. "He told me he likes me….just after Herbology actually."

"Oh no," Ginny groaned sympathetically. "What did you do?"

"I didn't know what to do—or say, for that matter. I thought he was just gonna, I don't know, admit to some attraction to me. I thought he'd want sex or something. But…he made it clear that he really likes me. I couldn't very well offer him my ass, now could I?" he explained, feeling quiet relaxed in this new found friendship.

"You mean you would have cheated on my brother?" Ginny asked incredulously. She went to pick her feet up, but Colin grabbed them before she could.

"No! He would have known about it! In fact, I probably would have offered him a three way!" he tried to explain, realizing too late that he was getting into some very personal territory.

"Okay…" Ginny looked at him before slowly saying, "I never thought I'd want to hear about the sex life of any of my brothers, but…I want to hear more about my brother's sex life—what exactly do you two get up to?"

"Oh, uh…I don't know, Ginny. George would probably kill me," he said nervously, even though he was excited at the idea of having a friend to share this stuff with.

"Oh my gosh, was George not your first?" she asked, sitting up and moving closer to him.

"NO! He was definitely my first, I assure you!" Colin exclaimed. "We just…"

"Oh, come on, I swear I won't tell," she pleaded, moving to face him, sitting Indian-style right beside him. "Have you slept with other guys? Who were they?"

Colin was ready to spill everything, when he realized that he couldn't possibly tell Ginny about Harry and Draco. Surely, that would crush her.

"Harry and Malfoy!" she exclaimed in a whisper, clinging to his arm.

"What!" Colin squeaked. I know it didn't say that out loud, did I?

"How is it that you and George knew about Harry being with Malfoy, but no one else did? You totally slept with them, didn't you?" Colin looked at her warily. Though there was no anger or resentment in her voice, he still wasn't sure how to respond. He decided that Ginny was way too smart for her own good. "Oh come on!" she said impatiently, "I've had my cry and I'm over it, now spill!" Colin couldn't help but laugh at her, practically bouncing with excitement, so unlike herself.

Her excitement was contagious. Colin jumped around to face her, mirroring her. "Okay, but you really can't tell anybody. I've got a secret much bigger than Harry and Draco to tell, so you have to promise, Ginny!"

"Okay, I promise—a million times, I promise!" she assured him with enthusiasm.

"And you have to promise not to be any other boy's fag-hag but me!" he added. This made her laugh even harder.

"Okay, yes, I promise! Now, come on! The faster you spill your dirty secrets, the faster I spill mine!"

Colin told Ginny everything. He left nothing out—from the first time he secretly watched Draco and Harry have sex up until the night before when he was fucked by their Potions Professor. He left nothing out. Anyone walking past them would surely have to smile at the two giggling fourth years. Heads close together, whispers and giggles passing between them, looks of wonder and amazement—and to Colin's relief, not one single sign of disgust—passed between them. In all of the excitement of his growing love with George and the sexual exploration they had been doing together, it had never really occurred to Colin that he had never really had a real friend. And until now, he never knew it could mean so much.