A/N: For the "Press Play Challenge" on HPFC, by Intoxicated-Eyes.


Katie passed him in the corridor on the way to Charms. He smiled, about to respond, a surge of warmth flooding into his stomach, but she had already turned away. Still, he stared after her, transfixed by the simple bobbing motion of her ponytail as she walked away.

She was beautiful.

From the sound of her laugh, to the way that her cheeks dimpled when she smiled. She radiated confidence and beauty – a stark contrast to him. The awkward, never-quite-fit-in-anywhere Anthony Goldstein. Even amongst his two best friends, Terry and Michael, he was always the odd one out. He couldn't help but feel, no matter how much they tried to include him, that he was just being a bother. That they didn't really like him, but instead took pity on him, because no one else would.

But someone else had. Katie was always friendly to him. He would catch her eye at the dinner table sometimes, across a sea of heads, and she would offer him a friendly smile. Once, in Double Transfiguration, she had helped him correct the hold on his wand, when they were learning how to properly perform 'Cultum,' the spell that allowed a person to change the colour of his or her hair. His heart had squeezed when he'd managed to turn his hair pink after that, and she had laughed. It wasn't the first time that he'd heard it, o f course – but the first time he had shared it. And he couldn't help feeling extremely proud, because that smile, that laugh, had been made especially for him. It was his.

She was perfect.

Some might have argued that her thighs were a bit too large, or that her nose was too pointed. And maybe one of her eyes was a little off-center. But not to Anthony; to him, she was perfect in every way. Even with her flaws, she would forever be the object of his affection. And every time their eyes met, just briefly – at dinner, in the corridors, in class – he was sure that she felt something, too. He could sense it.

When it came to Quidditch, she was a master. She controlled her broom with acute precision, and watching her fly was a privilege. She moved with such grace, with such utter determination, that it was almost like watching a type of dance. But nobody else spoke the same language as she; no one else could even come close to measuring up to her.

She was a whore.

Even now, walking away from him, she was surrounded by a small group of young men. They were her friends, from the Quidditch team – Fred and George Weasley. To some, It might have seemed as though the touches were innocent. That the laughter was nothing if not pure, but Anthony knew better. He could see it in their eyes – how much they wanted her.

But what made it all the worse was that, over time, he began to realize that she wanted them back. She would punch one twin playfully on the shoulder, while the other would make some witty remark. She would clap Oliver Wood heartily on the back after a game, and her hand would linger on his shoulder for a second too long. Maybe no one else noticed, but he did. She was playing to them. She liked the attention, and suddenly, Anthony wasn't special; he was one of many.

At night, when he closed his eyes, he could see her face. Such beauty and perfection on the outside, but it was all a lie. A facade to fool the rest of the world, except for him. Because he was doomed to see her for what she truly was, and yet he was ensnared firmly in her web of deceit.

And whatever he did, no matter how much he tried to resist, he was always drawn back. He was obsessed. No one else seemed to notice. Michael and Terry never said a word to him, as he was distracted by Katie's laugh, all the way across the Great Hall. Or when, during the Ravenclaw vs. Gryffindor Quidditch games, his eyes were always trained on the chaser in scarlet.

Because he was who he was, he was doomed to be forever silent. Forever in the shadows, watching, and wanting. Doomed to bear witness to the falsities that she represented. And doomed to love her for them in the end.