For the Hurdles Event for the 2012 Hogwarts Games – write something you don't usually write. Next-gen isn't my usual fare, and this is a new pairing for me.

Also for Ralinde's Pairing Diversity Boot Camp - this is my real entry for "love hurts" because the phrase actually made it into this one.


It isn't that he no longer believes in happy endings. After all, this is one. Just… not for him.

He wants to hate her for it, for taking him.

He wants to hate him for loving her, for choosing her.

But he can't.

She's his cousin, after all. Cousin Rosie. He's loved her for as long as he can remember – she's family. And everybody loves Rose. Even him, apparently.

Fred can't even blame him for loving her. After all, she's flamboyant, enthusiastic, pretty, clever Rose. And he's just Fred. Well, not even. He's Fred the Second.

Merlin, but he's sick of coming in second. Being second best.

He is surprised by how much it hurts.

Oh, sure, he knows the saying. Love hurts. He just didn't expect it to hurt this much.

Merlin, love? I'm so much more screwed than I'd thought.

He wonders how it got so far, how he got in so deep, without him even noticing. He can't really help himself, though. There's a fire in Scorpius that Fred found himself falling for from the very beginning. A determination to be so much more than people expected him to be.

Well, and it doesn't really help that the man is so bloody good looking.

He'd thought he was strong enough for this. He'd thought he'd be able to watch him marry her, and be okay with it. Be happy for them. He sits in the back row, fidgeting in his dress robes, and watching Scorpius stare impatiently at the spot where Rose will emerge.

The church is entirely too frilly – Rose's doing, he guesses – and Fred feels stifled by the masses of flowers.

Then there she is. Fred doesn't turn to look, but he knows she's there from the change of expression on Scorpius' face. Nervousness morphs into pure, exhilarated joy.

It makes Fred want to cry.

Merlin, he just looks so happy. Fred loves him enough to be glad for that much.

You don't deserve him, Rosie. But neither do I.

Fred remembers stuttering and stumbling through a confession and watching Scorpius' face go from baffled to almost unreadable and slightly sad. He'd apologized – actually apologized – for not feeling the same way. God, but that had only made Fred like him more.

Oh, I… I'm sorry, Fred. I'm just… I'm not… well, interested in you… like that. I'm sorry.

Because Scorpius was always that way – polite, even when he was letting you down. Merlin, Score could be polite telling someone to go to hell, if he ever tried.

Fred sucks in a breath, trying not to cry. It's over. He knows that. He never really had a chance to begin with, but even those infinitesimally small odds are gone now.

And the presiding officer says that clichéd bit about speaking now or forever holding the peace, and Fred is tempted, sorely tempted, to be stupid and impulsive and stand up, but he won't. He won't, because it won't do any good. Scorpius doesn't love him. It'd be nothing but foolish to alienate Rose for no reason.

Instead, he holds his breath and forces himself to look away as they lean towards each other to kiss.

Oh, Rose. Just know how lucky you are, and love him like he deserves.