Character: Louis Weasley
Notes: Thank you so much to my lovely beta, InkTeardrops, who took the time to correct all of my mistakes. This fic is currently being subtly reworked, so please check back for updates on its edits. This chapter is: NOT YET REVISED.
Louis Weasley is... difficult.
Ever since the age of eleven, he has drawn drama to him like a moth to a flame, spun lies out of cobwebs and fairy tales out of dust. Louis creates the impossibly magical out of the believably ordinary. It's a talent he won't learn to control for a while.
He's never been a normal boy; he's a Weasley, for gods' sakes, with golden hair and cerulean eyes and a shy smile and too many cousins to count (though it's ten, if you are).
Louis is going to either thrive or fall, at Hogwarts, but he's going to throw himself off of the Astronomy tower anyway and see how well his wings work.
He gets his Hogwarts letter (greeted with a hug and a sigh of relief, a tear and a mumble of confusion, all of which he ignores, and his mother strokes his head and tells him how proud she is) and prepares his trunk. He forgets socks and loses his wand, but nevertheless, by the time it's 10:59, he's sitting in a compartment opposite two people he doesn't get to know.
And to be honest, doesn't care to.
But he sits there and makes polite small talk, as he is wont to do, and accepts his fate.
Walking into the Great Hall, he takes a deep breath. He feels almost like a Muggleborn, realising that magic exists for the first time.
Because magic exists here, in this hall, with smiling faces and friends and a sky that glows brighter than any spell. Magic thrives here, where failures vanish and are forgotten. The memorial plaque above the teachers' table is almost unreadable in all its bronzed glory.
Magic lives and dies at Hogwarts and Hogwarts alone. Louis thinks the rest of the world needs a little magic too.
Every head in the hall snaps up. He is one of the last Weasleys to be Sorted; one of the last to walk up and feel that rejection. He takes a deep breath. He isn't ready for this; the humiliation of Hufflepuff, however happy his cousins there are; the scorn of Slytherin, however special the Potter children are; the rejection of Ravenclaw, however radiant they are.
Louis isn't ready for the glory of Gryffindor, because he has seen the broken smiles of the family who have given in, who have led their way into traditions and their parents' names. He doesn't want to join the damned.
He isn't ready.
However, he isn't surprised.
The first term goes quickly, and when he gets home for Christmas, he goes to his cerulean room. And he cries.
He cries all night, in a panicked way, not in a sombre way, and he feels like he can't breathe and he can't see and there is a weight crushing his chest and - and Louis wonders, for a second, if this is what it feels like to be insane.
Because when he was little, his parents took him to see Healers who asked for their autographs and gushed over Louis' pretty blonde hair.
So, instead, they took him to see Muggle doctors, who let him lie down on hard beds and said meaningful words like "bipolar" and "schizophrenic" and "gender confusion," and suggested things like "drugs" and "sessions". Louis just sat politely and listened and now he tries to forget.
Louis returns to Hogwarts unchanged - he mainly stays out of other people's ways, keeping to himself, burying himself in cerulean textbooks and fantasy novels and newspaper clippings of different times.
In the summer, Louis spends most of it in silence. His mother frets and his father is just as sombre, and his sisters send him worried, exasperated looks.
He doesn't eat much, over the course of the holiday. A lot of the time, he sits with his mother while she picks out colours for him to wear, and how nice it is he spends time with her, now that Victoire's left home and Dom -
Dom, who gave up her family for a love she can't hope to understand. She dreams of brown eyes and Paris streets; she hasn't been home for weeks.
And so, his mother dulls in comparison, losing her fight, her spark, and still she frets.
When second year rolls about, Louis burns his books.
Instead, he goes to Quidditch games in cerulean blue and visits the house parties and though people still give him side-glances and whisper bookworm and nerd behind his back, Louis decides it's better this way.
Then he learns that those little glances mean more than just nerd.
Louis learns, that year, that people don't forget and they certainly don't forget. People are little more than animals; they have lost their traditions and their kindness and their fires.
The little glances mean insane. He bows his head against the onslaught of whispers, and his hair starts to cover his face. He doesn't talk any longer.
And nobody ever forgets that.
Summer starts again, and his mother fusses over his hair - too long, she whispers sadly, stroking the blonde strands, but so like mine. So like -
Tears blur the cerulean and his mother bows her head, pressing kisses to his cheek and saying how beautiful he is.
Louis notices, when her shaking hand smoothes his trouser leg, that she only keeps two pictures on her night stand two pictures of little girls who have long since grown out of their little girl dresses and pigtails. They'd look just like him, if -
The gleam returns to his mother's eye, and who is he to say no?
And so, people at school begin to call him a girl. Louis has a feminine face, he knows that, with dark lashes and pink lips and pale cheeks. But he's a boy. Really. They say that's what happens when you grow up with Veelas in your family. They scoff and ask him why he continues to pretend.
And nobody ever forgets that.
Christmas comes - they set the table for five, just in case, but eventually, only three seats are filled - and once more, his mother looks Louis in the eye. She looks more alive than he can remember.
"Dear, how would you like to look prettier?"
She sets him down in front of her dressing table, and he shakes his head in the mirror, gently at first, then furiously, until he is shaking and crying and his mother holds him close. After that, he complies. He doesn't even cry when she adds blusher to his cheeks and sometimes calls him "Dominique."
The rest of the school year is hell, but Louis can't bear the thought of sitting down in front of his mother, the brave, beautiful Fleur Delacour turned desperate, insane Fleur Weasley, and telling her he's a boy.
Until Louis gets home and his mother tilts her head, studying him. He sits down on a dining room chair and she tells him that ladies don't sit that way.
He screams and he shouts; he runs to the sink and scrubs off the make-up. He grabs the kitchen scissors and cuts chunks off his hair, cerulean eyes watering as he does so. Fleur does not watch silently; she shouts and she screams back; she tears the scissors out of his hands and throws them out the window.
It ends with both of them panting heavily, slumped on different sides of the kitchen.
Louis' father finds them, unmoved, an hour later. Gently, he picks up Fleur and places her on the sofa. Then he sits Louis down in one of the wooden chairs, takes out his wand, and fixes Louis' hair. It doesn't cover his face any more.
He can't hide behind the child his mother wanted to have.
Louis is still quiet when he gets back to school, for his fourth year - people still whisper, but it's more like, did you hear about his mother? Went insane, she did. Oh, poor Louis...
But the first term goes well; it's when Christmas ends, and Louis is placed with someone else for Transfiguration. A Gryffindor. Charles- Something. Charles- Something doesn't talk to him much, but Charles- Something is rude to the teachers and forgets his work and never stops moving, ever.
He's utterly ridiculous and arrogant and - well, Louis is entranced.
Charles- Something quickly evolves into Charles Edgecombe, a boy who smiles at Louis and makes his heart melt. Charles Edgecombe becomes Charlie in Louis' head, and a part of him knows he's done for.
The rest of him remains blissfully ignorant. But, like everything, it doesn't last long.
The hot, English summer comes and goes (his mother stays in her room, and doesn't come out for days). Fifth year begins without fireworks, but maybe with friends and something a little like young love. Then it all falls to pieces.
There are more whispers in the hallways - Louis Weasley's got a crush on Charlie Edgecombe, can you believe it? - and suddenly, Charlie- Something won't look at him anymore.
It gets better, slightly, because Charlie even smiles at him now, especially after Christmas, but Louis doesn't think that really matters. His friends still talk to him; they don't care if he's gay. His dad just shakes his head when he hears, from one of Louis' cousins, no doubt.
It was kind of expected, after all.
But Louis sits alone for most of the holidays, because, dear, when it comes down to it, Louis is fifteen years old, gay, and pretty much in love with a boy who can't stand to look him in the eyes.
(When Louis was five, he killed himself.)
He doesn't know what to do.
(He raised two fingers to his head.)
He can't be strong.
(He pulled the trigger.)
Not this time.
(And he whispered, "Bang.")
Sixth year begins, and it's the first time Louis goes to a party - he stays in the cerulean corner, whispers of fag and did you know - pushing him there, forcing him into the wall and furthest away from the other occupants in the room.
He gets a letter, half way through the term, to tell him that his mother's been admitted to a hospital. Somehow, Louis knows it's not somewhere as pedestrian as St. Mungo's. Not for his mother.
There is no one quite like his mother.
He doesn't go home for Christmas. A gorgeous, dramatic Gryffindor named Matthew Finnigan asks him what's wrong, one Transfiguration lesson when he won't look away from the blackboard. Louis looks at him back, stunned, and Matthew shrugs, ducks his head, and says, "Was only asking."
Louis hates himself when he realises that he's not over Charlie. Not at all.
(When Louis was seven, he killed the cat.)
And he should be; he really should be.
(He raised two fingers to its head.)
A crush doesn't last this long, does it?
(He pulled the trigger.)
Not just a crush.
(And he whispered, "Bang," as he knocked over the bookcase, so that it fell on old Tabitha. He'd screamed. Tabitha whimpered.)
When Louis returns home, his father sits him down at the table. He tells him what a good boy he's been - how proud he is, because Louis has been so brave, so strong, and he strokes his head and starts to cry. Louis sits there, motionless, when his father says mother won't be coming home for the summer.
They go and visit her, in her private hospital. The room is too white, aside from the cerulean tint on his mother's skin. It scares him.
His mother reaches out a hand and tells him how he's grown.
She then plays with his hair and frets over how short it is, and how pale his face has grown. Louis tells her he likes it that way. He says that the girls at school like it too (not that he knows, because girls hold no interest to him, do they?) and his mother's eyebrows thread together in worry.
So Louis leans forward, ever so slowly, and whispers into her ear, "What's my name, Mother?"
She blinks up at him. Her mouth opens slightly, but she falters.
The nurses come running in, tearing Louis away from the bedside and out of the room. His father is close to tears, but Louis' face is emotionless.
(When Louis was seven, he killed Dominique.)
That woman isn't his mother.
(He raised two fingers to her head.)
(He pulled the trigger.)
Mothers recognise their children.
(And he whispered "Bang," and told her that he hated her. Her eyes haven't been the same since.)
Seventh year begins, and Louis talks more with Matthew - Charlie, who looks at him now, who doesn't say scathing comments to unsuspecting people who simply ask what's happened, is pushed back in his mind, because Charlie has never particularly cared about Louis. His cerulean eyes and cerulean smile have always been cold.
Louis just didn't see it.
Louis is just as quiet as usual, but sometimes, he adds his two Knuts and the class laugh. He's critical and sarcastic and a little bit bewildered, but hey; at least he's speaking, right?
Matthew - Matt, the boy insists, over and over - joins him at the Ravenclaw table, amongst cerulean and bronze. There are mutters, but then Matthew offers Louis his toast, so how the hell could Louis care?
Then, one day, the day before the Easter holidays, Matthew kisses him. He cups his jaw, clenches his fist in his hair, pushes Louis back into the wall (that cerulean corner), but his lips are soft, and hesitant. Questioning. Wondering. Forgiving.
Louis strokes Matthew's face, twists a strand of brown hair around his finger, lets him lean again his shoulder, and nods.
When it's the end of the school year, Louis tells Matthew to move in with him.
Because he can return to his empty ghost of a house, with his strangely fragile father and cerulean lunatic mother and pictures of the people his sisters used to be. Or he can finally forget about the boy he was once in love with; the boy who rejected him because he was scared.
He can find a flat, and move in with the marvellous boy who might even save him. Matthew agrees, on one condition - he leans close, his lips against Louis' ear, and whispers, "Let me help you."
(When Louis was eighteen, he saved himself.)
Louis hugs him close.
(He raised his hand to his mother.)
Maybe he cries.
(He waved his fingers.)
Matt doesn't let go.
(And he whispered, "Goodbye.")
Eventually, they are Matthew and Louis Finnigan, and just because they're difficult, doesn't mean they're not worth it.