For Always Padfoot (Ami)

sinking like a stone

He lies in bed, staring up at the ceiling with a blank expression on his face. He doesn't stir, he doesn't move a single muscle. He only gazes longingly at the endless expanse of darkness above him. He had conned his uncle Fred into bewitching his room to constantly be pitch black when he was fourteen years old. He's been trapped in an empty sphere of complete and utter nothingness ever since, ever since he hit the water and started sinking.

He remembers it oh so clearly, that moment when he first hit the water. He remembers the way that he was thrown from a height of a thousand feet and felt the water smack onto his face like concrete as his heart ripped in two. He couldn't help the way he felt about his best friend, he really couldn't. He and Daniel had been friends for nearly their whole lives. Albus thought that he could confide in Daniel about the way he was feeling. Thought that he could confide in Daniel about how much he loved him. He thought that Daniel would feel the same way.

How young and naïve he was back then. Daniel wasn't one to go for boys, especially boys like Albus Severus Potter. He remembers the way that Daniel had screamed obscenities at him, how he had told him that he was a freak of nature and a disgrace to his family. He remembers backing against the wall as Daniel's spit flew into his face as he screamed himself hoarse. He remembers the way that the door slammed when Daniel stormed out of his house. He remembers sinking down the wall and burying his head in his knees and crying for hours on end. He remembers it because it hurt, and that all he seems to want to feel right now. Pain, hurt and suffering, but sinking quickly would only shorten his pain, and his demons seemed to want to draw it out for as long as possible and that frightens him beyond belief.

He retreated into the darkness, preferring to stay in bed all day rather than hang out with his cousins. He started to believe the words that the voices inside his head whispered to him at night.

Freak. Stupid. Worthless. Git. Faggot. Go and kill yourself.

He screams and screams but nobody is ever around to hear. He claws at his head and ears, wishing that he could just rip them off so that he could have some peace and quiet. But at the same time, he needs the voices, otherwise how will he know that he's alive?

His cheeks are hollow and his face is pale when he returns to Hogwarts after the summer. People notice and they start to whisper, they speculate about what's going on with the famous son of Harry Potter. He hears all sorts of ludicrous theories about what's happening, but none of them even come close to the truth. He's confused as to why Daniel didn't out him to the rest of the school, but then he realises it's because Daniel doesn't want to know him at all anymore. He wants to forget it ever happened.

He can't breathe some days because he feels like his lungs are filling up with water, like the tide is rising and he's tied to a post in the middle of the water, drowning ever so slowly as the water rises up around his neck and finds its way into his mouth. His mind is clouded with thoughts and dreams of what it would be like if he hadn't been so honest with Daniel. If he had just kept his feelings to himself instead of broadcasting them, he should've realised that it wasn't normal earlier, then maybe, just maybe, he wouldn't be in this mess.

The look of disappointment on his parents' faces when he receives his OWL results is enough to send Albus over the edge. They've noticed Albus being moody, but they haven't tried to help him at all, they just pass it off as him being a teenager, they never actually stopped to think that he might have a problem. Never stopped to look at their son's empty eyes and never even realised that by reacting how they did to his failing grades they were just rubbing salt in the already open wound.

Lily and James start to look at him strangely, they treat him differently to how they used to and they start to abruptly stop conversations when he walks into a room. Albus knows that he's just a worthless bunch of atoms that were thrown together to bring some sort of drama into his perfect family. He knows that he's stupid and a freak, he knows that his whole family would hate him for what he's suffering through all of this for.

He can't tell anyone though, he never can. The only friend that he has is the voices inside of his head, chanting the same mantra to him every single day. Stupid, ugly, freak, faggot, go and kill yourself. Stupid, ugly, freak, faggot, go and kill yourself. But he puts up with them because he knows that the moment they stop, he will know that the slow death that he has been suffering is complete.

He goes back to Hogwarts for his seventh year, wishing that he didn't exist and wishing that someone would try to help him. He wished that his parents would care enough to see that it wasn't just a rebellious streak. He wished his siblings cared enough to notice that his eyes were hollow and his personality had drained out of them. He wished he had a friend to help him through. But he didn't, and when he arrives back at Hogwarts, he realises that he probably never will.

Whenever he passes a student in the hallways he can hear them whisper, he can hear them talk about how they heard that he was gay. He heard their disgusted comments and each one was like a knife into his heart. He would never be accepted here, not by anybody.

He slowly stops floundering to stay above the surface of the water. What does it matter anyway? He'll always be a freak, a loser, a spare person who is never wanted around. Why should he try to keep afloat in the ever so deep ocean of pain and suffering? He lets himself sink deeper and deeper, feeling himself suffocate more and more as the days pass by.

Until one day, he feels himself being lifted up.

"Do you have some sort of portable heating device under your coat or are you just some freakishly hot blooded animal?" he hears a voice say. He looks up from the ground to see Scorpius Malfoy, one of his old friends, he tries to smile to indicate to Scorpius that he's glad to see him, but he can't form one.

"Come on Potter, share the heat," Scorpius said, sitting down next to him on the snow covered rock.

"I-I don't have any," he stammered, wincing at how husky his voice was from disuse.

Scorpius looks at him incredulously, "Damn Al, do you want to get frostbite?" he said, pulling a jar out of his pocket and conjuring a flame inside. He held it out to Albus, who took it apprehensively.

"It's not going to eat you Albus, it's a portable fire, remember? It doesn't even burn things," Scorpius said, shaking his head at Albus in amusement as he wrapped his hands around his own jar of flames.

"So, Al," Scorpius says, looking sideways at his old friend, "Where have you been lately, I've missed you."

Scorpius is just what Albus needs. It's like he's got his fishing hook on the back of his shirt and is reeling him back up to the surface. Scorpius gives him purpose, he gives him a reason to smile again. He cares about Albus and he listens to him without complaint. And Albus can't help but fall in love with the majestic boy that has given his life purpose again. He's come round full circle and fallen in love with his best friend again. He won't ever tell him though; he can't face losing another friend over his stupid feelings, he can't face going back to the bottom of the sea.

"So," Scorpius says, on a rainy day in February "You've told me about where you've been for the past few years, but do you want to tell me how you got to the bottom of that deep, dark ocean?"

Albus bites his lip, but what does it matter? Daniel has already outed him to the rest of the school anyway. So he tells him. He starts at the very beginning and finishes at the very end and before he knows what's happening, Scorpius has wrapped his arms around him in a tight embrace and he hasn't got a clue what to do.

"I'm sorry," Scorpius whispers in his ear, "I'm sorry for not being there for you when I know I could've been."

"It's okay," he replies back, "I'm getting better now."

"That's good," Scorpius smiles, "I need you to be better if I'm going to ask you out."

Silence immediately falls between the two of them as Albus stares at Scorpius dumbfoundedly, his mouth hanging open in absolute shock. Never in his wildest dreams did he imagine this, did he imagine someone the same as him.

"What?" he manages to choke out, looking at Scorpius with his eyes almost bugging out of his head.

Scorpius rolls his eyes, "Albus Severus Potter," he pauses and takes Albus' hand and looks him dead in the eyes, "Will you go out with me?"

As soon as the words leave his lips Albus feels the hurt and the fear leave his body. He feels like he's been hoisted out of the water and is being pulled onto land, properly breathing and he finally feels alive. He feels himself nodding and before he knows what's happening Scorpius is in his arms, his hands are tangled in his hair and their lips are pressed together in a desperate kiss. Each boy pressing his body against the other like it was the last time they would ever touch. Albus felt like he was floating inside a clear spherical bubble and that he could see everything from above. He feels the ghosts that have been residing inside him evaporate out of him, like Scorpius has swallowed them and in a way, he had.

And as the two of them break apart and smile at each other, Albus knows that he will never, ever have to go back to the sea of hurt, pain and sadness that he had resided in for so long.

AN: This is the first time I've written in first person for a while so it's a bit strange to me because I'm very out of practise, but I hope It made some sort of sense and Ami, I hope that you liked it!

This was written for

Camp Potter: First Aid – Prompts: "he swallows my ghosts" fright, empty

2013 Fanfiction Olympics – Prompts: Water, sphere, never, circle, tide, salt

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Best Wishes

Nayla xx