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"What the hell was I supposed to do?" "The first move".

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August

Summer was nearly over, which meant exactly two things, the first being that school was to begin soon, with all the implications this bore - from the fact that they were going to be in the seventh and final year, to the need to go and buy new books, uniforms if they did not fit well anymore, accessories and whatnot in Diagon Alley.
The second thing was a far more entertaining thought: every year, as soon as the second half of August began, Courfeyrac's whole mind turned towards the organisation of his now famous "End-of-Summer Party".

Well, it wasn't exactly famous, not as famous as other things could be, anyway, but it had gained a reputation in his circle of friends, and sometimes he had heard someone referring to him in the hallways as "the one who throws those weird parties". Courfeyrac had never gotten to understand whether it was a positive statement or not, but it was a statement nonetheless and that was all that mattered.

One morning, soon after the famous half of August had passed, Courfeyrac woke up to the unpleasant sound of an owl hitting repeatedly on his window. He jumped out of of bed and opened the window to let the bird in. It carried a letter, of course, from Jehan, which wasn't strange. Since Grantaire and Éponine had introduced the whole group to the genial muggle invention of mobile phones, owls had had way less work to do. With the necessary exceptions, like Feuilly who sometimes just felt the need to send long, handwritten messages for the sake of keeping his hands busy with quills of all sorts and eccentric inks, or Jehan who felt nostalgic at times - having had a childhood which didn't involve any kind of magic - and spent days sending various samples of his his own production to the guys.
My dear, the message said, I absolutely need to meet you all, but I also need to replenish my school supplies. Isn't it a great idea to meet in Diagon Alley and spend a full day together chatting about how we spent our summer or how we dread going back to school? Not that I particularly dread going back there, that place is simply marvellous, but is somehow a muggle belief that school is something not to be considered pleasant.
Anyhow, I'll meet you all in Diagon Alley in three days, and I’m texting everyone to make sure no one gets confused about the date.
XoXo
Courfeyrac panicked slightly. When had this letter been sent? Where was his mobile phone? Was it charged enough? It providentially started to ring from under a pile of books and clothes and the young wizard fished it out with a smile of relief.
“Hello?” he answered, without looking to the screen to see who was calling.
“Oh, I was worried this was not how this device worked. Courf, I need help- wait, I’m talking to Courfeyrac, right?” a confused voice rambled and Courf burst out laughing.
“Marius! Oh my sweet Marius! How are you? I will help you with anything you need, right now!” he assured his best friend, falling on his bed again, and hitting his head on the wall in the process. Ouch.
“Listen, Jehan just invited everyone to Diagon Alley, you realise what this mean, right?” he blurted out, panic showing in his tone.
“What does this mean, sweetheart?” he jested, a playful smile on his face, because he knew what this implied, oh, if he knew.
“I can’t do my school shopping if Cosette is there!” the wizard exploded.
And there Courfeyrac turned immediately serious, “What,“ he started, “does this even mean? You should be able to bring on your normally functioning human activities when she is around… I don’t think being in love makes you in need of physical assistance”.
“It’s because you have obviously never been in love, Courf! You don’t understand… She’s like perfect… she has hair like the sun and she is beautiful and she is gentle and kind and she smiles like the world is the most interesting place to be in-”
“Enough, Marius. You’re coming here right now and you’re not leaving this house until we go to Diagon Alley”.
Something needs to be done about this.

And that’s why Courf found himself starting a new group chat, consisting in everyone except Cosette and Marius, named “I got fed up”.
R: Fed up with what exactly? You know, it’s not very clear. (8.46 AM)
Enj: Well, if you had let him write at least a message that explained the purpose of yet another group chat with the same thirteen people you wouldn’t have needed to ask. (8:46 AM)
Ferre: You can’t possibly have already started… it’s mathematically impossible… (8:47 AM)
Courfeyrac sighed. He decided to send a vocal message and hope for the best. Surprisingly, everyone agreed to the necessity of turning the whole group in a huge matchmaking act and help Marius get his Cosette.

In the end, Marius couldn’t make it to Courf’s house, because of something his grandfather needed of him, but Courf couldn’t find it in him to be much displeased, as this left the field open for his plans.
They needed to have Cosette come for certain, first of all, and this meant that Eponine had to play all her best cards towards this result. Then, they had to decide how they would progressively disappear, until the unaware couple was left alone.
“Well, we could always call an emergency and apparate all together, considering it isn’t Marius’s forte…” Bahorel had suggested, a laughter at the edges of his voice, statement that had caused Joly to explode in a full ramble about “how extremely risky apparition is, and how one can’t just think that twelve people apparating all together isn’t a tiny bit anxiety inducing”, to which Bossuet had quickly closed the debate with a “we need another solution”:

The 18th of August, all the Amis de l’ABC - acronym of Activists of the Broadened Cultures - met inside the Leaky Cauldron, in a feast of hugs, squeaks and loud displays of affection in general.
Cosette wasn’t there yet, when Courf and Marius made their entrance in the pub.
Eponine had dyed her hair of a bright purple that ended in dark blue tips and both Musichetta and Jehan were appreciating her hairstyle with high pitched notes and little jumps.
Bossuet had, somehow, managed to sprain his ankle while trying to reach his old schoolbooks that he wanted to give to Eponine’s brother, so he was walking with a slight limp and was more often than not using Joly as a human cane.
Feuilly was emphatically talking to Grantaire about some new muggle invention he’d read somewhere about and that he needed to try to replicate himself sooner or later.
It was then that Courf saw them: Ferre and Enjolras, standing a bit distanced from the others, caught in who knows what debate. It looked serious, but Courf knew that they’d managed to get into a serious debate about what colour should be prevalent on an hypothetic Christmas Tree in a Wizard house to avoid making children think that one of the Hogwarts houses was better than the other three, so he didn’t worry about anything, when he interrupted them, catching both of them in a tight hug.
“Guys, how I missed you!” he commented, holding them even closer.
“Yeah…” Enjolras tried to pull away, “we missed you too, Courf… now I’d like to breathe,” and if the blonde threw a glance - very casual in his opinion, but not so much in reality - to Grantaire, who was in that moment hugging Bahorel who’d just arrived, Courfeyrac pretended not to notice it.
What he noticed, instead, was how much Ferre’s new haircut suited him. “Oi, Ferre, you’re going to be featured on the cover of Witch Weekly as the hottest Head Boy Hogwarts has ever had,” he chuckled, making the other one blush.
“I’d like you not to tell the others, Courf,” he retorted, cleaning the lenses of his glasses on the hem of his purple shirt. “I want to tell them when we’re relaxing together, today’s going to be frantic enough…”.
Courf smiled at him and, if possible, Ferre blushed even more.
As soon as Cosette arrived, the group moved towards the shops they wanted to hit, and, in the mean time, they had to manage to abandon Marius and the girl he was so head-over-heels about on their own.

The first window that caught the attention of someone was the sparkling Quality Quidditch Supplies.
Musichetta let out a soft moan as soon as she saw the new quidditch broomsticks in the window and she quickly ran to watch them as closely as she could. “Oh my god! Bahorel, look!” she called her team mate, soon to be captain of the Slytherin team, “Do you think we can buy these ones for our team? If we only had these broomsticks… we would win the cup in a split second…”.
“That’d be cheating, ‘Chetta!” Bossuet laughed from two steps at her side.
“Having good supplies is not cheating, Lesgle,” she replied, giving him a weird look, “and I want to win. I don’t accept any other results from my team, this year. Got it, Bahorel?”.
The player stared at the window for a long moment. “Guys,” he called, a wicked smile on his lips, “Chetta and I are going to take a look inside here. You can go on, we’ll catch up with you later, keep your phones with you…”.
“Hell no, I’m coming with you, losers,” Feuilly chimed in, and Bahorel shook his head while he swung an arm on his best friend’s shoulders.
“Oh no, a Gryffindor spy among us,” Chetta joked, smiling as well.

Minus eight, Courfeyrac thought, very contentedly, as they walked on down the Alley.
They quickly walked past the expensive clothes shop where two witches and their perfectly dressed children were waiting outside the door, discussing uniforms and train tickets.
As soon as they got near a stationery shop, Joly started complaining that his quills from the previous year were probably useless and that he had to buy new things and he couldn’t postpone the need. He looked so genuinely worried about his need of new school supplies that Courfeyrac did not know how to react, until Bossuet winked before following him inside. He loved when people collaborated to his plans.
Minus six.

Jehan fell in love with a second-hand bookshop and no one was able to stop him from getting lost inside there, not even the newly discovered patience Eponine was endowed with.
“I’m going in with him to make sure he doesn’t spend all his family’s heirloom on books, I’ll catch up with you later!” she shouted, as Jehan was pulling her inside.
Courf smiled at Enjolras, trying to look reassuring.
Minus four.

As they strolled through the apothecary, Grantaire stopped with a pained expression on his face.
“Shit,” he cursed, gaining a scandalised glare from Enjolras, “I forgot the list of the ingredients I have to buy for this year. I’m an idiot…”.
Courf bit his lip, “I don’t take potions, R. I don’t know how I can help you…” he murmured, looking for a solution. Cosette, well, she took Potions, but she was caught in a sort of conversation with Marius and interrupting meant disrupting the whole plan, so…
“Enj,” Ferre interjected, and God blessed Ferre, his brain and his genius, “you are the only one who takes potions among the three of us, why don’t you go and help Grantaire with the list? You have to go there, too, if I’m not wrong”.
Enjolras looked a tiny bit offended but didn’t say anything and silently walked inside the shop. Grantaire was so surprised that he needed a loud call from the blonde Gryffindor to catch up with him.
"Courf," the dark skinned Ravenclaw whispered, as soon as their friends had disappeared inside.
"Ferre," the other one answered, in the same tone of voice, playful and smiling as he always was when he was in the company of Combeferre.
"If we're ever going to play matchmakers again, I think it'll have to be you and me trying to make the two idiots reason. I mean, they're getting irritating".
Courfeyrac could only smile in response, walking on towards a clothes shop.
Cosette was studying the window with interest and Marius was contemplating Cosette.
Then, the young wizard realised that the others had vanished, and turned bright pink. Courf smiled again and quickly entered the shop, followed by Combeferre.

Courf didn't know how long they stayed in that shop. Time always flew when he was with Ferre. They would talk about anything or maybe stay silent while exchanging silent opinions on clothes they had before their eyes. They laughed a lot, and this caused lots of weird glances by senior wizards and witches in the shop. Some young boys even started laughing as well.
He felt incredibly light and at home, and this felt so right and so natural that never would he have thought to give this a closer look or a second thought in general. It was just him and Ferre in a shop having fun. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else.

When Ferre came out of the fitting room wearing a good new robe, which he needed since he'd grown of another two inches since the previous one had been bought and he couldn't be the first Head Boy who didn't wear the most perfect uniform, Courf was fiddling with his phone.
"The others are waiting for us at the ice-" he had stopped, staring up and down his friend's silhouette, "well, Ferre why are you able to look good in a robe? Nobody manages to look athletic and slim and attractive in a robe. At least, that's what I used to think... I believe I've changed my mind," he rambled, his cheeks feeling suddenly hotter. It wasn't unusual for him to remark how beautiful all his friends were, but this, this felt different. "I'm not attractive, Courf, I'm just tall. Anyway, I take it the robe's fine. Let's go pay and then we can join the others".
"Tall doesn't necessarily mean attractive, though, and one could be attractive without being tall... look at me, for instance!".
"You're tall in your soul, trust me...".
Bickering like this they were with the others in what felt like thirty seconds.

“God, it took you two long enough!” Enjolras protested when they arrived at the ice cream parlour. He was sitting next to Grantaire, who was eating a giant ice cream cone, with a voracity that could only have been explained if he hadn’t eaten in three days.
“Mmmph,” the dark haired wizard kind of objected, “not everyone seem to hate being in the shops like you do, Apollo”.
Combeferre threw a glance at Courf and they both lifted their eyebrows in sync, while approaching the bar. Their next aim had just been set.

**

Organising the notorious “End-of-Summer Party” had always been a pleasure to Courfeyrac, but it implied a lot of hard work nonetheless. That’s why he had already called Grantaire to ask him to make a good playlist for the party, and had asked Feuilly to think about something to be done for the decorations. He had also begged Bahorel to bring something to drink and Cosette to bring muffins. Jehan had offered to bring flowers and his proposal had been gladly received.
So, Courfeyrac found himself directing the building of a huge gazebo in his garden, moving lazily his wrist to give the right direction to his wand, while the structures began to take their final form under his control.
The first one to arrive was Marius, who lived just a block away, in the small village in the countryside. He was carrying a plate of biscuits and was humming some indistinct song.
“Pontmercy!” he greeted him, taking the plate from his hands and placing it under the gazebo, where a huge table was moving itself towards the opposite side from where they stood, under Courf’s mother’s expert hand gestures.
“Mrs. Courfeyrac,” Marius said hello to her, as well, and the three of them chatted for a while, adjusting the tables and chairs for the party.
When the woman left them, to go out for the evening with her husband, the two boys sat on the three steps that stood before the main door and kept talking for a while.

“So,” Courf began, “did you see Cosette again after we went to Diagon Alley?” he enquired, curious and amused at the pink colour that was spreading on the freckled boy’s cheeks.
“No. I didn’t see her again, I mean, I couldn’t ask her to come here without any reason, could I?” he managed to explain, turning redder and redder with every word.
“Well, but have you at least talked to her?” Courf suggested, not so hopeful in that regard, now that Marius had said what he’d said.
“She called me. I wouldn’t have. And we spoke on a daily basis…”. He confessed, and Courfeyrac left out a sigh of relief.
“You like her a lot, don’t you?” he murmured, laughing softly, while someone else came through the gate.
“Why? Yes, I mean, I like her, I think I’m in love with her- wait, what? Anyway-”
“No anyways, Pontmercy. You’re going to get the girl!” he winked, before going to welcome the person who was waving to them and was risking to drop everything they held in their hand.
It was Jehan, smiling like it was his happiest day in life, with a huge amount of flowers in his hands.
“Bonjour mes amis!” he greeted, in his always perfect French. His hair was tied in a thick braid of a reddish colour, while his nails were of a curious rainbow shade.
“Did you-” Marius tried to ask, but stopped mid-sentence, looking pointedly at the floral-patterned tattoo that came out from his leggings’ hem and developed until it met his sandals and went under it until his toes.
“I metamorphed it,” Jehan explained simply, “all of it, hair, nails and tattoo. I mean, I cannot control this so much anyway, but I have also turned seventeen in the last month. So, whatever, I just wanted cool nails and couldn’t bother dealing with polish…”.
Courfeyrac laughed, while he started positioning the flowers their friend had brought.

The next one to come was Bossuet, who came out of the house, having travelled by Floo Powder.
“Heya guys, Hufflepuffs reunited meeting is here?” he jested, dropping a bag full of chips and popcorn bags on the table. The other three laughed, starting to remember all the adventures they’d had in the previous six years, sleeping all in the same bedroom.
In all their group of friends, they weren't the only ones who shared a room at Hogwarts, but they had been the only ones to be completely happy about it from the beginning.
Combeferre hadn't been glad to be sharing with Grantaire that first year, but then he'd asked him again as a roommate the following year and so, maybe, they'd liked each other more than they had cared to admit.
Enjolras, on the other hand, had complained for almost four years about how horrible having Joly in his same room was, but the simple fact that he heeded all his requests - like leaving the shoes outside the door, or contributing to a thorough cleaning of the beds every two months - spoke otherwise. Feuilly, being the saint he was, had never complained about either of them.

It was indeed Feuilly, along with Bahorel, who arrived next, laughing and already loudly talking to each other. Then came Grantaire, with Éponine, and Musichetta with Joly, hands linked and smiles bright. Finally came Enjolras, Combeferre and Cosette, and the party started.
The music started playing, soft and relaxing, Grantaire having made a playlist with some catchy but still not too involving songs in the beginning, while all the danceable ones were later on.
Everyone was incredibly relaxed, it was just their usual company of friends, after all, which meant there was none of the usual stress of going to party hosted by people you barely know, full of people you don’t know at all.
Jehan started almost immediately to move along with the music at the centre of the gazebo, at the same time he was eating and talking to different people. How he could do all these things together was a question the other had stopped asking themselves a long time ago.
Meanwhile, Cosette and Eponine were chatting in a corner, and the object of their discussion looked pretty serious, if their faces were something to take into consideration. The blonde witch suddenly started laughing and her purple haired quickly joined her in this. Then, they joined the boys in the conversation they were having around the table where all the food had been laid.

“Well, you can’t exactly change the Sorting Hat’s result,” Combeferre was saying, realxed in his tone, a smile every now and then on his lips.
“No,” Enjolras replied, a slice of pizza in his left hand, a glass of soda in his right one, “but, I don’t think it’s fair that an animated object decides what people you’re going to spend the next seven years with-”.
“Nonsense,” Grantaire cut in, taking a sip from his glass of homemade butterbeer, “if that was the case you’d only ever met Cosette and Feuilly and Joly. And you would have forgotten your beloved Ferre and never ever addressed dear Courf, here. And you’d never even wanted to become friends with any of us. You literally just contradicted yourself, Apollo”.
“Oh, for God’s sake, stop calling me that,” the blond complained, eyes throwing darts at the other one.
“But you didn’t say I was wrong!”

Courf’s attention was moved from the heating debate, which he wasn’t as much interested in as he was in the reactions it caused in Enjolras and Grantaire themselves, who were now much closer than when the argument had started. The cause of his distraction was the fact that he’d noticed that Marius was no longer where he stood thirty seconds before. He was nowhere in sight, and nor was Cosette.
“Guys,” he said, with a triumphant look, “I think they made it!” and, at the confused looks he got in response, he added, rolling his eyes, “Marius and Cosette…”. The others joined his cheers and Musichetta even tried going looking for them, promptly stopped by a laughing Jehan, who caught the girl in a dance to the sound of a Fall Out Boy song. The witch was a great dancer, everyone knew that, yet watching her moving on a dance floor was always surprising.
“You know what, I’ll go get the ice cream from the fridge,” Courf said, leaving the others for a brief moment. As soon as he reached the door, though, the silhouettes of Marius and Cosette hugging each other tightly stood in the middle of his own hallway and so he silently got back to the party, barely holding a laughter that he let out as soon as he reached the surface covered by the gazebo, where the floral decorations and the cardboard ones made by Feuilly mixed together in a joyful game of colours and shades.

“What,” Enjolras enquired, looking a bit worried at his sudden burst of hilarity.
“They-” he tried to say, still shook by the power of his giggles, “I- I can’t. They were- in the hallway-”.
Joly started laughing with him, quickly followed by Bahorel and Bossuet.
“Were they making out?” R asked, while stealing a bit of Enjolras’s muffin without further explainations.
“No,” Courf managed to say, meanwhile the blond Gryffindor was muttering “Gross,” though it was unclear if it was referred to Grantaire eating his food or suggesting an exchange of saliva between their friends.
Who hadn’t started laughing yet, was now on the verge of tears.

The evening went on without problems of any sort. Combeferre finally announced he was going to be Head Boy and everyone hugged him in true happiness for him. They all started dancing together after the announcement, while Cosette and Marius were still lost in the Courfeyracs’ premises.
The music had turned to dance-y, catchy songs, that encouraged the movements. Grantaire had definitely put too much Beyoncé and Lady Gaga in the playlist, but when confronted on this by a resigned Bahorel, who still hoped there was a chance to play punk rock at the End-of-Summer Party, he and Courf said in the same exact moment that “there’s never too much Beyoncé or Lady Gaga at a party, get a life”.
Dancing with Grantaire to the sound of You’ve Got The Love had been a tradition for years for Courfeyrac, so, when he heard the first notes of the songs coming out of the speakers, he and the brunet started gravitating towards each other from opposite sides of the small group.
Eponine whistled, dancing with an amused Feuilly.
Courf and Grantaire were having too much fun in this, coming up with complicated choreographies and using too much passion in singing the lyrics.

At the end of the song, they kept dancing together, with the addition of Chetta and Bossuet, who joined them in a mock rendition of a quadrille on the notes of Whenever, Wherever, nobody knows why. The fact that the steps even resembled an actual quadrille was a pure coincidence and a further proof of the fact that sometimes they had sheer luck even if Bossuet was in their numbers.
Then Courf went to get a glass of water and noticed that not only were Combeferre and Enjolras not dancing but they also were sitting down. And that was unacceptable.
“Ferre, darling,” he approached the young wizard, suddenly aware of his gaze on him, “you promised me a dance last year. I’m reclaiming it. Now”.
The Head Boy got to his feet, rolling his eyes, and his white shirt - which created such a gracious contrast with his dark skin, and, who cared, Courf wasn’t even responsible of his own thoughts anymore - appeared as tight as it had never looked that evening, due to the fact that he had just stretched his shoulders.
“May I have the honour of dancing this song with you, sir Courf?” he jested, murmuring right in the Hufflepuff’s ear, and Courf almost blushed. Because he never blushed. Never.
“You may, your lordship,” he played along, taking his friend’s arm and dragging him near the stereo.

The first song they danced to passed unnoticed, each one of them moving to their own rhythm, but with the second one Ferre was already closer to Courf than the last one had ever dreamed he’d be while they danced. And suddenly he had taken both his hands in his and was guiding his steps in a firm and relaxed way that made Courfeyrac melt into the dance completely, following the hints the other boy gave him with a natural ease, without mistakes, without coarseness.
They were soon caught in a dimension of their own, made of the few points of contact between their bodies and the almost electric attraction between their non-touching parts. The balance between these two forces was created and destroyed with every step, and they couldn’t look away from each other.
They found themselves suddenly dancing to Boom Clap and Courf thought, in the back of his mind, that there hadn’t exactly been a transition between the last song and this one, but certainly he hadn’t paid attention to Grantaire moving his dark wand in the air in the general direction of the stereo from the other side of the gazebo, where he was standing, smiling wickedly at Musichetta and Eponine.
Ferre made Courf turn on himself, without leaving his hand and they repeated the step more than once before the song reached its half.
Then two things happened more or less at the same time: after the fourth or fifth pirouette, Courf’s head was spinning pretty badly, so he tripped on his own feet and practically fell into Ferre’s arms, face first, the Ravenclaw promptly catching him. Courf catched his breath as soon as he realised he wasn’t going to end up flat on his stomach and found that Ferre had a giant smile on his face that was going to become a full laughter.
The second thing was that, as soon as Courf found himself in Ferre’s gentle arms, a choir of catcalls and whistles came from the rest of the guys. Courfeyrac would have thought it was aimed at them, if he’d not noticed Marius and Cosette coming back among them, hand in hand, their hair a mess and their cheeks pink.
“When’s the wedding?” Bahorel shouted, lifting his glass of beer in their direction.
Marius turned bright red and Cosette hid her laughter in his shoulder, and then they noticed Courf and Ferre, still holding each other, still off-balance.
“Never mind us,” Courf shook off their glances, gaining his stability once again, “just the usual nonsense from me and an over indulging Combeferre”.
At these words, Ferre let him go, suddenly serious. Any other time, Courf would have wondered what he’d said to receive such a harsh reaction, but now his attention was all on Marius and Cosette and the fact that his matchmaking plan had worked. He was officially a genius and he was getting ideas, ideas that he would make sure he’d apply once they were all back to Hogwarts, thing that was anyway going to happen in two days.

Their last year was going to be great, oh yes.

 

 

Chapter Text

September

 

King’s Cross had been so crowded, and the Express as well, so, considering also that everyone had been caught by all the people they knew and hadn’t seen in all summer, the first occasion they all had to meet each other was when they all were in Hogwarts.

 

Courfeyrac had missed the peculiar atmosphere of the castle, its shiny lake, its green woods and huge park, the big, solid-looking, towers, the uniforms, the new students and their excitation.

What he’d not missed was the janitor, for example, that ever-present Mr. Javert, who seemed to have the power of appearing wherever they were in that exact moment, and apparently saw all the small crimes the students perpetrated. And, most irritating thing of them all, he had the annoying habit of repeating his name every time they met him - as if someone could forget it even if they tried!

 

“Guys!” Courf exclaimed, as he walked into the Great Hall, before the sorting ceremony started, heading towards the end of the Gryffindor table, where all his friends minus Combeferre, who was with the new students, were standing, chatting, not yet divided in Houses.

“Hey,” R greeted him, his tie loose around his neck, “how come you manage to look cool in this uniform? I’m hating you…”. Courf laughed out loud, not bothering to tell Grantaire that he had his own way of rocking those clothes as well, if the looks Enjolras was throwing him were something to go by.

Courf moved on to talk to Feuilly and Jehan, who were already making guesses about which Houses would have the most new entrances, while also trying to foresee where Éponine’s brother would end up. “I think he’ll be a Slytherin just like his sisters,” Feuilly was saying.

“No, he won’t. He’s the perfect Hufflepuff,” Jehan replied, the pride for his own House showing in his words.

“Well, surely he won’t be a Ravenclaw,” Musichetta entered the conversation, adjusting her green and silver tie around her collar. Her skin was not tanned anymore, but she was a tone darker than most of them anyway. Those were the moments when Courf envied her Italian parentage.

“I hope he’ll be a Gryffindor,” Enjolras muttered, from aside, and Courfeyrac turned to see what made him sound so focused on a challenging task that he didn’t have the energy to use his usual tone of voice, which equaled a train-station-announcer every single time.

His jaw almost dropped when he saw that the blond Gryffindor prefect was busy tying Grantaire’s tie, his hands on the Ravenclaw’s shirt, his eyes fixed on the object of his task, while the brunet was staring at him in utter and complete confusion.

“Well, that’s new,” Bahorel whispered, his eyes big in the contemplation of that never seen picture.

“I’d think this won’t be the last we’ll see something like this,” Joly commented, sitting on the wooden bench, ready for the ceremony to begin.

 

The teachers started taking their place at the High Table, and they all moved to their House’s table, willing to be respectful of the rules at least on the first day of school.

Jehan, Bossuet, Marius and Courf were all sitting near each other, their usual room disposition replicated in how they were now sitting at the table.

Grantaire waved at them, grinning, from the adjacent Ravenclaw table. Further towards the door, Éponine and Bahorel were trying to make Musichetta change place with a fifth year student, who’d taken her usual seat.

“‘Rel don’t set anything on fire, please,” Combeferre’s voice sounded, playful and relaxed, in Courf’s ears, and, when he turned, he saw the Head Boy walking between the Slytherin’s and Ravenclaw’s tables to go and ask something to Headmaster Myriel. Courf waved at him emphatically and the Ravenclaw just smiled in response, a deep, mysterious, look in his eyes.

Courfeyrac felt his stomach clench and kept smiling until Marius’ voice caught his attention back.

“I wonder if Cosette will be able to manage all those first-year students. I fear she might be overtaken by them on the stairs… their Common Room is so far away…”.

“Marius,” Bossuet said, a patient tone in his voice, “She’s not the only prefect in her House, they are six and there’s Enj with her,” he explained, for maybe the third time, judging by Jehan’s exasperated look.

“Plus, I don’t think Cosette is anything but terrifying to those kids,” Courf added, smirking, and Prouvaire made a funny face.

“Have you talked to ‘Ferre?” the metamorphmagus asked, watching as the Head Boy strolled past them with one final flashing - dashing and absolutely fantastic - smile, before letting the new students in.

“About what?” Courf enquired, not quite catching the hidden meaning in the poet’s words.

“Courf you can’t ask me about what! You know!” then he turned to Bossuet, who was slightly panicking, but promptly smiled as soon as Courfeyrac looked at him, “he knows, right?”.

Lesgle hesitated, looking to Marius for help.

“What should I not know, Jehan? Bossuet? Pontmercy?” Courf asked, looking from one to another to the third and back of his three friends.

Then Bossuet, pushing his luck more than it was good for him, tentatively started to explain. “You know the matchmaking thing, right? The one you started for Marius and Cosette?”

What did you do?” Marius exclaimed, red as a tomato in his face, his freckles barely visible anymore.

“Shut up, Pontmercy,” both Courf and Jehan cut him short, at the same time, fixating their eyes on the Vietnamese wizard in front of them.

“Yeah, so we started a new matchmaking plan… but we thought you’d been informed…” Bossuet went on, lesser and lesser confident in what he was saying.

“Who are we setting up with, this time?” Courf questioned, while not completely persuaded yet.

“Grantaire.” Jehan said a little bit too quickly. “And Enjolras, of course”.

“Are you sure?” Courfeyrac asked his prefect, metamorphmagus, poet and friend Jehan, who was looking a bit flustered.

“Absolutely! Are you doubting me? When have I ever lied to you, you prick?” he asked back, defensively. Courfeyrac gave up, asking for details on the matchmaking plan, instead. Details which didn’t exist yet, as Jehan had very evidently just come up with the idea in that exact moment.

 

The students had all been sorted, Hufflepuff had gained twenty new students, just like Ravenclaw, and Gavroche, Éponine’s youngest brother had been sorted in Gryffindor, just like Enjolras had said.

“Too bad,” Bahorel complained, laughter lingering in his eyes, “I wish I could have had the third Thénardier to try and include in my Quidditch team, and fail in the process”.

“Well, I’m too cool to spend all my afternoons on top of a broom,” Éponine stated, deadpan, while braiding her hair, still sitting at her house’s table.

“I’m even cooler than you are, ‘Ponine, just admit you’re too damn lazy,” Musichetta replied, her curls bumping as she laughed. The other girl conceded her an amused grin, before turning her attention to her best friend Grantaire, engaged once again in a heated conversation with Enjolras in the middle of the Great Hall.

“So, Courf,” she maliciously pointed her piercing dark eyes on the Hufflepuff, “what are we doing about those two?”.

“Let’s wait for ‘Ferre, then we can decide,” was all that he was able to say, before the two targets of their new mischief joined them, both scoffing and rolling their eyes. Inexplicably, Musichetta almost choked on her laughter.

 

The days passed and no one managed to come up with a decent idea on how to try and make Grantaire and Enjolras realise their feelings for each other.

Combeferre seemed too taken in his duties as Head Boy and as perfect student to listen to them plotting in the library, while they all pretended they were doing their homework.

“Ferre!” Courf tried for the last time, all his friends looking at him in expectation, as if they were hoping his words could have a different effect on the Ravenclaw from theirs, just because it was Courf who uttered them.

What?” the wizard finally gave up, staring at him with a quizzical, mildly exasperated and rather fond expression.

“R and Enj. Plan. Now,” he quickly gave directions, not able to look away from the Head Boy’s black eyes.

Ferre sighed, rolled his eyes and closed his Arithmancy book. Then he did something quite unexpected for Courf - and for Jehan too, judging from his surprised gasp that he promptly suppressed with a hand on his own mouth. He just stretched his arm across the library table and moved a curl that was covering Courf’s forehead.

“Sorry, I-” the Ravenclaw tried to say, but Courfeyrac was already shaking his head vehemently, making the infamous curl go back to where it was before Ferre moved it.

“The plan, guys,” Éponine called them back to Earth.

“Yes,” both Courfeyrac and Combeferre muttered distractedly, blinking and looking away.

 

Without the need of a plan, Grantaire, Enjolras, Courfeyrac and Bahorel found themselves forced to spend a whole afternoon and evening together, less than a week later than this last meeting on the subject of matchmaking.

“Detention. On our seventh year. Are you fucking serious?” Grantaire complained, as he started polishing a candelabra.

“What? You’re talking? It looks to me it was you who got us here,” Enjolras replied, wetting his own cloth in the lotion.

“Yeah, and because of whom? I don’t remember being the one who tried to force the entrance to the Ravenclaw common room, since it’s my bloody own common room,” the brunet argued, passive-aggressively wiping the bronze item.

“Well, I don’t like this discrimination, you know that. Why must common room be anything but common? What’s common in being only for students of a certain House?”.

“Enj, we all agree with you, we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t,” Courfeyrac tiredly objected, helping Bahorel in cleaning their own candelabra.

 

The scene had been more or less this. Enjolras wanted to break into the Ravenclaw’s common room to be able to consult Combeferre’s Charms notes, or that had been the excuse, since everyone suspected he just needed a reason to find himself alone with Grantaire.

Then, Javert had walked on him trying to persuade the eagle knocker to let him in because there wasn’t no reason at all why he should stay in the corridor and wait for Combeferre himself to be granted access. That’s when Grantaire made his way back from the prefect’s bathroom, wet hair on his face and towel in his hands. And he’d tried to defend his Gryffindor friend in front of the janitor, gaining the same punishment he’d been assigned for himself as well.

As they were walking towards the Detention Room they’d met Courfeyrac, roaming the hallways with Jehan and he’d asked what had happened. When he’d known, he’d defended his two friends and the janitor had gotten so angry that he’d asked for a Slytherin student as well to take in Detention, because if that was a coalition, it was better than every student learnt that it was best not to fuck with the tradition.

“I’d sooner fuck the rules,” Bahorel had commented, since he was coming back from his Quidditch training. And that’s how they had ended up polishing candelabra.

 

One hour and a half since they’d started their mission of making all the candlesticks as resplendent as they could be, steps echoed in the hallway where they were working.

“So it is true, you managed to get in trouble on the third week of school, this must be a record,” Combeferre stated, deadpan, as he approached the four guys.

“Ferre,” Enjolras started, already going for the tangent, his tone angry, “The reason why this happened is-”.

“I already know the reason, and I’ve spoke to Headmaster Myriel about this. While he and the other professors decide what solution to apply to the “closed common rooms” issue, your detention is suspended. That is, if you aren’t too eager to clean those candelabra,” Ferre interrupted him, leaving everyone surprised.

“I think I’m going to go, before anyone changes their mind. Bye, guys, see you at breakfast”, Bahorel called out.

“Yeah,” Grantaire echoed, “me, too. See you around”.

Enjolras thanked Ferre, throwing a series of worried glances in the direction Grantaire had just disappeared towards.

Courf decided action needed to be taken and, after exchanging a silent glance with Combeferre, he spoke. “I think you should go after him, Enj dear”.

The blond shook him a glance that could only be described as pure disbelief. “You think so?”.

“Well, yes,” Courf laughed, incapable not to, given the look he’d just received, “at least you should go and thank him for taking your defense with Javert. You know he didn’t have to…”.

“Yeah, well… maybe I can go. I think I could go- I might be going, I-”.

“Oh, Merlin’s beard! Just bloody go, he’ll have reached our tower by now,” Combeferre snapped, pushing Enjolras in the right direction.

 

Courfeyrac stood in front of Combeferre for a long moment, before saying anything. Then he started cheerfully chatting about the fact that this matchmaking of theirs was having great effects. And suddenly Ferre started laughing as well and joined him in this silly conversation. They kept talking about all and nothing in the school hallways until it was nearly curfew. Courf felt so light and relaxed for the whole time that he almost forgot he had promised Bossuet to help him with his present for Joly’s birthday. When he realised this he hurriedly explained the situation to Ferre and got back to his own dormitory.

“Sorry, ‘Suet,” he started, as soon as he opened their door. The young wizard was reading peacefully on his bed, looking as relaxed and not worried as he probably really was, “I was talking to Ferre and-”.

“You forgot what time it was, the time always flies when you’re in the company of the people you silently adore,” Jehan cut in, emerging from behind a corner, his hair a bright green for the day, “it’s how it works, Courf. Had no one told you that this was how it would feel?”.

Courf stared at him, and, while part of him was trying to ignore the metamorphmagus and focus on the task Bossuet had assigned him, which was cutting cardboard, following some lines, and then writing stupid sentences on every piece, another side of his brain was still processing the words he’d just heard.

What would feel how?” he stuttered, as Jehan and Bossuet burst into laughter.

“Nothing, Courf, you’ll know when you’re older,” the prefect giggled, drawing flowers on the cardboards that already had their sentence.

“Oh no,” the boy realised, suddenly aware of a lot of things. A huge lot of things, a giant amount of things he should have noticed ages ago. “No, no, no, no”.

 

“Have you broken our Courf?” Marius asked, when he got into the room an hour later, since Courf was waking back and forth between the beds and the door, and was shaking his head like he was possessed.

“I’m an idiot, Marius. A huge, enormous, idiot. Like, the greatest”. And he went back to pacing through the room, his head pounding and his hands sweating.

The problem was that he’d just realised how stupid he’d been. How come he hadn’t understood? How could he even think that the things he had felt when they had danced together for like one hour was anything different than a not-even-so-faint hope that those light touches could end up in something stronger and definitely more decise?  How could he now deny that for all the time they’d spent dancing and chatting, in a remote corner of his mind, a soft, unintentional, fantasy about how spending all his life with Ferre just talking, and fooling around, and maybe, perhaps, even kissing and sharing intimacy, had lingered, unnoticed, growing with every passing minute, with every further step?

 

“We’ve always liked you, despite you always having been an idiot, we won’t let you down this once, Courf,” Bossuet commented, sarcasm dripping from every single word.

“What do you mean, Laigle,” Jehan countered, his tone barely holding back laughter, “we like him because he’s an idiot!”.

Marius didn’t understand anything at all and, bewildered, sat on his own bed, waiting for someone to explain what on Earth was going on.

Another two prefects had to go and knock on their door to ask them to go to sleep, if they didn’t mind, the next day they all had lessons, thank you, before Courf decided to calm down, on the verge of hyperventilation, collapsing on his bed.

“Great, now that you’re finally still,” Bossuet placidly said, giving Courf back his cardboard to cut and write on, “while you keep working for Joly’s birthday present, could you please tell us what the conclusions of an hour and a half of walking in circles and self deprecation have been?”.

Courf groaned, not so much willing to share his thoughts in that moment, so he just continued scissoring his way along the thinly drawn lines on the orange cardboard.

Then he started thinking that, even if he told only Marius about his newfound truth, then he would tell Cosette, and Cosette would tell ‘Ponine, and ‘Ponine Musichetta, and Chetta would tell Joly, who would tell Feuilly, and Feuilly Bahorel, who would tell Grantaire, and R would tell Jehan, and of course Jehan would get angry and would tell Bossuet, who had asked in the first place.

And if this circulation of gossip left out Enjolras and Combeferre that would have been because Combeferre couldn’t know what all this was about, or else Courf would rather catch his death drowning in the lake, and Enjolras had proven incapable of keeping secrets that involved Courf or Ferre and, if a secret involved both, the Gryffindor could possibly implode.

Finally, he gave in. He took a deep breath and straightened his back. “I,” he started, looking his three roommates in their eyes, one by one, “I think- no, wait, I don’t think, I have realised I have a huge crush on Ferre”. Now that he’d said it he felt suddenly exposed, even if he knew his friends would always support him, no matter what.

But the answer, the response he’d awaited from these people, didn’t come. What he got, instead, was a series of neutral looks and some smiles meant to encourage him to keep talking.

“So what, Courf?” Marius asked, in the end, after thirty long seconds of silence and awkward looks.

“I’ve just told you I have the biggest crush on one of my best friends and you just go all ‘so what’?! Pontmercy, don’t go all Pink! on me, mind you!” Courf blurted out, feeling his cheeks heat up.

Jehan and Bossuet exchanged a glance.

“What?!” Courf snapped, incredulous.

The prefect threw a final glance to Lesgle before speaking. “We thought you knew. We all knew. I mean, everyone knows you’re totally head over heels for Ferre. I personally thought you had just decided on not hitting on him, but were completely failing in the process”.

Courf buried his head in his hands, groaning again. He hated them all so much.

 

The next day, they had Transfiguration with Ravenclaw, which, according to Courfeyrac’s morning mentality, meant that he had to pretend everything he had done and said the previous evening was just another nightmare, and so, for this reason, he would behave as if he hadn’t realised how desperate he was for Ferre’s affection.

As he sat down, next to Marius, as usual, he threw a tentative glance to the half of the classroom that was occupied by the Ravenclaw students. Combeferre was half-heartedly opening his notebook, while Grantaire, sitting next to him, was doodling on the margins of a blank page of his.

“Courf,” R called at him, noticing he’d moved, “You alright?”.

Courf lied, nodding and smiling, though he was very evidently trying to avoid Ferre’s curious gaze.

R tried to say something, but Professor Valjean called him back to attention.

“Mister Grantaire, are you going to persuade our Mister Courfeyrac to pay attention by distracting him, or are you - but I would never assume that of you - are you just trying to gossip with him?”.

Grantaire grinned, playing with his quill, before answering to the Head of Hufflepuff House.

“I was absolutely trying to tell him how excited I am for our forthcoming Conjuring lesson. And how thrilled I am since this subject will be part of our N.E.W.T.s, believe me, Professor, I would never prevent my friend from learning. All in all, wit beyond measure…”.

Valjean stopped him mid-sentence with a low laughter, shaking his head. Then, he started talking about the lesson’s subject, passionately as usual and filling his exposition with his usual anecdotes about his time in Azkaban and other pleasant things.

At a certain point, a small note flew on Courf’s desk, in the shape of a tiny bird. When he turned towards his friends, Ferre was smiling at him and R was winking. His heart pounding too fast in his chest, he opened the note, trying not to be noticed by Valjean.

Yesterday, the note read, the impossible happened. Apollo followed me after detention. He wanted to talk to me, like ACTUALLY talk to me. He thanked me! and I think he kind of complimented me for defending him although he thinks I don’t believe in “the Cause” so much… I have to tell you something after class, please don’t run away with Ferre like you always do.

A bit on the lower part of the note, a different handwriting had added: We don’t actually run away, to be precise, we just like to get on time in class. Now I want to know what R wants to tell you too, am I allowed to stay with you, Courf? Please, let me stay. I know you want me to stay. You’d never turn me away, would you? Ok, maybe I’ll go back to taking notes, drama isn’t much my area, it’s more yours. Love, F.

 

Jehan, having noticed the arrival of the note, read it over Courf’s shoulder, until Courf decided it’d be better if he just gave him the whole note.

“Courfeyrac, Prouvaire,” the teacher menaciously called their names, “are you going to tell the whole class about all the downsides of the spell we were just talking about or are you going to explain to everyone the spells described in the next 20 pages of your textbook in our next lesson?”.

Courf silently gasped, exchanging a quick glance with Jehan, who had been so caught by surprise that he’d lost his control on the colour of his hair, which was now of a quiet light brown, long and straight. “Next time, professor Valjean,” Courf muttered, trying to smile as he resigned himself to study through the whole night to avoid falling behind on all the subjects he had to keep up with.

“Great, now, back to us…”.

 

Grantaire had started a long account of how Enjolras had thanked him the previous day and, though Courf really wanted to listen to him and be happy for him and his perspective of actualizing his love dream, he found himself incapable of following, too lost in his own thoughts, both about the second punishment  he had received in two days’ space and about Ferre’s lovely dimples as he was smiling at R’s words.

“...Courf?”, the Ravenclaw prefect called him back to Earth. “I just told you I might be going to ask Enjolras to go to Hogsmeade with me, you still with me?”.

It took Courf a few seconds to catch the hugeness of what he’d just heard. “Oh my God. Oh my God. Grantaire, I’m proud of you. You’re asking him on a date? That’s absolutely great. That’s my boy! I could kiss you, I am so happy! Well, no, I wouldn’t kiss you because you’re very much evidently in love with Enj and I’m very much in another situation but you got what I meant to say. I am so happy!”.

“Who is in love with me?” Enjolras appeared from a turn in the hallways, his tie twisted on his shirt.

“Absolutely everyone,” Ferre answered, before any of them could say anything that didn’t need to be said in that moment. “Now, Enj, if you don’t mind, we’re already running late for Charms. Will I see you later, Courf?” he asked, with the most earnest of looks, the edge of a smile on his lips.

Courf shrugged and nodded, strolling happily towards his Muggle Studies classroom. Will I see you later? Why was that question and the way it had been posed bothering him so much? What was different from a casual “see you later”? Well, everything, to start with. It was a way of asking to see him, not a normal way of saying goodbye, then it was directed at him only, not counting the presence of Marius at his side.

Was he noticing all of this because his mind had accepted that he was hopelessly crushing for Ferre but all this had been present even before or were all these little things a new part of his life?

“God, I hate life,” he groaned, as he fell on his chair, opening another textbook. Marius burst out laughing. “And I hate you, Pontmercy, you should know that. I hate you most than everything. You and your perfect relationship with Cosette Fauchelevent and how everything always turns out good for you”.

 

***

 

September was almost over, the first leaves had started to fall from the trees and the days were shorter, the nights colder.

Hogsmeade was as relaxed and filled with Hogwarts students as usual. And the pubs were all crowded as they could be. The ABC were just so lucky that they had made friends with the hostess of The Three Broomsticks, Louison, who always kept a table for the lot of them.

“Where’s Enjolras, he’s never late?” Joly asked as they were ordering the first round of butterbeer of the day, all stacked up on one other.

“With Grantaire, they’re at Honeydukes,” ‘Ponine stated noncommittally, braiding her hair distractedly admiring the way it changed from purple to blue.

“What?” Bahorel entered the conversation, “You mean they managed to go on a date? Whoah, guys, we’re making progress, here!” and he and Feuilly started cheering, very loudly, much to Louison’s dismay.

The other guys started laughing with them and then they started chatting of many things at once, as it always happened. Combeferre was explaining to Jehan something about Astronomy in such a fascinating way that Courf caught himself listening to those words which he shouldn’t have found so interesting.

He stared at the flame of passion burning in Ferre’s eye as he was speaking, talking about what he truly loved, and observed, smiling, all his hands movements, an evident symptom of Ferre’s excitation in the subject.

“Well, ‘Ferre,” Jehan was saying, when Courf tuned back in, “I’m no one to be trusted, but believe me if I say that you could seduce anyone if you speak with this emphasis for more than three minutes”. This time, Courfeyrac had a really hard time trying not to blush. This was becoming awkward, and stressing too.

“But I have no need to,” Ferre laughed, and Courf had to go anywhere that wasn’t that exact place. He muttered some excuse and then he stepped outside, in the cool autumn air. He decided to wait until the pounding in his chest reached a normal rhythm again.

He was hating himself in that moment. He didn’t want to be the kind of guy, very much like Enjolras had been, that didn’t want to face what he felt. He didn’t, but he couldn’t avoid it. Because Combeferre was his friend, because he couldn’t afford losing him, but not only, he couldn’t afford distancing him either.

 

“Courf,” a worried voice called him, and, when he lifted his eyes, two pairs of blue eyes were staring at him, with different degrees of curiosity and worry in them, “you alright, mate?” Grantaire asked, while Enjolras just looked at him, silently.

“Yeah,” he tried, feebly, “No. Well, kind of… I needed fresh air. And I needed to be alone for a moment. I’m ready to go back in, don’t worry. You two can go and enjoy your long due first date without thinking of my silly worries, eh? That’d be good for everyone…”.

Enjolras wanted to say something, but he soon closed his mouth, when The Three Broomsticks’ door closed loudly.

“Hey guys,” Ferre said, cheerfully, before he stopped, seeing the looks on his friends’ faces. “What’s up?”.

“Courf was panicking and I don’t understand why,” Enjolras explained, while R’s face turned to a mask of embarrassment. He knew, Courf realised. Well, of course, someone had probably told him, just how everyone else except Ferre probably knew. That left him wondering whether Enjolras knew or not, given his general lack of sensitivity and the words he just uttered.

Courf and Ferre exchanged a quick glance, tentative smiles from both sides and agreed on something that hadn’t been spoken.

“Well, guys, you can go, I can manage on my own,” Courf stated, once again, this time with much more decision.

“Yeah, I’ll be with him, don’t worry,” Ferre backed him up. The Hufflepuff felt strong shivers down his spine, he needed to calm down, right then and there.

R grinned, and winked in Courf’s direction. Then he took Enjolras by the hand and dragged the confused Gryffindor away, talking to him in a low, relaxing tone.

 

Combeferre and Courfeyrac stood there, silent, for a while, before saying anything.

Then, they tried to speak both at once, and they laughed because of this.

Carefully, Courf began: "I'm happy for Enj and 'Taire, to be honest. I can see a future in that relationship...".

"Woah, Divination class really scarred you for life, my dear," Ferre joked, smiling at him with his blinding smile.

"Oh, you don't know how much," he laughed in response.

Then, putting an arm around his  shoulders, Ferre pulled him back inside.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

October

 

With October came the rain, and with the rain came the boring afternoons in the hallways and in the Ravenclaw common room, where Combeferre had gained the permission to have them all stay, since he had made a compromise with the eagle knocker, convincing it that all his friends could very well look for the answer to its question on the Internet, as all the riddles were known in 2015, so it could as well let them in with just an easy question, for formality.

With the boredom came the newfound interest in board games, and all their friendships were put at stake as a consequence of this.

Risk! was never played again after the one time when Enjolras managed to turn an innocent game in an occasion to blabber for an hour about how wrong imperialism could be. Not even Grantaire’s playful shoves and attempts to kiss him were enough to shut him up, and when the boyfriend gave up, there was no one that could stop him from ranting.

Needless to say, Grantaire acted offended for three days after that afternoon.

“R,” both Courf and Eponine tried to talk some sense into him, “it’s not that Enj doesn’t like you, it’s just that he needs to learn how to act around you…”

And at the same time, Enjolras was sulking elsewhere in the castle, waiting for Courf and Ferre to tell him how to fix the damage he’d made, again.

 

“God,” Courfeyrac complained to Ferre, after they’d witnessed their shared best friend apologise to his boyfriend in a barely acceptable way, “it was easier when those two kept shoving their UST in our faces. Now they have to play angsty relationship all the time…”.

Ferre had looked at him with a mysterious face and then laughed. “Sometimes I forget how much of a fanboy you are, Courf. But yes, someday we will need to lecture them about how to live in a relationship without fearing to cause World War Three every other day”.

“Yeah, because you’re the expert on the subject, yes?” Courf joked, and somehow it felt almost like going back to before the half of September. Things came easy between them, now, again; when Ferre smiled at him it didn’t hurt anymore, it was almost like there wasn’t any hidden, suppressed hope anymore. But, again, there was something more to this weird balance that was building up between them.

“I guess we could be experts for them, they know way less than we do about love, Courf,” Ferre threw him a sideway glance, before submerging in his History of Magic books again.

 

And what did they know about love, Courf wondered. When he told all this to Jehan, the metamorphmagus laughed and almost cried from laughter. “Oh, Merlin’s Beard, it’s exhilarating. You two are exhilarating. Just tell me, my friend, what would you do with Ferre if he were your boyfriend?”.

The question made Courf choke with laughter and random spasms, then he sighed and started to think about it. Well, not that he thought it could possibly be a good idea to think about all this, but Prouvaire had made it sound like a challenge. And Courfeyrac couldn’t say no to a good challenge.

Now that he was thinking of it, the things he would like to romantically do with Combeferre were extremely normal and unexciting, they would study together, and walk together around the lake, they would share a butterbeer in Hogsmeade probably, and maybe they’d try to break into the Astronomy tower at night, to watch the stars. But they had already done all this, in the previous six years. And they had also shared a sleeping bag when they had gone camping and three people had forgotten theirs, but Enjolras wouldn’t share with anyone and Joly was almost freaking out too much to think about fusing two bags in one where he and his two partners could easily fit.

“Jehan,” he whispered, at the end of all this reasoning, “the only thing I’d do with him that is different from now is to kiss him, probably…” and Jehan laughed even harder, almost waking up the sixth year students in the adjacent room.

 

In a rare day of sunshine, Courfeyrac and Combeferre were trying to study on the grass, clad in their coats and scarves, the wind running through their curls.

Suddenly, Grantaire appeared, laughing like there was no tomorrow, followed by an equally amused Enjolras, whose face was half covered in ashes and black smoke.

“You can’t possibly imagine what’s happened,” the blond Gryffindor had started, sitting next to them, and throwing an adoring smile to Grantaire that made Courfeyrac re-evaluate half of his life choices.

“Tell us,” Ferre encouraged him, closing his notebook and letting his hand linger a little bit too long next to Courf’s leg. Us. The bloody pronoun and the quick glance that always followed it, along with the awkward light blush on Courf’s freckled cheeks.

“Okay, so we had a Potion class that lasted an hour longer because of some hours we need to make up for since the teacher had been ill. And we were in class. Now, since Pontmercy is totally inseparable from his lovely girlfriend and I had paired up with Cosette Fauchelevent for six years before your goddamned BFF made his appearance in her love life, I needed to find myself a new partner. And since Pontmercy had always spent all his lessons with Lesgle, I told to myself, “why, Enjolras, pair up with him, he’s your friend, Marius always got good grades in Potion, the guy can’t possibly be that bad…””.

Courfeyrac had already started laughing, mostly because of the passionate tone Enjolras was using, conveying all his emotions in the tale. Ferre was laughing, too, low and relaxedly, propped up on his elbow, his left hand playing with the end of Courf’s yellow and black scarf.

“So Bossuet and I start working on our potion, and we follow each instruction to the letter. For the first time in all these years I even made sure he was turning the liquid in the right direction. We finish, the first of the class, and cheer a lot because, what the hell, I finally found the perfect companion to my lessons-”

“Hey,” Grantaire interrupted, playful, with a fake offended tone, “I thought I was the perfect companion to your Potion lessons,” he smiled and then he winked to Ferre.

“You’re too distracting, Bossuet is precise,” Enj replied, his eyes darting towards Courfeyrac and Combeferre, now in a completely different position from earlier, with the Ravenclaw almost sprawled on the Hufflepuff’s lap, trying to braid the fringe of his scarf. “‘Taire, you can very well see right in front of you how distracting people can be to other people,” he added, throwing a handful of fallen leaves in Courf and Ferre’s direction.

“I’m not distracted,” Ferre protested, lazily, not letting go of the other boy’s scarf, while Courf was trying really hard not to cast some horrible spell on Enjolras and Grantaire and the way they were laughing at them, “I was listening to you, and I’d love to know what happened to get you like that. Plus, I could be offended by your implication that I would let Courf distract me from such an important tale, as if I never had any class with him for the last six years and almost two months”.

“Yeah, but you’re not-” Enjolras started and stopped in the space of a split second, doubt insinuating in him. Courf wanted to disappear in that exact moment, while Enj started to think about how he could have interrupted something or how he could have never realised his two best friends were in love with each other. Not that this was the case, since Courf was absolutely certain the feeling was one-sided anyway.

“So,” the Hufflepuff pressed, “how did you almost make the castle explode?”. Ferre threw him a blinding victorious smile as soon as Enj started narrating again. This time, Courfeyrac had no willpower left to stop himself from running his hand through Ferre’s hair.

“Okay, so we were waiting to be graded on our potion, when the pair behind us let the bag of feathers they had on the table fall on the ground. These colourful feathers were everywhere, right everywhere. And poor Lesgle gets one of them on his very nose and so he starts sneezing like it was going out of fashion and inadvertently he sneezes into our cauldron as well. Well, it was there that disaster ensued. The potion started boiling and changing colour and growing in size, and in the arc of ten second the whole cauldron was on fire. That’s how we almost got ourselves on fire and how both Gryffindor and Hufflepuff lost a ton of house points”.

Courf was laughing too much to worry about the house points, it was still October anyway, so who cared, and then there was Bossuet and his constant unluckiness to prevent them from winning the House Cup.

Ferre was shaking with laughter too, sitting once again. He was suddenly very far from Courfeyrac, or, at least, that’s what it looked like to the Hufflepuff. He also had a small leaf between his hair and his scarf and Courf just couldn’t stand the sight of it, it prevented his brain from working straightly. He moved the leaf from where it was and Ferre threw him a quizzical glance.

“There… uhm, there was a leaf. From when the traitor threw leaves at us…” he explained.

“Of course there was a leaf,” Ferre replied, barely holding back laughter.

“And I’m not a traitor,” Enjolras stated, deadpan, before electing to get up and go inside to take a shower.

“I’m coming with you, Enj, I need to talk to you about a thing,” Combeferre said, a bit too quickly, standing up and collecting his notes. Grantaire rapidly took his place, laying down on the grass.

 

“Ah,” the Ravenclaw sighed, dramatically, “our boys leave us”.

Your boy and our friend, ‘Taire. Please…” Courf sounded pathetic to his own ears.

“Uh-uh, our boys”. Grantaire was grinning and Courfeyrac couldn’t avoid shoving him on the arm, to make him stop smiling like that.

They ended up talking about embarrassing facts about Enjolras and the time passed really quickly.

 

The time passed rather quickly when they all had to study and couldn’t afford getting bored, so the most notable things ended up happening during class, some way or another.

Courfeyrac was very surprised when professor Fauchelevent, which was in no way related to Cosette, as he always repeated, teacher of Defense Against the Dark Arts, asked him to go and help him teach third year students about the Patronus Charm.

“You’re one of the few people in this school that can execute this charm perfectly and I want those kids to understand that, while it’s still really advanced magic, they can do it. And this task will be easier if it’s one of them that shows how to do it. You won’t be alone, if you don’t want to,” but Courf was perfectly okay with not having any of his friends with him, it didn’t matter, he was already happy as he was. It was an honour he never imagined he could have.

And that’s how he found himself in a class full of thirteen-year olds with Fauchelevent smiling in encouragement from a far removed corner.

“Okay guys,” he started, fiddling with his tie, “for those of you who aren’t in Hufflepuff and for the ones in Hufflepuff who can’t remember having seen me before, my name is Courfeyrac, but you can call me Courf. Please, none of you is allowed to call me Mister. Don’t you dare,” a few girls laughed, their shining red and golden ties around their necks. It was a class of Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs. He could do it.

“Anyway, as Professor Fauchelevent has probably already told you, I’m here to show you how to evoke a Patronus. I take it everyone knows what it is, but maybe you want to refresh your minds. Anyone willing to explain this to the others?”

A small Gryffindor girl stepped up, smiling timidly. She gave the definition of the charm, turning bright pink in the process, and then she went back among her friends.

“Thank you,” Courf smiled in her direction, “as you’ve heard from your classmate, guys, you shall think about your happiest memory and then say the two words, while making the hand movement. Everything clear? One minute to think about your happiest moment in your thirteen years. Go!”

Fauchelevent approached Courfeyrac while the students started whispering to each other, trying to discover what to think about while casting the spell. The professor complimented him on the effect he was having on the younger ones, and he promised to make this exposition count for his final mark.

 

“Okay, time over. Now, who’s ready to try? It’s not easy, as you know, so don’t worry if you fail, just keep trying. And don’t be shy, if you can. Professor Fauchelevent will not see any of this, I promise, unless you manage to cast a perfect Patronus on your first try, that is. So, come on. Who’s the first one?”.

A scruffy Hufflepuff raised his hand, walking towards the front of the class. He collected his thoughts, then raised his wand and uttered the spell. A small puff of blue mist came out of the point. The boy violently blushed and made to run away.

Then a few others tried, with no better results, but Courf only encouraged them to keep trying, with a big smile on his face.

“Can you show us how you do it?” a group of Gryffindors asked him, and he wished he hadn’t noticed that at least two of the girls were trying to flirt with him. “Yes,” one of these two kept going, “why don’t you tell us which is your happiest memory?”.

He laughed all his discomfort off and stepped a bit aside, to avoid hitting anyone in the process of casting the spell.

He had a huge variety of happy memories, thanks to his friends, mainly, and to his family as well, but he decided to use his personal favourite, the one that had also influenced the shape of his Patronus. He thought back to that one summer day before the first year at Hogwarts, the summer that Combeferre had spent at his aunt’s house, in the same village with Courf and Marius. On that day, Ferre had brought to the park a book he was reading, a muggle book, an old-looking book. Enjolras had been there, too, guest of his own grandmother, while his parents were abroad. The Jungle Book. And how mesmerized they all had been in the adventures of that weird boy who had been raised by wolves, how they all had held their breath when their small hero’s life had been at stake, and how they had cried at the end. But that had been the beginning of a great friendship, and the discovery of his all-time favourite book. He had been talking about it for months after that day, had bought his own copy and read it to all his family, had discovered all its deep meanings and tried to draw all the characters, and failed in the process.

 

Expecto Patronum!” Courfeyrac exclaimed and a she-wolf came out of his wand, running fiercely through the room. Many of the students gasped in surprise.

“I’ve always loved your Patronus,” a voice said behind him, fondly. Ferre. He turned to smile at the Head Boy, who was standing next to Fauchelevent with a proud grin on his face.

One of the two Gryffindor girls who had tried to hit on Courf sighed audibly, and Ferre almost laughed, almost, because Courfeyrac was visibly embarrassed.

“Okay, guys, mine is particularly attractive, as I am, after all, so you just go on trying, all right?” the Hufflepuff instructed the students.

 

“What are you doing here? Are you skipping class?” he asked Ferre, getting close to him.

“No, I don’t have any class right now, Lamarque called it off. He’s not feeling well. And I’d heard you were playing professor for a day, how could I miss all this?” he gestured vaguely in the direction of the classroom and of the young students trying to cast their Patronuses.

“You are a part of a good three quarters of my happy memories, Ferre,” Courfeyrac blurted out, without thinking about it, but meaning it with all his heart. Then he wished he hadn’t said that, but the look on Ferre’s face, pure happiness, erased this feeling.

“Well, you’ve potentially just made my happiest memory right now,” he replied, just before Fauchelevent interrupted them with a stern look which, without doubts, meant ‘not the place or time’.

They laughed.

 

During another irrelevant afternoon the question was asked. “Are we planning on doing anything for Halloween?” Musichetta asked, her wonderful curls tied back by a silver headband, her quill lingering on the notes she was not making.

“Yeah, let’s do something,” Cosette chimed in, leaning in from a bit aside and gaining a dirty look from someone at another table in the library, immediately discouraged in their hostility by one of Enjolras’ glances.

“Yeah, girls. You know what,” Eponine threw herself in the conversation, abandoning her textbook next to Jehan, who was studying with her, “we will organize the Halloween night of the ABC this year. Trust your girls on this,” she decided, gaining looks of approval by the other two witches.

Combeferre turned to Courf with a malicious smile and whispered: “Why am I worried about what might come out of it?” he asked, raising his eyebrows. The Hufflepuff just stared at him. “They’re our friends, being worried is perfectly normal”. Grantaire just snorted at this remark and then went back to drawing whatever it was he was drawing right then.

Three days later, they found the girls confabulating on a corner, Chetta still in her Quidditch gear, ‘Ponine laughing out loud, and Cosette in tracksuit bottoms, like she had just headed out of her Common Room, where she had been chilling. “The timing is indispensable,” the Gryffindor was saying, fiddling with her blonde hair. Courf was planning on eavesdropping, but Jehan had to go on, walking on to their dormitory and he had to go along with him, so it was inevitable that the girls stopped talking and threw them a despising look.

“We didn’t listen to anything,” Jehan defended himself, laughing when Cosette went on to hug him.

“Why don’t I get anything, eh?” Courf cheerfully protested, opening his arms to receive a hug of his own.

“If you want to mix with all my sweat, be my guest,” Musichetta offered, shaking her green t-shirt, and Eponine just patted him on the shoulder.

“Go to someone else if you want to cuddle, you’ll find someone particularly well-disposed towards this purpose,” she added.

“But their tower is too far away…” Courfeyrac muttered, not even bothering to deny what the Slytherin girl had just stated. She lifted an eyebrow to an impossible angle and then she pushed both the Hufflepuffs away.

 

Then, suddenly, like all the days that led up to that date had been fast-forwarded, the 31st of October arrived. And no one, exception made for the girls, knew anything about what they would do that night.

The day passed in a haze of curiosity, everyone trying to trick one of the three witches in spilling some detail, but none of the guys managed to get anything out of all this trials, not even the boyfriends involved in the mission.

“Come on, Chetta,” Joly had tried to persuade the young Chaser to tell him something, you get a free cuddling session out of this!”.

“And you get a spoiled Halloween night, no way, you loser, and don’t you try either,” she addressed Bossuet, who was trying to lure his way to the girls’ secret with kisses and chocolates, “you will have to wait like any other person here, also because you would tell the guys. And I’m not wasting a fortnight’s worth of work for my idiot boyfriends”.

Marius had tried to persuade Cosette into revealing at least the most insignificant detail on the night, but all she’d said had been “You’ll see, Pontmercy. Now go and leave me alone to the last-minute detail defining”.

 

And that’s how they found themselves with nothing to do after the Halloween night’s feast.

“What are we going to do, now?” Bahorel was restless, walking up and down the hallways, Feuilly unable to calm him.

“Get some warm clothes, a torch and comfortable shoes suitable for walking on grass, we’ll meet again in ten minutes. Go!” Musichetta had ordered, laughing out loud while getting her own coat on, clad in a huge scarf and a purple hat.

Ten minutes and thirty seconds later, Bossuet arrived, exhausted, joining the other students, already covered in heavy coats and woolen accessories, each carrying something that could make light, boots on their feet.

"Okay, now," Éponine began, serious and determined, "it's necessary that we move quickly. We have to get out of the castle. Javert comes to check on the main entrance every twenty minutes, so we have plenty of time. But we have to avoid being seen by him also on the way to the entrance. We need to split up. In groups of three or four we go in that direction. We'll meet there in fifteen. First three?".

Courf was thrilled, he stepped up, quickly followed by a desperate Combeferre. Feuilly completed their group. "Please don't make me feel like I'm third-wheeling..." was the first thing the red haired wizard said, and Ferre almost choked with laughter.

They walked through the corridors quickly and never stopped until they reached the heavy door that was the main entrance.

Marius, Bahorel and Jehan joined them really soon. Then Joly, Bossuet, Grantaire and Enjolras arrived, the four of them arguing about something probably not serious at all as they stopped as soon as they saw the others. The girls arrived last and proceeded to look for Javert. The way was clear.

"Alohomora," Cosette whispered, and they all quietly stepped outside.

"Lumos," Chetta murmured once they were outside. "Why did you bother with torches is still a mystery to me... anyway. Now, we're going to.. well, party is a big word, go and have fun on the edge of the Forbidden Forest. We have also thought of a few games we could play, but we will see about it later..." she smirked and started walking.

 

The Forest was even more silent than usual and, as they were getting nearer, they felt compelled to lower their voices more and more. The three girls stopped just right where the trees started. "Okay, now, the first part of the games, which you will absolutely want to play," Éponine started to talk, a black hat on top of her colourful hair, "involves looking for a magical creature. I'm going to explain this better, you'll be divided in teams and you will have to go for half an hour inside the Forest and come back with photographic evidence of your spotting a magical creature. Everything clear?". They all murmured their approval, although some of them weren't so happy about all this, Joly in in the first place.

"The teams," Chetta went on, "are: Joly, Bossuet and me on the first one, Marius, Cosette and Jehan on the second, Bahorel, Feuilly and Éponine on the third, and Grantaire, Combeferre, Enjolras and Courfeyrac on the fourth. That's it. These are the teams. Half an hour from now. Go!".

 

"I don't think these teams are well balanced," Enjolras said once they were all walking in the woods, his wand illuminating their way, "not that I'm complaining about being with you guys, but what was the criterion behind this?".

Courfeyrac had that criterion very clear in his mind but he was still quite flustered for this decision to be actually able to say something aloud.

"Chemistry between the team members, Enj," Ferre patiently explained, a hint of alarm in his tone. The blonde stared at him in mild disbelief, before R could get to whisper something in his ear that, first of all, made him turn bright red, then made him look at his boyfriend in total incredulity.

“You’re joking. That can’t be true. Why did nobody tell me?” he was half laughing, half yelling in disappointment.

“Hush, now,” Courf cut short, whispering, “all the magical creatures will run away,” and then lit up his own wand and took the head of the group, going further in the forest.

If he could have seen the looks the other three exchanged, he would have totally understood the confusion his response had dropped them in.

For a few seconds, he was able to walk alone, concentrating on spotting something unusual. Not that this game was all this entertaining, but the alternative was to face the fact that the three witches had put him in that team in the belief of making a double-couple team. Well, they were wrong. He and Ferre were not a couple, and at this rate, they might never become one. He had no reason to even try to ruin such a beautiful and complex friendship. And, even if Ferre was actually willing to have a relationship with him, that would totally make things with Enjolras awkward. What if they fought? Whose part would Enjolras take by default? And if they broke up? Who would get to stay in their group of friends and who would be the exiled?

What the fuck, brain, Courf thought, it’s not even like we’re actually going to get together.

“Courf,” Combeferre’s voice called from somewhere behind, a bit rushed. “What the hell? Are you crazy? Slow down, we can’t bloody run for four miles to keep up with whatever’s gotten in your mind,” he took a deep breath, while the other two wizards got through the huge chestnut tree that separated them. “I’m sorry I snapped at you. You just made me worried, I didn’t want to snap at you, when it’s obvious you’re not alright. I shouldn’t have snapped, I’m sorry-”.

“Ferre,” the Hufflepuff stopped him, smiling despite himself, a hand on the Ravenclaw’s coat. “It’s alright, I  am alright. And I can be perfectly infuriating at times, you have the permission to snap at me at those times, okay?”. The other wizard nodded, visibly more relaxed.

When Courf moved his gaze from Ferre’s dark eyes he noticed Enjolras and Grantaire worriedly staring at them, in a typical “what have I just witnessed” pose. He smiled brightly at them, too, hoping that would be all the answers they needed.

 

“So, once I saw a centaur,” R started to say, after a few minutes, “and he was kind of hot, also”.

“How do you know the centaur was a he?” Enjolras replied, in his debate tone, and Grantaire threw him a wicked smile that mildly hid his fondness for the Gryffindor.

“Oh, for God’s sake, Enj,” Ferre laughed, “not your gender egalitarian speech again. I think we all agree on the subject, let the world live a little,” and they burst out laughing again, Enjolras included, with his condescending smile.

“Oh, hey,” Courfeyrac stopped them, “it’s a unicorn! Quick, guys, take out your phones,” he whispered, while convulsively patting his trousers and coat to find his own mobile.

“I got it,” Enjolras whispered, and tried to take a picture. The phone had just flashed when they heard a holler from a few feet away.

 

“Don’t you dare, team Sexual Tension,” Bahorel yelled, Feuilly laughing beside him, “we have spotted and photographed the unicorn before you four”.

“Who the fuck decided on the names?” Grantaire yelled back, grinning while he looked at the picture Enjolras had just taken, “Why didn’t I have a vote? I would have proposed Team Great Asses for us and Team Huge Assholes for you three”.

Eponine make herself heard in that precise moment, “We decided on the team names, that is Chetta, ‘Sette and I. And I happen to be in Team Great Puns. But Team Winners would have been equally appropriate”.

“What are the other names, then?” Enj enquired, while they approached the other team across the small clearing.

“Team Cheesy Flowers, for ‘Sette, Marius and Jehan, and Team Lucky Girl for Chetta, who commented on this name by saying ‘I’m the only one who considers herself lucky among the three of us and the only girl, there’s no other acceptable choice’ and didn’t listen to anything else,” the Slytherin explained, eyes darting towards Courfeyrac and then towards Combeferre, who were standing a bit distantly from one another. “I still think your team has the most appropriate name of all  four,” she added, before they all went back to where the game had begun.

 

Musichetta and her boyfriends arrived last, claiming they’d got lost, but no one believed them, because they knew better than to let Bossuet guide as they said they had done, and instead making out in the woods was totally a thing.

“Anyway,” the girl said, “the second part of the game is much more difficult. You will have to find one of your teammates that will hide in the forest. Now, choose who you’re losing and give him a ten minute advantage to go and get lost. You’ll look for them in a team. Who gets here first has won”.

“This game sucks, Chetta,” Cosette protested, and many others agreed with her. “But it’s what it is, we decide tonight, and the shitty game is on,” she continued, and all the boys groaned in desperation.

R decided to go and hide in the forest and Enjolras didn’t even try to stop him, a resigned look on his face.

 

Ten minutes later, the three wizards started walking inside the forest, again.

“Where do you think he’s hiding?” Ferre asked Enj, hopeful.

“The hell do I know,” the blond replied, angrily walking under the branches and leaves of the dark forest.

“It’s your boyfriend, not mine,” Combeferre rebutted, sighing, “we’re splitting up, then. Each one goes in a different direction and if we find him we cast yellow sparks and we meet again here in precisely seven minutes, okay?”.

The other two nodded and each of them went somewhere different.

Three minutes later, Courf bumped into someone, who obviously had to be Ferre.

“Which way do you come from?” the Ravenclaw asked, taking a moment to remove a fallen leaf from Courfeyrac’s coat with a delicate touch on his shoulder.

The Hufflepuff tried to remember and indicate the way, but couldn’t really remember where he’d come from, “I don’t know, forgive me, I was wandering without a goal,” he confessed, and Ferre shuddered.

“You’re coming with me, let’s go,” he took him by the hand and they headed in a direction from which Courf had maybe just come from.

 

In theory they had four minutes left before meeting up with Enjolras again, but they felt like half an hour to Courf, still walking hand in hand with Ferre, not having the heart to let go.

“So, are you able to go back to where we are meeting Enj?” he asked, all of a sudden, when they went round the same tree for what seemed like the fifteenth time.

“Of course I am, Courf. You would think you hold me in a slightly higher esteem,” he replied, sounding offended and joking at the same time.

“I hold you in the highest esteem,” Courfeyrac replied, serious all at once, taking his hand away from Ferre’s.

He then proceeded to walk more rapidly.

 

“This has to stop,” the other boy caught up with him and put a hand on his shoulder. “You’ve been walking away from me all evening. I want to know what’s up between us. Why are you trying to avoid me?”.

Courf had never wanted to run so hard in his life, and yet, even if Combeferre wasn’t actually holding him there, he felt like he couldn’t go away.

“I am not trying to avoid you... “ he weakly objected. “I don’t feel like being in company tonight,” he tried to sound persuasive, failing in the process.

“Even if this is the least Courf-like thing I have heard in my whole life I could still believe you, if only you hadn’t specifically been acting weird with me. We’re in a team and you only flinch if I say something or make a pun, which might be horrible as you want, but still, you react strangely tonight. What’s going on? I don’t want to pressure you into telling me something you don’t want to tell, Courf, but I need to know I haven’t done anything bad to you”. He sounded so earnest and so worried that Courfeyrac had the impulse to cry. What could he do to deserve this boy?

He took a deep breath. He had to explain. He needed to. And this was the perfect occasion, or at least that’s what he made himself believe.

“Ferre, I…” he started and then he stopped, and when he looked up from the ground, the boy was staring at him in expectation. He gulped and then he focused on what he was going to say. Now or never. “I am utterly in love with you, and I have been for quite a long time and have been acting an idiot in this regard, because I never addressed this. And I was not going to address this. And probably I’ll regret saying this, now, because this will absolutely make things weird. And-" he stopped, Ferre was looking at him with eyes so wide and lips so pressed, Courf thought for a moment the pressure in his head would make him explode.

"You're in love with me?" he repeated, incredulous, doubtful. "This is unbelievable".

"What? I don't think I'm following...".

"Courfeyrac, swear you will not make fun of me," Ferre exclaimed all of a sudden. The Hufflepuff swore and the other one kept talking. "I thought you liked me, yes, but being in love, wow, that's another level. And, before you make yourself dumb with questions, I believe I am in love with you, too," he said, blushing completely. Courfeyrac let out a breath he hadn't realised he was holding.

Then he understood everything he had heard: "Wait. Why didn't you say anything?".

"Why didn't you? You know what I'm like. I'd never make the first move and when I realised, years ago that I liked you a little bit differently from the others, I thought "well, it's Courf he would make the first move", but then I saw you liked me too but didn't make any move either and... what the hell? What the hell was I supposed to do?" he blurted out and the Hufflepuff was left staring, incapable of doing anything.

"The first move," he then replied, "you were supposed to make the first move," Ferre let out a relaxed laughter, tension going away from his shoulders.

"Too late, now, I'll make it," Courfeyrac finished and leaned in to kiss the other wizard, the tall, beautiful, kind, clever, young man he had fallen in love with.

And he felt so lucky when Ferre’s lips opened under his and he cupped the shorter boy's face in his soft, and yet strong, hands. Courf was on his toes and he was hanging to Ferre’s coat, and all that was so awesome that his life could as well end then and he'd die a happy man.

"I found Granta-" Enjolras appeared, his hair fuzzy from humidity. "Never mind, I will go back looking for him. 'Taire get lost again, will you?".

Ferre pulled back, laughing.

"We can still win, let's get going," he said and took Courf's hand to guide him outside the woods.

They ended up being second, Bahorel, 'Ponine and Feuilly having beaten them again.

"I petition a change of our name," Courfeyrac said, sitting down next to Bahorel.

"To what?" Eponine enquired.

He looked at Ferre before answering, he smiled. "Team Oblivious would fit the four of us better".

 

FIN