Hugo Weasley and the Tremor of Secrets

Hugo Weasley is in the middle of his 3rd year at Hogwarts, and he is harboring an enormous secret. On the eve of his 14th birthday, he decides that it's time to finally let it out. Note: ONESHOT for 'Blood of the Birds', concurrent with Chapter 7

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1. Hugo Weasley and the Tremor of Secrets

Hugo Weasley was his father's perfect son. He had Ron's sense of humor, his immaturity, and even his hair. As a young boy, it was sometimes difficult to tell the two apart (if it weren't for their difference in size), and they were always together. Once he entered his first year at Hogwarts, Hugo, though highly obnoxious most of the time, was also incredibly likeable. He came to school already having a large group of friends, thanks to his enormous wizarding family. Though he never made it onto the Gryffindor Quidditch team, he was still the most popular boy in his class, and everybody knew who he was.

Hugo and his cousin, Lily Potter, were the rulers of their grade. While Hugo was friendly and charismatic, Lily was equally intimidating and beautiful. They made the perfect team, but like any gang of eleven year-olds, they needed sidekicks. Roxanne Weasley, another cousin, was sweet and personable, and she and Lily were the best of friends. Though Hugo was close with Roxanne's older brother, Fred, they didn't see much of each other due to their difference in age. That was when Hugo met Nigel.

Nigel Creevey looked very similar to Hugo, with strawberry-blonde hair and freckled cheeks. He looked similar, but he acted the complete opposite. While Hugo was hyper, Nigel was sluggish. While Hugo was troublesome, Nigel was naïve. While Hugo was the boy who cried wolf, Nigel was honest. Oddly enough, these traits were exactly what each of them needed to balance their own.

Now it was February of Hugo's third year at school, and he and Nigel were sitting at a table under a window in The Three Broomsticks restaurant in Hogsmeade. Students weren't allowed to venture to Hogsmeade until their third year, and so most of their classmates were still too excited about this opportunity to go anywhere else but Honeydukes, the magical candy shop. Hugo, however, had managed to get into Hogsmeade many times before (though usually with terrible results), so there was nothing new about it for him.

"Hugo, can you please just listen?" Nigel asked as Hugo drifted off, distracted by his own thoughts. He didn't have a very long attention span, and often times felt awkward when in public with Nigel.

"They sure are taking their time back there…" Hugo said to himself, not wanting to participate in the conversation at hand. "I mean, I ordered our butterbeers nearly twenty minutes ago…"

When a waiter finally appeared, Hugo took the two tall glasses and muttered, "Finally."

After Nigel's first sip, he set down his drink only to be left with a layer of foam on his upper lip. When Hugo noticed, he couldn't help but laugh, and pointed to his own lip to let Nigel know. Nigel, upon realizing what Hugo was referring to, wiped his face with his sleeve as his cheeks and ears flushed bright red with embarrassment.

"Alright fine, I'm listening," Hugo said with guilt.

Nigel smiled and said, "Thank you." He then continued, "As I was saying, I think that you're being paranoid."

Hugo gave him a pointed look, all while tapping his foot incessantly on the floor. Nigel seemed so relaxed, but Hugo could barely sit still. Over Christmas, he had received a letter from Nigel that said that he had finally told his parents that he was gay, something that he had informed Hugo of months ago. His parents, like Hugo, had accepted it without much question, though Hugo was not so confident in telling his own family. In fact, at this point, he could barely say the words aloud to himself, and often times wished that if he did, the feelings behind them might disappear. It would at least be easier that way.

Hugo suspected that both he and Nigel had been this way their whole lives, but it definitely hadn't registered with him until Nigel had admitted it in September of that same year. Hugo had tried to tell Nigel off at first, but something stopped him from doing so. This of course made him start believing that he felt the same way, but ever since then things had been going much too fast. Now that Nigel had come out about it, Hugo felt pressured to do the same.

"Paranoid?" Hugo exclaimed. "I am not paranoid. I grew up with Rose, the stellar student, so believe me, I know paranoid." Rose was Hugo's older sister, and she had only ever worried about two things: schoolwork and her best friend and secret flame, Scorpius Malfoy. She constantly agonized over both, and Hugo had a theory that she'd soon end up with wrinkles on her forehead from all of that thinking. Luckily, he had always been much more at ease, at least in the mind.

"You know, that might be the perfect place to start," Nigel suggested excitedly.

"I thought the very beginning was always a very good place to start," Hugo mumbled, confused. One thing about being raised by a Muggle-born mother was that Hugo had not only been exposed to magical folktales, but musical films as well.

Nigel, being a pureblood, didn't understand Hugo's joke, and so ignored it by explaining, "Rose, I mean. She seems really accepting to me, so maybe you could tell her?"

Hugo rolled his eyes. It was just common courtesy for a person's friend not to rave about their elder sibling to them, because it always made the sibling that much harder to loathe.

In perfect timing, Rose walked in at that very moment, Scorpius right behind her. As Hugo eyed them, he answered Nigel, "I'm not about to go crying to my sister. That'd be pathetic." He knew how rude he was being, but he couldn't very well say what he really meant, which was that he wished he could in fact tell Rose, but that she was much too happy these days. He didn't want to ruin that for her.

"It wouldn't be pathetic," Nigel said sweetly. "I think it would be rather brave, actually."

Not wanting to hurt the feelings of the very sensitive Nigel, Hugo asked, "Can we just drop it for now?"

Nigel nodded, and the two of them then finished their butterbeers and headed off to Zonko's Joke Shop, Hugo's favorite store in Hogsmeade which happened to only be a few doors down. They spent a good half hour or so in the shop, which seemed like a miniature version of Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, before leaving with brand new sets of Decoy Detonators.

It was a slow walk back to the castle, as was normal whenever Hugo went anywhere with Nigel. Despite Hugo's lack of interest, Nigel pressed on that Hugo should tell somebody, all the way up to the seventh floor, where they refrained from going straight to the Gryffindor common room and hid behind some wacky, woven picture of a little wizard surrounding by ballerina trolls.

"What is this thing anyway?" Hugo asked, staring at a troll as he twirled around in his tutu.

Nigel sighed, annoyed that yet again Hugo had found a way to get off topic. "Hugo, please," he said quietly so as not to be heard. "I don't want to be alone in this anymore."

Hugo put his head down and said back, "Hey, I never asked you to tell anybody."

Nigel looked very hurt by this, but the two were saved from any more confrontation when Hugo spotted three figures walking down the hallway in their direction. At the forefront was a Hufflepuff girl whom Hugo had once known, but he had now forgotten her name. Behind her, looking determined, was Rose, and next to her was Scorpius, looking frazzled.

As they came near, Hugo jumped out at them, completely ignoring Nigel's sniffles from behind, and said, "Hey Rosie. What are you doing?"

Before Rose could answer, Scorpius held up a hand and said, "You know, I'd like to know that myself actually." Scorpius and Rose were together now, and Hugo barely ever saw his sister without him. Clearly though, their communication skills needed some work.

Then, the girl from Hufflepuff, who had medium-length mouse-brown hair and seemed to have a perpetual smile on her face, starting walking back and forth across the hall, keeping her eyes straight ahead. Hugo furrowed his eyebrows, thinking that she looked absolutely ridiculous in whatever it was that she was doing.

Rose, becoming gradually more enthusiastic, said, "Just hold on, you'll see."

Then, as if right on queue, the wall opposite the dancing trolls started to shift, as a huge door appeared in front of where they were all standing. Hugo gazed up at it with wonder, now questioning why he had never heard of this secret passage before.

When the door opened, which it did automatically, the cheerful girl walked straight inside. Hugo peered in after her, only to see a room that looked an awful lot like the Great Hall, but that had mountains of objects all around. "Wicked," he said, before following her in with excitement.

Though he still had no idea what the room was or how they had managed to get inside, Hugo was very thankful for having been shown it. The room was even bigger than he had thought, and it would take weeks to sort through the amount of stuff that was packed into it, some of which looked particularly interesting, with old potions and trophy collections, all things that Hugo found fascinating.

Once the other three had come in as well, they each took in the scenery, or as much of it as they could, until Scorpius said, "Okay, now tell me what this place is exactly."

"The Room of Requirement," Rose stated proudly. "Also known as the Come and Go Room. The Room of Requirement only appears when a person has real need of it, and is always equipped with the seeker's needs."

A room that could appear out of thin air, Hugo thought. Now that was real magic. Not to mention the fact that apparently it could turn into anything you wanted it to be. Thinking about what he would want at that moment, Hugo thought aloud, "So, say you really needed a toilet…"

He saw his sister roll her eyes before saying, "Charming, Hugo. But yes, that is the general idea."

Hugo chuckled and nodded, quite impressed with Rose's discovery, as Scorpius said, "It's brilliant!" Now, Hugo was even more impressed. Scorpius seemed to be constantly brooding, and Hugo always found it so boring. It now seemed that he had at least a slight sense of taste, so there may some hope left for him after all.

From behind Hugo, Nigel said, "But if it can take the shape of anything, why does it have all this stuff in it?" Hugo hadn't forgotten that he was there, and it was so like him to question something that wasn't worth his time. People like Nigel and Rose always got so caught up in things, but they never seemed to see the big picture. The real question wasn'twhy all this stuff was here. The question was how much was it all worth?

"This is the way I found it the first time," the other girl explained, still lost in her own world like a deer caught in the headlights. "I was looking for a place to store some Devil's Snare I was growing, and this is what it gave me. It seems like this is the place it shows anybody wanting to hide something, and apparently people have been doing just that for years." She just kept getting weirder and weirder, Hugo thought asking himself what in the world Devil's Snare was. Then again, he never had paid any attention in Herbology class.

"It must have burnt in the Battle of Hogwarts though," Scorpius said, pointing to a pile of books in front of them. "There's even ash all across the floor." Yet again, people always focused on the unnecessary. The history of the room was not at all important when compared to the fact that it even had history.

Still focused on this great prospect and taking what he could from Doe-Eyed's explanation, Hugo asked excitedly, "Years? I bet there's loads of cool stuff in here…" Having lost his patience, he then left the rest of them and ran past a giant stuffed troll to begin his exploration.

He could hear Rose calling after him, but Hugo didn't care. He had already found a large box filled with winged catapults. To see if they were still intact, he took one out and pointed it through a pile of chairs at that girl's head and then let it fly toward her. Though it got lost in the chairs, its wings still worked, so Hugo grabbed a handful and stuffed them in his pockets.

After passing some of the congealed potions he had noticed earlier, and collecting another handful of some shiny jewels, he also came across a Fanged Frisbee that was lying on the floor. This particular item was extremely costly at all the joke shops, and also happened to be forbidden on school grounds, which made it all the more attractive to Hugo. This one's paint had worn a bit, but as he picked it up, it was clear right away that its snarls were still plenty loud.

Once he had filled all of his pockets and packed his jacket full of anything that might be the least bit valuable, Hugo called out to the rest of the gang that he had grown bored and that they could all leave now. Of course, this was completely untrue, but he could only carry so much at once; he'd have to come back later to acquire more.

Back in Gryffindor Tower, Hugo immediately made his way over to his 'dealer' of sorts, Fred Weasley, who always bartered with him for newfound items. Nigel was with him still, not surprised to see that he had come back with a lifetime supply of junk.

Fred was sitting in his normal spot by the window, where he could nearly always be found. He and Lila Jordan spent a lot of time either outside or in the common room, always playing some sort of game against each other, from wizard chess, to duels, to mock Quidditch matches. They were both highly competitive, and seemed to get a thrill out of challenging one another. Since it was wretchedly cold out though, Hugo had been certain that they would have remained inside.

"Hey Hugo, what's going on?" Fred asked, looking up from the table, where his collection of magical figurines of the Gryffindor Quidditch team were flying across a tiny pitch. Once again, Lila was practicing her announcing, since they had a match against Hufflepuff at the end of the month.

Hugo slowly unzipped his jacket and let everything fall onto the floor. "I've got some loot for you."

Noticing the Frisbee atop all of the old necklaces, Fred asked, "Is that a Fanged Frisbee?" He then reached for it, and said, "I've always wanted one of these. My dad tried to sneak one in my trunk in my first year… I nearly got expelled for it though."

Lila laughed next to him, but Nigel asked fearfully, "Well aren't they dangerous?"

"Oh definitely," Hugo said. Looking at it over Fred's shoulders, he said, "Pay special attention to the teeth on that side, they're rather sharp. They're actually..." he went over the fangs with his fingers, "They're quite sharp. Probably the sharpest I've ever seen." He was suddenly regretting trading it in.

Fred was nodding, but Hugo asked, "Actually, can I have that back? Wait. No," he said as Fred tightened his grasp around it. "I'm TAKING IT!" He then snatched the Frisbee back and held it across his chest, saying, "What do you think of that, Fred? I've just stolen your favorite Frisbee!" and walked off toward the stairs that led to the dormitories, not bothering to bring the rest of his things.

In the background, Fred gathered all of Hugo's leftovers and said to Lila, "And that's what I call cash-back… guaranteed every time."

Hugo and Nigel then went into their dormitory and sat on their respective beds. Nigel didn't say anything more about Hugo revealing his secret, which Hugo was thankful for. Instead, he only watched as Hugo threw his Frisbee all around the room. Luckily, he didn't have any curtains around his four-poster bed for the toy to gnaw at, since he had caught his on fire back in his second year.

Eventually, the two drifted off to sleep, each of their faces pointed in the direction of the other's, as if they had gone to bed staring at each other's eyes.

Later that week, the day before St. Valentine's Day, Hugo was sitting at a desk near the back of the History of Magic classroom, chatting up a storm with Nigel, Lily, and Roxanne. They were supposed to be working on an essay about the most famous duels in wizarding history, but Professor Binns, the only teacher who was also a ghost, was floating around his blackboard and not paying any attention to his students, so most of them had resorted to writing with the help of their friends.

Hugo wasn't writing at all though, as he could whip something out in no time later that night, so instead he was leaning on the back of his chair, his feet up on the table in front of him. Nigel was next to him, and he was writing, though it was taking him a very long time. Lily and Roxanne were seated on the other side, and both had their papers out, but they weren't working terribly hard either.

"So what comes after the snowman building competition?" Roxanne asked, excited about Hugo's upcoming birthday celebration. Hugo had been born on February 29th during a leap year, which many people would be incredibly disappointed by, since it meant that they technically they wouldn't have a birthday to celebrate except every four years. For Hugo though, this was a golden opportunity to celebrate twice every year, because there was just no way to decide whether or not he was turning fourteen on the day before or after his real birth date. Why not celebrate on both?

"Well, there's the broom race, which has to be during the day, but the fireworks can't be until night time," Hugo answered.

"I thought you were going to hide a prize in the Black Lake as well?" Roxanne asked, looking concerned. The young Weasley had an obsession with mermaids, and tried to convince Hugo to have a swimming competition every year as well, in hopes that she might in fact run into one of the magical creatures.

"I told you, the water's too cold for it," Hugo said. "But if it makes you feel any better, I did hear that Hagrid was going to give a lesson on mermaids at the end of the year." This was a lie, but Roxanne was fairly gullible, and Hugo always got a kick out of it.

"Really?" she asked. "That's great!" She then went back to her paper, in which she was writing about an ancient battle between two mythological merpeople, Syrenka and Aycayia. It wasn't on the syllabus, Hugo recalled, and there was no way that Professor Binns would appreciate Roxanne's creativity, but there was no stopping her once she started something.

Interrupting his thoughts, Lily asked, "Hey, was Gregorovitch the one who fought Dumbledore?" She was terrible in any class that didn't involve practical and applied magic, and Hugo laughed at her inability to remember the second most famous duel of all time, ranking only below that of Lily's own father and Lord Voldemort from the Battle of Hogwarts. Hugo wasn't proud of it, but he had a bit of a gift for memorizing facts.

"No, Gregorovitch was the wand maker," Nigel answered. He was all right at History of Magic, especially if any of it had to do with wandlore, his favorite subject that unfortunately wasn't taught as a class at Hogwarts.

"The one who Dumbledore fought was Grindelwald," Hugo answered. When she looked up at him for reassurance, he said condescendingly, "Gellert Grindelwald. Would you like me to spell it for you?"

Lily stuck her tongue out at Hugo and said, "No, I can do it."

"Yeah, maybe if you had a Spell-Checking Quill," Roxanne laughed, giving Hugo a high-five for her impressive comeback.

"Actually, I tried one of those once, and it worked terribly," Nigel explained, always oblivious to the sarcasm within the group. "It wore off within a few weeks, and started spelling 'dementors' as 'dugbogs'. It was quite the experience, really."

They all laughed hysterically at this, even Lily, but Nigel only looked embarrassed, which Hugo slightly endearing. Then, when Lily finished writing out Grindelwald's name, she asked, "But didn't this Grindelwald person have something to do with Gregorovitch?"

"Well, there's always been that rumor that Gregorovitch made the Wand of Destiny and that Grindelwald stole it, but I'm not sure that it's been proven anywhere," Hugo mumbled, with a tone that made it all sound very nonchalant.

"Hold up, the Wand of Destiny?" Nigel asked curiously. "I thought it was called the Death Stick or something?"

Hugo shrugged, saying, "I don't know." Truth be told, he had actually heard it expressed both ways, and his mother had told him and Rose the story before, all the way up until Dumbledore had mastered what was said to be the most powerful wand ever made upon defeating Grindelwald. She had said that it was buried with him though, so nobody had heard about it since. Hugo could have told Nigel all of this, but it would have ruined his reputation even more. He couldn't have people thinking that he was actually doing well with his schoolwork, let alone in the class that everybody despised more than any other.

"The Death Stick," Lily noted. "See, that sounds way cooler." Lily was highly aggressive, so naturally she would like the sound of the 'Death' Stick.

"The Wand of Destiny. I feel like I've read about that in one of the books… I just can't remember where," Nigel was muttering to himself. Hugo was just barely listening to him, as he had clearly stepped out of the conversation.

"Oh, that's what you should have!" Roxanne suddenly exclaimed, looking up from her scroll and splattering ink all over Hugo's face after flinging her quill at him by accident.

Hugo blubbered ink out of his mouth as Lily covered her own with her hand. She was trying not to laugh, but couldn't hold it in much longer. "See now that's a dugbog," she chuckled.

Ignoring her comment, Hugo used his blank paper to wipe off his face and then turned back to Roxanne and asked, "What should I have exactly?"

"A duel of course!" she said. "You could have a tournament as one of the games at your birthday!" Hugo sometimes thought that Roxanne had blinders on; she seemed to maintain complete focus on only one thing at a time, and today it was Hugo's birthday plans.

Lily, who was always up for a good fight, said, "That's not a bad idea at all…" Of course, she was probably thinking that it would be the perfect opportunity to impress Scorpius, whom she had a giant crush on, but Hugo told himself not to bring that up.

He shrugged his shoulders in response and said, "Yeah, I guess, though I don't really fancy getting beat by my sister in yet another way." Rose was easily the brightest witch in her year, and she also happened to win Hugo's annual snowman building competition every February, as she was really good with making them pretty with all of her Charm spells. Last year, she had made an angel-themed snowman and had even had it fly atop all of the others during the judging period. Hugo always enjoyed his birthday celebration, but it was hisbirthday after all; he needed to win some of his own prizes.

"Yeah, I agree," Nigel said suddenly, apparently listening once again. Hugo, Lily, and Roxanne turned to him in shock, as Nigel was normally opposed to any type of unnecessary violence.

"Are you joking?" Hugo asked. "You've tried to talk me out of Quidditch try-outs every year because you think it's too dangerous…" He was blushing slightly at this, hoping that Lily wouldn't notice his hint of Nigel's concern for him. She was one of the last people he ever wanted to know about his and Nigel's feelings for each other. If she found out, she'd spread it across the school like wildfire.

"I know," Nigel said. "And I still do think that. It's just that it would be interesting to see who'd win the tournament, that's all."

"What are you up to?" Lily asked suspiciously. She knew everybody's secrets, or at least she thought that she did, and it seemed as though she believed that Nigel had one of his own. In the background, Hugo sighed with relief, as she was too caught up in Nigel's own behavior to notice that which he expressed toward Hugo.

"Nothing," Nigel answered, though his ears had already turned bright red. He was a terrible liar.

Lily was about to question him some more, but Nigel was saved when the enormous grandfather clock at the front of the room chimed, signaling the end of the period, and therefore the end of the day. Nigel quickly gathered his things and announced, "I have to go to the library," before rushing out the door as fast he could (which wasn't really that fast).

Hugo walked out with Roxanne since Lily had to get to Quidditch practice. Still bursting with ideas for the biggest party of the year, Roxanne said, "Oh, Fred told me that you found a Fanged Frisbee. Is that really true?"

Hugo looked to her with skepticism. "Yes, but don't think he's getting it back. I know all his tricks anyway; he won't be getting anywhere near it." Sometimes Hugo could be a little over-confident.

"Oh, that's not what I meant," Roxanne said, refusing to swerve off-topic. "But I was thinking you could have a Frisbee game. In fact, do you have any more of them, because multiples would be really fun..."

"I only have the one," Hugo answered, "But I suppose I could look for more." He had been meaning to go back to the Room of Requirement anyway, and Roxanne had just given him the perfect opportunity.

"You know," he said as they arrived on the seventh floor, "I think I'll go look now." He then waved to Roxanne and started off in the opposite direction from Gryffindor Tower. Luckily, she was too focused on walking to the common room that she didn't even ask where Hugo was going.

Once he got to the dancing trolls, Hugo stopped and looked at the opposite wall. He didn't know exactly how to get back inside, but he thought that he if just copied what that girl had done that it might work. Pacing back and forth in front of the wall, he concentrated on the room he had been in before in hopes that it could hear his thoughts or something, and waited for a sign of movement.

After Hugo had gone about three lengths across the corridor, the door appeared once again in the exact same place it had been before. He rushed in before anybody might notice him, and set off to explore all over again.

This time, he headed in the opposite direction, just in case there was anything new to be found. He passed by an aisle of bloody swords and axes that seemed promising, but were nearly all completely dull when he examined them. Spotting an odd-looking cage with a skeleton up ahead, he started walking toward that, but was distracted along the way when he heard a very familiar voice to his left.

Turning toward it, Hugo found his father, looking tall and scruffy as he always did, in the middle of a gigantic mirror surrounded by what looked like a real, perfectly polished, gold frame. "I'm proud of you," Ron said, looking directly at Hugo.

He didn't believe what he was seeing, but Hugo somehow felt the need to walk over to the image of his father. As he did so, a second picture appeared, and Hugo was left staring at himself, only he was smiling fully and was holding the hand of Nigel, who happened to be standing right beside him. His dad was still there, smiling down at them from the background and added in, "I'm proud of you both."

For a long while, Hugo stared at the image that this mirror had conjured, listening to his father repeat those same words over and over again. He looked at himself, happier than he had ever been, and at Nigel, staring at him with bright red cheeks, and at his father, who was shaking his head with amazement and couldn't stop saying how proud he was.

Hugo didn't know exactly what the mirror was, or why it was showing him such things. He didn't know if what he was seeing was the future, or if it was even possible for it to come true, but he did know that for some reason, he desperately wanted it to. It was as if seeing himself there with Nigel was what he needed to understand that his feelings for him really were real, and that they weren't going to disappear any time soon. It seemed like a simple thought, but it had never occurred to him so clearly before: all Hugo wanted, more than anything else in the world, was to hold Nigel's hand. Hearing that Ron was proud of him regardless of doing such only made Hugo believe that a relationship with Nigel really was possible, and he knew now more than ever that this was what he really wanted. After all, he was well aware that there were probably plenty more Fanged Frisbees hiding in that room, but he would have traded every one of them to have what he was seeing in this mirror become reality.

He couldn't explain what happened next, but before he knew it Hugo was running out of the room at full speed and heading down various moving staircases. Eventually, he found himself in the Muggle Studies classroom, a place he didn't normally venture to, and was looking down at his grandfather, Arthur Weasley, who was sitting behind his desk fidgeting with some Muggle contraption that Hugo didn't recognize.

Upon hearing Hugo's heavy breathing, Arthur looked up at his grandson and said, "Hugo. Hello."

"You're right," Hugo stated bluntly, not knowing how else to say it. "You're both right."

Hugo had run into Arthur shortly after Nigel had told him about his feelings for him, and for some reason Hugo had opened up to his grandfather. Arthur was a good listener, and he always looked at Hugo as if he was his ultimate pride and joy, just like any good grandparent. Hugo had been coming down here sometimes to talk to him ever since. Though Arthur had told Hugo that he thought that his feelings for Nigel were real, he also hadn't pressured him to say it out loud.

"What made you realize this?" Arthur asked him, signaling for Hugo to take a seat.

Hugo followed his suggestion and said, "I found this mirror, and…" but then he trailed off thinking about it. A part of him already wanted to go back there, just to make sure he had really seen it.

"A mirror?" Arthur asked, looking confused.

"Yeah," Hugo answered, explaining no further. Instead, he said, "I know how I feel now, and I don't want to ignore it anymore."

Arthur smiled and looked to Hugo with a nod. "Then you won't," he said.

Hugo gulped at this, because the main reason why he hadn't admitted his feelings to himself was for fear of having to admit them to everybody else. Hugo had always wanted to be special, mostly from the eyes of his father, but this was a different kind of special than he had hoped for.

Sensing his fear, Arthur said reassuringly, "Just think, you've already told me."

Hugo nodded, but still felt scared out of his mind. He had spent his entire life trying not to have a care in the world, and now he felt like it was about to crash down around him.

"I think you should tell Rose first," Arthur went one. "When you're ready, of course."

"That's what Nigel said," Hugo mumbled. He didn't understand why everybody thought that Rose would be the best person to tell, but he supposed she was his only option, considering his parents weren't here at Hogwarts. Of course, if he told his parents in a letter, it wouldn't require an immediate reaction, which might be a bonus for Hugo… but it just didn't seem right.

"She won't be hard on you, Hugo," Arthur explained. "She's too much like her mother."

Hugo smiled upon hearing this. Hermione would be his one buffer for whenever he chose to tell Ron.

"And she'll be able to help you with your parents," Arthur went on. This was true, but it also didn't seem fair. Rose had been through enough with Ron lately, after him finding out about her and Scorpius. She had had to put up a fight against Ron, and now that she could be with Scorpius out in the open, she finally seemed happy.

Still, Hugo knew that it would be easier once he told somebody in his family, so he nodded and said, "Thanks." He then stood up and turned to leave, but Arthur had also gotten up from his seat.

His grandfather slowly walked over to him and gave him a hug, whispering, "Remember, when you're ready."

Hugo nodded again and let go, needing some time to think alone for a while. Though he had the urge to go back to the mirror, he made himself head to Gryffindor Tower instead. Once in the common room, he spotted Nigel, who looked somewhat frazzled as he flipped through the pages of a pile of books.

"Nigel," Hugo said, and Nigel looked up at him. "Uh, I know it's early but, Happy Valentine's Day." He then smiled slightly and ran up the stairs to his dormitory.

It was February the 28th, and Hugo was sitting in front of his mirror, staring up at himself in the presence of everything he desired. He had been coming here quite often ever since he had found it, and had figured out that it was in fact the Mirror of Erised. He had heard of it from somewhere, and had read in the engraving at the top of the frame that it showed a person their true heart's desire. He hadn't yet told anybody like he said he would, but he did have a plan. Eventually, if he went back here enough, Rose would notice, and she would come find him.

Tonight, after the Quidditch match against Hufflepuff, was the beginning of Hugo's Birthday Celebration, but he would be going to the Room of Requirement instead of the common room. Rose would get worried, and Nigel would be worried as well, and then Rose would go looking for him. She had been the one who had shown Hugo the room, so he was sure that she would realize that he was there.

Before doing so though, Hugo had to cheer on his team. Reluctantly, he got up from where he was sitting and headed out to the pitch, where Nigel and Roxanne had saved a spot for him up in the stands. Being the huge fan that he was, he was already decked out in all things Gryffindor, from his puffy jacket, to his scarf, to his hat. He also brought his set of omnioculars, which allowed him to see all of the good bludger hits up close and personal.

The game started and ended in less than an hour. After the first three scores for Gryffindor, the quaffle still hadn't moved from the side of the Hufflepuff goal posts, and most of the fans had sat down, already bored. There had been a few good hits between the blonde Hufflepuff Beater and Fred, which Hugo studied carefully. Sam Thomas's spot as Beater would be opening up next year, and as far as Hugo knew, he was the only one vying for it. Still, he needed to be ready for the fall try-outs.

"Hey Hugo," Roxanne asked after cheering for Lily, who had just scored another goal. She was the youngest on the team, but was already Gryffindor's best Chaser. "How much money is this one worth?"

Hugo sighed and answered, "I only got a few galleons off of a couple of Ravenclaws… even the Hufflepuffs knew they were going to lose." If Hugo couldn't be flying with the other players, where he believed he truly belonged, he at least wanted to get his money's worth on the matches. He had been doing well on that front this year, but had already spent all his winnings on the binocular-type gadget he was holding… ironic, really, he thought.

"Who d'you reckon's going to win the Cup?" Roxanne asked. She too was a Quidditch fan, and was planning on trying out for Cassidy Finnigan's Chaser position next year. The two of them, along with Lily, had been debating over Slytherin versus Gryffindor's chances of winning the season ever since their first match, which had been so incredibly close. Gryffindor had the better team over-all, with the best Seeker and Keeper in the league, with James Potter and Rose, and with a good mixture of Chasers and Beaters. Slytherin, on the other hand, was playing with plenty of aggression, and Scorpius, their Seeker, seemed to be determined to lead his team to the trophy.

Hugo shook his head, and said, "Gryffindor's the safe bet, as always, but Slytherin's only got Hufflepuff left, and they'll obliterate them." He laughed then, thinking that that match would at least be entertaining, as Slytherin's two Beaters were constantly flying bludgers at player's heads, and all the Hufflepuffs would be too scared to move an inch once it was over.

"Oh, I might have to sit out on that one," Nigel commented from Hugo's other side. He was wearing his ridiculous lion head hat again, just like he had for the first Gryffindor match, and Hugo couldn't take him seriously when he looked at him.

Hugo and Roxanne laughed, and then they all turned back to the game. One of the Finnigan girls had just scored, and it looked as if James, the Gryffindor Seeker and Hugo's older cousin, was going after the snitch. Taking a closer look, Hugo pressed the omnioculars to his eyes and stared in to see a perfect analysis of James's flawless moves. Hugo envied him as he watched him swerve through the pack of players and catch the snitch effortlessly in the palm of his right hand. James Potter was a legend at Hogwarts, and it was nice to see him back on track after his failure to catch the snitch in the match against Slytherin.

"Congratulations to GRYFFINDOR withtheir second win of the season, beating Hufflepuff two hundred and ten points to nothing!" announced Lila from the Headmaster's box. Everybody cheered and clapped, including Hugo.

As he walked down to the field with Nigel (Roxanne had run ahead to congratulate Lily before she got changed), Hugo started to feel nervous about what he was planning to do that night. He didn't usually get nervous, just antsy or uncomfortable, so Nigel could tell right away that something was wrong.

"What's going on?" Nigel asked as they reached the ground and stopped walking. "Aren't you excited for your not-so-surprise party?"

Hugo smiled, because he loved how concerned Nigel could be, but he was still wearing the hat that made him look like one of the bobble-head dolls Hugo had noticed on his grandfather's desk once. Slowly, Hugo reached his arms toward him and pulled the hat off of Nigel.

"Hey, I thought you approved of that hat," Nigel said questionably.

Laughing, Hugo replied, "I do approve. And I am excited. I just have to do something first."

Nigel was confused, but didn't get the chance to ask Hugo what he meant before Roxanne reappeared, ready to head back to the castle. "You two go ahead," Hugo said. "I'll wait for Lily."

"But Hugo…" Nigel started to say, but Hugo waved his hand for him to go.

"Get on with it, I'll meet you there," Hugo called as Roxanne dragged Nigel away.

As soon as Lily came out from the locker room, she split up from Fred, who was running to catch up with Lila, and approached Hugo. "Impressive match, wasn't it?" she asked sarcastically.

"The highlight of the season, most definitely," Hugo responded.

Lily laughed, and then looked up at Hugo curiously. "Hey, isn't this the part where you're supposed to ask what I have planned for the celebration?" Since it had become so predictable over the years, Lily had begun doing something extra special for Hugo on one of his two big days, and Hugo would spend most of the weekend trying to figure out what it was.

Hugo didn't normally feel intimidated by Lily, even though most everybody else did. After all, he knew her better than all of them. Even so, at that moment he wanted his best friend to know exactly what he was feeling and be completely supportive of it, and he knew that Lily wouldn't be able to do that.

While they continued walking, Hugo decided to hide his anxiety and answer, "Well, I have a pretty good idea what the plan is already, so I'm not worried."

"You might want to rethink that," Lily joked. "It could very well be considered highly dangerous."

Hugo wanted to be curious about this, but he couldn't think about it then. Instead, he sped up the staircases until they both arrived on the top floor of the castle, and then said to Lily, "I'll be there in a little while." Lily gave him a look of suspicion, but Hugo returned it with a look of warning that he hoped told her not to follow him, regardless of how much she wanted to. He then set off for his new favorite place, and snuck inside the Room of Requirement.

He was there for quite some time, sitting and staring at the mirror that he was so fascinated by, waiting for Rose. He was sure that she would come, but he was not so sure if he would be able to tell her. Sitting there and looking at his hand clasped in Nigel's, he realized that he still hadn't told him. Sure, he had accepted Nigel and had hinted that he felt the same, but he hadn't actually told him that he liked him. That too seemed like quite the strenuous task.

Eventually, Hugo heard the sound of the door opening, along with his name called by his sister's familiar, sing-song tone that sounded just like the cardinals that woke him up every morning when at home in Ottery St. Catchpole. He didn't reply to her, and his entire body was unmoving. Still staring at the mirror, it seemed his legs had become paralyzed.

There was a pile of chairs behind where Hugo was sitting, and he could hear Rose plowing her way through them, coming closer. After crawling underneath one, she noticed the mirror and went speechless. Hugo didn't look away, but he assumed that she too was seeing her deepest desire reflected in it. He could already picture her and Scorpius together in the mirror, her red hair and his blond making polar opposites of fire and ice.

"It can't be…" Rose whispered, still looking at the mirror and acting as if she had forgotten that Hugo was there.

He decided to finish her thought for her by saying, "The Mirror of Erised." Looking deeper at his own reflection, he once again felt a small but sharp pierce of hatred toward Nigel. Hugo hadn't asked to feel this way, and now he had to explain himself to his perfect sister. After a moment though, the hate disappeared and was replaced with admiration, because Hugo knew that he would feel this way regardless of whether or not Nigel was the one he had feelings for. If anything, he was thankful that he had met someone who had helped give him the courage to accept himself, exactly how he was.

"You don't mean…?" Rose asked. She clearly knew what the mirror was, as Hugo had expected her to. She had read nearly every book in the Hogwarts library already, something that Hugo always told her was a waste of time. Behind her back though, he was doing the exact same thing.

"I show not your face but your heart's desire," Hugo stated to Rose. "It's inscribed in the frame." He had found the message on one of his trips back to the room, and it had helped him understand finally that it wasn't in fact the future he was seeing. This had been disappointing upon first realization, but it was also enlightening, because it didn't say that what it showed was impossible.

Rose looked up to find what Hugo was referring to, but looked confused as she read the message. "Try reading it backwards," Hugo suggested, as it was written cryptically. After letting her do so, he asked, "So let me guess… you and Scorpius?" He was referring to what she had seen in the mirror.

"Sort of," Rose answered as she sat down next to him. The air was oddly calm here, and it felt very bizarre for Hugo to be having such a serious conversation with his older sister. They were normally either joking around or fighting incessantly, so this was completely new territory.

In an effort to explain, Hugo said, "I cam back here after we'd left that day, and I found this." He hoped that by those words, she would understand that what he saw in the mirror wasn't just him inheriting their uncle George's joke shop or winning the Quidditch House Cup. He hoped that she would understand that there was a lot more to it than that, and that he wasn't crying wolf this time.

"Is Dad in it?" Rose asked. It seemed obvious that Rose would think of at least that part of Hugo's secret, considering what had gone on with her and their father over Christmas. That had been the one time that Hugo had looked at him and not felt pride for calling Ron Weasley his father, and it had also been the moment when he had convinced himself that he would never admit the truth about his feelings for Nigel. If Ron could react that way to Rose's relationship with Scorpius, which was completely normal and not at all surprising, then how would he react to Hugo's unexpected confession?

He felt connected to Rose now and he decided that he didn't want to hear his fake father say that he was proud in the background anymore, because he didn't want to hear it until he was sure that it was true. So he turned away from the mirror and faced Rose, who looked so like their mother at that instant, concerned and full of care, and nodded.

"What else do you see?" she asked, and Hugo began to sniffle slightly. It seemed like telling Rose wasn't really the hard part after all, but accepting it for himself, something he thought he had already done, was harder.

"I'm not supposed to be like this," he said, staring down at his sweaty palms that were in his lap.

"I'm supposed to be the Quidditch player that he's always wanted to be." Ron had encouraged both Hugo and Rose to practice their flying skills from an early age, as he wanted to make sure that they had inherited the Weasley Quidditch genes. When Rose had made the team, Hugo had felt like the ultimate disappointment in comparison.

"I'm supposed to be an Auror, just like him." Ron, along with Hugo's uncle Harry, was one of the top dark wizard catchers at the Ministry, and Hugo had always wanted to have the same job, as it was one of the most impressive and respectable positions a witch or wizard could have.

"Hugo, you can still be an Auror," Rose said. He knew that she meant it in the best of ways, but Hugo was still aggravated by her comment and began to shake his head.

Explaining, he said, "I'm not going to be an Auror. I can barely keep my wand in tact. Can you imagine if I tried to use it to save somebody's life or arrest a criminal? I'd probably kill the person!" It sounded ridiculous, but it was actually the truth. Hugo had broken his wand at the beginning of the year, and how it had happened had been so stupid and foolish. There was no way he would ever pass the notoriously difficult practical exams that were required to become an Auror.

As Rose chuckled at him, Hugo asked, "Do you want to know the worst part? My best subject right now is History of Magic!" It seemed like such a waste to be good at something that wouldn't be able to take you anywhere, Hugo thought.

"So obviously," he continued. "You would think that my heart's desire would have something to do with being the best at Defense Against the Dark Arts or Charms instead, or even to finally get on the Quidditch team…" He trailed off, not wanting to let that tiny piece of hatred toward Nigel back in again. He wanted to feel only affection when he admitted his feelings to Rose and himself.

"What did you really see, Hugo?" Rose asked.

This was it. Once he said it, there was no going back. He couldn't change his mind, and he couldn't sidestep the topic when around Nigel anymore. He would have to confront it, the same way that a Fanged Frisbee would tear apart anything in its trail, and the same way that Hugo would always think of the perfect joke: head-on and not daring to look back. Because in the end, it didn't matter if the joke was funny or not, as long as he told it in a way that got people laughing.

After one more deep breath, Hugo opened his mouth and answered, "Nigel." He then turned to back to Rose's face, looked her directly in the eyes, and said, "Rose, I think I might be gay."

As soon as he said the words, Hugo was filled with the strong feeling of relief. For once in what felt like a very long time, he didn't feel confused or conflicted. There was still a lot of ground to cover, but at least this was a start. At least this was the right direction, and if he had to make a few more turns along the way, at least he wasn't headed for a complete dead end.

It was definitely a surprise though, and Hugo could tell that Rose didn't know how to respond as she looked down at him with her mouth gaping open and her bright blue eyes searching his. He waited for her to say something, until she finally asked, "And how does Nigel feel?"

Hugo hadn't known how Rose would respond, but this didn't seem at all bad. At least this was a question that Hugo knew he could answer. "I think we both sort of realized it at the same time, but he seems to be handling it a lot better. He's already told his family and everything," he said. Now that he had gotten the words out, he felt like he could tell Rose anything and everything.

"Is that what you two have been fighting about lately?" Rose asked. She must have seen them at The Three Broomsticks earlier that month, or in the hallway sometime during the weeks that followed, when Nigel was berating Hugo to tell people.

Hugo nodded and began to explain in detail, "It sort of started a few months ago, when I broke my wand. Lily had dared me to try out this spell, only it was really tricky and she said that if I messed it up, it could make the whole compartment explode or something. Of course, I didn't believe her, but Nigel did. He tried to stop me, but I did it anyway, and it sort of rebounded onto my wand. That's how I broke it." He had told Rose before that his owl, Cow, had bit the wand in half, because he didn't want to tell her what had really happened. In fact, he wouldn't have told her anything in the first place, but he had hoped that she would be able to fix it. Of course, she didn't, but it turned out that her best friend, Albus Potter, did, so Hugo had gotten his wand back in the end.

"That night, I asked Nigel why he had cared so much, and he told me then. I didn't really know what to think of it at first, but then Granddad found me in the Great Hall one day and asked me what was wrong. I've been talking to him a lot lately, him and Nigel."

Rose took a minute to process all of this, as Hugo had been lying to her for months now. He let her do so, remaining silent and hoping she didn't get mad, until she asked, "So if you two are on the same page, what were you arguing for?" Hugo sighed in relief; of course Rose wasn't mad. She hardly ever got mad… though admittedly, she did seem fairly angry with their father as of late.

More confident now to explain further, Hugo answered, "Whether or not we should tell anybody. Whether or not I should tell you."

Rose seemed to realize what Hugo was saying was that he hadn't wanted to tell her, and once again he hoped that she didn't take it personally. "He's been asking me to for weeks," he continued, speaking of Nigel. "And Granddad's been telling me that it'll all work out and everything, but I didn't want to.

"Then I saw this," he gestured to the mirror, though still didn't look directly at it. "It's not just some silly thing, Rose. This is who I am." He figured that the more times he said the words, the easier it would become.

"And Dad," Rose asked, getting back to the mirror. "You said he was in the reflection as well?"

Hugo thought about what the mirror had been showing him so often lately, and he replied, "Yeah, he's on my other side, saying he's proud of me." He then began to cry intensely, thinking again about how Ron would react to the news. "How am I going to tell him, Rosie?"

Rose was silent, though Hugo really did want an answer. He wanted her to tell him exactly what he should say, and how to say it. He wanted her to tell him exactly how Ron would respond. He wanted her to give him an answer. She always had the answers.

"After what he said to you at Christmas," Hugo pressed further. "I can't have him look at me like that."

Rose immediately pulled him into her arms, which felt warm and homey as Hugo sank into them. "I know," she said. "I know." She didn't have an answer for him, but at least she was there. At least now she knew. At least now he wasn't alone.

After a long while, they broke apart slightly and Rose looked down at Hugo and said, "You know, they say that the happiest man on the earth would look into this mirror and see only himself, exactly how he is." Hugo didn't know where she was going with this, but she always had a plan, a goal, an object, so he listened intently.

"I know that our father acts as if he expects certain things from us," Rose continued, "Like he expects us to be great, and accomplished, and talented, because that's all that he has ever wanted. But he's also a parent, and I know that deep down, the only thing he and Mum really want is for us to be happy – for us to look into this mirror and see only ourselves, exactly how we are.

"If this is who you are, Hugo, if this is what makes you happy, then he'll have to accept that, and I really believe that he loves you enough to do that. Because if he didn't, then why would we ever try to impress him so much in the first place?"

Hugo laughed at this, because somehow Rose always managed to make sense out of everything. It seemed so true that Ron must be a good enough father to Hugo to accept him, because why would Hugo worship the ground he walked on if he weren't? He and Rose both understood how much they loved their father, and how much he loved them. He was bound to come around eventually.

Rose stood up then, offering a hand for Hugo. He reached out for it at first, but then decided not to take it. Instead, he got up on his own. Then, pointing at the stack of chairs that was in their way, he took out his perfectly mended wand and made a light flick and swish as he said, "Wingardium Leviosa!" He then directed all the chairs to move to the side, making room for him and Rose to pass straight through.

As they did so, Hugo heard Rose chuckle and then say, "See, that's one spell I've always had trouble with." She wouldn't normally have admitted such a travesty, but they were on very good terms at that moment.

"Really?" Hugo asked, refraining from making a snide comment. "Huh. I think it might be the only one I've ever been any good at."

Rose smiled at him and then said jokingly, "That may be true, but you do have many other talents."

Hugo, confused, looked up at his sister questionably. She then rolled her eyes and said, "You can eat more in one sitting than anyone I have ever met."

Suddenly, all of Hugo's hidden excitement about his birthday celebration came right back to where it should have been all along, and he realized that in only a couple of hours, at the moment the clock struck midnight, he would be turning fourteen years old, and that meant…

"Which is why," Rose said, reading Hugo's thoughts. "You'd better get to the common room before you miss out on your own birthday cake."

Hugo widened his eyes and nearly jumped up and down with excitement. He hadn't noticed it earlier, but he was starving. Before he left though, he gave Rose a huge hug and said a sincere thank you. He felt like himself again, even more so than he had ever felt before, and so he wanted to go spend his birthday with the person who made him feel that way.

Racing down the hall, Hugo ran up to the Fat Lady, and gave her the password, cow brow, before she even asked. He then ducked through the portrait hole and was greeted with a slew of screaming Gryffindors all yelling out "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" as soon as they saw him.

The entire room was decorated with a combination of Gryffindor colors along with birthday banners, streamers, and hats. Miniature fireworks were going off all around, and people were blowing thousands of rainbow-colored bubbles into the air.

Bombarded with hugs from every side, Hugo could barely make out who came up to him first, and before he knew it, the lights had been dimmed and everybody was singing the "Happy Birthday" song, with lion roars in between each verse. As they did so, Hugo was escorted by Sam, Gryffindor's Head Boy, to the couch in front of the fireplace. In front was a large table, and at that moment Lily, who was standing opposite to Hugo, was lowering a monstrous cake onto it. It was bigger than any he had ever had, and much to his surprise, was masterfully shaped as a Fanged Frisbee, with sharp teeth pointing out around a large, circular disc. Hugo looked over to Lily as it was set down, and she winked at him. This was her special surprise, and it was some of her best work yet.

Then, as Lily used a spell to light the hundreds of candles that had been dipped into the frosting, Roxanne and Nigel appeared, each on one of Hugo's sides. Roxanne was clapping excitedly, but it was Nigel whom Hugo looked to. Nigel was looking back, smiling, but shyly.

Staring at him, Hugo whispered, "Nigel, I like you too." Nigel smiled then, and his ears went rosy red, making Hugo smile in return. He wanted this moment to last forever, but he also wanted to remain confident so that he could tell his parents, and finally be with Nigel.

Lily then yelled, "Make a wish!" and everybody waited for Hugo to follow her order.

Staring down at the bright, hot flames, Hugo thought to himself that maybe he could have his cake and eat it too. So, closing his eyes, he blew out his candles and wished with all his heart that he could be with Nigel, and that someway, somehow, he would still be his father's perfect son.

 
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