“So you have to do that, every day?” asked Elijah as he and Dom carefully walked along the slippery garden
path to the shed. Tara and Dom had spent another two hours practising Tara’s human transformation, before
Dom had sent a delighted Tara downstairs to show her parents what she’d learned.
Dom nodded. “Every day, sometimes more than once, though it gets easier. It’s a daily ritual now, like girls doing their hair or make-up. And it actually takes up a whole lot less time.” He grinned at Elijah as he opened the door.
The younger man pondered that fact as Dom reverently opened the broom box after carefully wiping a few spiders off it, and took out both their brooms. Observing Tara made him begin to understand more and more just what Dom’s childhood must have been like. Sure, he brushed it off with a joke now, but Elijah didn’t find it hard to imagine a young Dom being at least twice as frustrated as Tara was now, especially with no one understanding him.
He was pulled out of his reverie by a long-fingered hand waving back and forth in front of his face. Dom was grinning at him. “Look at you, mate, you’re miles away. What are you thinking about?”
“You,” Elijah replied truthfully, with an impish smile.
Dom raised an eyebrow. “In what position?”
The younger man laughed. “Wouldn’t you like to know.”
“I would, actually,” said Dom, moving closer. “Last night proved to be very, um, shall we say stimulating.”
“Don’t tell me about it, you hear?” warned Elijah. “Or I might just jump on you and ravish you right here in the shed.”
“Mmm, can’t have that,” murmured Dom, putting his arms around Elijah’s waist and kissing his neck. “Not with an innocent child close by.”
As if on cue, the door of the shed flew open, and both men flew apart to different corners of it, Elijah nearly falling over the handcart and bracing himself with two hands against the wall behind him.
Tara stood in the crooked doorway, her human form somewhat blurred around the edges and unfocused in
distress. “Are you leaving already? Please don’t go yet!”
“We have to, sweet,” said Dom, the quickest to recover his wits, walking towards her and kissing the top of her head. “There’s people at Hogwarts waiting for us, and tonight we’re invited to a very important Christmas dinner, and it won’t do to be late.”
“I don’t want you to go,” pouted Tara, putting her arms around Dom’s waist and holding fast. The older
Changeling just patted her back and smiled at Elijah, indicating that this must be a usual ritual whenever Dom left.
“Just wait until you’re at Hogwarts yourself,” said Dom, grinning and winking at Elijah. “You’ll be sick and tired of my face in no time.”
“No, I wouldn’t!” cried Tara in outrage, letting go and looking up. “You’re my big brother, Dommie, I love you.”
Dom’s smile instantly softened as he looked down on her. “Mind your shape now, love,” he whispered rather
hoarsely. “Come on, out we go.”
The three of them stepped out into the frozen garden. The sky was, once again, clear and light grey; they would have good vision. It was, however, still fucking freezing.
Síobhan came running from the house with Tara’s wintercoat under her arm, and a few other clothes in her other hand. “Look at you, crazy girl, you’ll catch your death running around like that in this weather,” she muttered while bundling the child into the coat, a woollen hat, scarf and gloves. Straightening up and pulling her daughter against her, she looked the two young men up and down, sighing. “Just as I thought. Dom, honestly.”
Out of her pocket she pulled another bundle of winter’s clothes. “Your mother would have my hide if I let you go out like this,” she said as she fastened a scarf around his neck and put gloves on his hands.
“And you!” she added, looking at Elijah. “Dom, if you treat all your students like this, I fear for them. Not even a scarf on him, for goodness’ sake!” She pulled out another scarf and began putting on Elijah, ignoring his protets that he really shouldn’t be taking this.
“Rest assured; it’s Dom’s,” she replied. “It’s not like it’s the only thing of his you’ll be wearing,” she added in an undertone so Tara couldn’t hear.
Elijah’s eyes went wide and both men instantly turned red, causing Síobhan to burst out laughing. “Oh, the faces on the two of you! Really, do you expect me to be blind, deaf and stupid, or do you think you’re clever in hiding it? I’ve eyes in me head, you know, I see how you look at each other, I notice when laundry goes missing and,” she added with a significant look, “this is an old house, if you take my meaning.”
Dom made a strangled sound and turned even redder. Síobhan laughed again, and this time Tara and Elijah
joined her. Dom grinned at his toes, still looking mortally embarassed.
Tara looked from one to the other. “Does this mean I can tell mam now that you are in love?” she asked.
Dom now snickered, too. “I think you just did, actually,” he said, pulling Elijah to him. “So, I suppose, yes.” He looked tenderly into the younger man’s face. “Foiled again, Lij.”
They broke gazes to see Síobhan looking at them with a soft sort of expression on her face. She reached out to hug both of them, smiling. “Unwise though this move may seem, I’m happy for you both,” she said, kissing their cheeks. “It does my heart good to see you so happy, Dom. You deserve it. Just be very, very careful, alright?”
Dom nodded solemnly. “Don’t tell my parents, though, please,” he said. “They’d have a fit if they knew, especially my dad. An affair with a student!” He snorted.
“No one will hear anything from me, you know that,” said Síobhan. “And now you’d best be going, or you’ll have to fly home in the dark.”
“Right,” said Dom, taking Elijah’s shoulders to turn him so that they were facing each other, and pulling his fluffy hood up, snickering. Elijah shoved him playfully. Dom licked his nose in response. Tara burst out in giggles.
She stifled them quickly, however, when Dom turned to her and began to explain the spell he was about to
perform on Elijah, and she listened eagerly and intently, almost seeming to soak up every word and store it in her memory. Elijah got the impression that she would be a much beloved student of the teachers at Hogwarts, with her shining eyes full of hunger for new knowledge.
Dom now rapped Elijah on the head with his wand, and both Tara and Síobhan gasped. The young man had no
idea what he looked like; he thought Dom’s transformation was probably far more impressive, though neither of the two batted an eye at that.
Finally they were both ready to go, camouflaged, warmly dressed and provided with a huge packed lunch from
Síobhan, and now they said their goodbyes. Each of them hugged the mother and daughter in turn; Tara was
trying hard not to cry when she had to let go of her Dommie.
“Will you come again soon?” she begged. “You too, Lijah, please? I will see you again, won’t I? Will you take him with you, Dom?”
They both promised her to come see her as soon as they could, Dom even going so far as to tell her that, if she practised well, she might be allowed to come and visit them at Hogwarts next time, and with that they both mounted their brooms and set off from the slippery ground.
The journey back to Hogwarts was actually far more interesting than the nightly flight to Ireland, because now they could at least see where they were going, instead of having to fly by the compass. Of course, flying by day also meant having to be extra cautious; despite their disguises they could still be spotted, and apart from that also had to watch for airplanes and other flying objects.
They had their lunch on the clock tower of a large church, sitting together between the old birds’ nests, laughing and feeding the pigeons and each other bites of their sandwiches.
Just as Dom was pouring them each a plastic cup of tea from the thermo-flask Síobhan had provided, Elijah
turned to him, cocking his head, and asked, “Dom, why wouldn’t you let me touch you last night?”
Dom nearly tipped the hot liquid into his lap at the question, and quickly grabbed at his cup with both hands, cursing inwardly at himself. He tried to regain his composure, not daring to look at the younger man.
“I just don’t think I’m ready,” he whispered at last.
“So you’ve told me,” said Elijah earnestly. “And I respect that, Dom, it’s fine. I would just like to know why. Will you tell me?”
Dom sighed deeply. “I’ve had some… bad experiences with in the past.”
Elijah nodded. “Okay. Can you… talk about it? If you want to, that is.”
Dom looked up at him. The younger man looked concerned, his brow furrowed, but his eyes offered
understanding, comfort, and love. Suddenly Dom had to swallow hard, overcome by his feelings for this beautiful creature, who, for some reason, had decided he was worthy of his affection. He pulled Elijah to him, kissing him fiercely. “God, I love you, Lij. You don’t even know what I’m going to say, and you’ve already accepted it.”
“It’s a part of you,” replied Elijah simply, once again displaying the wisdom that was far beyond his years.
Dom smiled and kissed him again. Elijah nestled himself into the older man’s arms and looked up at him
expectantly. Dom took a deep breath, steeling himself. “Okay. I told you about the Evey fiasco, right?”
“Well, after that I sort of lost my nerve when it came to sexual attraction. I was shit scared something like that would happen again, and it was only after I graduated from Hogwarts that I started considering it again. By then I already knew I liked lads better, and I figured it was actually easier hiding it whenever my control slipped, because of, you know,” he gestured vaguely with his free hand, “you’re not looking at each other, like.”
He coughed, blushing slightly, and hastily continued. “There was this bloke I met in my first year at the Academy. He was in the Potions department, and we sort of clicked, in a way. Mind you, there was never anything else to it than sex for either of us. Anyway, he dropped out after six months, and I never saw him again. After that I had a few one-night-stands, nothing serious. Then in my third year I met Matthew. He came to the Academy as a guest teacher from the States. We had a few good laughs together, and not being part of the Academy he didn’t give a shit about me losing them the Quidditch Cup. He knew what I was, of course, and we’d talk about it; he was very interested and understanding. That’s when I made a fatal mistake. I fell in love with him.”
Elijah had gone very quiet, but Dom knew he was attending to every word. He sighed deeply again. “I began
seeing more and more of Matthew, tried to be with him whenever I could. And when he took me to bed with him, I went willingly, while I knew I could easily lose control. Which, of course, happened."
He swallowed. “He was on top of me, so he got a eyeful of it. It was like with Evey; he pushed me away at once, looking disgusted, calling me a freak. Only it hurt a thousand times more with him, because I was in love. I told him so. God, the way he looked at me! He asked me how on earth I could expect anyone in their right mind to have feelings for something like me, other than curiosity about what it would be like to fuck a Changeling. I couldn’t believe what I heard. I tried to stop him leaving, but he flung me away like I was contaminated, and continued treating me like that until he left, three weeks later. I was heartbroken.”
He chuckled joylessly. “I was so fucking blind. I should have seen it coming, should have known something would go wrong, but I was so fucking besotted with him, so thankful for any attention he gave me, that I didn’t really look at who he was. I was so stupid.”
“You were in love,” said Elijah softly. “It makes you do stupid things sometimes. Trust me, I know. If it makes you feel better, my experience is even worse.”
“How can it be… wait, what?” Dom whipped his head around to look at the younger man in astonishment. “You
said you’d never been in love before!”
“I said I’ve never been with anyone before,” corrected Elijah. “This is true. But I was in love once. And it made me… God, it made me into something I hated.”
Dom listened, fascinated, as Elijah told him, in soft tones, about Josh, the fellow student he had fallen for in his fifth year. About how this boy had driven him to smoking, estranged him from his friends, and destroyed his self-confidence. His heart went out to Elijah, having gone through more or less the same misery he’d endured.
He pulled him closer without a word. “Don’t hate yourself over it, Lij, it wasn’t your fault, like you said yourself. You were in love.”
“I haven’t told you everything yet,” whispered Elijah, his voice now rather strangled. “I’ve never told anyone this, but… I think you heard about the incident with the last caretaker?”
Dom frowned, puzzled. “Yeah, Billy told me, and it was in the papers. Why?”
“Did he tell you who was behind it?”
“He said it was one of the Malfoy girls, and a group of fellow Slytherins.”
Elijah swallowed and looked at the dropping-strewn stone floor. “Well… they weren’t all Slytherins.”
Dom felt his insides grow cold. “Lij? What are you saying?”
“I was with them, Dom. He was with them, so naturally I was, too. It was his idea.”
“Jesus,” whispered Dom, remembering the kindly old caretaker from his own schooldays, who had helped him
out of a few tight spots, and recalling what he’d heard about the damage the accident had inflicted on his body and mind. “Why? What the fuck had he done to you to deserve this?” He couldn't quite keep the accusing tone out of his voice.
Elijah cringed visibly, and inched away from Dom, hugging his knees and making himself as small as possible.
“He’d done nothing to any of us except Lucretia. No; he didn’t do anything to her either, just said he would. She… liked to jinx people in the corridors, Muggleborns, you know, for so-called fun. He caught her at it, said he’d report to the Headmaster if she didn’t stop. Let’s just say she didn’t like the idea.”
He laughed, bitterly and joylessly. “And whenever Lucretia would encounter an obstacle, she’d remove it. And she planned to; she and her gang. Josh was an assistant at Herbology; he had access to all the greenhouses. It was easy for him to get some Bubotuber pus. Lucretia took care of the rest.”
“But… Billy said the culprits were expelled,” said Dom, having found his voice again.
“They were,” Elijah told his knees. “Except me, because I got scared at the last moment and ratted them out to McKellen and Potter.”
“Jesus,” said Dom again, thinking how hard that must have been for Elijah to betray the one he was in love with.
“I just couldn’t let them do it, Dom, I couldn’t,” said Elijah, looking up at the Changeling, his eyes bright with tears. “Fabbers was alright, not a bad guy, and he was right about Lucretia of course; she was evil. But I think Josh was even worse. She had the motivation; but he came up with the ideas.”
“What happened?” asked Dom, intrigued.
“We came too late,” said Elijah in a voice so hoarse that the words were barely audible. “They’d already done much damage to him. He survived, of course, but he’ll never be the same. If only I’d gone to the Headmaster straight away…” He lapsed into silence.
Dom edged a little closer to the huddled form, but Elijah, hiding his face, did not see. “So he was taken to St. Mungo’s immediately, and Lucretia and three of her friends were expelled on the spot. But Josh was of age. He was sent to trial and got fifteen months in Azkaban.”
Serves him right, thought Dom privately, but he kept his silence and waited for Elijah to finish his story. Which he did, his voice now audibly thick with tears.
“So I helped plan a murder, chickened out, and betrayed the evil guy I was in love with, landing him in prison and his friends out of school. And that’s the story of my fucked-up love-life.”
“Not quite,” whispered Dom, moving even closer. “You see, you forgot the ending there. Some time after that you gave your love to a freak and made him feel almost human. You made him love you so fucking much that he
doesn’t care anymore who you once were or what you’ve done, as long as you remain who you are now.”
Elijah looked up then, surprise and wonder in his wide eyes.
Dom wordlessly held out his arms.
The teary face broke into a watery smile, and Elijah collapsed against him with a choked sound somewhere between a laugh and a sob.
“God, I’m so embarassed,” he mumbled, wiping the tears from his eyes. “Crying like a fucking girl.”
“I love you anyway, though,” said Dom.
Elijah smiled fully again at those words. “I love you too.”
Dom got up and held out his hand, helping Elijah up. “Let’s go home, yeah?”
“Yeah,” said Elijah, “let’s go home.”
ETA: My credit here is almost used up! Can anyone please link this at Domlijah? Thanks! *hugs*