Albus fished in his pockets for something to give the man. “I don’t suppose you’d care for a spearmint humbug…?” Albus trailed off pathetically as the man gave him a baleful stare and moved on. Albus sighed and rubbed his short, auburn hair. It was only just growing back in.
“Stop fussing,” his date said.
“Nervous habit,” Albus sighed again and forced a smile.
“Look, there’s nothing you can do for the poor beggers, as much as you try.” His date seemed half amused, half exasperated.
Albus smiled thinly. “There’s no harm in trying.”
The golden haired youth looped an arm through Albus’, and together they set off down the cobbled lane. After several strides into the dark alley, Albus found himself pressed up against the crumbling brick of a high wall as his date leaned in to kiss him.
“Jeremy, we’ll be caught.”
“So what? You can just, you know…” Jeremy mimed aiming, and then blasting, with his right hand. “That would violate I don’t know how many laws.” That was a lie. Albus knew exactly how many it would violate, but speaking of them would only make his transgression of the first, the most vital law, all the worse; the Statute of Secrecy.
“Come on, Al. We fought in the fucking war. We died in the war. We’ve earned the right to enjoy a bit of freedom. It’s 1945, for chrissakes!” This emphatic speech was undermined somewhat by the furtive dark of their surrounds.
They stood against one another, breathing loudly into the quiet. Albus leaned in and placed a gentle kiss on Jeremy’s mouth. “You’re right. Of course, you’re right. I’ve been living with secrets for so long, I’ve become rather accustomed to it.” Jeremy looked Albus in the eye, naked pain and anger mixed with the deep exhaustion they all felt. The soldiers of the Second Great War.
Jeremy kissed Albus roughly, desperately, as though trying to draw his magic right out of him through that kiss. As though reaching for a miracle. Albus knew how he felt, returning the kiss with ardour. His hands clawed at Jeremy’s shirt, burrowing beneath the thin material to caress his chest. Jeremy was more bold, fumbling with the buckle of Albus’ belt.
“Wait, wait not here.”
Jeremy groaned in frustration. “Why not?”
“It’s cold, and muddy, and it’s starting to rain—”
“Look, I’m not a breakfast in bed kind of guy here, Al! I like you, but can’t we just have this moment? Here? Now?”
Albus turned his head away, and Jeremy cursed under his breath. “I’m sorry, Al.”
“No, I’m sorry Jeremy. You reminded me of someone I had once cared for. Deeply. But I can see now this was a mistake.”
Jeremy shook his head and turned to walk away. As he retreated further into the alley, Albus aimed his wand at Jeremy’s back. With a whispered word, all memory of Albus was erased from his mind. Jeremy never looked back.
Tears streamed down Albus’ face as he wandered the crowded streets, making his way slowly back to the Leaky Cauldron. Breaking his final Sickle on a Firewhisky, Albus knocked it back and climbed the stairs to his room.
Albus lay on his bed, realising too late that he had walked the length of London with his fly undone. Albus laughed, placing his hands over his face. Albus unbuckled his belt and reached beneath the waist of his pants. It truly had been a shame, he had liked Jeremy’s fervent, if obnoxious and misguided, enthusiasm.
Albus stroked himself, thinking of a different golden haired youth. One recently incarcerated in Nurmenguard. Albus pushed aside the grief, the guilt, the raw and maddening lust for power he harboured still, and concentrated on that beautiful face. The one who had smiled so sweetly while uttering those fateful words. Greater good. Albus groaned as he climaxed, not caring that he was still wearing his pants.
He lay for a while longer, tears leaking from the corners of his eyes, spilling down his face to pool on the pillow.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, Gellert,” he whispered. “It was for your own good.”
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