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Radueriel Benson

the stars come out of hiding for you, and i do too

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Radueriel Benson

Though the two boys had spent almost no time apart since Simon cornered him, Rad realized one soft Saturday morning in mid-December that he didn't really know that much about the Ravenclaw. He knew he had beautiful mousy hair that he up until now was too afraid to ask to touch. He knew Simon wanted to be a Healer. He knew... well, embarrassingly enough, that was sort of where the line in the sand was drawn. Hair and Healer. 

 

So over breakfast he proposed that instead of going down to the Dueling Chamber that afternoon for the small Slytherin to study and watch his friend sling spells, the two of them find a corner of the library nobody ever goes to and ask each other questions -- kind of like a game! "Twenty questions," he said, because he was pretty sure that's what it was called, and if given free reign he would never stop asking questions. 

 

Twenty was a good place to start.

 

They walked there from the Great Hall, fingers intertwined. It took a little hunting to find a space among the stacks where other students hadn't already set up camp to study in solitude. Finally though they came across an empty aisle. With a nervous smile, Rad plopped down, stretching himself out even though from his head to his toes he didn't quite reach from shelf to shelf.

 

Turning his head to look at Simon, he grinned. The carpet didn't smell too good, but next to Simon it was all fine. "So, uh..." He planned everything out up until this moment, then realized he didn't come up with anything to actually ask. His mind latched on to the Quidditch match he attended a week or so ago, the vision of Simon especially dashing in his uniform. "How come you started playing Quidditch?"

Edited by Radueriel Benson

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Simon Reed

To say that Simon Reed was completely wrapped around a certain Slytherin's finger would have been an accurate observation... perhaps even a slight understatement. He'd taken to the teen naturally much like he had with breathing, talking and walking. Perhaps the latter not being the best comparison seeing as some would describe him as uncoordinated...Not to mention due to a not so distant traumatic night he found himself stumbling a lot more often than not. Because of his knee. The knee. His right knee. His perfectly healed knee.

Needless to say, Simon was happy to spend time with Rad no matter what they were doing. His presence had become more of a necessity rather than an obligation. The buddy system had been a blessing in his eyes, even if most didn't see it that way. A distraction, a companion, his own personal crutch. His hand easily found the others as soon as they exited the Great Hall and they made their way to the library.

They scouted for a few minutes until they came to a deserted aisle and claimed it for themselves. Rad comically fit perfectly perpendicularly in the space between the bookshelves, and Simon had no other option but to lay in a parallel position. He tossed his knapsack aside and decidedly rested his head on Rad's belly, just as the other had on his own so many times before. "This okay?" He questioned still, receiving a few nods in response. He waited for Rad to take the lead seeing as this was his idea, a slight wave of anxious anticipation washing over him as the first question emerged.

"That's... actually a good question." He grinned, thinking back to his first year when he'd first signed up. He had always been a fan of the game, his room back in London served as a small shrine to his favorite team (Puddlemere United) with ceiling to floor posters and rows of figurines, but his fear of heights had always held him back. Had it not been for a bit of confidence gained from actually having to take a Flying class and his inability to keep from singing up for nearly everything, he might have never done it. "I kind of forced myself to sign up for everything... and still sort of do honestly. It's a miracle I made the team at all, I was so scared of heights. Still am actually, just not to the same degree. I get a little light headed if I look down, or make sudden turns... What was the question again?" He'd started rambling, which he often did with the present company. Before Rad could even blink he remembered, "Ah! Yes. It was completely random, but now I can't imagine not playing. I love it."

Was it his turn now?

"What's one of your biggest fears?"
 

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Radueriel Benson

This okay? Simon asked, which was silly, because it was more than okay. It was perfect; absentmindedly he reached a hand out and curled one of the other boy's locks of hair -- an answer, in effect, to the question. Of course it's okay.

 

He listened, eyes scanning the dusty spines of the books that teetered above them, to Simon's explanation. Rad couldn't help but wonder what it was that made the Ravenclaw want to sign up for everything, participate in whatever he could. The polar opposite impulse existed inside him.

 

Away from the books came his eyes when Simon confessed to being afraid of heights. It was hard to imagine the Beater as being scared of anything, much less something so intrinsically a part of Quidditch. "That's so cool," he said appreciatively. "That you were able to overcome it..."

 

Rad trailed off as his friend swiveled the conversation to now ask a question of his own. And whereas what he had asked was lighthearted and surface-level, Simon lanced him with the existential. He swallowed nervously, Adam's apple bobbing in his throat. His head, which had lifted to better look at Simon, now descended back to the floor, and he closed his eyes.

 

Already an anxious and calculating person, his worries exaggerated by the puberty hormones raging through him, all of his fears had only been amplified in the aftermath of the attack. "Not mattering," he settled on after a pause. Then Rad grinned and shrugged, trying to break away from the seriousness. He couldn't help but return the favor, though, with a deeper inquiry in Simon's direction.

 

"What's your favorite memory from before Hogwarts?" He knew that Simon and Aurora grew up near one another and were friends from way back when -- but other than that, he had no idea at all what Simon's life was like.

Edited by Radueriel Benson

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Simon Reed

He wanted to respond. To provide some form of validation instead of seeming unaffected by his answer, the last thing he wanted to do was to somehow belittle him by casually brushing it off and moving on as if his confession had meant nothing--much like Rad was doing at that very moment. Simon understood probably more than most the need to feel worthwhile, wanted, appreciated... probably one of the driving forces behind him wanting to get stellar grades or some sort award or badge though he had yet to do much aside from passing his classes and making the Quidditch team.


“You matter…” he began softly, his mind automatically filling in the silence with the words ‘to me’ when he unintentionally trailed off. Simon wondered if it would be too sudden to reveal how much his attachment towards the fourteen year old had grown over the last couple of weeks... He himself had felt overwhelmed once or twice by Hazel’s words and actions and she had just been doing what felt right in the moment. Rather than finishing his sentiment, he reached for Rad’s spare hand and squeezed it firmly before moving on to the next question.

 

A sort of highlight reel began playing in his head, most if not all containing the Andrews’ family at their home or at the inn doing the most mundane of things. Watching movies, playing board games, cleaning rooms or eating some of Susie’s famous cookies… He realized sadly that very few and far in between actually contained his own family though one in particular managed to stick out above the rest. “Hmmm... when I got this watch.” he mumbled, raising his left arm into the air and bunching his sweater down just enough to keep his scars hidden and showcase the time piece. It had a worn leather band with a near perfect face, and hidden against his wrist on its back it had a small inscription his grandma had made for his grandpa ages ago.

 

“I, uh… I got it the day I turned ten. It was Christmas and after all the usual stuff… gift opening and breakfast, my mum took my sisters to my grams and my dad decided to take me out on a walk around the neighborhood… He’s not really around much, so it was… “

 

He went on to explain that he had a big family, and his sisters took up a lot of his parents time. The fact that his father had extended an invitation to do anything at all together had been monumental. Oh man, Simon remembered being a complete and nervous wreck. His ten year old self trying to fill the silence almost immediately with stories about primary or the portable swamp that had exploded at the Inn, grasping at everything and anything in hopes to have a successful chat with his dad, but the man was quick to silence him with a swift gesture as he pulled a watch from the inside of his cloak. Brian Reed was hardly known to waste his time or words, which was why Simon had been so surprised by the invitation along with the story he told him about his grandfather, and how he had come to possess the watch and the reason he was passing it on to Simon.


“... it was special, and when I wear it kind of makes me feel like I am a Reed. Y’know?” he breathed, bringing his arm back down to his chest. “What’s something you couldn’t do without on a daily basis... and you can’t say vegetables Rad, cause I already know that one.” he quipped, ready to listen to the Slytherin for a bit.

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Radueriel Benson

When he said what he had said, confessing something deep within him whose roots he did not know, he wasn't fishing for a response.

 

Rad may have cared deeply for the Ravenclaw, but that didn't make him ready yet to talk about his father. Gabriel was a complicated subject for him -- the distance afforded by Hogwarts in its immense remoteness both protected him (freeing him up to do things of which his father would never approve, such as holding the hands of Simon Reed not once, not twice, but a thousand times since the attack) and gave him the space to stew in it, for Gabriel to take up residence, as it were, in Rad's head.

 

Yet Simon had heard his two proffered words, laid bare and simple like an unadorned tablecloth, and replied with two of his own. It almost seemed like the mop-haired boy had more to say, and Rad waited for them. They never came, though. What Simon did was reach for his hand, threading fingers together and squeezing. A small reminder that they were there, the two of them, and maybe that was enough to fend off the other stuff for the moment.

 

The older boy drew into himself for a moment, and Rad found himself imagining what kind of memories Simon must have been running through his head at that very moment. He felt a little like a fisherman, standing on the edge of the dock, reeling and reeling and wondering which fish was tugging on the other end. After all, the two of them had lived very different lives. Rad knew nothing about his mother's life until his Hogwarts letter arrived and she was forced to share -- Simon, for all Rad knew, was raised like a proper wizard.

 

Simon, however, didn't share the first time he flew a broomstick, or an afternoon spent with his mother learning to brew her favorite cleaning potion. He lifted his arm and shifted his sweater; Rad's stomach leaped for the ceiling with all the desperation of an adult human whose foot slipped into quicksand, thinking that Simon was going to reveal his scars. But no, all he did was show his wrist (how scandalous!) and the watch he wore there.

 

Rad listened patiently as Simon told the story of his tenth birthday -- a birthday on Christmas, no less. To the small Slytherin such a cosmic coincidence would have been absolutely magical, but for some reason his friend seemed less than thrilled. He could relate, though, to the aching longing caused by an absent father. At several points during the memory, he squeezed Simon's hand himself, as though to say I don't want to interrupt, but I'm here. I'm listening. Hopefully the Ravenclaw understood.

 

In the silence that followed, Rad cleared his throat, afraid that he would cry. "It's a really nice watch," he said in a thin voice. It was a nice memory, too, kind of a sad one, but he didn't know how to say any of that. Then, the moment was over, and that was that, and Simon had veered them back into territory far less substantial. 

 

A small chuckle escaped him in response to Simon's dig. "Vegetables are very important, alright?" Rad said, finding his voice again. What else couldn't he live without? The only thing he could think of at the moment was the person with whom he was sitting right now, but somehow it felt like such a declaration at this early a point in their..... whatever it was.... would scare Simon away. Even though he was the one who had run away, not once but twice. 

 

So he thought for a moment, and then settled on, "My easel. It's actually in my pocket right now. Last year, Hazel taught me how to shrink it before I learned how to in Charms. I don't play Quidditch or do anything like that, but I really like to paint. Sometimes I'll just lock myself in an empty classroom and throw paint at a canvas for five minutes in between class. I've been, uh, trying out levitation charms, actually." Or he had been. He felt too guilty to make art after what happened in the Great Hall, but he had no idea why.

 

"Okay... my turn." Were yes or no questions against the rules of the game? Since the game had been Rad's idea, he figured even if that were a rule he could definitely break it, which meant Simon would have to answer his next question. "Am I the first boy you kissed?"

 

Edited by Radueriel Benson

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Simon Reed

The answer was fitting, what else would he expect from an artist? It was funny to think what other things a wizard would carry in his pockets, his own currently barren except for perhaps a lone peppermint toad.  “We can practice it later if you want. I mean, I’m sure you have other things to do, but invitation is always there. I’m not completely crap at Charms I’ll have you know.” he offered, fingers idly still tracing circles around his watch until he registered the next question and his neck responded by turning sharply at his surprise. Ouch.

 

Simon pushed himself up and off of Rad’s belly, slowly drawing his knees up and wrapping his arms around them in attempts at making himself as small as possible before burrowing his head down. His curls shuffling forward as if to afford him further privacy, creating a smallish curtain to hide his burning cheeks behind. He wasn’t sure where the sudden embarrassment came from, it was a simple question, with an even simpler answer… but for some reason it brought forth a surge of emotions.

 

Insecurity leading the way, piercing him right in the chest and spreading its poison as far as it could. Did Rad listen to the gossip? Did he know? Guess he couldn’t exactly expect a clean slate with anyone at Hogwarts, not with spoken rumors and opinions floating around the halls ready to shape and mold the judgement of others. Is that why he was asking, or did it have to do more about his sexual orientation? A clear definition of where he stood, a line he had yet to draw but he’d read about no thanks to Gawkrodger’s Sex Ed class.

 

He tried to swallow away the rest of the feelings that had gathered themselves up in his throat in hopes to continue with the game instead of making a big deal of things as he often tended to do. “Contrary to popular belief… I don’t actually go around snogging everyone.” he muttered, a ghost of a smile visible as he rested his chin against one of his arms to look down at the teen laying beside him. Rad wore an expression that he himself had worn so many times before. Guilt. It caused a genuine smile to stretch across his lips as Simon brought one of his arms down as he leaned down towards the smaller boy pressing a chaste kiss against his cheek before resuming his sitting position. True he had a higher count than most people his age, but he was hardly flaunting that fact around.

 

Four. He had kissed four people thus far.

 

“You’re the first and only.” he finally declared, a statement he hoped in that moment would remain true for a very long time as he lowered his limbs and decidedly let down his walls again. “What do you think is one of your worst habits?”

Edited by Simon Reed

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Radueriel Benson

It wasn't intended, that is the, the question that Rad posed hadn't been meant to disarm Simon, or to prod him, or to hurt him. It had been a question more than anything of sexuality -- or, not of sexuality, but of orientation. Clarity on that matter had only, in fact, been settled for him himself when Simon kissed him beneath the mistletoe.

 

But it was true that Simon had a history, or so said the rumor mill. And in any event, the older boy had girlfriends before, and the evidence of this fact was irrefutable. One couldn't blame the tiny Slytherin for his curiosity, and yet the question had struck Simon like a blow. The older boy turned his head, sharp like a swinging racket in some game rushing for connection with the ball; he shifted, got up, and a chill ran through Rad at the sudden lack of warmth which had, up 'til then, been afforded by the Ravenclaw's tousle of hair. 

 

Simon pulled inwards, armed wrapped around his string bean body like a child hoping to be passed over in a dodge ball draft. Rad blinked, shocked at the sudden and severe transformation, and rolled onto his side so he could better watch Simon. "I never--" he started to argue, but the look on his friend's face stopped him from pushing the issue. The Ravenclaw no longer looked upset. Whether or not the small boy said those words (and he had not), a pang of guilt reminded him that they kind of were the kernel of truth in the question he had posed.

 

Then, without any warning, Simon kissed his cheek. The tiny spot of skin tingled, warm, and the warmth was spreading, an embarrassing tell-tale blush all through his face. The two of them had not kissed since... you know... and suddenly Rad really wanted to do it again. He couldn't be sure that Simon would want to, though -- he didn't want to scare away basically the only person in this castle he felt comfortable around -- so he reached for his friend's arm and tugged gently, as though to say, Come, lay back down.

 

Which Simon, to his credit, did.

 

Once they had settled, Rad let himself think about Simon's latest question. Were he older and a bit more self-aware, there would have been countless possible and painfully accurate answers. But he was young, and he hid the parts he disliked about himself not only from the outside world but from himself. So he sort of shrugged after another moment of consideration, and said "Sometimes I forget to brush my teeth." Oh god, why had he told that to Simon of all people? "But not, you know... never when... Uh..." 

 

Rad coughed, cleared his throat, and latched on to a question he could ask: "What would be your perfect day?"

Edited by Radueriel Benson

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Simon Reed

He was relieved to feel Rad’s hand wrap around his arm, softly pulling on him to return back to his previous position, to go back to how they were before his little dramatic reaction. They had worked through it somehow, and nobody had ran away… that meant something right? Progress. He was certain of it. Simon lowered himself down, finding comfort in the concave space between the Slytherin’s ribcage and hip bone, eyes directed towards the high ceilings as Rad continued their game.

 

Initial thought? Ew.

 

BUT.

 

After letting the new information sink it, he found his confession to be very relatable and endearing, especially when he tried to backtrack and kind of alluded to possibly purposefully brushing his teeth when he was going to hang out with him. That’s what he was trying to say right? He chuckled quietly, “I don’t brush my teeth all the time either… there’s some nights I just pass out and completely forget.” He wasn’t perfect, and he definitely wasn’t going to make Rad feel uncomfortable especially if he could consciously help it. “That’s not so bad.” he shrugged right before Rad asked the next question.

 

“Perfect day?” he parroted before sighing until he every ounce of breath left his lungs followed by a pregnant pause and a groan as he rolled himself over to his side to better face the smaller boy. “You know, you’re really good at this question game thing.” he muttered, buying himself a little more time to try and picture what ‘The Perfect Day’ would look like to him and how it would play out.

 

His eyes softened as he met Rad’s steely blue eyes, lips curling slightly as he realized he was currently experiencing one of those days… it was too easy to be cheesy at a moment like this. He couldn’t help but think that most of his lines could easily be tracked back to some script from a romcom, and yet they came in handy at times like this. He’d have to thank his sisters some day for forcing him to watch countless hours of chick flicks. “Any day can turn into a perfect day if you’re with the right person… doesn’t matter what we’re doing.” he glanced down at the carpet sheepishly, suddenly wondering if flirting with a guy was different than flirting with a girl.

 

“If you had all the galleons in the world… what would you buy first?”

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Radueriel Benson

A long sigh, for some reason, was Simon's response to Rad's latest question. Out of all the questions that had been lobbed and parried back and forth between the two of them this afternoon, the small boy wasn't sure why this one should deserve such careful attention. But he enjoyed looking at the knit-tight brows on Simon's face, the expression of utter concentration, and he didn't mind at all when Simon shifted to lay on his side, their eyes once more holding connection.

 

Was this what it was like, to be flirted with? Simon didn't push what he had said, when at least he spoke, into the realm of anything concrete. The sweetness, the corniness, for both were there, was left to subtext -- This, here, Simon's answer said with a sly wink, this is a perfect day. Warmness that didn't quite become a blush flushed through Rad's face, a subtle self-consciousness paired with a glow of something deeper, something that may, in fact, have been love.


Which was ridiculous. Simon wasn't his boyfriend.

 

They were just friends. Good friends. Friends who held hands and barely spent any time apart. Right.

 

Eyes shifting away, the both of them, desperate to gaze in any direction but the other's, too close here to some raw feeling as yet unaddressed. Rad was grateful for Simon's next question, which let him slip away from the heated awkwardness of somehow being courted... sought, in some way. Even if he had no idea how to answer it.

 

"I guess... I guess I'd buy, like, an island, or something like that. Somewhere I could go where I could make all the rules and then, you know, break them all." Somewhere his father would never be allowed, though he didn't voice that part aloud. "And I'd only let people like you come and live there. Or come visit, if you didn't want to... anyway." Now he definitely had to be blushing. What to ask, what to ask.......? 

 

"What makes you feel better when you're down?"

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Simon Reed

He might have as well admitted it right there and then, ‘I like you, I really really like you’ and for the life of him, he couldn’t understand why he hadn’t yet. The carpet, understandably, had no wisdom to offer. Maybe it was because he felt completely out of his element… not that he was some sort of master flirt or anything, but because the only other experiences he’d had, had only been with girls. Did that matter? He’d have to do some research, or ask somebody with greater knowledge, because he couldn’t differentiate whether Rad was currently blushing because he was flattered or because he straight up was embarrassed about being friends with him.

 

Simon scratched distractedly at the tightly woven fibers, their respective blushes slowly dissipating as the Slytherin silently mulled over his latest question. “An island?” he questioned, his brows raising with intrigue. He would have gone with buying a cooler wardrobe, or a kick arse broom, but of course Rad would have a more creative answer.

 

“Hell yes! I’d totally tag along. I’d probably look like a lobster after the first day… but swimming, sipping on coconuts and playing in the sand, sounds brilliant.” he murmured, closing his eyes for a few seconds as he imagined the blazing sun shining down on them as they laid side-by-side on the beach. He could almost smell the briny sea just a few feet away...

 

“Hmm, chocolate. Hands down. Just give me a peppermint toad or a chocolate frog…” he blinked up at the teen with a small grin, “Or you know, a chat… a hot cuppa tends to do the trick sometimes too.” he shrugged, thinking that a day at the beach would probably work just as well. “Back to the island bit… like, what kind of rules would you make just to break them?”


‘Why have any rules at all?’ he wondered to himself.

Edited by Simon Reed

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Radueriel Benson

With the weight of Simon's arm once more atop him, it was second nature for the tiny boy to thread his fingers between those of his friend. Their hands enmeshed, Rad squeezed a little. Not hard, maybe not even enough pressure for Simon to notice it, but enough to make the feeling of the Ravenclaw's skin imprint into his own. The sensation brought a small smile to his lips.

 

"You'd make a good lobster," he mused. Without meaning to, his mind wandered to his friends broad, athletic back, to thoughts of what it would like bitten up by the sun, the way his careful pressings might leave white fingerprints on the reddened skin.

 

The image brought a completely different kind of blush into his cheeks, and Rad hoped Simon wouldn't notice it.

 

Aaaaaaaaaanyway. Moving on. Chocolate. That was good to know. To Rad, the clearest way of showing somebody you lov-- er...... liked them was to make gestures. Knowing that on a bad day a surprise Chocolate Frog wouldn't be remiss was a helpful tidbit to keep in his back pocket. And just to emphasize: like. Like. Not the other thing. Definitely not the other thing.
 

Simon's next question was hard to answer and even harder to think about. Mainly this was because it felt to the small boy like there already were a bunch of rules (though these were, to be fair, unspoken) between the two of them right now. Lines stretched between the two of them, and Rad was more or less terrified to cross even one of them. So though he wanted to answer the question truthfully, saying (for example) that he'd make it against the rules for them to kiss each other just so that it would be all the more exciting when they did, instead he pursed his lips.

 

"I dunno," Rad said after a moment of further thought. "If it's my island then I dunno I'd make any rules at all. Maybe I'd ban snap-back hats," he teased. "But you wouldn't be allowed to break that rule. Have you, uh, broken any Hogwarts rules before?" No comment, of course, on whether or not the tiny Slytherin had done so himself.

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Simon Reed

He’d make a good lobster? Did that mean Rad wanted him to be his lobster?

 

Simon pulled his hands away,  jokingly snapping them about in a crustacean-ey manner before feigning an attack on Rad’s arm. He mischievously thought about tickling at his side, but thought better about the unwanted attention they’d probably garner were they to be a little rambunctious. He giggled softly and dropped his weird little act, finding it easy to slip their hands back together as the Slytherin went on to answer his question.

 

What a jab.  “C’mon… you wouldn’t. How could you deny the people!?” he groaned, knowing that Rad was definitely poking fun at him for his odd fascination with muggle snap-backs. He didn’t wear them often, but he definitely had about a billion of them. They made him feel cool and empowered, and nobody would take that away, k? 

 

“What, me? No way! I’m an angel…” he insisted, his head lolling to the side so he could look up at Rad and bat his eyelashes innocently. Though as he mulled over the last few years at Hogwarts, he started to realize he wasn’t as much of a rule abiding student as he originally thought. “Don’t know if this actually counts, but at the beginning of the year when Ethan was trying to enforce the dress code, I let Ollie rip my sleeves off and we sort of protested about it.  Everyone was doing it, so I don’t think anyone actually got in trouble for it. And... OH! There was this one time… oh Merlin.” he reddened as soon as the memory popped into his head. Another one of those ‘Dare or Dare’ games gone awry, thank goodness they hadn’t gotten caught. “I got dared to break into Professor Santiago’s office and steal his ‘treasure’... Almost took Hazy and Stella down with me.” he shook his head at having lock-picked his way into a Professor’s office. 

 

TO STEAL. Who the hell did he think he was??? 

 

The Ravenclaw attempted to cover up his face in shame, and in doing so he caught sight of the hands on his watch warning him of the time. Speaking of rule breaking, they were dangerously close to missing curfew. Oh, the irony. “Shoot, Raddy. We gotta go.” he mumbled, rolling over onto his knees before pushing himself off of the ground. Simon extended out his hand and helped the Slytherin to his feet, keeping a hold on him for a little longer than necessary. “Do you… do you want me to walk you down to the dungeons?” he asked tentatively, wanting to extend their time together but knowing that no matter what,if they were caught without a buddy or out past the hour they could both end up in trouble. 

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