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 Grayson Hughes

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Grayson Hughes

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Posts : 118
Birthday : 1988-04-15
Join date : 2017-07-03
Job/hobbies : Librarian

PostSubject: Grayson Hughes   Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:57 am



Full Name: Grayson Ephraim Hughes
Age: 34
Date of birth: 15 April, 1988
Birthplace: London, England
Current home: Limerick, Ireland
Blood Status: Halfblood
Sexual Alignment: Homosexual
Wand type: 10 3/4 inches, maple, dragon heartstring


Hair colour and style: Black, closely shaved
Eye colour: Dark brown/black
Height: 5'9"
Body type: Slender, but lean and surprisingly muscular
Dress sense: Sharp, mostly dark colors like black and purple, usually professional (i.e. suit or dark robes)
Birthmarks: None
Tattoos: None
Scars: Several, each with its own story
Piercings: None



[In this section, please don’t just write one or two words. Explain their likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, positive & negative traits in detail wherever possible; this is for people to get a decent idea of who your character is and what they are like, so please don’t just randomly list things. Also, three is the minimum, please don't be afraid to list more, there will never be limitations to detail on this site!]

Likes: (3 minimum)
  -Tea (especially Kenyan masala chai)
  -Books (of all kinds)
  -Traveling (anywhere and everywhere--he rarely settles)
  -Peace and quiet (he enjoys the simple pleasures of life--relaxing by himself at the end of the day, with a cup of tea and a good book)
  -Meeting people/interesting conversations (he loves to learn about people and their backgrounds)
  -Learning new things (he has studied everything under the sun during his travels--he knows several languages, and has mastered many obscure talents, both magical and non-magical)

Dislikes: (3 minimum)
  -Bullies (he had to deal with his fair share of them growing up, and he will not hesitate to give them what they deserve)
  -Closed-mindedness (he finds it hard to comprehend people who willfully refuse knowledge)
  -British food (he prefers to actually taste his food)
  -Arbitrary rules/restrictions (he believes there should be a good reason for any rules that are made, and has always been good at finding loopholes in the rules he doesn't agree with)
  -Politics (he finds politicians frustrating, and their supporters even more so--whenever he thinks about politics it just makes him angry, so he stays away if he can)

Strengths: (3 minimum)
  -Memory (excellent, possibly photographic)
  -Wandless magic (learned on his travels in Africa)
  -A lot of random skills and knowledge (picked up from all sorts of people in many different places)
  -Languages (he's fluent in 3, and can understand/read several others)
  -Cooking (though he doesn't do it often)

Weaknesses: (3 minimum)
  -Intelligent/interesting/attractive men (he's always open to meeting new people, and occasionally he'll find himself rather enamoured, and he's learned to just accept these emotions)
  -Dabbling (while he's tried his hand at many, many things, he's only really taken the time to master a select few of them)
  -Distractions (he is easily distracted, and his mind will often jump from topic to topic)
  -A good book (he'll often become completely immersed in his reading, and may forget the outside world)
  -The finer things in life (good food, good wine, snazzy clothes--his tastes can be rather expensive at times, so he has to remind himself not to indulge too much)

Positive traits: (3 minimum)
  -Adaptable (wherever he goes, he finds that he can fit in just fine--he has a very large comfort zone)
  -Creative (he's good at thinking his way around problems)
  -Adventurous (he loves trying new things and meeting new people)
  -Quick learner (he can pick up most skills and concepts fairly quickly due to his good memory and desire to learn)
  -Great listener (he's genuinely interested in what people have to say)

Negative traits: (3 minimum)
  -Overly-analytical (at times he finds himself thinking too hard about things of little significance)
  -Perfectionistic (in such a way that he is often too hard on himself)
  -Cynical (he does not have high hopes for the world politically, and does not usually trust people to make good decisions)
  -Private (he is slow to trust people with his inner thoughts and emotions, and would rather listen to others than talk about himself)


[Please write at least 2 detailed paragraphs of your character's general history. This can entail anything from their upbringing, school years and their present. The paragraphs don’t have to be long, but they do need to include details, so that people can get to know your character more.]

Grayson grew up in London with his father, a wizard, and his mother, a muggle. His father had been of high standing, until he had married a muggle woman and apparently disgraced his family. However, despite his loss of respect among certain circles, he remained relatively wealthy, and Grayson grew up used to the idea of being able to afford things. There were no secrets in his household, and he'd known about wizardry from an early age. When he was eleven, he went to Hogwarts and was sorted into Slytherin.

He got excellent grades in school, and was near the top of his class when he graduated. He'd gone to school immediately following the Second Wizarding War, so Hogwarts was in the process of rebuilding at the time. There was a new emphasis on house unity and dismantling blood purism, but it was far from a perfect system. Some of his non-Slytherin classmates bullied him for being in Slytherin, while some of his Slytherin classmates bullied him for having a muggle mother. All in all, it left him feeling like he fit in everywhere and nowhere. When he graduated, he decided to leave the country entirely.

He spent the next fifteen years traveling the world. He spent a considerable amount of time in Africa, studying wandless magic at Uagadou, and then went to India, Nepal, and China for a time, before returning to the United Kingdom by way of Italy, Spain, and France. Soon after his return, his father grew very ill, and died a few months later. This prompted Grayson to stay close by, in order to take care of his mother and keep her company. He settled down in a small, neat cottage in Ireland, which he filled with artifacts and souvenirs from his travels. After a little while, he decided to return to Hogwarts, and applied for the librarian position--he was rather attracted to the idea of sitting in a large, quiet room, surrounded by books.


Mother:
   Name: Annette Keller Hughes
   Age: 58
   Living or Deceased: Living
   Blood type or Species: Muggle
   Occupation: Nurse

Father:
   Name: Brennan Lionel Hughes
   Age: 57 (at death), 59 (if living)
   Living or Deceased: Deceased
   Blood type or Species: Pureblood
   Occupation: Ministry of Magic: Department of International Magical Cooperation


[Please write at least one paragraph on your character's family history. This can include details about how their parents met, their views on the world, their money status, and any other things you find necessary. In situations where characters are orphans, you can write how this came about, be it death of parents or whatever other reasons. Keep in mind that this is to shape your character more, since family has a huge impact on who one is.]

Brennan Hughes was the third son of a wealthy pureblood family. He never particularly cared for such things, but he grew up in high-society and was expected to act in a certain way (i.e. marry a respectable young witch). Instead, he found himself increasingly fascinated with the muggle world. Due to his status, he was secured a position at the Ministry almost immediately after graduating Hogwarts, and he worked in the DIMC, trying to get the whole magical world to work together and agree on something. He found this job rather dull, and so he took up a hobby on the side: studying muggle artifacts.

He eventually found himself in a bit of a scrape after trying to teach himself to drive a muggle car. He ended up in a muggle hospital, where he laid eyes on the soon-to-be love of his life: a gorgeous muggle nurse named Annette Keller. Despite his family's threats to disown him, he continued a relationship with her for several years, and they eventually got married. His family had minimal contact with him after that, but he retained his vault at Gringotts, and kept the wealth he'd gotten from his parents. Brennan made sure to be honest with Annette about his wizardry, and it never posed a problem to their relationship.


Last edited by Grayson Hughes on Mon Jul 31, 2017 4:16 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Grayson Hughes   Mon Jul 03, 2017 8:26 am

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Grayson Hughes

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Posts : 118
Birthday : 1988-04-15
Join date : 2017-07-03
Job/hobbies : Librarian

PostSubject: Flashbacks   Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:02 am

(Trigger warning, maybe? Bullying and general nastiness ahead.)

30 March, 2000 (1st year)

Eleven-year-old Grayson Hughes sat cross-legged, alone under a beech tree on the Hogwarts grounds. He was hunched over a book he’d taken from the library--Curses and Counter-Curses by Vindictus Viridian--lost to the world around him. His small, dark nose twitched as he turned a page, his young face a picture of serene interest. He absentmindedly toyed with his green and silver tie as his bright eyes skimmed the page, wondering if the full body-bind was too advanced for him, and if there was a way to safely practise it without getting in trouble.

He loved reading. All books were an escape from the world around him and its troubles. When he was reading, he could forget where he was for a moment--it would give him something else to think about.

Normally he would go somewhere more secluded. But today was such a gorgeous day, and he’d been aching to go outside all morning. After some deliberation, he’d convinced himself that it was worth the risk, and besides, it was possible nothing bad would happen after all.

Possible, but unlikely. A pebble struck the page he was reading, bouncing off into the grass. A second later, another one smacked his cheek, leaving a stinging red welt. His hand flew up to rub the pain away, and he gazed up at his assailant, annoyed, but resigned to his fate.

Two fourth-year Gryffindors lounged about fifteen feet away. One sat back, leaning on his hands with his legs sprawled out before him, while the other leaned against another tree, casually tossing a small rock from hand to hand. Both wore wicked grins on their faces as Grayson spotted them.

“Hiya, Hughes!” the standing one said jovially. “Fancy seeing you out here. Thought you’d be hiding from the sun in the dungeons with all the other snakes.”

Grayson said nothing, futilely hoping that maybe if he didn’t respond, they’d get bored and leave him alone. Not that that had ever worked in the past. In fact, he suspected that was why they went after him in the first place--he wasn’t the only Slytherin, and certainly not the most deserving of punishment, but he was an easy target because he didn’t fight back. He’d always been a quiet, polite boy, and violence went against his nature. Even after six months of near-constant harassment, fighting back never manifested as anything but wishful daydreaming--even if he tried, he’d be sorely outmatched, as most of his bullies were older, stronger, and worked in groups of two or more. So Grayson pointedly ignored the two, and stared intensely at his book, pretending to read.

He heard their muffled footsteps as they approached through the grass. “Watchya reading, Hughesy?” the other one spoke. His book was snatched from his hands, leaving a papercut on the pad of his thumb. He hissed and brought it to his mouth, soothing the sharp sting with his tongue. He glared, but they ignored him, looking at the book’s cover.

“Curses?” the first one said, his tone hardening as he lifted an eyebrow. “You really are a snake, aren’t you? Who’re you trying to curse, Hughesy?”

Grayson swallowed, but stayed silent, his eyes shifting back and forth from one to the other. Aidan and Clive, his mind supplied. He remembered running into them before. They weren’t his most frequent attackers; he suspected they did it more out of boredom than anything else. Still, he tried to remember all of them, just in case he had the chance to get his revenge one day.

Clive narrowed his eyes at him, taking a threatening step closer. “You weren’t thinking of cursing us, were you?”

Grayson shook his head slowly, knowing they wouldn’t believe him. Knowing that it didn’t matter, because they’d latch onto any reason to attack him, whether they believed it was true or not.

“Well, go on then, Hughesy,” Aidan smirked. “Show us what you’ve got.”

Grayson didn’t move.

“Then maybe we’ll show you what happens to snakes who dabble in dark magic,” Clive added.

Grayson finally spoke. “It’s not dark magic. They’re basic defensive spells. You’d use them for dueling.”

“Is that right? You wanna duel, Hughesy? Let’s duel. Come on then, get up,” Aidan taunted, drawing his wand. Grayson remained motionless, hyper-aware of his heart beating in his chest, and his maple wand pressing against his arm where it lay inside his sleeve.

“I think I’ll pass,” he said softly, his voice cracking slightly.

“A coward, huh? No wonder you were put in Slytherin,” Clive scoffed. Grayson clenched his fists, but said nothing. Clive started flipping through Grayson’s book.

“Well, since you were planning to use these curses on us, I think it’s only fair that we return the favor.”

“I wasn’t going to use them on anyone, I just wanted to learn about them.”

“Well then,” Aidan chipped in, “what better way to learn then to see them in person? Better watch closely, Hughesy. We’ll go through the whole book with you.”

Grayson’s eyes widened as Clive turned to the first page and drew his wand from his pocket. He scrambled to his feet, knowing now was the time to run.

He’d taken three steps when Clive’s voice sounded behind him. “Locomotor wibbly!”

His legs collapsed beneath him and he fell to his knees. Aidan and Clive laughed. Grayson’s nostrils flared, and he felt frustrated tears begin to prick his eyes. He blinked them away angrily, and lurched to his feet again.

Colloshoo!”

He found his shoes stuck to the ground under him, fastening him in place. He kicked them off, figuring he’d much rather lose his shoes than stay and wait for them to curse him again.

As it turned out, he didn’t have much choice.

Locomotor mortis,” said Aidan, and Grayson’s legs locked together. He only just barely kept himself from falling over, wind-milling his arms to keep his balance. Aidan and Clive prowled casually around him, coming to his front to face him. Of course, because they’re Gryffindors. They’d never be so cowardly as to attack an enemy from behind, he thought sarcastically. Unable to run, he reached for his wand--whether to perform the counter-curse, or to fight back, he hadn’t decided. As soon as it was in his hand, Clive pointed his own wand.

Mimble wimble,” Clive smirked as Grayson opened his mouth. A strangled noise was all he could manage as his tongue was tied, rendering his wand useless--he wouldn’t learn nonverbal magic for another five years. Still, he tried his hardest, screwing his eyes shut and concentrating on the counter-curse as he pointed his wand as his own legs. Nothing happened.

“Oi, Hughesy, you’re not watching! We’re halfway there, pay attention.”

Letting out a frustrated grunt, Grayson brandished his wand in Aidan’s direction, hoping maybe a burst of strong emotion would allow him to perform accidental magic. Aidan laughed and said, “Petrificus totalus.”

His arms snapped to his sides, and he swayed, straining to keep himself on his feet, but unable to do anything as he tipped backwards. His head hit the ground hard, since he couldn’t break his fall, and he was thankful that he’d landed on grass.

Titillando!” Clive’s voice resounded in his ears. Tears streamed down Grayson’s face as an uncontrollable laugh died on his petrified lips. There were two more curses left in the book--he’d read the table of contents. The rest were counter-curses, and he was fairly certain they wouldn’t be casting any of those on him.

Aidan and Clive seemed to be having a whispered discussion. He couldn’t hear what they were saying, but Clive snickered, and they came to an agreement of some sort.

“You’re lucky, Hughesy. Your hair’s so short, no one will notice this one--calvorio!”

Grayson felt a tingling sensation run over his head as his hair fell out. They were right--he always kept it closely shaved. That was probably the least humiliating spell in the book for him.

“And of course, we saved the best for last,” said Clive. “Furnunculus!”

A sharp pain flared through him, as boils cropped up all over his upper thighs. A very specific and localized area...he realized then why Clive had snickered. If painful boils had appeared all over his body, a teacher might have noticed, and they could have gotten in trouble. This way, they’d chosen a place that no one would see, that he’d be embarrassed to show anyone, and that would also be extremely painful for him. He’d be in the depths of despair, had he not felt so relieved that it was over.

Clive snapped the book shut, and he and Aidan entered Grayson’s field of vision as they leered down at his prone form.

“I hope you were paying attention, Hughesy. Otherwise we’ll have to show you all over again,” Aidan grinned cheerily. Clive dropped the book onto Grayson’s stomach, and the younger boy let out a muffled grunt. “Don’t worry, it’ll all wear off in twenty minutes or so. Except the boils of course, and the hair. Those’ll take at least a week.”

“If you have any other curses you want to learn, just ask, we’ll be happy to teach you.”

“If not, I’d suggest from now on you stay in the dungeons where you belong.”

And with that, they walked away, as if nothing notable had transpired. Grayson supposed it hadn’t. After all, for something to be notable, it had to be out of the ordinary.

Twenty minutes later, Grayson crawled to his feet, picked up his book, and walked back to the castle, wincing with every step. After a brief recalculation, he decided the sunny day wasn’t worth it after all. He’d remember that next time.
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Grayson Hughes

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Birthday : 1988-04-15
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Job/hobbies : Librarian

PostSubject: Re: Grayson Hughes   Fri Aug 17, 2018 7:32 am

December, 2006

Five months Grayson had been at Uagadou, after his request for a rather exclusive internship opportunity had been accepted. While many of his classmates had gone to University after Hogwarts, Grayson had searched for other opportunities a little farther from home. He had wanted to continue his studies, but the thought of staying in London and attending classes with the same students he had known at Hogwarts was something close to abhorrent. He wanted to leave that part of his life behind.

Besides, he was interested in studying other cultures, and branches of wizardry outside of the Western world. While he could theoretically take classes on the subject at University, it seemed to Grayson that it would make much more sense just to experience it all firsthand. The headmistress at Hogwarts had agreed, and encouraged him to pursue a study abroad program, perhaps with another school. When he expressed interest, she had managed to pull a few strings to connect him with the headmaster of Uagadou. Grayson had always been a stellar student, so a transcript of his grades and a recommendation letter from the headmistress had proven him qualified enough for an interview with the headmaster, in which Grayson had expressed his desires to research areas of magic that were not covered in Western curriculum. The headmaster had given it some thought, and a few weeks later sent word that he was willing to offer a two-year internship program that would allow Grayson to observe and work alongside Uagadou professors within their individual areas of expertise. Grayson leapt at the opportunity. He packed his bags and departed for Africa only a month after his graduation from Hogwarts.

The whole experience had been exactly what he had needed: a fresh start. For the first time in his life he felt accepted, despite being a literal outsider. The professors he worked with were extraordinary, and he felt honored that they decided to share their wisdom with him. The student body initially regarded him with suspicious curiosity, but quickly warmed up to him, with many of the younger students finding great delight in teaching the Westerner new things. They seemed to find it hilarious that he was eighteen, but knew even less than the eleven-year-olds when it came to certain subjects. He didn’t mind so much, so long as he was learning. He had even made friends with some of the graduating class, who weren’t much younger than him.

One boy in particular seemed to take great interest in him. Thato Dlamini was from South Africa. He had just turned eighteen, and would be graduating from Uagadou in a few months. He had been one of the first to greet Grayson when he had arrived, and had rarely left his side ever since.

Grayson didn’t mind the company. In fact, he quite enjoyed it. Thato was a good conversationalist. He was intelligent, curious, and knowledgeable in many subjects. Grayson often looked to him for help when he was uncertain, and Thato was more than willing to assist. The two would often sit together in the courtyard or the library when they had free time, and Thato invited Grayson to eat meals with him and his other friends.

Thato had a confidence and charisma about him that Grayson admired. He was fairly popular, well-liked by both the professors and the students, and he had high ambitions. In all honesty, Grayson wasn’t quite sure what made him worthy of Thato’s time. Still, whether he deserved it or not, he appreciated the attention.

Grayson had had crushes before at Hogwarts. Generally, he admired people from a distance, fearing to get too close last he be reduced to a stammering wreck and give himself away. He always knew deep down that nothing would ever be reciprocated, so it didn’t matter that he usually fled the room if the object of his affections so much as acknowledged him.

This was different. Thato wasn’t some unattainable idol in the far distance. He was here at Grayson’s side, talking to him, laughing with him. In contrast to Grayson’s usual anxiety, Thato somehow managed to make him feel...relaxed. Comfortable. Grayson wasn’t even sure if it was a crush, or just a deep sense of kinship. He decided not to put a label on it--whatever it was, he was happy around Thato, and it seemed like Thato was happy around him.

It was mid-December now, though nothing like any December Grayson had experienced in Britain. The days were warm and sunny, and it was hard to believe Christmas was on its way. Many of the students had gone home for the holidays, but Thato had remained. From what Grayson could tell, the other boy had a strained relationship with his parents, and usually stayed at school when he could. Thato had not elaborated on this point, and Grayson hadn’t asked.

Grayson wrote to his parents regularly, and had sent some gifts to be opened at Christmas, but he had decided to stay in Africa to experience the celebrations in a different light. Right now, that involved sitting with Thato in the courtyard with a cup of chai.

“Do you have a girlfriend back home?”

The question came out of nowhere.

“What?” Grayson blinked, glancing up at his friend.

“A girlfriend. In the UK. Do you have one?”

“I...no. No, I don’t.” Nor had he ever wanted one, but he decided not to mention that. Thato inspected him thoughtfully for a moment, and Grayson shifted uncomfortably under his gaze. “Why?” he asked finally, wondering what had brought this on.

“Just wondering. You had never mentioned anyone, but I thought surely you must.”

Grayson blinked again, startled by this proclamation. “Why’s that?”

“Well, you’re very handsome.”

Grayson felt a blush creeping up his cheeks. His whole body grew warm as his heart did a somersault, and he stuttered a little on his next words.

“Oh, ah, th-thank you. No one’s ever really said as much before.” He chuckled awkwardly and failed to meet Thato’s eyes.

Thato looked at him very seriously, as if he didn’t understand. “These English girls must have poor taste.”

If possible, Grayson’s face grew even hotter, and he felt the sudden urge to sink into the ground. His heart hammered wildly, and Grayson feared it may stop altogether if this conversation continued.

“I n-never really...I mean...I didn’t talk to many girls at Hogwarts. O-or many people, really. I just sort of…” he flapped his hand vaguely in the air. “I kept to myself,” he finished lamely.

Thato nodded his understanding. For a moment, he was quiet, as if in deep thought. Finally, just as Grayson had managed to pull himself together, he spoke again. “Do you want a girlfriend?”

Grayson froze. No, he thought. The answer was easy, he didn’t have to think about it. But what eighteen-year-old boy in his right mind didn’t want a girlfriend? Thato might understand, maybe, but was it worth the risk? He bit his lip nervously as he stared into his empty cup. He wanted to be honest, he found. More than anything, he wanted to be able to be honest with Thato. After much too long a moment, he finally resolved himself. If he couldn’t be himself around his friend, then could it even be considered a friendship?

“No,” he said softly, and left it at that. Thato cocked his head, having obviously read into Grayson’s moment of silence, but he said nothing. Instead, he smiled slightly and changed the subject. Relieved, Grayson happily moved on to a more comfortable topic of conversation, trying to push the anxiety from his mind.

~~~

Christmas Day was a joyous affair at Uagadou. The whole place was bedecked with colourful decorations, and the few students and professors who had stayed behind were similarly festive. They had all gathered for a midday feast, complete with many of the traditional dishes Grayson knew, though most of them had been given an African twist. Yellow rice with raisins accompanied the turkey, and Grayson found he enjoyed it even more than his mother’s usual Christmas cooking.

After the meal, everyone dispersed to celebrate as they pleased, with Christmas crackers and gift-giving and whatever else they saw fit to do. Thato met Grayson in the library.

“Merry Christmas,” the younger boy greeted with a grin. The two were alone, a brief quiet moment in the midst of the festivities. Grayson came to the library most days to simply read and enjoy the view. The sun setting from the Uagadou library window was one of the most miraculous things Grayson had ever witnessed, the mountaintop vantage point providing a clear panorama of the surrounding landscape. He turned from the window to greet his friend.

“Merry Christmas,” he replied with his own soft smile. Thato approached, his hands held innocently behind his back. When he was within an arm's length of Grayson, he stopped and brought his hands forward to reveal a neatly wrapped present. He held it out for Grayson to take.

Grayson hesitated briefly, a flicker of guilt passing through his mind. He hadn’t expected to receive anything, so he hadn’t gotten any gifts for Thato. He wasn’t even sure what the other boy would want.

Thato gently but insistently pushed the gift into his hands, so Grayson simply thanked him with the most genuine smile he could muster. He looked down, avoiding Thato’s gaze as he carefully tore open the wrapping paper to reveal a book. He looked up.

“You mentioned an interest in our astronomy program, how it differs from the one at Hogwarts,” Thato explained. “This was the most comprehensive book on the subject that I’ve used. It has my notes.”

“I...thank you,” Grayson whispered. He was touched that Thato had been paying so much attention to what he said. He hadn’t expected anything when he’d expressed his interest in passing. That Thato had even remembered was more than Grayson could have hoped for, and now he felt doubly guilty for having nothing to give in return. “I’m sorry, I didn’t...I didn’t get you anything. I didn’t think…”

“You didn’t need to,” Thato smiled. “It wouldn’t be much of a gift if I expected something in return.”

Grayson was suddenly aware of how close his friend was standing. He could feel the slight tickle of Thato’s breath, could hear his own blood rushing in his ears. He met Thato’s deep brown eyes, watched with some confusion as they flicked downward for a second, and then stood paralyzed as the distance between them closed entirely.

Kissing Thato Dlamini was nothing like Grayson would have expected. Then again, he hadn’t expected to be kissing him at all. His lips moved of their own accord, his eyes closed reflexively, and he lost himself in the sensation. Thato’s lips were surprisingly soft and gentle against his own. They lingered only briefly, a few seconds at most, before Grayson was left with his eyes closed and nothing but cool air brushing against his lips. His heart had taken up residence in his throat, a slight shiver ran involuntarily down his spine. He opened his eyes.

Thato was staring at him inquiringly, as if asking for permission, and Grayson didn’t know what to say. His thoughts rushed through his head too fast for him to grasp any one of them. The only thing he really understood was that he liked kissing Thato, and he would like to do it again.

So he did.

________________________________________________

Grayson Hughes || 35 || Librarian || Traveler

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Grayson Hughes

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PostSubject: Re: Grayson Hughes   Mon Aug 20, 2018 7:52 am

March, 2007

Almost four months had passed since Christmas Day, and for Grayson it had been a whirlwind of a new experiences. The extent of his prior exposure to romance began and ended with watching people from afar and reading a couple of his mother’s sappy muggle books. He found he really didn’t know what he was doing, but Thato seemed sure of himself, so he let the other boy take the lead.

The moment in the library had ended with an understanding, though perhaps one not completely verbalized. They were more than friends, certainly. The kiss they had shared cemented that much. But although the door was opened to explore a different kind of relationship, Grayson felt it was a private one. It felt strange to think of Thato as his boyfriend, and he was certainly not confident enough to announce him as such to anyone else. Thato was just...Thato. A person with whom he enjoyed spending time and occasionally kissing or touching affectionately. He hesitated to put a label on it because, well, he didn’t think he needed to. Whatever they had together, it was good, and it wasn’t really anyone else’s business.

Thato seemed to agree. Their relationship was not on public display. In one of the private moments they had shared together, Thato had explained the general African disposition towards homosexuality. It was the reason he was estranged from his family, the reason he had been hesitant to act openly on his feelings from the start. Neither of them truly knew how anyone would receive them if they allowed the news to spread. Grayson understood, and truly, it made little difference to him. He lived for the quiet moments alone together, away from prying eyes, but he was also content to connect with Thato in other ways. They were still friends, he still enjoyed conversing with Thato about the same things they’d discussed before. Only now, they could talk about more personal things when they were alone, and Grayson simply saw it as an enhanced version of the relationship they already had.

They’d taken to spending evenings in the observatory on the top floor, as long as there wasn’t a class in session. Grayson was making good use of the astronomy book Thato had given him for Christmas, and Thato would go with him to see the stars, pointing out the movements of planets and the stories behind constellations. Grayson liked to listen to him talk. When they were alone up there, they allowed themselves to relax, to be close to each other. Thato’s hand seemed to drift to Grayson’s automatically when they stood side by side, and over the past few months they had shared more than a few kisses under the stars. It was all terribly romantic, and Grayson suspected Thato had planned it that way. He wasn’t complaining.

Grayson didn’t know what a relationship was supposed to look like, or what love was supposed to feel like, but he knew this was the closest he had ever come in his almost nineteen years of life. Everything seemed to shift under a new lens; the world was more exciting than it had been before. He was happy, not just for a moment, but for months on end. He hadn’t even realized that was possible. In his mind, everything was perfect.

It was a Saturday in mid-March. The rainy season would normally make it difficult to see the stars through all the clouds, but the area around Uagadou was enchanted for the students’ sake. Grayson liked to watch from the library window when the weather was unpleasant outside the school grounds. There was a distinct line where the enchantment began, and it made him feel like he was safely trapped inside a bubble.

When the evening meal was finished, Grayson headed for the observatory with his book in hand. Thato promised to meet him soon; he had something to discuss with one of his professors. Grayson walked the familiar path up the stairs, not for the first time appreciating the architecture of the place. Uagadou had many of the same utilities as Hogwarts, but the similarities ended there. In contrast to the formidable European-style castle with its dark stone and medieval aesthetic, Uagadou was cavernous and open. It was impressive, but not in an imposing way. Built into the mountainside, the stone was pale, smooth, and rounded, with large windows that let in natural light. As a whole, the school felt far more connected with the natural world than Hogwarts did, embracing its surroundings instead of shutting them out. Grayson found he preferred the softer edges and more inviting feel of Uagadou, but conceded that it may in part be due to his personal memories associated with each.

When he reached the observatory, he took up his usual spot beneath the large, clear dome that made up most of the ceiling. Through it, the stars shone brightly, millions more than he had ever seen as a child in London. Even after months of frequent visits, he never grew tired of the night sky as seen from the Uagadou observatory. He opened his book to the point where he had left off, and gazed upward. As he sat alone in the dark in the spacious, circular room, staring into the endless, starlit sky, he suddenly felt very small. It was something that intrigued him about the vastness of space; it had the ability to make everything seem small. The whole earth was just a speck of light floating in an infinite void.

Of course, feeling small was nothing new to Grayson. He’d spent most of his life hiding away behind books and parchment, afraid of being noticed because the only attention he could ever seem to attract was the bad kind. Staying small was staying safe, and he took some comfort in it. There was a time when he had dreamed of something more; a wide-eyed child who saw the world as an opportunity, whose books had taught him that he could succeed through strength of character and willpower alone. He’d had high ambitions then, of overcoming the tradition-steeped society that had forced his father to choose between love and acceptance, of proving his validity to the world despite his differences. But ambitions changed as Grayson learned, time after time, that life was not a fairytale. The only way to guarantee a happy ending was to content yourself with what you already had. So he had learned to like being small.

And then Thato came along, Thato who still had big dreams and the will to achieve them. Thato who only had to look at Grayson, to smile at him, to speak with him to make him feel important. With Thato by his side, even space didn’t seem so big. For the first time since he was eleven, Grayson didn’t feel small anymore. He remembered what it felt like to want more, and to believe he might deserve it. Thato was validation, proof that someone cared, that his feelings did matter, that he was allowed to keep dreaming.

Grayson didn’t know what love was supposed to be, but as he gazed up at the stars above, he decided this must be it.

He heard footsteps behind him. They stopped, a few feet away, and a small sigh broke through the silence. Grayson turned.

Thato stared upwards, regarding the stars with an unreadable expression. He looked tired. Grayson waited until, eventually, the other boy met his eyes. Grayson’s face spoke the question. What’s wrong?

Thato hesitated for a moment, then stepped closer. “Do you ever grow tired of looking at the stars?” he asked quietly.

Grayson cocked his head. “No, not really. Do you?”

Thato shrugged, as if to say ‘it's not important.’ Grayson frowned, but Thato brushed it off and came to sit beside him.

“Where were we? Pisces?”

Grayson nodded. Thato took the book and gestured to the diagram. “As you can see, the constellation is made up of ten stars. It’s meant to look like two fish attached by a string. As with most constellations, it’s a rather loose interpretation, and requires some stretching of the imagination.”

Grayson studied Thato’s face with some concern. Something was definitely off. He spoke more brusquely than usual, almost as if he was annoyed. Thato went to turn the page, but Grayson stopped him.

“What’s wrong?”

Thato looked up. “Nothing’s wrong.”

“Yes, it is. Something’s bothering you. What is it?”

Thato just stared at him for a moment, lips slightly parted as if he was having trouble wording what he wanted to say. Grayson waited.

“We come up here a lot,” he started, then stopped. He obviously meant to say something else, but hadn’t quite decided how.

“Yes,” Grayson prompted. “You’re teaching me about the stars.”

“Yes, I know. It’s just...you haven’t gotten bored? Of the stars, I mean. There’s only so much to say about them.”

Grayson tilted his head a little. In truth, he hadn’t gotten bored at all. He was learning something new every time they came, and he thought Thato was a wonderful teacher. Still, he could see what his partner was trying to say.

“Are you tired of this?”

Thato shook his head frustratedly. “Not this,” he gestured with his hands to the space between them. “Just...we have so little time to spend alone together, and we choose to stare at stars?”

Grayson frowned. “What would you rather do?”

“I don’t know. Something fun. Something exciting. Look,” he turned to face Grayson completely and took his hands, setting the book on the floor beside them. “I came up here with you all these times, not because I love the stars, but because I want to be with you. But you, you sit and watch and we don’t do anything. We talk about all the stuff out there,” he pointed up at the domed ceiling, “but all I care about is the stuff in here. Do you see?”

Grayson nodded. He felt as if he should be happy that Thato wanted to be with him, but something more like guilt crept through his system. Was Thato miserable all this time? Had he not even noticed? He met his partner’s eyes.

“Then what do you suggest we do instead?”

Thato moved closer, his hands releasing Grayson’s and moving to rest upon his knees instead, then traveling upward to his thighs. “Whatever it is that lovers do. I want you, Grayson Hughes. Not the stars, not the planets. Just you.”

Grayson’s chest felt uncomfortably tight. He should be enjoying this, Thato’s hands on his body. He should be wanting this too. He wasn’t. Something about Thato’s earnest gaze frightened him. He wasn’t ready for this. His placed his hands on top of Thato’s, stopping them from moving any further.

“I…” What was he supposed to say? Why did Thato’s dark eyes seem to burn into his skin? Why was this making him uncomfortable?

“Don’t you love me?” Thato whispered.

Didn’t he?

“O-of course I do. I just...I’m...scared,” his voice came out as small and frightened as he felt.

Thato looked hurt. Disappointed.

“Of what? Of me?”

“No,” Grayson shook his head emphatically. That wasn’t it.

“Of what then?”

“I...don’t know.” He truly didn’t.

“Then let me show you there’s nothing to be afraid of,” Thato insisted. He leaned in to place a gentle kiss on Grayson’s lips. As he did so, his hands continued their previous path up Grayson’s thighs, and Grayson resisted the urge to stop him, allowing his own hands to fall limply to the ground.

“I don’t want…that...tonight,” he managed to get across, unable at the moment to even think the word. Thato paused, then nodded. Relief flooded Grayson’s body at the compromise, though confusion still held the forefront of his mind. Why didn’t he want this? Did he not love Thato as much as he thought he did? Was he a bad person for wanting to go back to talking about stars and other, safer things?

Thato’s kisses became rougher, more desperate, and Grayson returned them halfheartedly. His partner’s hands slipped beneath his shirt, and his lips began to roam from his face to his neck, and all Grayson could think about was how this was wrong, all wrong, but he didn’t stop it because he didn’t know how. Powerless, he felt.

Powerless and small.

________________________________________________

Grayson Hughes || 35 || Librarian || Traveler

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