Summary: This is a love story with no love; this is a comedy with no happy ending; this is a tragedy with no death; this is a homemade tragedy.
Pairing: Tom/Dan (unrequited), Tom/Rupert (unrequited), little mentions of Tom/Jade and Dan/Rosie
Disclaimer: This is an imaginary product of an angst-ridden, slash-lover mind; None of these happened in real life.
A/N: inspired by a gif I saw some days ago, in which Tom was saying something about having urges of grabbing Dan and kissing him while on the set; that was one the most straightforward gay confessions I've seen of Tom. Thought I'd give it a try.
The summer day dragged on like a tedious guitar note that did not know when to end, the hot air poured down his collar like stale beer and dampened his shirt, and Tom was too bored to even think. Sitting on a plastic chair in front of him, Rupert took small sips from his coke while flipping through a magazine he had picked up randomly off a table, occasionally smirking at one amusing article or another.
Tom rested his chin on his hand, one foot tapping lightly on the cafe floor, eyes absentmindedly drawn to Rupert's lips. They were beautifully-shaped and looked soft and inviting, Tom mused. Grabbed by a sudden urge, Tom reached out his hand and touched Rupert's lips, wanting to find out whether they felt as soft as they looked. They did. Rupert stopped turning a page, looked up quizzically at him and arched a ginger eyebrow.
Tom pulled his hand away, and gave a slight shrug.
'You've got beautiful lips,' he said matter-of-factly as a way of explaining his odd behavior. Rupert grinned crookedly, and cocked his head to one side, silently examining Tom. Tom shifted in his seat, wondering if he should say something when suddenly Rupert leaned forward and poked Tom in the eye.
'Oi! What was that for?', Tom rubbed at his eye, warily wondering if Rupert meant that as some kind of revenge, if that was the beginning of one of their prank wars.
Rupert, however, merely gave him a shrug, 'You've got beautiful eyes.'
He didn't think he would regret it when he had said it, and he still hadn't regretted it several hours afterwards, but now that Dan was here, looking at him as if he had killed a little puppy in the most cruel way, Tom regretted it like he had never regretted anything before.
'Tom, do you know why I'm here?', his voice had taken on a forlorn note, and Tom was almost tempted to slip into his Draco role and taunt him mercilessly, if only to stop feeling so wretched under that accusatory gaze. But he was not, in essence, anything like Draco. True, he had some certain Slytherin traits; he was ambitious and could be subtly manipulative if he felt like it, but he liked to think of himself as a nice guy, and did not enjoy hurting people's feelings, least of all those that he considered as friends.
'It's about that interview, isn't it?', he finally managed to admit. Dan just gave him a disapproving look, and Tom unconsciously took some steps away from him. Suddenly, the room felt too small, and Dan was too near to him no matter how many steps he took back. The wall against which he was now leaning felt less reassuring than what he had expected. The poetic side of him summed up his situation as 'caged inside your own conscience', but Tom was not feeling especially poetic with the wall digging into his T-shirt-clad back and Dan looking so devastatingly hurt.
Tom swallowed as Dan started to walk toward him, not exactly in fear of what Dan would do to him (because Dan was too nice to hurt him the way Tom had hurt him), but mostly in fear of what he would - unwittingly - do to Dan.
'You'd promised, Tom. We had promised. We were...we were supposed to put this act behind us!'
He was nearly frantic now, and depending on what Tom would say next, he would even become hysteric; something Tom was trying to prevent from happening at all cost.
Tom was contemplating Dan's words now. The act; the glorious, childish act that for a time felt as natural as slipping into his Draco role and feeling the magic at the tip of his fingertips. It had been Tom's idea, but Dan had become even more enthusiastic about it along the way. Since the first two movies were out, the interviewers kept asking them the same question: Were they actual rivals in real life? It was a really stupid question, because while they were young, they were actors, and had a basic understanding of what acting entailed. Tom knew he was not exactly Draco, as Dan knew he was not Harry, so why would they be hostile towards each other the way Draco and Harry were? They loved each other, really.
And then the idea of the 'act' crossed Tom's mind. What first started as a silly way of throwing the interviewers off-guard by saying the opposite of what they expected to hear, slowly started to become a ritual whose purpose was no longer to contradict, but to please. When Dan first discovered 'Drarry', and they found out just how much their fans wanted to see them together, they decided to play the act. Soon, the interviews were full of sexual, if subtle, innuendos, because that was what the fans wanted to hear, and Tom believed they owed them as much. It was supposed to be harmless, just good fun, and for a while it was. Until Tom started to analyze his feelings for Dan; that was when things went to hell. That was also when Tom met Jade.
Tom realized that he had been silent for a long time, and self-consciously licked his bottom lip.
'I remember,' he began tentatively, gauging Dan's reaction. 'Only that what I said in the interview was not exactly an act, Dan.'
It wasn't a wise move, but Tom felt like being honest for once. He had made a mistake, now he realized. He should have never talked about his urges in a damn interview. He should have honored his end of the deal, and done as Dan asked him to. He knew Dan would not appreciate it; fans did, but they were not on Tom's mind at the time. Tom had made a mistake, he could be that brutally honest with himself, but he did not feel terribly remorseful about it. Hiding the truth could have not been any less than a betrayal to Dan. Dan had just to realize that on his own.
'What is that supposed to mean?', Dan's voice quivered ever so slightly, and in that moment, Tom realized Dan was afraid. He had expected the wounded look, the accusatory tone, the angry outbursts, but fear? Fear of what exactly? of him? How utterly inappropriate. Tom had hurt Dan, but that was an accident which he did not intend to let happen again. Tom would have never intentionally hurt him. Didn't he know?
'Nothing. If you are really asking me that, then you probably don't want to know.'
He was disappointed at Dan. He felt like grabbing those broad shoulders and shaking the slightly younger boy, screaming into his face, 'give me some fucking credit, Dan, I'm not a bloody asshole! I'm your friend!', but Tom rarely allowed himself the luxury of outburst. He was a silent sufferer, hiding behind his own kind of Slytherin mask, faking perfect smiles when it started to hurt too much, bottling up his emotions to later use for his extensive sessions of self-pity and general pathos he was especially fond of.
Something must have shown on his face though, because Dan's voice softened considerably.
'Tom, I like you. We're friends. But I've got a girlfriend now, as have you. What you're asking of me doesn't make sense. I'm sure that's not even what you really want. Think of Jade, if nothing else. Do you really want to hurt her like that?'
Oh, the guilt trip. How bloody wonderful. Of course, Tom loved Jade, and had no intention of hurting her. He also had no intention of hurting Dan, and he was bloody tired of hurting himself, but the predicament he had dug himself into would eventually end up hurting them all. He fell in love with Jade so that he would not hurt Dan. He kept his growing attraction to Dan hidden so that he would not hurt Jade. And now Dan was asking him to keep hurting himself so that he and Jade would be spared from the pain. Tom wondered if Dan knew what he was actually asking of him.
He pushed himself off the wall, but did not look at those brilliant blue eyes as he talked.
'Just forget what I said, Dan. You're right. It doesn't make a goddamn sense, and it's not really what I want; I was just caught up in the moment. And I'm sorry about my slip-up. It won't happen again, you can trust me.'
Dan nodded solemnly, accepting his apology. Tom felt dead inside, but he still needed to make sure Dan would not feel uncomfortable around him from now on. He held his hand out for Dan to shake, and was suddenly struck by an unsettling sense of déjà vu. Almost twelve years ago, at the set of the first Harry Potter movie, Draco Malfoy had offered his friendship to Harry and was ruthlessly rejected; a rejection that, in Tom's opinion, sealed Draco's fate forever.
'Potter,' he spat in his Draco voice in a way that he knew Dan loved, that aristocratic drawl that Dan used to call endearing, and wondered if he would be rejected now, sharing the fate of the character he had grown up with, and become nostalgically, tragically, fond of.
But Dan had always been nicer than Harry, just the way Tom was nicer than Draco, and shook his outstretched hand with a warm smile that was purely Dan and utterly, miserably beautiful.
He was of age now, had been for three years, he thought indifferently as he swirled his drink and drowned himself in the little whirlwind he had made in his glass. He had no particular inclination towards alcohol, had never really got drunk, and found the metaphor of drinking oneself into oblivion utterly ridiculous. He smoked occasionally, a terrible habit he had picked from spending too much time in the company of smokers, and while he had never grown a taste for it, he found the activity somewhat relaxing. It took his mind off things for a while, but it always left a nasty taste in his mouth; a taste so terrible he would swear to himself that he would never smoke again, but like with masturbation, he found himself breaking the promise time and time again.
He was not smoking now, and his drink was untouched; yet, he felt oddly lethargic, as if engulfed in a thick cloud of cigarette smoke and alcohol. Memories were blended together, their borderlines all crooked and pale, fading voices fell and rose haphazardly inside his head, and briefly he wondered if he was coming down with something. Was heartbreak a kind of disease? Would someone die from it if it went untreated? Would it even get treated if one tried hard enough? Was he capable of trying hard enough if it came to that? Would he even want to?
'You're depressed!', Rupert exclaimed loudly as he took a seat across Tom, examining him closely and apparently, finding his miserable state highly amusing.
'Yes, now go away.', Tom said half-heartedly, not bothering to look up from his swirling drink to regard his friend.
'Go away?', he snorted, 'You're the one who asked me to come haul your miserable, moping arse off the floor. And let me tell you, I had been in the middle of watching my favorite show when you called, but what did I do? I just turned off the TV, grabbed my jacket and car keys, and drove straightly to Your Royal Highness as fast as was legally allowed. The least you could do is appreciate my efforts,' and he added as an afterthought, 'and maybe buy me a drink; yeah, definitely buy me a drink.'
Tom finally put his drink away and looked at Rupert. Under the blue light of the bar, Rupert looked extremely pale; his eyelashes were almost invisible, his eyes a dreamy kind of blue. Tom realized with a start that he was still infatuated with Rupert's lips. His eyes must have lingered on that pink mouth for too long because Rupert chuckled at him.
'You know, I still think your eyes are pretty.' he said offhandedly, quirking his eyebrows as if to indicate there was some hidden message in his seemingly innocuous words. Tom gave him a lazy smile, lips slowly stretching over white teeth, and fluttered his long lashes for good measure.
Rupert burst into soft laughter.
'Really, Rup, is that your best pick-up line? No wonder you're still single.'
Rupert gave him a mysterious smile. 'What, you think you're the only one pinning after a secret crush?'
Tom's eyes widened ever so slightly. How did he know Tom had a crush? He had played his part so perfectly that even Dan had started to believe he had gotten over him. And what did he mean by 'pinning'? Tom had no idea Rupert was interested in anyone.
'Rup, who is she?' Tom asked breathily, suddenly embarrassed at his ignorance. Somehow, it felt terribly wrong to be in the dark about Rupert's love interest when Rupert himself had been observant enough to find out about his own.
Rupert slid deeper into his seat, stretching his legs out under the table, and looked at Tom as if seeing him for the first time.
'What makes you think it's a she?'
'Why didn't you...', he chocked out, feeling an overwhelming heat creeping up his neck and spreading across his face like sticky oil paint.
His red-haired friend regarded his flushed face for a moment, and then slowly shook his head.
'It's not like it would have worked if I'd told you. After all, Weasleys don't mix well with Malfoys.' He smiled sadly at him, and let his eyes rest heavily upon the wooden table. Tom felt like he was nailed to his chair, unable to move an inch. He had so many questions to ask him, like how it all had started, how long it had been, and why he was telling him now, but the impact of Rupert's revelation had left him speechless.
'You're an idiot.'
The bar had started to spin around him, the walls were moving closer sinisterly, and the air felt damp and unbreathable. The whirlwind seemed to have risen out of his glass, knocking down his safety walls, laughing hysterically at their homemade tragedies.
Rupert finally looked up, and Tom almost came undone. There were tears in those pale blue eyes of his that shone brilliantly under the soft neon lights.
'Yeah, you and me both.'
It felt nice kissing those lips, just the way looking at them had. Rupert's mouth was soft and eager, almost heartbreaking in its compliance. He kissed slowly and consistently, paying minute attention to Tom's every reaction, trying to figure out what felt good for Tom and concentrating on them. It felt nice like the way a silk bedding would feel under his touch, or a perfectly-brewed coffee on a cold, winter morning. It felt nice, but it did not feel right. It occurred to Tom that Rupert was kissing him with all he'd got. Like he knew this was his only chance, and he wanted to make it as memorable as possible. Eventually, the kiss came to an end, and Rupert let his forehead rest lightly against Tom's.
'Damn you, Tom.'
There was such a raw emotion in that voice that Tom felt already damned. This was all his fault. He had fallen for the wrong guy. Dan would have never loved him, and Tom had known that from the beginning. Dan had always been too casual with his act, his sexual innuendos felt too natural, his smiles and light touches too playful. Tom had known, and had been a fool to still pursue Dan, to let his affections for him grow, feeding his funeral pile with fuel. And then, there was Jade who had nothing to do with all this mess, whom Tom loved dearly and would die over her peaceful, sleeping figure every time they went to bed. And now there was Rupert with beautiful lips that felt nice against his own, whose love for him almost paralleled that of Tom for Dan, who had been loving him even before Tom had come to fall for Dan, since forever. None of them deserved this, and it was all his fault.
'I thought I could stop loving you, especially when you and Jade got together, it wasn't like I had any chance with you after that, anyway,' he said in his soft, deep voice, his forehead still touching Tom's. 'but it's just not that easy. Falling out of love, for that to happen I first had to kill my heart and forget everything I knew about you, to forget you. But that's not possible. Tom, you should know that it's not possible.'
His voice had a desperate edge to it, and Tom realized Rupert was apologizing for having loved him when he shouldn't have; and that he was still going to keep loving him despite all this; that just because Tom was in love with Dan and in a relationship with Jade, it didn't mean he should, or would stop loving him. And Tom would know, because just because Dan was in love with Rosie, it didn't mean Tom's heart would stop loving him. There were borderlines that once you transgressed, you would not be able to go back. Love was one of them, and they both knew it.
'I know, Rup, I know.', he gently touched Rupert's cheek and closed his eyes in anguish as he felt the dampness. 'And I'm sorry for all of this. If there was anything I could do, anything at all, to stop all these heartaches and make things right, I would have done so. I feel so wretched, and I'm fucking sorry.'
He felt hands gently, but firmly grab his head, and he opened his eyes. Rupert was holding onto him with such a force as if his whole world would slip away from him if he let Tom slip away from his fingers. He was close enough for a kiss, and his lips quivered in a way that clearly showed just how much Rupert wanted to kiss him again, his green-blue eyes were wet with want and need, his pale lashes covered in tears of despair. Rupert's desire for him was suffocating; it was so overwhelming it had solidified into a sharp dagger that tore into them both, drawing blood. Tom was paralyzed with the intensity of that gaze, and he wondered would it be so bad if he just leaned in and closed the gap between them, claiming Rupert's lips in a kiss that had felt so nice, would it be so wrong if they just...
But what about Jade, and what about Dan? And what about Rupert who loved him in a way Tom could have never loved him back? None of them deserved this, and it was all his fault.
'It's not your fault, Tom. Not entirely yours anyway.' He ran his fingers lovingly through Tom's hair, smiling softly, tragically. 'There are mistakes that people make, and then, there are mistakes that make people.'
He placed a soft kiss on Tom's cheek, as if to say goodbye. 'And you were the mistake that made me, and I will forever love you for that.'
 From the poem ‘Darkness’ by Lord Byron: ‘…And others hurried to and fro, and fed/Their funeral piles with fuel, and looked up/With mad disquietude on the dull sky…’