ACT II: CHAPTER FOURTEEN

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A/N: Dark Harry rising...

HARRY / PAST

No one had ever hated me before. Sure, people disliked me. Some kids at school back in Cheshire used to make fun of my hair. I had an older cousin who thought I was pretty annoying. But no one hated me, and certainly not the people I loved most. It was ironic then when the person I loved more than anyone in whole world was the first person to truly and completely hate me.

After my meeting with Beauchamp I skipped my studio session and walked the long gravely path back to Jebsen. I tried to come up with some explanation for why I was now going to Kiev instead of Louis. I could blame it on Beauchamp and say he changed his mind. I could downplay the trip and say that Beauchamp thought Louis was too important to the winter showcase to miss rehearsal. He did have a solo after all. That was my best shot at sparing his feelings.

Louis wasn't in our room when I got back but his suitcase was. It was fully packed.

There was also a note addressed to me on the desk. It was written on RBS stationary in Louis' hurried, jagged pen strokes.

Dear Lysander,

I left to hand in my permission slip and passport to Beauchamp. In case I don't see you before my trip, I wanted to thank you. I was so excited last night I forgot to tell you this. I wouldn't be where I am without you. You've always believed in me, even when I didn't believe in myself. Now all of my dreams are coming true! I didn't think anything this amazing could happen to me, but the very best thing that ever happened to me is you. I wish you knew how beautiful you are inside and out. Please don't be too hard on yourself while I'm away. You're my favorite dancer remember?

Love always,

Demetrius

I shut my eyes and crumpled the letter in my hand.

I went into the closet and grabbed my duffel bag. I began stuffing random clothing inside haphazardly, wrinkling my suit and all of my good shirts. There would be no guidebook on this trip, no camera, no pretty scarf and no precious cufflinks. I didn't care what I looked like or what I saw in Kiev. I wanted to forget the trip before it had even begun.

I watched the clock on the nightstand as seconds and minutes ticked by. It was only a matter of time before Louis handed in his documents to Beauchamp and learned that he wouldn't be going to Kiev.

I fished my passport out of the desk. I got my mother to email a scan of the permission slip earlier that morning. She told me she was proud of me. If she knew the real me she wouldn't be so proud.

I knew Louis would be angry. I knew he might yell and scream. I thought I was prepared for his reaction. I wasn't.

I was packed and watching out the window for Beauchamp's car when Louis entered the room behind me.

I turned around. Tears were streaming down his face.

He was holding his permission slip in one hand and his passport in the other. His hair was brushed neatly to one side, and he was wearing his favorite outfit—a blue pullover and grey slacks with patent leather shoes. Despite the tears, I had never seen him look more handsome. He had dressed in his best clothes for the trip because this was supposed to be the best day of his life.

"How could you?" he choked.

"Beauchamp changed his mind," I stammered. "You're too important to the winter showcase to--"

"Liar." Louis' glare was razor sharp. "Beauchamp told me you went to his office this morning and convinced him to take you instead of me."

I was hoping Beauchamp would make it out to be his choice instead of mine. But he couldn't even do me that one kindness, the one thing that might have saved my friendship with Louis.

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